Pennsbury Township supervisors
are moving toward a vote on a controversial stipulation agreement with
Pennsbury Village Associates.
The board will meet Friday, April
1, at 5 p.m. to evaluate resident concerns and to possibly vote on the pending
agreement with PVA. A March 29 supervisor’s information meeting highlighted
contentious aspects of the pending acceptance of the agreement.
Specific concerns center on the
fate of the Hope House (built 1745) and the development of the parcel of land
adjacent to Hickory Hill Road and Route 1 that borders the Hamorton Woods
residential community. Other concerns include potential treated sewage and
storm water overflow impact on the Ring Run stream, Hickory Hill Road parcel
landscape buffer impact, and traffic safety.
Supervisors’ Chairman Wendell
Fenton said the agreement is the “end result of lengthy give and take
negotiations centering on the legal rights of the landowner and the township
resident desires. Approval of the recently completed Stipulation Agreement will
end a decade long litigious struggle with the developer/landowner Pennsbury
Village Associates, LLC. A complete copy of the Stipulation Agreement is
available for on premises review at the Pennsbury Township office.”
Supervisor Charles “Scotty”
Scottoline said the agreement included the option for “adaptive reuse of the
historic Hope House as a commercial property relocated to the Hickory Hill Rd.
Bob MacDonnell, chairman of the Pennsbury
Historic Commission, said “After considerable debate the ‘least worst option’
is having the developer move the 1,800 square foot Hope house to the Hickory
Hill parcel and allow an 8,000 sq. ft. addition so the developer could
commercially utilize the historic stone house.”
MacDonnell added that, “Moving
the historic house to township land was not practical as Pennsbury Township has
no foreseeable use for the Hope house and there is no realistic private funding
resource to renovate and maintain the structure. Allowing the developer to relocate and readapt the historic
stone structure would save the Hope house from demolition and shift significant
renovation and maintenance to the developer.”
Margo Leach of the township
Planning Commission—who is also an architect for historic properties—said, “Relocating
the historic 1745 stone structure to adjacent township land would be preferable
for historical and architectural aesthetic reasons.”
She said renovation cost would
not be a huge cash outlay. However
she acknowledged she was not aware of any Township use for the Hope house.
Jim Ware, Pennsbury Township
Planning Commission member and Hamorton Woods Homeowners Association member
said he disagrees with the proposed relocation and commercial adaption of the
1745 Hope House. The proposed stipulation allows 8 residential units or fewer
residential units and the readapted Hope house.
“Initial development proposal for
the Hickory Hill Road parcel allowed three residential units,” Ware said.
Pennsbury Township solicitor Tom
Oeste said the agreement would not impact a required township engineering
review, state approval of an Act 537 plan or a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation