Royal Farms Looks to Open on Armand Hammer Blvd.

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Royal Farms, a popular chain of fast food, fuel, and convenience markets that now operates in 240 locations across Pennsylvania and four other states, thinks Lower Pottsgrove qualifies as one of its next prospects for growth. It hopes to start construction at 300 Armand Hammer Blvd., north of A.D. Moyer Lumber, as quickly as it can get through the township regulatory process.

Royal Farms may be best known by fried chicken lovers. Food and Wine Magazine once labeled its lightly breaded, pressure-cooked chicken as the best produced in its fast-food category. The company has expanded rapidly in recent years, and in April said it planned to hire 4,500 employees company-wide by the end of 2021. It opened a store in Collegeville several months ago.

Before that can happen locally it faces legal hurdles, township Solicitor Charles Garner reported Monday (May 3, 2021) during the Board of Commissioners’ meeting at Sunnybrook Ballroom.

Two Farms Inc. of Baltimore, the company petitioning for the project, must first win four separate variances from the Zoning Hearing Board under a public hearing scheduled for May 11 (Tuesday), Garner explained. Then commissioners themselves will conduct a relatively rare – at least for the township, he noted – May 20 (Thursday) conditional use hearing on the project.

From the zoning board, Two Farms seeks exceptions for a larger-than-allowed canopy over its proposed gas fueling station; more-than-allowed impervious coverage of the proposed lot, smaller-than-allowed width from the street line, and a six-month extension of any relief the board grants. In the conditional use hearing, commissioners will be asked to decide if the fueling station is acceptable as “an accessory use” within the township’s Interchange District.

If it succeeds in both of those, the company could begin to draw up plans for later presentation to the township Planning Commission and, with its recommendation, to the five-member township board for final approvals.

A.D. Moyer apparently would remain in place and the owner of the property, Moyer Insulators Inc., would subdivide it into three parcels including one of 3.14 acres that would be occupied by Royal Farms, according to a legal advertisement for the conditional use hearing.

Commissioner Robert Mohollen suggested the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation also likely will weigh in because of traffic issues. Drivers on Armand Hammer Boulevard increasingly face congestion between Medical Drive and the U.S. Route 422 interchange during daytime periods, he said. Township Manager Ed Wagner added the highway’s Norfolk Southern-owned bridge over nearby railroad tracks might be part of the agency’s considerations.

Photo by idawriter via Wikimedia Commons, used under a Creative Commons license