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174-Townhome Development One Step Closer

Andale Green, by Moulton Builders, is headed for development on the triangle parcel on Hancock Street across from Stony Creek Park. Council approved a conditional use request last week

If you use Hancock Street to get to the mall, or even use Stony Creek Park, then you have passed by the future site of a 174-townhome development known as Andale Green.

It's the triangle parcel that is bordered by the Stony Creek and SEPTA tracks - located directly across from Stony Creek Park at 135 E. Hancock St. It is the former site of the Rogers Mechanical company and .

Developer Moulton Builders - the one that brought you the Turbo Lofts at Valley Forge Road and Derstine Avenue - received unanimous approval from Lansdale Borough Council last week of a conditional use application to allow unlotted development.

Moulton , but Moulton changed his mind.

The property is zoned C-Residential, but has been used for industrial purposes for years, according to applicant attorney Carl Weiner.

"We propose redeveloping this as a traditional neighborhood development with 174 townhomes, of which are in accordance with the ordinance," Weiner said.

Each townhome would be three stories.

Of the 174 homes, 143 would be accessed through rear alleys and garages "to promote a neighborhood feel," Weiner said.

Land planner John Kennedy said each townhome would be 20 feet wide, with varying depths of 34, 36 or 42 feet.

Kennedy said 133 homes would be "alley loaded." About 25 percent of the homes would have garages in the front.

"That's a very low percentage," he said. "This is a type of housing configuration that will blend in with other neighborhoods in the borough."

Kennedy said the biggest advantage of this development, aside from the blending in with the community, is the requirement for open space. He said the developer is exceeding the 18 percent required by law.

He said there is a central green area proposed with a gazebo and landscaping, as well as three pocket parks throughout the community.

There will be a trail that runs parallel with the SEPTA line and it is an extension of the trail at Stony Creek Park, Kennedy said.

"It is anticipated there will be a crosswalk across Hancock Street," Kennedy said. "The trail would continue through the community and go along the SEPTA line and continue north where it will terminate at the northern part of the property. In the future, it can all be connected to a regional trail system. We encourage that."

Kennedy said the trail would be buffered from the roadway and fenced off from the tracks.

"We tried to minimize the number of buildings that back up to the rails," he said.

Furthermore, a traffic study will be done to determine if a traffic signal is warranted at Hancock and Line streets.

"There is an updated traffic study. If you recall, this site was previously approved for another type of development. So a traffic study has been prepared to update from that previous development," Kennedy said. "Some additional information was requested, and we have provided that. Some things currently in the works is an analysis of the corner of Hancock and Line streets to see if we need to obtain a warrant for a traffic light."

Kennedy said the borough's consultants felt it was worth doing a study at the intersection.

A majority of the dwellings, Kennedy said, will measure 12 feet from the face of the building to the on-street parking.

"In cases where the front of a building faces another front of a building, there will be a landscaped courtyard," Kennedy said. "It will be a very unique, very attractive living environment for those homes."

There would be two access and exit points into the development, one by the Stony Creek tracks and another closer to the SEPTA tracks. The main entrance closest to the Stony Creek line would be three lanes in, Kennedy said.

All internal roads and alleys would be connected, he said.

No homes will face Hancock Street; all homes will have their sides fronting Hancock Street.

Each home would have 2-and-a-half parking spaces to it. Each home would have a one-car garage, with the option for two, and parking on a driveway. 

Parallel parking would be allowed on the sides of streets.

"That helps to slow down traffic," Kennedy said.

Stormwater would be handled by one large basin in the northern part of the site. Kennedy said the site is "extremely flat" and it was difficult to make stormwater work.

"Everything is draining to a single pipe - that's pretty much where stormwater gets to now," he said. "We will improve stormwater considerably. Stormwater will be collected through catch basins and directed to the back of the site."

The large basin would have a filtration system, he said.

About 260 trees will be planted throughout the site. Whatever trees cannot fit on frontages, Kennedy said they would be distributed elsewhere on the site.

"(This development) would bring in a lot new electric customers and a lot of new residents with disposable income to spend at area businesses," Kennedy said.

Councilman Paul Clemente asked if the traffic study update includes the fact that what was proposed before for the site in terms of age-restricted development was a lot less traffic than what is proposed now.

Kennedy said the old plan was for 288 units and this one is for 174 "market rate" units. He said the study takes into account the market rate units.

Clemente also questioned fire marshal concerns with the site.

Kennedy said they have met with the fire marshal and dealt with the bulk of concerns before land development plans are prepared. 

Clemente wanted to know how the borough will access its substation on the site.

"It is a discussion that has started and will have to be continued. . It would be far more simpler to have a basin majority on our property, but as you can see, there is a small part that goes onto borough land," Kennedy said. "There would be one easement that would be a stormwater easement and then another access easement for the electric substation."

Clemente warned Moulton Builders owner Jim Moulton to think twice before

"I think Mr. Moulton does a great job with his products, but it's been my experience that he's come back to us at the committee level and council level almost hat in hand for a conditional use that was granted and then wasn't met. Then, ," Clemente said. "I would like that situation to not happen again, for the record."

Do You Want to Know More?

Mari August 03, 2012 at 12:08 AM
This area could have benefited much more from this property had an age restricted housing development been built there. This area badly needs affordable over 55 housing.

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