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Quakertown business owners remain concerned with impact of triangle development

By Mark Reccek, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 04 2014 11:44:24 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 05 2014 06:17:10 AM CDT
Quakertown council meeting
QUAKERTOWN, Pa. -

Quakertown downtown business owners want answers from borough council regarding the future development of the proposed triangle property at Third and Broad streets.

Despite the concerns and questions of business owners, council Wednesday evening unanimously approved the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program application and issued a council opinion by a vote of 7-0.

Scott Soost, owner of Tana Kaya Boutique, 322 W. Broad St., asked council how the original development plan changed from allowing 122 employees to 60 employees.

"I'm concerned that the real number is 122," he said. "How do we go from 122 down to 60?"

Borough Manager Scott McElree told Soost he will put him in contact with the developer of the project, David Halliday of Village Centre Properties, Blooming Glen, Bucks County. Halliday, McElree said, is capable of answering Soost's questions more thoroughly.

"It could be at that time the project, use of the building, has been curtailed," McElree said. "The more realistic plan is between 60 and 70."

Soost also said he contacted the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor and state budget office.

Both offices, he said, are not in possession of documents relating to the development.

McElree told Soost Governor Tom Corbett did approve the state grant for $2 million.

The grant will help pay for the cost of the development, estimated at $6 million.

Soost also expressed concern with traffic patterns and the plan presented by the Delta Group.

He argued that making the traffic pattern two way on the current west bound side is not an improvement.

McElree told Soost he will forward his concerns to the Delta Group.

"I'm questioning the wisdom behind these decisions," Soost said. "It's not really an ideal situation. Parking is an integral part of doing business."

Ralph Moyer III, owner of Moyer's Shoes, 316 W. Broad St., also presented to council a brief study he distributed among downtown business owners.

Moyer said the study indicated a majority of business owners are against the development.

Council Vice President Donald Rosenberger said he is skeptical of relying on such studies and polls.

"It's a whole bunch of us," Moyer said of those opposed to the development. "Customers all day think it's crazy. A lot of people are against it."

The proposed 30,000-square-foot, three-story building will include a pub and restaurant on the first floor, executive suites on the second floor and conventional office space on the third floor.

Council has asserted the development will generate more jobs and increase business in the downtown area.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program application submitted to the state must show the borough is the taxing authority and the opinion must indicate no litigation exists that will hinder or prohibit the project from moving forward.