LIMERICK — If it's a Limerick supervisors meeting, then there's a good chance land development is on the agenda.
That was certainly the case Tuesday night when three projects that would add 168 townhomes to Limerick's housing stock were before the board of supervisors.
And while those projects are under consideration, a group of property owners along the western portion of Ridge Pike was on hand to ask for support in extending the sewer system to the Lower Pottsgrove township line, which would enable further development along that portion of the road.
Neiffer and Ridge
The first up was the smaller of the two, by a company called Neiffer Road Development, LLC. As the name suggests, the project calls for a mixed-use development on two parcels totaling eight acres at the corner of Neiffer Road and Ridge Pike.
The parcel along Ridge Pike would be home to a small commercial and retail project with frontage along Ridge Pike, and 34 townhomes on three acres in the read, along Neiffer Road.
William Kerr, an attorney representing the developers, said the project is planned to occur in two phases, with the housing being built first.
Supervisors indicated they intend to impose a condition on the project that the commercial portion be built and not converted to residential at a later date.
The condition can be imposed due to the fact that the hearing at which the plan was presented is called a "conditional use hearing," which gives the supervisors more say in the use the property is put to.
The supervisors also expressed concern about traffic at the intersection.
Daniel McKenna, an engineer for the project, said the traffic impact study he undertook indicated a "slight increase" in wait times at the intersection as a result of the project, also noting that the study projects traffic would increase at that intersection whether the development is built or not.
To deal with those delays, the developers have agreed to either install a right turn lane on southbound Neiffer Road, for those making a right turn onto Ridge Pike, which is the traffic movement most often made there. Alternatively, a traffic signal could also be installed there, Kerry said.
Neiffer Road resident Travis Kryder, who owns the 30-acre preserved farm on Neiffer Road adjacent to the parcel expressed concern about the number of homes being built there.
"We are overcrowding the township with residential housing," he said, noting that 34 townhomes on three acres is putting homes on a parcel "smaller than my front lawn."
He also predicted complaints from those residents about farm smells and the noise from the farm equipment he runs there. The parcel should be all commercial development, he said.
There was no vote on the matter, with the supervisors following the advice of Township Solicitor Mike McGrory that they delay at least a month to allow him to draft a list of conditions the supervisor will impose along with their approval.
Turtle Creek Project
The second project brought before the board is in the preliminary stages and calls for the sub-dividing 15 acres of unused property off South Limerick Road from the 206-acre Turtle Creek Golf Course.
Zoned in the R-5 "Village" designation, the developers, WB Homes, indicated that they could build as many as 106 townhomes under the zoning provisions.
Instead, the plan, called Ironwood, calls for 95 three-story townhomes with three bedrooms that would be sold in the $300,000 to $400,000 price range.
Several waivers are being sought including reducing the required width of the road and location of street trees, without any reduction in the number of trees planted.
The third project to come before the supervisors Tuesday calls for the construction of 39 townhomes off Linfield Road, adjacent to the Aronomink development.
This project, proposed by Rouse Chamberlin builders, would combine 10 acres located at 511 Linfield Road and another three acres at 523 Linfield Road.
Roads in the project would connect to the Aronomink sub-division, giving those residents a second entrance and exit from their neighborhood.
The townhouses in this project would be two- and three-story homes similar to the Ridgewood housing development the company built just over the border in Upper Providence Township, the developers said.
This project is also just down Linfield Road from the 112-unit senior housing project on 8.6 acres at the corner of Linfield and South Lewis roads. In May, the supervisors voted 4-1 to grant a conditional use permit for that project, which is now before the planning commission for land development.
While most of the development projects presented to the supervisors Tuesday night have access to public sewers, there are those along the western portion of Ridge Pike who do not, and they think it's about time they did.
Several speakers said they have been working with failing septic systems for decades, many with holding tanks that have to be pumped out regularly at great expense.
Paul Sawchuk, owner of Sawchuk's garage, told the supervisors that "it seems like this part of town has been forgotten about. I've had holding tanks for about 30 years now," he said.
"We really need your help folks," said Dan Berman, who owns an office building along Ridge Pike. Noting that he has to pump out holding tanks "about once a month," he said, "we're really in desperate need."
"I can't understand, on the town's main strip, why we can't get sewer," said Leo Dallas, whose business Reed-Dallas Insurance, is up against the township line with Lower Pottsgrove.
However, the township supervisors are no longer in a position to take immediate action, given that they sold the sewer system to Aqua PA in 2018 for $75 million.
Luckily, a representative from Aqua PA was in the audience Tuesday and said the company is looking into doing exactly what the property owners have requested.
One obstacle is how much the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission will allow the company to pay, the remainder of the cost must be borne by the properties getting the benefit, he said.
However, given the increasing number of property owners who are indicating their interest in getting access to public sewers, the numbers may shake out to make it affordable for all, he said.
State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-146th Dist., was in the audience Tuesday night and said his office has been in touch with Aqua to find out what they need from the state to make the extension happen, and how he can help facilitate the effort.
"Sewers would open a whole new floodgate of development" in that part of Limerick, said Supervisors Vice Chairman Michael McCloskey.