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Residents raise concerns over Perkasie Woods townhomes

By Lou Gombocz, Jr., WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 22 2014 06:48:42 AM CDT
Perkasie Borough Council
PERKASIE, Pa. -

Perkasie Borough Council's meeting Monday night sounded more like a court trial rather than a municipal meeting with a public hearing for 145 newly proposed townhomes to be built near Perkasie's downtown.

A representative from Ryan Homes of Philadelphia, the developer proposing the construction of a townhouse development called Perkasie Woods, cross-examined four witnesses including two engineers, a land planner, and a general sales manager for Ryan Homes.

The development is set to be located on a 16-acre lot at Spruce Street and Constitution Avenue.

Following the testimony of the aforementioned experts who basically endorsed the project and forecasted no complications, residents from nearby neighborhoods including Grandview Avenue voiced their concerns over increased traffic, storm water drainage, local wildlife concerns and increased enrollments at local schools.

Alicia Gety of Grandview Avenue questioned council: " Are our schools going to be able to handle the increase in children after 145 of these homes are sold?"

Sheri Kling also of Grandview Avenue asked, "Is our water system going to be able to handle the increased water and sewer, traffic, and parking demands?"

Kling noted to council the large number of proposed homes to be built and pleaded for them to maintain "the small town atmosphere and tight-knit sense of community Perkasie has always been known for, and that's why we live here."

As a result, Project Engineer Robert Blue said, the Perkasie Borough Planning Commission recommended a reduction in the number of Ryan townhomes to be built from an originally proposed 160 down to 145 and include additional parking.

The proposal also requires council to rezone the area from industrial to Residential-3 and agree to an additional zoning increase in the maximum height allowed for the new homes because they will be three stories tall.

Residents also quizzed council on how they could approve a high-density home development in the area, as Constitution Avenue floods when the nearby Perkiomen Creek overflows its banks.

Blue addressed the flooding concern, noting the developer has agreed to remove an abandoned manufacturing plant and its parking lot from the site's entrance.

He added Ryan Homes promises drainage at the development site.

Planner Erik Hetzel of Paoli said the plan "replaces inoperable industrial use and complements adjacent uses."

He stated he believes the project will result in millions of dollars of increased revenues---specifically $22,000 yearly for Perkasie, $370,000 to the Pennridge School District, and millions in utility connections and transfer taxes.

Council voted to continue the hearing at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 4.