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

365 Cedar Rd

8 Houses is a few too many - and blatant violations of PA Code
 
  After years of trying to ignore the cows, pigs, chickens, firewood, mulch, noise, debris, bamboo, etc. , neighbors do not want the Township to ignore required hardships for waivers, or ignore proper stormwater management, as they propose  seepage tanks under streets they'd like to dedicate to YOUR care, fire access issues, road width dimished , parking deleted, etc. Some have already had a bull (literally) on their doorstep, as the codes here were ignored but .....they've had enough of the bull now.   And who could blame them. 
This lot is directly across from McKinley Elementary School. It is #1 on the numbered lots below .


SatelliteViewPlanComm3-22

  Next Meeting  There is some confusion . They have this on the agenda  for  5-12-22 Thursday at the Board of Commissioners for 7 pm  supposedly for  "approval" - but according to Comr DiPlacido he is going to make a motion to postpone that to June.  I am assuming he has to make a motion to advertize it first.  So - to correct an earlier error of mine : I previously believed the matter would have to come before the Zoning Hearing Board  (because of  a  definition I had relied on differentiating waivers from variances. which I susequently learned  was not valid  in PA). So it seems the Board DOES have the right to directly approve the waivers, but not without fully explained hardships, not without good cause, not when they are of the applicant's making, or are not in the public interest.  The reasons for the hardships must be specifically detailed in writing with the application. I have not found any hardship explanations for the waivers the applicant seeks.

IN ADDITION YOU SHOULD KNOW that only ONE, count 'em ONE, of the neighbors learned of the Planning Commission meeting in February in time to attend ( unprepared and at the last minute), they nonetheless are allowing this application, that requests too many houses for the lot,and  no adherance to laws and codes to move forward, hoping, apparently for a quick and dirty approval.  Only one, count 'em one, meeting was held before putting this forth for approval on the agenda.  A number of the hardships are  of the property owner's making  because they want to put too many houses on the 4+ acres.  That is not legal to approve such waivers. It would be a direct violation of both Abington Code and PA Code (see below)

MEETING INFORMATION  5-12-22 : To attend the meeting ,  the zoom digits are in the top paragraph and the Plans for the project start on page 41 of this link : https://d3n9y02raazwpg.cloudfront.net/abingtonpa/bd3b30da-5798-11ec-85e3-0050569183fa-ca2b9c28-b9cf-4f17-b573-dd2752d4679e-1651786619.pdf

Please attend and demand that this application and all aplications be required to follow PA Law - especially ones like this, that would negatively impact nearby residents even if they DID follow the law. Ask that all emails or questions about  this zoning matter be answered  as soon as possible especially about the  lack of adherance  to laws such as the requirement to explain hardships. 

 


PlotPlan-Cedar365



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE PROJECT: The Applicant is proposing to demolish an existing residential dwelling, covered porch, garage, shed and boulder wall; and subdivide the existing 177,620 square foot parcel into eight (8) individual lots ranging from 15, 022 SF to 21,14 SF. Along with the subdivision, the Applicant is proposing to construct a singlefamily detached dwelling on each lot, as well as associated, sidewalk, curbing, driveway, streetlights and stormwater management facilities. Access to/from the site will be by way of one new cul-de-sac roadway named Independence Circle that will intersect with Cedar Road as a new T-intersection. Each new dwelling is proposed to be served by public water and sewer service.

Please note there is a great deal more open land right next to this property -- and they already, some years back, had put forth an interest in developing. The driveway for this current development may be being considered to enable development of the second property.   There once was a Springhouse on the 365 Cedar Property . Mushy back yards on Glenmore that abut the property may be related ....... Over the years reports of truckloads of dirt and mulch and other events  are a concern.

  VIOLATION OF PENNSYLVANIA LAW /CODE  
Municipalities Planning Code 512.1(a). https://www.dep.state.pa.us/hosting/growingsmarter/MPCode[1].pdf
Section 512.1. Modifications. (a) The governing body or the planning agency, if authorized to approve applications within the subdivision and land development ordinance, may grant a modification of the requirements of one or more provisions if the literal enforcement will exact undue hardship because of peculiar conditions pertaining to the land in question, provided that such modification will not be contrary to the public interest and that the purpose and intent of the ordinance is observed. 34 (b) All requests for a modification shall be in writing and shall accompany and be a part of the application for development. The request shall state in full the grounds and facts of unreasonableness or hardship on which the request is based, the provision or provisions of the ordinance involved and the minimum modification necessary. (c) If approval power is reserved by the governing body, the request for modification may be referred to the planning agency for advisory comments. (d) The governing body or the planning agency, as the case may be, shall keep a written record of all action on all requests for modifications.
 NO WRITTEN HARDSHIPS HAVE BEEN GIVEN - AND MOST CONDITIONS CAN BE ALLEVIATED BY PUTTING FEWER PROPERTIES ON THE ACREAGE - SO THE PROBLEMS ARE OF THE OWNER'S MAKING.  OTHER REQUESTS ARE  CONTRARY TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN MULTIPLE WAYS .

