Construction of 106 townhomes proposed for Douglass (Berks)

The applicant’s expert witness John H. Kennedy of Kennedy and Associates presented internal and external sketch plans of the proposed townhomes.

Dozens of residents appeared at the Douglass-Berks Township conditional-use hearing on Thursday, Aug, 29, to discuss the proposal of 106 townhomes to be built near the quarry.

These townhomes, referred to as Rosewood, would border Constitution Ave. and Quarry Road.

The total project would utilize 27.66 acres in the township. The units would be located on 17.7 acres in a rural-residential zone. South of Quarry Road, in a general-industrial zone, 9.9 acres of open area would be used for recreational purposes.

The project contemplates the density of 4 to 6 units an acre, according to the applicant’s expert witness John H. Kennedy of Kennedy and Associates. The construction would start with 4 units an acre; the maximum would be 6 units an acre. Placing 6 units on each acre of 17.7 acres of land would equal 106 units.

Kennedy, a professional land planner, presented internal and external sketch plans of the proposed project which depicts three story buildings containing two units each with garages located in the back. These homes would be sold, not rented, according to Kennedy.

The unique aspect of project—it transforms two different districts,” said Kennedy. “Residential uses are currently on the sides of the area; they should blend—they’re designed to blend.”

The applicant has made a request for a conditional use permit for a multi-family residential community under zoning ordinance.

The zoning hearing follows a recommendation made by the Planning Committee to allow for conditional use.

Attorney Lee D. Mescolotto, representing West Pottsgrove, questioned whether a traffic study has been conducted for Constitution Ave. He also raised concerns regarding storm water.

According to Kennedy, there would be number of access points to Constitution Rd. and alternate ways to travel.

“There would have to be improvements; we’re willing to look into it and do traffic study,” said Kennedy, continuing to state that he could not answer traffic related questions or questions relating to sound-ness of structure. “A traffic study will identify exiting situation and what the volume would be like after development, where traffic is going and access points. Recommendations will be made to mitigate; the situation will be studied and evaluated.”

In regards to stormwater, Kennedy stated that there are areas marked for management and that the project would be compliant with regulations—state and local.

Kennedy stated that the project has been compared to the Berks County comprehensive plan, rather than the township’s plan dated 1988.

“We will comply with landscape regulations of the comprehensive plan,” said Kennedy, referring to the county’s plan rather than the township’s. “It’s not good practice to compare to a document that old when there is more current documents available …The most recent comprehensive plan takes precedence.”

The public was able to ask questions to Kennedy strictly in regards to his testimony.

There was concern expressed over whether the houses would actually sell, considering their proximity to the quarry, and the fear of slumlords.

Kennedy stated that he thought the project is appropriate for the area and that the homes would sell.

Shirley A. Birmingham, of West Pottsgrove, questioned the whether the 35 foot high units would affect the nearby airport. She also pointed out that houses were previously located on Quarry Road and have since been torn down.

In regards to the airport, Kennedy stated that the project would not interfere with the airport overlay zone.

The hearing was stopped at 9 p.m. and is be continued on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 6:30 p.m. in the Douglass Township municipal building. At the Sept. 25 hearing residents will have their chance to testify to the zoning board.