.



SIGNUP FOR
the NEWSLOOP




HOME

CONTACT US

FIND YOUR
COMMISSIONER



HOT ISSUES

WILLOW GROVE MALL

MASSAGE PARLORS

ECON DEVELOPMT CORP

WATER QUALITY

COLONADE

SOLICITORS AT DOORS

MARCELLUS SHALE/FRACKING

PESTICIDE SPRAYING

WAWA NEAR BAEDER

RED LIGHT CAMERAS

VOTING - ELECTIONS

ST.MICHAEL'S

POLICE MATTTERS
MANOR WOODS
GALMAN Near LENOX RD
FLOODING
BILLBOARDS
COMMERCIALS ON TV
NOBLE TRAIN AREA
BAEDERWOOD SHOP CNTR
FAIRWAY TRANSIT DISTRICT
ZONING REWRITES
YOUR HOUSE RE-ZONED?
ZONING VARIANCES
SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT
WHERE TO FIND LAWS AND REGS
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE
MCDONALDS- DUNKIN DONUTS
A PLACE TO MEET
TAX COLLECTION COSTS
YORK RD CORRIDOR PROJECT
ILLEGAL ALIENS
E-VERIFY PROGRAM




and more...
LOST AND FOUND
THE BUDGET PROCESS
THE TAX PROCESS
TAX ABATEMENTS
ZONING &
DEVELOPMENT
HUNTER SOCCER CLUBHOUSE
RYDAL WATERS
EMINENT DOMAIN IN ROSLYN
TV ACCESS CHANNELS
CORRIDOR REVITALIZATION
WILLIARD COMPLEX IN GLENSIDE
OPEN SPACE
ARDSLEY WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
DEER HUNTS IN TOWNSHIP
CELL PHONE TOWERS
CONTRACTORS
TRASH - PAY TO THROW
LITTER
SCHOOL ISSUES
JOBS FOR OUR KIDS
ANONYMOUS REPORTING
TOOLS FOR RESIDENTS LIKE
WHERE TOFIND LAWS AND REGS


and more..

COMMUNITY GROUPS
ACTIVITIES -EVENTS
TOWNSHIP GOVERNMENT
FIND YOUR COMMISSIONER


and more...
CONTACT US
SITE MAP
INCLUDE YOUR ISSUE
ABOUT THISNETWORK
POLICIES
PRIVACY
DISCLAIMER
REPORT ABUSES
CORRECT AN ERROR




Regarding Postings:
All views
Pro and Con
including
multiple views
on either side
will be given
equal access
on this site
 

The Abington Citizens Network
where Abington, PA residents can share ideas and join forces to build a better community

Baederwood Shopping Center
and  The Fairway Transit District   Ordinances 2000 & 2006
 + 244 Apartments on 8 acres behind the shops
which are sometimes called Redstone, sometimes called the BrandoliniProject 

       The Township DID  post a page like this ....but it has only SOME PARTS  of what is needed . The meeting mnutes and videos ( often the most important parts)  are NOT  posted .

You would have to hunt all over and would be unlikely to be successful finding all the important parts - that seems to be the plan of Manager Manfredi who ignores every request to make information accessible. This project went on for 15 years and it was OFTEN important to review a ruling from the past as it proceeded.  Manager Richard Manfredi , at Abington since 2017,  has bshown us how important it is to get rid of a manager who is unresponsive to requests- even allowing  his employees to fail to respond properly, legally, to Right To Know requests.
       Please check all details shared here  for accuracy with the Township or your own Commissioner.  This information below was collected without cooperation from Manager Manfredi  so it is a difficult job to be sure you have the right info. If there are errors you find,
please let us know so we can correct them.  And lets work together to get the  website  useful. 
_______________________________________________________


Next ? Stay tuned.....

This may no longer be the vision. It was once envisioned in red stone and called the Redstone- then was white - and we don't know what the vision is now...
This was circa Jan 2020
RedtoneGoesWhite


  AT THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS MEETING  2-11-21  the 244 Apartments were approved, despite not meeting code. 

   
 Only Commissioner Zappone did not approve this debacle.  Thank you Commissioner.  The others should be hanging their heads and praying there is no fire in this building.  The applicant Baederwood Residential Partners (represented at meetings by Fred Snow from Brandolini), first created  a building where one huge long section could not be reached by fire vehicles. How that ever passed I do not know . Then, on top  of that, did NOT adhere to the SALDO ( Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance)  that required 2 separate entrances.  And while they added a few extra fire fighting measures such as more gals per minute of water and extra ventilation and smoke removal fans.   Despite the fact the building effectively IS a hi-rise ( hi rises are any building over 75 feet  --- this building IS 75 feet.  As such, and given both the lack of the second driveway and the fact that the longest side is absurdly inaccessible, one would think putting ALL the hi-rise requirements in would be a good idea.  That was not done. At 75 ft and one inch it would have needed substantially more. So you tell me if reasonable decisions were made here.  

Here is the wording of the SALDO provision that would prohibit the design of this building and make it very questionable  that your Fire Marshal, and apparently some or all of the Chief's would allow it to go forward ----
   (d) All buildings of three or more stories must be provided with two means of access, each not less than 25 feet wide, from the roadway or fire walkway to the building, which shall provide access for fire-fighting equipment to the entire building.

      
Soft gloves for the bullies at every step of this project is what left us with a building that has such flaws in the design in the first place. The applicant was required to  continue seeking  a 2nd ingress/egress for emergency vehicles ( so it was  obviously necessary...you know... for proper safety ).   If the passageway along the front  had a vehicle break down, or multiple vehicles colliding in their haste to escape a fire, that passageway could become blocked and it is frightening to think of the consequences in a building that at every step, from design to this point,  could have been required to put lives and safety first, before profit. 

       But I will tell you another very distasteful  thing - and that is  the comment that was made,  by Marc Kaplin on 2-3-21 a the Land Use Committee  about that matter.  Here is the transcript about 58 minutes in on the video  found here :  https://abingtonpa.viebit.com/player.php?hash=h32AnhHbQYIh


     57 minutes in -  Michael Clarke ( our Solicitor ): (gets Kaplin to say he  will comply with various review letters ..... and  continues ... )  "during the Conditional Use Hearing there was a discussion regarding  if the Township acquired a  secondary access  easement, that   your client  would be responsible for the  costs associated with that  secondary access and that it is still a continuing obligation for your client  and you understand that ... correct? (Kaplin says  absolutely, yes) And the conditions of improvements to the Fairway, you would agree to those  conditions being made prior to any Land Development approval next week when the Board votes?  (Kaplin: again yes)   And finally if the Board were to grant  the waiver on the secondary access  but make it subject to your client continuing to negotiate with the adjoining property owner in an attempt to secure that secondary access, you would agree to that?   Kaplin : Yeah  that building ... it's been under agreement , not under agreement, there's 4 Buyers now, um ,  ..... sooner or later somebody's going to buy that property and they are going to need our cooperation and they are going to need your cooperation, and at that time we'll be able to, I believe, we'll be able to get that connection........... it has absolutely no effect on the developability of their property

       Do you find that as reprehensible as I do?  That the cooperation of the Township might  be withheld to a future property owner so that Mr Kaplin and his client could get what they wanted...  that he would in this manner get what no one else wanted to grant them.  Or conversely,  the new property owner might be granted  far more than he should be granted according to his rights, to "thank him" for his cooperation. 

    The approval of this project never should have gone forward . At every stage bizarre accommodations were made in this more than questionable  alliance. In every way the Township has foregone the wishes of  and the safety of
Township residents to continue this partnership that has taken so much from Abington.  And one can only pray the Township will not be holding YOUR  property and rights hostage to accommedate another.  Or that this building does NOT have a serious fire event where many vehicles are needed on multiple sides. 

   Only Commissioner Zappone seemed to be able to find a voice. Thank you for that.


Baederwood-244Apts

   The Nutshell :

         244 Rental Units .....created on 8 steeply sloped acres behind the Shopping Center. Those 8 acres should have would have could have had only 8 individual single family homes, had the zoning been respected ( or stormwaer run-off, or traffic or any other aspect that leads to quality of life for Abington residents ). But sigh...here we are after 10 -15 years of wrangling.   Those many years also yielded the  ( not in our interest) Fairway Transit District, which  will lead to much more dense development on Fairway properties. 

    Owner Baederwood Residential Properties, LP  intends  to build  but is  not held to or limited to,  about 50% one bedroom and 50%  2 bedroom units with less than 5% to be 3 bedroom. They will rent for  1300-1400 to 2000 -2200 ...or whatever the highest  figure is that they can get. 

  They will be rental units because Kaplin ( who is pushing a 365 unit apartment condo building at the Willow Grove Mall), said there really  isn't a great  apartment condominium  market...... 

The question was raised about the impact on our schools, but by the time you get to land development, that train had already left the station. They expect, speaking of stations, to attract a lot of transit oriened  residents, DINKs (double income no kids ) and seniors . Of course, they have no real control over that - but they like to say that to reassure those concerned about the schools filling up. Ultimately, there are no limits in  regard to who will be renting there -  as was hinted at...whoever pays the most. 

  There will be two signals put on the Fairway: one in front of Whole Foods (which will have a sidewalk to the store now ). That one that will also go back to the Apartment Building? (steep slope notwithstanding?  I can't get the full scoop on this  to be sure.)  The second signal will be the farthest left into the Shopping Center, by the Postal store,. That  will be the main road back to the Apartments, and also will access the Shopping Center parking lot.   The other two entrances will be right in only and right out only - so you'll have to go to the signal to go left .

      This property has had one form of funny business after another for over 15 years. Currently some very special conditions are being put in place to "work around" the fact that they were not able to get a second access for emergency vehicles .   Fire measures have been a longstanding issue in Abington,  if you remember the Colonade and other similar apartment complexes with serious lapses, and we elevated to Fire Marshal  the  Assistant Fire Marshal from those times, who was in large part responsible for serious  failures not being addressed  at those hi-rises. So....here  we go again. They put in some extra measures and are  relying then on the Fire Marshal to say all is OK that we do not comply with the SALDO ( Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance)  Mr Kaplin thought he just had to get  Fire Marshal Rohrer's OK - But IS the Fire Marshal allowed to skip provisions of the SALDO  if he feels like it?   So, after all the hoopla, Mr Kaplin had to agree  that he would continue to seek a second access.... but is that in writing - or just on the audio tape?????  Was he crossing his fingers behind his back when he said it. 

       Attorney Marc Kaplin has represented (some? many? most? all? ) of  the many ownership entities that have claimed a piece of the Baederwood Shopping Center & back acres these last  10- 15 years .
What a dog and pony show . Most of the owners seemed to be some form of "Brandolini" - with a different name . Baederwood Residential Partners, Baederwood Limited Partners .....  along those lines.  Fred Snow, President of Brandolini who started this out, is still "on the case".  It seems notable to me that the "new Whole Foods owner is not a co- applicant.  Mr Kaplin explained that the owner WAS signed on to the application years ago - but there is a new owner now he said - did the new owner not have to sign on as well - or  did he "buy into" that involvement? 

        I do not understand how they were allowed to design a building  with no access along one whole side for fire trucks and emergency vehicles & which has then asked for waivers to important fire safety measures from our  Township Ordinance . It seems that they were never told to go back to the drawing board to take some of the apartments off the end of the "horseshoe" and move the whole building  forward to create a fire lane in the back.   On  2-11-21 it is expected to be approved. But they are not officially "waiving" the measure that can't be complied with. So they are creating a problem.  No waivers from the dual access appear on the aplication - and ndual access is in the plans being approved.   Business as usual in Abington. People's health & safety  on the scales. And they are tipping in the wrong direction  
   
        The new Whole Foods owner has apparently allowed them access through  their parking lot, which the previous owner would not. But that access doesn't apparently meet the specs .  They are being required to continue looking for a second access for emergency vehicles - even though all systems looked like they apparently will be approved.on 2-11-21. Oh my.

 
      Over at the Willow Grove Mall, Marc Kaplin is also causing fire concerns. He is hoping to get the  Non Combustible Construction ordinance thrown out on behalf of Mall owner PREIT (Pennsylvania Real Estate investment Trust. ) ....  We want measures that make us safer - not ones that trade off dollars into the pockets of wealthy Mall owners while making us less safe.

          At Baederwood, Kaplin  is asking to make up for fire short comings by beefing up some other things that says he isn't required to do in this 4 story building because it is not a hi-rise.  So let's look at that a bit closer. This building is  75 ft.  high. I believe the definition per code of a hi rise is  any building OVER 75 ft .     So when he puts in a feature that he says isn't needed, it's a bit facetious, don't you think .  One inch more and it would BE a hi rise and all that WOULD be needed.  So..... increased gals per minute at the hydrants, an extra hydrant,  the Emergency Communication system and Command Center  ,  the increased ventilation in the garage or the smoke removal fans....... Which of these is just plain required in a 76 ft building? Fire Marshal John Rohrer said they did NOT put all of the Hi Rise  required upgrades in to compensate for 2 very major lapses.  Maybe they should have . 

As I have said multiple times, I am still concerned as to who passed the design in the first place with no fire access along one whole side? 

       In addition, the 244 units will be rental units and ......14 minutes into the Land Development meeting on 2-3-21 Kaplin said that they are rentals because there is not a great  market for apartment-condo's .....  That's odd - because  apartment - condos is exactly what he is pushing for over at the Willow Grove Mall - and lots of them.  Do you think he's telling everybody the same thing over there?  Go figure .

 The documents, including the new plot plan that is to be approved 2-11-21 is here and starts around  page  38
- https://d3n9y02raazwpg.cloudfront.net/abingtonpa/2249dd84-3e1c-11eb-bc32-0050569183fa-ca2b9c28-b9cf-4f17-b573-dd2752d4679e-1612485639.pdf
 

   An Overview  ... a few more details
 
The Baederwood Shopping Center
consisted of 3 parcels.  2 parcels made up 10.56 acres along the Fairway and a third  8.32 acre parcel was in the rear, undeveloped and on a steep slope
 circa 2005 when Brandolini bought all 3.
          
    Brandolini presented a plan in 2006 to redevelop the lower lot with 500 apartments, expanded office/ retail space and an underground garage.  After meeting great resistance from the residents, and submitting repeated  variations of the plan, Brandolini decided instead to challenge the validity of the ordinance on the rear 8 acres, saying that they had become the victims of reverse spot zoning - all the parcels around the 8 acres  had been allowed to deveop with greater rights. They filed in  court.  This prompted our Commissioners,  supposedly, to propose to rezone the entire Fairway. ( Ah me. Did it also seem to YOU that they were all really on the same side all along ... against us? ) 

    So in 2011 the Fairway Transit District was created and approved.  Steve Kline , with sidekick Ernie Peacock, using Land Planner Kennedy  did rezone the entire Fairway - and in the process allowed them the  outrageous # of  244 units on that back 8 acres with a flawed design that came into being somewhere without proper fire access.  The Fairway Transit District  itself over years  will provide a great deal of density, as transit districts are designed to do .  They gave Brandolini a great deal of what they were seeking. On the rear 8 acres  the right to build  the 244 units came with  conditions that he had to make  certain improvements to the 10 acre area before beginning to develop the rear acreage. 

    But in 2013 Brandolini changed the ownership entities on the parcels, and despite  having provided for some  easements between the parcels, he claimed in 2016  that he should have the right to build on the rear 8 acres without making the required changes on the front lots along the Fairway.  He  no longer had the ability to control the development of the 10 acres in front in order to meet the conditions that he had agreed to  because ...he sold part of the  shopping center....... alternately saying in part he had already met the conditions  and, alternately still yet, saying the conditions being requested were not what was agreed to.   ( Take your pick . However you slice it I'm not complying. )

    In September 2016 he filed a formal appeal of the Determination made by Zoning Officer Mark Penecale who had decided  which conditions were required to be met .  His appeal was denied in May 2017, but he appealed that decision in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, and then also subsequently filed an Amended Variance Request.  (If you muddle it all up real good - pretty soon no one knows what you're doing and you can get away with anything. This dog and pony show was exhibit A in that art form. The lawyers all make out very well. The residents not so much.  )

    In February 2018, the Zoning Hearing Board granted  the 2nd Variance request - (  the Township said they might may appeal that - but apparently didn't) .

      OK fast forward to November  2018. After many legal filings and appeals ......Brandolini has  now been fully given the green light to develop the back 8 acres into 244 apartment units .  11-19-18 was part 1 of their hearing .  Dec 11th they are off to the Planning Commission and then 2 days later to finish the hearing at the Board of Commissioners meeting Dec 13th . If there were glitches, it would get  pushed into January  2019 .
   So yes, of course there were glitches. Lots of Fire Access issues for one.  How did that get missed until now? 

   And again ,even more importantly, how did a design get approved that gave them a full 244 apartments and no proper fire truck access ?  If they removed  just a few apartmennts they could have provided a lane for the Fire Trucks on all sides  Who is minding the farm here?  Why are we allowing our officials to do these things?   We have a Fire marshal who was part of the crew that turned their heads  to what was happening at the Colonade .....that could be a factor .  And in Feb 2018 our new Engineer from Boucher and James Engineers  played a prominent role in Abington and a role in this project, ( by Dec 2020, several of the leaders of that firm were  arrested, not just for raketeering and overcharging for work they did not do - but also for work that had problems .....   and our then  Engineer, who hailed from that company, too,  "resigned" . )    But really, how did 15 Commissioners approve such a design ?  Everyone could see it.

Here is one of the prior plot plans here - Not sure what year this is 2018 ish perhaps   https://www.abingtonpa.gov/home/showdocument?id=14630

As of  2019 The Shopping Center was sold for $43.3 million. Remember Steve Kline had told us that the zoning would be better if we did it ourselves -  and we would avoid the lawsuit that Mr Kaplin was threatening on behalf of Brandolini.  Neither of those things came true.  Brandolini refused to adhere to the regulations that were created for them . And Brandolini sued anyhow  - so we didn't avoid the lawsuits either.  There were lawsuits and filings  aplenty. Enough to keep all the lawyers happy .  The residents? Not so much.

 But by  January  2020  the rear 8 acre  244 unit apartment building, having still failed to acquire access to a second emergency vehicle acess went  before the Planning Commission anyway. The recommended approving many  waivers or variances. Originally  called Redstone - the red brick was  traded out for white stone in more  recent versions ....  We don't know what they are calling it now.

      In late 2020 and early 2021 they "reappeared" the whole project.  They had been trying to get the  second emergency vehicle access  to open into the  Stein Mart's / Pet Smart lot.  When that proved unsuccessful, they wanted the Township to take the the property  they needed by eminent domain. The Township would not do that . The Whole Foods originally wouldn't  give them access through their parking lot either . Then Whole Foods got a new owner .  The new owner allowed them to put a driveway straight through the Whole Foods Parking lot and to go all the way  up and back  to the 244 units  ( how steep is that..?)To compensate for fire shortcomings they have added  certain "extra fire things"  that they theoretically said they wouldn't need to add . 
 But since the 75 ft tall building is almost a hi-rise  these are not exactly "over the top" additions. The  Board of Commissioners on 2-11-21 will consider allowing the project to move forward . 

 

MISC :   PRIOR ACTIONS

 

 Timeline : Part One of the Baederwood  Creating the Firway Transit  District  for dense development around the train.

          Circa 2005, a company named Brandolini bought the 18 acres that was known as the Baederwood Shopping Center . It was divided into three parcels.  2 of the parcels making  10.56  acres along the Fairway have  stores and offices and were zoned PB. The rear 8.32 acres  was sloped and wooded land-- the only real  green space left in this tri-parcel bundle.  It  was zoned R1 for 8 homes - although the steep slope might have dictated fewer.   Of the 10.56 acres - 2.63 was the Whole Foods parcel and 7.3 was the strip mall with the cinema and offices.
    
           Brandolini first came in with a plan for 500 apartment units and greatly expanded  office and retail .  In early meetings they presented the most absurd traffic studies,  suggesting little or no impact and they  made absurd comments about the number of children certain apartments might draw - giving us no reason to respect any of their findings ( or to want "corporate citizens" like that in our township.)  They often showed little or no respect for residents directly, and seem to be uninterested in residents wishes in any fashion. Overt rudeness has been exhibited by their lawyer in these proceedings.  
    
         When their plan was rebuffed again and again by large crowds of residents  they changed their tune and decided to claim that they lacked access to the 8 acres that was landlocked in the middle (hello they own the access property.... this surely makes no sense) and they said that properties all around them were allowed to build commercial so they should be, too.  ( But they weren't all - Rydal Waters is residential)  They said they had been the victims of "reverse spot zoning "  They wanted us to rezone the 8 acres to  PB - on which you could build significantly more than you could on the current R1 zoning.   They were going to challenge the validity of our ordinance.
    
        Abington Township Commissioners, despite  listening to residents again and again say  that they did not want the over-development that Brandolini offered, hired experts to review and write a new ordinance, a curative amendment, purportedly to put something in that would be more desirable, and something that would avert a lawsuit. Residents were not openly invited to participate in these meetings crafting the new ordinance, nor were they kept abreast in a manner that was easy for them to understand what was being suggested.

        What the Commissioners, with their "experts" crafted was not just for  the Baederwood Shopping Center, but  a Fairway Transit District  for the whole Fairway - and was rife with objectionable "gifts" to the developer. Gifts that many of us feel are unwarranted and not in our interest. Building on the green space, far too many units, no accommodation for traffic or water that is adequate, no plan for the Rydal bridge.  Residents remain uninformed of all of the details of Transit Oriented Districts (TOD's) which the adjacent Noble area has been slated to become. Density is a prime feature of that. The most egregious part of this is that they had the ability to inform us so residents could understand - but despite all our requests,  and the use of our monies for all of these shenanigans, adequate communication was refused. 

        The FTD  Ordinance passed  Jan 6, 2011 and the District was created that enabled the 244 units on the rear acreage  - much to the disappointment of the residents that had been though so much. By 2013 the developer "adjusted" the ownership on all the parcels and by 2016 he filed suit to be able to build on the rear parcels without fullfilling the obligations he had agreed to on  the front parcels.  Their first  request to be excused from these obligations was denied --- they appealed that in Common Pleas court. They aldso filed another request - an amended request - for a variance. That was granted 2-18 by the Zoning Hearing Board - but the Township may appeal that .

    If you need any of the details of the proceedings in between all these things  - just ask
.

Timeline : Part Two of the Baederwood 
       After the rezoning


Jan 6t
h, 2011 

1-6-11 The Fairway Transit District was approved, paving the way for the redevelopment of the Baederwood Shopping Center under this Ordinance, and allowing for 244 units to be built on the rear 8.32 acres  ( where 8 previously would have been allowed ) They said that then we would have control over the whole project and would fix the non-conformities on the Lower 2 parcels . But it didn't end up working that way at all.

A sad day for Abington, in the opinion of some of us. The Ordinance was passed by the Board of Commissioners at the Public Hearing tonight where many, many residents showed up & many spoke - all against it.
   Only 2 Commissioners ,  Zappone and Carlin, (thank you, gentlemen) seem to hear those that testified tonight (and over the last four years) . We gave them something very close to - perhaps in many ways better than - they would have won in court  - had they even prevailed .    If Brandolini won the  PB ( Planned Business)  designation  for the rear 8 acres  they would still have 60 foot setbacks - (instead of the  20-25 Kline & Peacock offered in this ordinance) .  If they won the PB, they would have 50 foot building heights -( instead of the 75 feet they were given in this ordinance)

      Brandolini would have been limited in the amount of developing they could do by the height and the amount of parking if they won the PB - while  Kline & Peacock tried to portray that these would not create any significant limitation. Land Planner Kennedy could have given  directly comparable figures based on the most dense configuration that he could have contrived using either commercial or residential or both --  but he did not.  The public, on this matter , was missing information  necessary for comparison. And when we tried to correct a definitive misstatement from the dais,  we were denied the opportunity to speak . (Business as usual)
        
        Residents said again and again in the past they did not like or want parking garages -  Kline and Peacock gave INCENTIVES for them to build parking garages.  Residents did want a movie theater - Kline and Peacock gave NO incentives for that .    Residents were told by Kline that there was 30% green space. But there is not .  There is only a guarantee of 20% pervious surface --- pervious surface does not have to be green (* gravel & some hardscapes are pervious  )  Residents by and large want their properties set back from the curb,  closer to the curb  are being given to build up close to the street.  75 foot heights can be the reward for building some other feature we also don't want. There are many,  many more and problems with this ordinance. One can only hope that someone will file an appeal. Knowing that ordinances with these types of is in the planning commercial districts all over the Township makes this distressing.

    Commissioners Kline & Peacock said they heard residents . Maybe. But then they must have ignored  of what they heard . 

(((((  The zoning rewrites  township wide were passed in April 2017 &  had many of these measures in them and  the challenges even to these new liberal measures began immediately. That made many of these measures standard Township wide .  You will find your whole Township challenged in this fashion  and  residents, as proven here, will be given very little time to learn about it and to have any say.))))))

 
 Return to top of page

  Feb 2, 2011  The Fairway Transit District (FTD) ordinance was passed on January 6, 2011.  There were more than a few irregularitites uncovered but  left unaddressed before its passing  and it seems likely that within the next few days there may be an appeal filed .  For one thing the ordinance was never declared invalid - and had it been, it seems that  we would have had six full months to bring it into compliance. There is also a question of whenher all the correct procedures  have been followed ….    Your commissioners continue to report that under the PB ordinance ( had Brandolinie won…)  the builder would have had virtually no limits on density. That is simply untrue . They were very definitely limited by height, setbacks and parking.  We just never got to see any real samples of what that would have looked like, complete with both commercial & residential. If they wanted to add parking, they would have had to forego other things.  The new ordinance actually allows greater heights and smaller setbacks, encourages parking garages and shamefully does not guarantee green space, among just a few of its faults.  In this writer's opinion it was a very sad day for Abington to see the kind of ordinance that your Commissioners found acceptable.   In addition,  the way inaccurate & misleading information was put forth in order to get it passed was just as shameful. Residents were told that the Montgomery County planning commission had approved it - apparently they had not approved it without  conditions.  Nearly everything that residents stood at the podium and asked for was ignored. If anyone does not believe these serious irregularities exist, I urge them to contact me and get the actual facts. Some of us have put hours into getting the details so that we could understand it more fully.   And we are more than dismayed…

It has been shared that Brandolini has no immediate plans to re-develop the property as per the new rights granted in this ordinance. we expect instead that they will be looking for  tenants .  But once the building starts , I think  you will be shocked at what is to come in 75 foot heights.    This is a heads up for the manner in which the township wide rezoning of the exact same kind is about to be processed……… 
 Return to top of page

July 12, 2011  One resident  resident ( without attorney - representing himself  "pro se" )  - filed a challenge to the passing of the ordinance.  For a variety of reasons  he has challenged that the ordinance be declared invalid and reversed and he argued sufficiently well in Common Pleas  Court for the judge to require that the Zoning Hearing Board  hear his complaints.   Tonite the resident  preented the first details , but there were many objections  and the process did not get far.  The case will resume Aug 24th  7 in township building – but double check on the township website (http://www.abingtonpa.gov/resident/events.htm )  to make sure it hasn’t been removed, changed or cancelled . 

Here is a site  that addresses some of the issues  via an email from Commissioner Peacock responded to by the resident making the complaint …..  
 
http://www.scribd.com/doc/60145642/Media-Patch-7-16-11-Letter
This is an important issue for Abington residents.  False and/or misleading testimony and other very serious issues are all quite evident here and we should be grateful one  resident had the temerity to challenge these.
Perhaps an even greater concern is the complete disregard by the Commissioners for  the wishes of the residents who came time and again to the podium to decry garages,  smaller setbacks, higher buildings, increased density, safety & emergency vehicle access,  disregard for the steep slope and flooding  etc etc ------only  to have the Commissioners in some cases even provide INCENTIVES for the builder to build what the residents did not want - while NOT providing incentives for the top requests of residents .
 Return to top of page

2013  Brandolini reshuffled ownership of the various parcels- though it appears the entities are largely still  "Brandolini  entities". These changes in ownership were a complicated series of actions that they later used to claim made it impossible to meet their obligations  on the lower parcels that were supposed to be modified  before developing the  rear 8 acres because they no longer owned them . Was the purpose to obfuscate? Perhaps that would not be an ssumption that should not be considered.  It led to the next round of absurdities where they decided that the conditions that were supposed to apply, no longer did.
 Return to top of page

2016 Brandolini  asked to develop the back 8 acres - but was met with a list of conditions they had not met . They appealed to the Zoning Hearing Board  that these conditions did not, or should not apply and since they had sold off the Shopping Center parcels they said they were unable to make them comply, so the  rearranged ownership was part of the problem.

6-15-16   Letter To Township - they have registered  the : Legally Non-Conforming  Uses Structures and Sites in the Fairway Transit District
 
6-25-16  Declaration of Easements  Easements were given  for access where needed

7-18-16 The Penecale Determination – Zoning Officer Mark Penecale produced a letter that
          outlined what needed to be done  to meet conditions in order to be able to begin to develop
            the 244 units on the rear  8 acres

9-16 The Developers submit an appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board of the decision rendered  7-18-16

         
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B48SOIQ31gKDczB4WE9ETGp5Qms/view 

10-10 -16  Notice of Oct 18th ZHB meeting :  
            
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B48SOIQ31gKDd2pNb1FWaXpJNkU  

10-18 -16 First hearing . Transcript:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B48SOIQ31gKDZUZtRmluakljSkU

11-29-16  Second  hearing . Transcript: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B48SOIQ31gKDT2tWRW1PWTFjTG8   

 Return to top of page  


2017    After their appeal was denied in May by the Zoning Hearing Board Brandolini decided not just to file in Common Pleas Court to appeal that decision, but also to file another Amended Variance Application. 
              So the Township was  defending on 2 fronts.   At what cost one might ask?  

1-10-17  Third  hearing . Transcript: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B48SOIQ31gKDTTZ3RmdNZGp6Qk0

2-15-17  Fourth  hearing . Transcript:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B48SOIQ31gKDNFdVZkpFZ3R6dDQ

3-15-17   Fifth and final  hearing . Transcript:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B48SOIQ31gKDQmxzVlNYbTh1UkhsZXQ3bEN4RWFtYkpDUHdF

4-4-17    Ordinance 2139 changes Fire Measure such as who "makes the rules" passed right before the whole new Zoning Ordinance was passed .

4-27-17  In Abington Township - separate but not separate.........The New Zoning Ordinance is passed in Abington

5-17-17  The Zoning Hearing Board  denied the  application --- the Developer appealed
                  this in
the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas  

9-14-17 Not content to wait for the court decision, the Developer submitted  an Amended Variance application
            Here is the Cover letter ( that defines ownership  of the parcels )
           
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B48SOIQ31gKDVjhiNnp3RGxUTFY2YVhZdHNQRm1zZElKSXd3 
           Here is the over letter plot plan
    
            
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B48SOIQ31gKDTEdiOW42MXEtYk9DcFZiRm1MaEhwMWgzOXRR
           Here is the  Amended Variance Application 
           
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B48SOIQ31gKDQjljOGdsakNZV0dtZ3hnRm00RF9YN0JydjYw 
           Per one Commissioner : “  it appears to be another avenue by which the Developer
           seeks the same end result as the last round, but by a slightly different maneuver intended
            to circumvent the previously agreed upon zoning criteria.  Accordingly, the Township
            will continue to be there to oppose the application”
             Here is  Exhibit E – the Whole Foods Lease
          
 https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B48SOIQ31gKDOHc5SEtIY2VnYV9UTmYxaUFtTEoycmhFeTlN   

10-17- 17- The first hearing night for the  Amended Variance Application  
            ( please send transcript if you have it  and please ask your Commissioner  to post a page to explain )
12-19-17  - the 2nd  hearing nite

           ( please send transcript if you have it  and please ask your Commissioner  to post a page to explain )


 Return to top of page

2018
1-20 A lawsuit is filed


By February, the Zoning Hearing Board has granted the Amended Variance Application - but the Township was planning to appeal --- and because the Township still will not publish a single page per issue, ( please ask your Commissioner for that )  we have not been able to keep up with all the appeals and decisions....
 

