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NOBLE TRAIN STATION AREA
Baeder Rd, The Fairway, Noble Plaza etc
 

 Please check all details  for accuracy . If there are discrepancies please let us know so we can correct anything that needs correcting.


See the Noble TOD/TRID  plans which were publicly presented 9-5-12 . ( A TOD is a Transportation Oriented District ) - with high enough density to qualify for state or federal funds) As of Friday 9-14-12 the Committeee meetings will be put online ( I hope this is, then, the 1st to be shown) so you can share a link with your neighbors and review them when it is convenient.  the week of  9-11-12  this issue should be playing on Verizon 24, Comcast 43 . The Noble issue is  3 hours into the meeting, so intead of  9am 2 pm and 7pm- check in at 12 noon, 5pm and 10pm  and set your DVR if you have one . 

WHAT IS BEING DEVELOPED   Behind Barnes and Noble and Chili's etc -  12,000 sq ft  of Retail & Offices, as well as 72  Residential Units, a Parking Garage with 516 spaces on 6 floors and Road that extends Baeder Rd past the train station and through to the Fairway.  The 72 units are on 1.5 acres . The street takes up .9 acres and the whole area with hardscape street and buildings and green is 5 acres. The "park " is on the south side of the tracks. The track platform will be raised and connected to the building in the (now parking lot) behind it.


  THE ISSUE Calling certain lands "underutilized"  the Township is rezoning and redefining certain areas with a plan of adding both more residential and commercial in a Township that has already been repeatedly labeled 98 % developed.   Residents have indicated that they DO want the failing commercial areas revitalized, but not at the expense of more density,  parking garages, more traffic, less greenspace, more aggravation.  That has not stopped the Township from using their funds to "study" (repeatedly), plan and rezone exactly as residents (voters) said they did not want. The Baederwood, Rydal Park, Rydal Waters and so many other examples are now joined by the Noble Train Station "over-development"  with Apartments, retail, offices bring hundreds and hundreds of vehicles to an already congested intersection at Baeder and York Rd .  and at York and Susquehanna and at the other end of the Fairway.


     TOD's and TRIDS  The area is being targeted by our township staff and Commissioners as a TRID (Transit Revitalization Investment District) .  Originally as TOD  (Transportation Oriented District ) there were certain " benefits" we were supposedly able to receive by increasing density and allowing for increased transportation opportunities.  A TRID  is a TOD on steroids.  A half-mile radius around the train station will be targeted for high density development and, while we have been told the new development is necessary to bring bonuses for our entire Township and keep our taxes down, a great deal of those bonuses are diverted back to the TRID district (ie: improving the properties of the very developers and owners who already benefited from our grant money to start with) .
 

  LINKS  no links of the renderings have yet been posted ( that we can find - please ask your Commissioner to get them posted as soon as possible - they make a very clear picture of what is in the works .

    Just a VISION    The  Noble area shows the original development plans  ( a "vision" - not a plan to actually develop it.  In fact once they zone for this beautiful vision, giving the property owners extensive rights that they currently do not have , they then have almost no way to require the owner or developer to adhere to their "vision" at all )

    WHERE OUR MONEY GOES In a nutshell the developers are managing to get our Township personnel and our grant $ to fund these "studies"  - their development plans.  ( A 3rd study is possibly on the heels of these).  They then get more of our grant $ as we take care of the streets and infrastructure improvements that they normally would have to make. Then they have a little clause that the benefits from the improved value  will be diverted back to the development.  It is entirely amazing.  
      For those of you who think of grant $ as "free" money, as I used to …. I will share that I have since come to be enlightened,  realizing that I am paying the grant $ for every project like this in every township across the entire nation.  These others  are also getting "free $"  ….. mine.   So, sooner or later we need to realize whose pockets the $ ends up in and why we have a 15 trillion $ deficit for our children to pay off,  and why neither our deficit nor our taxes are going down. Please do not misunderstand me… I am not against "proper" development and I would like to see it . But the incentives here are for over-development and then  re-sale of (or rights to)  land with far expanded zoning benefits than were bought. There is less incentive to build cautiously and prudently with my money than with their own.     

 WHO IS DOING THIS ?   Please add these 72 units and 12,000 sq ft of retail in this project to the  nearby 97 units still to come at Rydal Waters, the improvements at Rydal Park (50 some units) , the 246 units and up to 205,800 square feet of commercial at the Baederwood Center , and the fact that they are hoping  to  continue to rezone the whole Fairway area that way.  When I say " they" ---- it is your Commissioners in charge of this, ultimately. The staff is under their purview. You have elected the people whose approvals are needed and who are "legislating" this way and directing the managers and the staff in this manner. Has your voice  you been heard?  Perhaps you may be happy to have this, even if it is you that is paying for it. Perhaps not?  Do we have the facts and do we understand what our neighbors want?   Businesses do not vote. They are entitled to fair rights and fair services for their taxes, but residents are the ones who can vote the decision makers in or out amd who rightfully should determine what they want in their communities.  The show often feels like it's on the other foot.  

))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

EARLIER HAPPENINGS IN THIS ISSUE

  Jan 2012  Assistant Manager Lahaza openly presented the plans for the Noble station TOD (Transportation Oriented District)  and TRIDs  ( Transit Revitalization Investment District)- which I warned of earlier.  In essence these are HIGH DENSITY DEVELOPMENT.  (see more about these below )   TOD is the first level .  Mr Lahaza reports another 60,000 to be spent for the TRID study  - which requires even denser development than the TOD in order to receive these grant funds.  

  The flip sides of the "lovely development"  -  you need more customers!  The businesses  cannot survive without bringing in the customers from elsewhere. And please note: the businesses that do spring up here will take business from other establishments - ones already  in need of a shot in the arm , not competition. 
    