VIOLATION OF ABINGTON CODE

https://ecode360.com/9009808?highlight=hardship&searchId=12103127089638450#9009808

Code/Ch 146: Subdivision and Land Development/Ch 146 Art VIII: Modification and Validity
 146-50Modification for hardship.
A. Granting of hardship; proof.
(1) The Board of Commissioners may grant a modification of the requirements of one or more provisions of this chapter if the literal enforcement will exact undue hardship because of peculiar conditions pertaining to the land in question, provided that such modification will not be contrary to the public interest and that the purpose and intent of this chapter is observed.
(2) Proof of undue hardship must be presented to the township by the subdivider/land developer. It shall not be considered sufficient proof of hardship to show that greater profit would result if the variance were granted. Furthermore, the hardship complained of cannot be self-created and must be suffered directly by the property in question.

B. Procedure for modification.
(1) All requests for a modification shall be submitted to the Zoning Official in writing and shall accompany and be a part of the application for development. The request shall state in full the grounds and facts of unreasonableness or hardship on which the request is based, the provision(s) of this chapter involved and the minimum modification necessary to abate the hardship.
(2) The Township Planning Commission shall review the applicant's request and submit a report to the Board of Commissioners.
(3) The Board of Commissioners shall review and approve or disapprove the request and keep a written record of all action on the matter.
(4) A written summary of any exception shall be appended to the record plan.


    
THE LAST MEETING :  2-22-22 Planning CommissionHere is the original presentation - the documents and Plans presented at the 2-22-22 Planning Commission Meeting -This was the only proper meeting that has ever been held.. and it was not proper because no one was notified - so they could not even attend. Our Township has lost its moral conscience and its soul under Tom Hecker and Richard Manfredi.  The docs start at p76 at this link  :
https://d3n9y02raazwpg.cloudfront.net/abingtonpa/ea78d60b-8f71-11ec-972b-0050569183fa-ca2b9c28-b9cf-4f17-b573-dd2752d4679e-1645106804.pdf
 

 

  Improper process ?  The very first we saw or heard of this application was 2-22-22  at the Planning Commission meeting.  What's wrong with that? Pretty much everything.  Unless it was presented somewhere else that I  can't find .  The way it is supposed to work is the way it did forever, and ever in Abington, is that a new zoning request would come before the Code Enforcement and Land Development Committee. The neighbors within 500 feet would be notified of ALL the expected meetings ...the first being  the Code and Land Development Committee.  They reviewed it and with their input and any input from residents that happened to learn  about it,  it went to the Planning Commission next. But  in the meantime, residents had a chance to research it, alert their neighbors who might not know, consult a lawyer, and formulate their questions for the Planning Commission, etc.   They also learned more about the zoning process in the meantime, because many are encountering the process for the first time - but the effects of what happens right next dorr can last a lifetime.  

     In a proper process, next it would go back to the Planning Commission for a deeper, fuller review - where residents were not limited to 3 minutes or 1 question and then done. They were, in the past, actually able to go back-and-forth with the developer until they understood one another.  Developers were expected to actually answer  the questions asked by planners or residents. Then, the project came back to the original Code and Land Development  Committee with the Comments from the Planning Commission and the residents who attended  - and  those comments were incorporated into the revised request that the Committee looked at again .  The Committee then decided if they wanted to add anything or it was ready to be forwarded on to the Board to request their approval advertising for Hearing .  It was a reasonable process. But it has been turned on its head.
 And this new wrinkle, if indeed, it went FIRST to the Planning Commission is more than disturbing. 
      
    
New Manager Richard  Manfredi has up-ended nearly every tried and true process we  had in the Township, renaming Committees ( sometimes the same one again and again), restructuring staff positions and departments,  putting people in charge of major department operations  that have absolutely no experience, while people with certifications and years of experience sit in a different office doing nothing they’re qualified for; changing our speaking rights 4 times within the first 4 years of being here, eliminating informed public comment  more and more each time.......        This is a perversion of the zoning and development process, and other processes in our Township that is past any reasonable limit.

      Only one neighbor even learned of the Planning Commission meeting for 365 Cedar in time to attend.  He was given a  limited time to speak even though he was speaking for all the neighbors who couldn’t be there because they didn’t know about it, and the Planning Chair would not allow him to accept my minutes that I offered to donate to him.  It is unclear to us at the time that I am writing this where it is going next -- but my fear is that they will try to send it to the full Board next to advertise for a hearing  - when literally none of the neighbors has had a chance to even examine this properly.   Was Planning really the first meeting it went to?

     This is just one in a series of many, many detrimental things that Mr. Manfredi has brought to this Township. I hope all of you reading this have also read the page called  Residential Explosion where he seeks to make changes that will affect our Township literally forever and that will not likely be able to be undone once they are passed. His aim is to accomplish this by May 2022.

