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Supervisors Approve Wegmans Development

Montgomery Township will have a Wegmans supermarket at Montgomery Mall in Montgomeryville come 2013

Wegmans is officially coming to Montgomeryville.

Montgomery Township Supervisors Monday night unanimously gave conditional preliminary/final approval to Simon Property Group

The market is set to open in Fall 2013, according to Simon Property Group counsel Robert Brant.

at . The two-story space that housed Boscov's (and, at one time, John Wanamaker's) has been demolished in preparation for the construction of the store.

Approval was contingent on negotitated terms where Simon Property Group and Wegmans will provide all necessary bonds and contracts to the township.

Before supervisors approved the development, they had a public hearing where they ultimately approved Simon Property Group's proposed rezoning of six parcels on North Wales Road, totaling 4.8 acres, from residential to regional shopping district.

The hearing was to amend the Regional Shopping district's lot area, building coverage, parking and accessory use requirements.

Montgomery Mall is the only zoned Regional Shopping district in the township. The six parcels are located between the two driveways of Montgomery Mall and are owned by Simon Property Group.

The rezoning was needed, Brant argued, so that Simon Property Group has space to develop additional parking lots in the future. 

Development of the parcels is not proposed at this time.

Brant said the amendments "would be compatible to the proposed use of Montgomery Mall."

Project engineer Mike Kissinger, of Pennoni Associates, said Simon Property Group developing a parking lot "is definitely not our intention."

Brant said Simon Property Group would need to come back for approval from supervisors if they want to develop an additional parking lot on the property.

The rezoning also keeps the buffer from the roadway to the property at 100 feet. It also provides for rain gardens and catch basins to be constructed across the six parcels. 

The public hearing also changed text, definition and rules in the Regional Shopping District ordinance to allow outdoor dining, by right and as an accessory use, at the entire Montgomery Mall property.

Yes, Wegmans will have 140-square-feet of outdoor dining located on the north side of the market (the side parallel with North Wales Road). 

There will be a cafe entrance on the north side, and a main entrance on the east (Bethlehem Pike-facing/same side as Salsa's entrance) side.

Shipping and receiving (read: tractor-trailers) will be located on the west side of the market. This is the side that faces the main entrance to the mall and the same side as Dick's Sporting Goods.

Some residents had concerns about the development, mainly traffic volumes and buffer requirements.

Don Shermer, of North Wales Road, wanted a defining answer as to the height restrictions for buffers. He also wanted to be sure there would be no new entrance/exit made along any of the six parcels.

Kissinger said Simon Property Group would need to comply with the township's height requirements for landscape buffering.

Judith Stern-Goldstein, the township's landscape architect, said the ordinance would call for 8-foot-tall evergreens and 20-foot-tall, 1/2-inch caliber trees.

Township solicitor Frank Bartle said there would be no new driveway onto North Wales Road.

Resident Marilyn O'Connell, of Montgomery Village, asked about entrance widening and new traffic signals. Kissinger said the second driveway would be widened and shortened, and there will be updates to the signals.

Resident Adele Herman, of Montgomery Village, asked for traffic improvements to North Wales Road before the development is built. Traffic engineer Kevin Johnson, of Traffic Planning & Design, said the Route 202 Parkway will alleviate traffic on Route 309 and on bypass roads, which will alleviate traffic on North Wales Road.

"To say it is win/win ... is a fair statement," said Brant. "(Township staff) has been difficult, thorough and efficient. This is a great part for the mall and a great thing for the township."

"We look forward to Wegmans," said supervisors Chairwoman Candyce Chimera.

"Welcome to the neighborhood," said Supervisor Mike Fox.

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