       Residents have not been allowed Township wide to have open meetings on these issues, despite many requests .  Who wins   - the developers who get your grant funds to do "studies" that draw up their plans and "test out the waters" with your Commissioners and get your Commissioners to get YOU to pay to put in all their infrastructure and then even to import their customers .  Who loses?  You and the businesses they will compete with.
 
       There is always a trade-off. If you want nice shops, you have to support them.  But if we're putting MORE & MORE and MORE in we aren't going to be helping the ones we already have, are we?  We have seen it again and again in Abington . 2 Supermarkets right next door .  A dozen  Pizza shops.  It becomes a win-win for a few and big loss for the many. 
 
     Township "meetings" that should allow all to benefit from the questions and knowledge of their fellow residents are being held instead with small groups of people.  In a township of 56,000 residents, all should have a say not just a select handful. People are told it is too costly to disseminate the information or post it all on line.  But for the savings of a hundred dollars of posting costs, individuals residents loose tens of thousands each as their houses now end up next to large business concerns.  It is not our land that is underutilized - it is our communication system.

  October 2012  I visited the Notable charrette and I asked what the sense was from the other residents that were looking at it ----- the answer I got was that maybe 20% were opposed maybe 20% love it and the rest want more information.

       They are planning on  potentially using permeable paving and having rain water gardens with the  possibility of Green roofs on the parking garage .  Yes there will be a parking garage.    There is the possibility of a hotel or conference facility,  offices and shops as well as apartments.  These would all bring in people  - lots of people - which would have access of the of the train that is right there.

First of all one should understand that what was seen in the drawings were possibilities of what could be built - not plans for the actual building at this point.  I have not yet seen these drawings  posted on the website  -  Please ask your Commissioner to get the actual plans posted .   In the drawings there was a garage with 500 spaces and 80 - 170 residential units on top and retail below on the ground level (12,000 sq ft???? ) .   

The train platform would be covered and would extend from the parking garage ( which would be built on what is generally vacant parking lot right now ) all the way over to the train station.  Baeder road in this drawing would continue straight across York road, and then wind behind the office buildings and go in front of Jules said in Lind this law and had out to the fairway where there would be a traffic signal as it entered the Fairway.  They were planning to keep some open space around the train - but it was just that I need greenspace between the busy York road and station which would not be  very usable except by people who wanted to sit next to a busy roadway.     Seven story buildings are being considered they are considering using the FTD overlay district in this area -- exactly what we got wind of when that unpopular district was proposed. 

  10-26 TO 10-29  Noble Station Charrette was held  A charette is  “ collaborative session” to draft a solution to a design problem .  You are invited to visit the Charrette Trailer at the Noble Train Station -- -  a multi-story parking garage may be in the works including the possible extension of  Baeder Road to connect directly to The Fairway.  Preliminary ideas and will be presented  & your input is requested .  LOL  So this is how they say “ we did it  with input from the citizens…"
Wednesday, October 26th 6:30 pm to 8:00 PM Abington Twp. Bldg. Board Rm. Opening Noble Presentation
The process will conclude  with a presentation on Saturday, October 29th 3-4:30 pm at the Township Administration Building  See times and details here : 

 

TOD'S/TRIDS MORE INFORMATION   ( Particularly for Noble Station area right now - but beware - they  have been mentioned in regard to other train stations in the township as well)
TOD's :  Transportation Oriented Developments 
TRIDS :   Transit Revitalization Investment District
In essence – if you “  rack ‘em, stack ‘em and tax em”   , they will give you lotsa grant money to do that .  No high density – no grant money .  Here are some info links http://www.csg.org/knowledgecenter/docs/sn0803SmartGrowth.pdf
An example of TOD’s  in Phila
http://interface-studio.com/projects/trid/
TRID Legislation 
TRID - PennPraxis Artivcle - March 17
TRID Presentation - DVRPC - 2005
TRID Presentation - PennDot - 7-20-2005

__________

   USE  THE TOOLS AVAILABLE TO YOU
Ask your Commissioners and your Township manager (click here) specifically to :

1) ...post a SINGLE webpage on this with links to find meetings, updates & all the plans
2) ...tape  all meetings on this topic & air them on our public channel -
the devil is really in the details
           -then  you can review or catch up on a meeting you missed . This is actually important .
3) ... post all the taped meetings on-line with time reference points and fast forward features
4) .. create an email list for all updates and - invite ALL residents via Township & Commissioners
            lists to be on it so they can receive updates in their box if they desire
5) ...provide a meeting space ( already paid by your taxes ) for neighbors to hold their own open
            discussions whenever they choose - not called by or moderated by authorities.
6) ... provide residents  a summary of  all changes  being proposed in  2 column/compare style
7)  Finally: neighbors, please make your own meetings open to all  - if you try to limit
             transparency hoping to benefit only your point of view, then you will find it limited
                for yourself  --- you will be part of the problem not the solution


Email me if you need help contacting others.   I also have a great deal of information about how our processes work and what is happening elsewhere in the Township that might be helpful to your situation.

      __________

  Our codebook is in 2 parts
Part 1  
 Township's Codebook    except for  zoning
Part 2 Zoning Portion of Township Codebook

or go to http://www.abington.org/info/newcodebook.htm

   More Tools for residents

 

   We welcome your comments  to share either anonymously or with your name attached with your  fellow Abington residents.   Send  any updated information, comments or questions  to: lel@abingtoncitizens.com 

 

BROKEN LINKS ALERT  

Abington Township recently completely revamped their website at the end of 2015 . All links directed to the old site were broken. We will be reinstating links as we find them and if the data is still available.  
Please  let us know if you find a broken link . Send us the name of the link and the page it is on , and if we can reinstate it, we will.

 


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