Lower Frederick Finishes Hearing on Big Road Plans

LOWER FREDERICK PA – A conditional use hearing completed Thursday (Jan. 26, 2023) night by Lower Frederick supervisors will help them determine whether to approve a developer’s request to build 29 single-family detached homes on a portion of property at 225 Big Rd., the township solicitor said.

The Board of Supervisors has 45 days, or roughly until mid-March, in which to issue its decision on the conditional use sought by Downingtown-based JEP LLC, according to Solicitor Peter Nelson. If approved the housing community would be created at the northwest side of Big Road, on a portion of 84 acres of vacant land generally between Perkiomen Valley West Middle School and Simmons Road.

An interior loop road, on which homes would be located, was shown on neighborhood lotting subdivision plans submitted to the township. The developer has proposed two entrances onto the highway, also known as state Route 73. Most of Thursday’s hearing testimony centered on traffic studies conducted for JEP by an independent consultant, and the impact of the project’s traffic potential.

The property is zoned for R-1 Rural Residential use. Several owners of properties nearby, who believe they will be adversely affected by the proposal, testified and entered their objections for the hearing record. Difficulty encountered by vehicles exiting south from Simmons Road, and headed eastbound against oncoming traffic toward the roundabout at Zieglerville, was among specific criticisms.

A portion of the total acreage also involves steep slopes. It is not yet known whether the developer will need a separate hearing to determine if and under what conditions the slopes could be disturbed.

How hearing testimony will be used

Nelson’s task now, he explained, is to write a prospective decision for supervisors’ consideration, on which they would publicly vote before the 45-day deadline expires. If denied, supervisors would be required to list legal reasons for that decision. They would be subject to a court appeal by the developer if it desired, Nelson said.

He also noted, however, that if hearing testimony and evidence presented by the developer demonstrated it has met the requirements for conditional use, supervisors likely would find its approval necessary to comply with existing law. The board would have the ability to impose further conditions for the project if it desired.

The conditional hearing is only the latest, but not the last, step in the subdivision process, supervisors have said in the past. If the conditional use is approved, the developer still must submit detailed plans for building the community. They must be reviewed by the township planning commission and other government bodies, and then approved by the Board of Supervisors, all during meetings open to the public.

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