By March 20  the Township has sued the Zoning Hearing Board


Nov 19,2018 they held  part one of the Conditional Use hearing for the rear 244 units
Here is the notice of the hearing that , I believe, should have been received by all those in 500 feet of the project.  Many even  right next to this project, were not aware this happened .  http://www.abingtonpa.gov/home/showdocument?id=13235
Here is the plan - that was filed for that hearing  -http://www.abingtonpa.gov/home/showdocument?id=13237
Here is video of the 11-19-18 Conditional Use  hearing part 1  :   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ih-Nk133Yk 
That hearing was not cloncluded .

They are possibly going to  appear at the Dec 11, 2018 Planning Commission meeting if they can get permission for a parking issue first - if not that may get pushed off - perhaps to January  (Planning Commission visits are supposed to come BEFORE hearings )

Dec 13th, 2018   could be part 2 of the hearing, If they do go to the Planning Commission on the 11th . Two days later.  Astounding how this is being rushed through . 

So the rear 8 acres will it be decided Dec 13th  or be pushed to January 2019 - stay tuned

2019
At the end of 2019  year they are arguing obtaining approval for the the project  with a driveway on the lft hand side of the Baederwood Shopping Center  and with a problem of Fire and Emergency Vehicle access. The proposed fix is a cross over in the 8 acre plot through tot he Steimart's/Pet Smart etc  parking lot, but they do not yet have approval  of that - stay tuned .

2020
 Jan 22 2020 - there are still filings  in the lawsuit against the Zoning Hearing Board.

    Most recent activity on the rear 8 acres  :  The  244 units  are set to get underway . In  January o the rear 8+ acres  ith their 244 units came before the Planning Commission . Originally called Redstone - the red brick has been traded out for white stone in the most recent versions and it again just called Baederwood Apartments .  It is not certain how that was resolved.
Plot plan here https://www.abingtonpa.gov/home/showdocument?id=14630  All documents are found in the January Planning Commission section here: https://www.abingtonpa.gov/government/board-of-commissioners/minutes-and-agendas


2021

2-3-21  Land Use Committee review - passed it along to the Board  .  Regular Land Use Committee meetings have been cancelled since April 2020 . Commissioners refuse to reinstate them at hte request of residents  but the Commissioners have no trouble re-instating them for development 
 video of the meeting https://abingtonpa.viebit.com/player.php?hash=h32AnhHbQYIh 

  2-11-21  Board approves this - even though one whole side is in accessible to emercency vehicles, no secondary access for emergency vehicles has been approved and it is already on a steep slope  giving it another disadvantage. Despite the building being right AT  75 ft tall , it  was not required to have hi-rise condions for it's fire conditions. It added SOME conditions that are required for Hi Rises - but given the  other disadvantages it faced, it should have received a command from the Fire Marshal, John Rohrer, to comply with ALL the Hi Rise conditions. 
 Conditions they upgraded included 
They put in a second hydrant ( can you imagine there being only one when a whole side of the building is inaccessible) dear agreed to run 3000 gallons per minute of water rather than the 1500 required, they put in a fire command center they increase the sprinklers in the garage by providing more water per square foot to them, the put in a more capable voice activated fire alarm that can also act as a PA system and direct tenants where to go or give conditions or directions to them  they put in smoke removers so the fire if companies wouldn’t have to do that themselves, they increase the rate of ventilation in the garage which is the most at risk area, the increase the coverage of the emergency responder radio so that there are no dead zones

 Here is the 2-11-21 Board of Commissioners meeting where it was approved  https://abingtonpa.viebit.com/player.php?hash=tmTaEQW3UUpa 

 

Land Development will be next

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

Return to top of page

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

  We will bring more details as they are known and welcome your comments  to share either anonymously or with your name attached with your  fellow Abington residents.    See What Abington residents are saying to view these .

____________________________

  If you have any updated information, or something you would like to share, please Send your the information to: lel@abingtoncitizens.com 

 


 

 


  THE NEWSLOOP
     Sign up here to receive our periodic Newsloop updates on issues that matter to us all.
Knowledge is power. Stay informed to help shape your community and make a difference.

Abington Township, with John Spiegelman in charge, revamped the entire Township website at the end of 2015 and broke all the links to the information we had archived on this site for you.   In 2017, Manager Richard Manfredi arrived and assigned someone not qualified to redo the entire website again. They not only broke all archived links we had reinstated, but made everything as impossible to find as they could. Nearly all of our comments and recommedations to fix the Township website have been wholly ignored.

So we do need volunteers to work together helping the Township create a site that is functional and accessible.  We will be reinstating links as we find them....if the data is still available. So... please let us know if you find a broken link. Send us the URL of the link  and the name of the page it is on, and if we can, we'll reinstate it.
Thanks for the help.

DISCLAIMER:
The information on this page or in this site may have unintentional inaccuracies, and also has opinions.
It should not be relied upon as fact until investigated personally by the reader.  Please read our full Disclaimer and read our Policies page before using this site.
All who find inaccuracies are asked to please contact us so we may correct them.