The property at 365 Cedar is labelled #1 here:

Map-MontcoProp-WITH-nos


 

. Please send us pictures or documents or whatever you have that may be helpful to work together as a group -- the more informed everyone is - the more cogently they can speak .  Send to  lel@abingtoncitizens.com


  The 8 houses do not fit and to squeeze them in they want waivers such as   :
--- have narrower road with no hardship - they say they want to provide more greenspace - but the only reason there is LESS greespace is because they are asking for  too many houses
--- remove parking on one side -  narrower than 30 ft cartway - no hardship & dangerous for emergency vehicle needs - not in the public interest
--- put the stormwater seepage basin under the street ( that they want to dedicate to the Township) no hardship Not in the public interest - could be very, very costly
--- have a rain garden at the low point on the Glenmore side no hardship and raingardens are not reliable  are not reliable
--- be excused for providing names & addresses & other information on properties  within 400 feet  - except those contiguous - no hardship listed
--- have special accommodations for turning radius width on driveway - no hardship - can be dangerous - impacts the property of others 
     etc., etc., etc.

 :  Other concerns               


Owner did not properly list address 
        -Person  listed as co-applicant, has provided no power of attorney we have seen  


 Property maintenance issues  

       - Fencing on the property is in  violation of  Section 303.7 of Property Maintenance code
 
Bamboo
           - in violation of bamboo ordinance -
https://abingtoncitizens.com/aaISSUES/Bamboo/Bamboo.htm

Trees /Tree Removal
            - Prior Removal  and  recent removal - how many have been removed in total?
            - Trees- Replacement ordinance - the Engineer can order trees to be replaced at 2 to 1 
                    https://ecode360.com/9007835?highlight=tree,trees&searchId=5895464304353839#9007835

Creeks - Concerns:
             -
a look onto the property from a neighboring property seems to indicate a creek or creekbeds 
             - if there is a creek would the proposed construction be allowed ?
          
  - has DEP inspected the property and is there a report ... ?
Buffers -

           -Are there sufficient visual/noise buffers from Valley Glen, Glenmore Ave, and other neighbors ?

Stormwater

          - collection tanks under street is a horrible idea - fixing problems is too expensive for a HOA   
          - Homeowner’s Association rarely has  actual capability to repair  something that expensive
           - Rain Garden area on Glenmore side – who decides size – who maintains it - who oversees that ?
           -  Is there a yearly inspection and report on the rain garden ?
           - a rainfall chart put together by resident shows that the rain fardens could be problematic

          - how is there an easement on the plans if it wasn't bought? Neighbors deny approving one
          

Steep slope Conservation area? See  Steep Slope Conservation Ordinance
           -  reports  of  Cheltenham and Abington Township trucks bringing dirt, mulch etc  are of concern
           - landscapers apparently also brought in chips and tree debris 
           -  if slopes were changed or marshy lands filled in, is that problematic? 
          
- does dedication of  the road  to the Township mean  school visitors can park there.....?
            - Planning Commission may have recommeded doing traffic study - where is their report?
            -Turning radius of driveway tshould  accommodate trucks w/o using  neighbor’s property

            - narrower cartways are a concern for Fire trucks and emergency vehicles 
            - If  the concern for the width is just to have less impervious - reduce # of houses
            -Distance to hydrant ? Nearest is up on Cedar –is that the reason for road length limits ?

Notification 

     - direct mail to all residents within 400 -  500 ft should be given and no waivers given to avoid that.
     -  they clearly were trying to fast track it before residents even learned the application was made
     -  Township staff  time & dollars were spent on this long ago why don't residents have proper access?
    
-  residents should have access to  documents from the time a developer begins using taxpayer services
      - with no Committee review first, both residents and officials are seeing it for the first time
      - upon the first view, decisions are being made - approvals recommended -  not sound procedure
      - all should be able to do research, or obtain  lawyers if necessary or  read all the documents fully.

      - information sessions with open question answer periods are appropriate -they are always needed 
      - a question / answer page for ALL development projects should be created at the outset
      - why is the Township not alerting residents via TV Channel. Newsletter? Commissioner news? etc
      - because of the lack of  notification, documents should be provided  without  a Right To Know filing


Historic House
        -  It is believed the house is NOT on the  historical register. I

Farming / Agricultural rights
         -  They have apparently NOT claimed to be a "Farm" for tax purposes ( and  do not have 10 acres )a
          - They have over 3 acres and are allowed 1 head of livestock - they appear to have 2 . 
          -High impact uses - such as the regular use of  heavy equip and loud noise has been allowed 
          - this happened despite neighbor complaints 
          - They have  chickens (and apparently had a rooster or 2 in the past) and they keep bees
         - they may use  the milk , eggs, honey and firewood produced  for their own use...... 
            


Main concern - The proposal has too many units.  Reduce the number and your application needs no waivers.  You can build without them.

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

CREEK AND STORMWATER ISSUES
Is there or isn't there a creek there?

Snippet-StormwaterCreeksFromPlans

No Creeks show up on the google map
map-google-2022
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No floodplains show on the 2016 or 2018 FEMA map


Map-Fema-2018


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Map - Historic circa 1937 showing Springhous
There was a pond there  for many years as well 

Map-HistoricCirca1937




















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2022  taken from Valley Glenn


Pic-StonewallAndChannel

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   This site is a forum for information sharing and idea sharing. 
Please feel free to send your  view  and please be sure to  tell us about any information you believe to be incorrect - write  lel@abingtoncitizens.com


 

 


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