Whitemarsh Planning Update

(The following was published by Whitemarsh Township in the October 10, 2019 edition of The Whitemarsh Weekly):

The following is a note from Township Planning Commission Chairman, Vince Manuele, Esq.

The Planning Commission has invested considerable effort over the past several months evaluating the Selective Comprehensive Plan Update, collecting public input, and developing revisions to help shape the future vision for land use in the Township. 

Among other things, this vision is intended to recognize existing traffic burdens and environmental / historic priorities, to further protect open space, and to improve the quality of life for all Whitemarsh residents.

Once the vision is set, the Plan will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive revision to the Township’s zoning code and to related ordinances, such as the Shade Tree ordinance, that will impact our ability to implement the Plan’s vision. 

The Planning Commission hopes to complete our review and pass the Plan on to the Board of Supervisors for their action before the end of 2019, allowing us to begin the hard work of implementing its many action items as quickly as possible come January 2020. 

When we have finalized our review, the Planning Commission will be considering limited, stop-gap revisions to the zoning code to address immediate concerns while the comprehensive zoning revision is underway.

In addition to our actions on this critical endeavor, the Planning Commission continues to review applications for developments across the Township, including those for proposed “conditional uses” and those that have moved forward to the land development process. 
Our goal in all of these reviews is to ensure that our recommendations to the Board of Supervisors are based on a full and fair application of the relevant Township codes and ordinances. 

The Planning Commission has consistently highlighted compliance with codes, ordinances and the Comprehensive Plan in its deliberations, and since early 2018 has recommended the following applications for rejection in whole or in part due to perceived compliance issues:  1.  601 Washington Street (270 apartments)  2.  Transit Oriented District at Bethlehem Pike and the Lafayette Ave Connector (200+ apartments)  3.  901 Washington Street (75 townhomes)  4.  Militia Hill Road and Stenton Avenue (61 townhomes)  5.  Longfield Farms at Butler and Skippack Pikes (58 townhomes)  6.  14 East Germantown Pike (21 townhomes)  7.  Lincoln Fire House at 252 Roberts Avenue (5 townhomes).

As we move forward, I wish to personally invite all residents to attend our public meetings at the Township Building on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, and to participate in our discussions of the issues. 
The thoughtful participation of those residents who provide meaningful and substantive input helps us to do our jobs well, and the Township is the ultimate beneficiary.

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