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1209 Rydal Rd
Wouldn't you love a couple of these in your neighborhood?
How about one right next to or beside your house?
Our zoning code gave developers the idea that they could just do this.
So far the neighbors have them on "hold" - we're waiting for their next proposition
- and the Commissioners, under pressure from residents,  have revised the ordinance so this can't so easily be done


  THE NUTSHELL   :  After finishing  3 parts of the Conditional Use Hearing, taking countless hours and costing untold wasted dollars on behalf of  individual residents as well as the taxpayers...... the developer  cancelled part 4 til who knows when.  We are expecting another proposal any minute .. and the new more restrictive, ordinance will not apply to them. 

The land at 1209 Rydal Rd is at least partially on/in a Steep Slope  Conservation District,   Floodplain Conservation District and Riparian Buffer Conservation  Corridor.   They failed, in 2021 to win the right to build 34 units / 50 homes  ( 18 Townhomes and 16 duplexes =50 homes total - see more on that below ) after telling residents that our Manager told them this would be fine and would get the Township's blessing. Residents disagreed - and began to wake up. 

 They returned in March 2023  with their new proposal for a Life Care Facility and  a Nursing Home.  Still not OK with any of the residents and not in compliance with the law. There were then 2 more submissions - the final one was on  July 31, 2023. The first day of the Hearing was set for October 16th, where they did not have a big enough room to accommodate everyone and so they just vetted those requesting party status. See summaries of the first 3 hearings just below this.  Again.... we are expecting this proposal to possibly be completely revised.......  the fact that Commissioners are entertaining a revision of the ordinance should stand as proof that they will not get the usual "special favors" approving this. And that is 100% because residents were willing to make a lot of noise.

  NEXT  : Waiting for a date. They cancelled on 1-30-24 . It would have been  PART 4  OF THE CONDITIONAL USE HEARING   -- all which were all held at PENN STATE ABINGTON ( not in the Township Building )but  in the larger Sutherland Building Auditorium   1600 Woodland Rd  Abington PA  because of the  # of people expected. Many also attended by zoom.

It was,, and is my firm opinion that they should not have been dragging everybody through all of this  when it appears  CLEAR that they NEVER can meet the rule that requires them to conform with the Character of the Neighborhood and to not do harm to the neighbors. The Commissioner should ask them to stop dragging it out until they can prove that they can meet just those REQUIRED conditions. Why should they be allowed to drone on endlessly about all the other things, and rob taxpayers of their money, when it clearly does not  appear in a form that legally  could be passed.   Let's hope they finally realize it themselves and don't come back with anything either similar.

   Part 3  OF THE CONDITIONAL USE HEARING was held 11-29-23   Development Consultant, Greg Ellmore was presenting for the applicant. He is from Oregon. Scroll down in this link  to find the documents from the prior meeting . He shared hypotheticals re: the conceptual layout and floor plans included in the application and re: the operational aspects of the proposed facility. But the facility they are building will be leased to someone else. So he cannot definitively  confirm much of what he eas testifying to like: how it will be run and how many employees they will deem necessary, and when deliveries will be scheduled, etc.  He had concluded this would be a benefit to Abington, but admitted under questioning he wrote his analysis before he ever saw Abington   and that he  had no idea how many vacant nursing home or memory care or senior  facility  beds there were in the many facilities just withing 5 miles of this one....let alone the many others in Montgomery County. He really could not assess whether it would be a benefit or add to a problem that already exists re: empmpty beds.

  He confirmed that David Mermelstein and Moshe Barzani were the owners ( the Chaverim Realty Partner guys) and David Mermelstein is also an owner in a nursing hom 1.4 miles away that is shuttered.  A resident was forbidden to ask questions about Mermelsteins'  Senior facility in Jenkintown, the Chelsea  that is now closed /vacant.  He had not spoken to the Wastewater director about any anticipated problems  adding 130 toilets and circa 100 or more kitchens plus a commercial kitchen.He had predicted only 5 ambulance calls a month, while one Commissioner tesified that his relative in a similar facility had 3 ambulance calls in 1 week. 

Ultimately Mr Ellmore  seemed to have no direct knowledge of any of the facts that would actually determinine if it were or were not good for Abington.   And despite the pictures loudly declaring the opposiite, he said in his opinion, it conforms to the "character" of the neighborhood.

  PART 2 OF THE CONDITIONAL USE HEARING  WAS HELD  10-30-23   at PENN STATE ABINGTON    --  The applicant presented only their first witness, a Civil Engineer. His presentation was followed by 1.5 hours of relentless questioning from a variety of residents with party status. Resident  opposition was very clear and every question was well thought out, bringing many of the concerns to the fore. You can watch the whole meeting here https://abingtonpa.viebit.com/player.php?hash=4c05F7vSnRf4xoal
And the documents from that meeting are here:

  PART 1 OF THE CONDITIONAL USE HEARING  WAS HELD  10-16-23  It appeared, at first, that the Township was not going to be able to hold this first day  of the Hearing because they had not arranged for a room big enough to accommodate all those coming, which would be a violation of Sunshine Law.  So they agreed just to hold the decision making part for those seeking Party Status. Anyone within 750  ft of the property would be granted automatic party status upon their formal request. Others were granted party status based on their reasons that this affected them. Still others will not know if status is granted until the next meeting, on Oct 30th.  To enable this meeting, those  not seeking party status were asked to  stay home, so as not to overwhelm the room. You can watch the meeting here  https://abingtonpa.viebit.com/player.php?hash=kFYaN30UBZjnUi6Q

  They also were requiring for party status, that those who had already filled out all the information, but on a different form, would have to refile the same information on the other form. Really?  Just plain needless disrespect from our Solicitor.

   Another truely ridiculous thing was that, knowing  seating was an issue, the Manager and his multiple Assistants still had the room cordoned off with a full one half of the room being allotted to just a couple of employees - while the residents squeezed into the other side and had to sit way in the back where it is harder to see and hear.  Tons of empty carpet space with no chairs.    Manager Manfredi started those shenanigans when he wanted a new Township building and was trying to prove the room was too small.  More than once we've had to stop a meeting to have him get chairs that he took away  or to make special arrangements for people standing because he refuses to act in resident interests.


Their "advisory only " recommendation will go to the Commissioners for the hearing .

The proposal on the table as of the 9-26-23 Planning Commission Review was this :
After dividing the 7.316 acres into a
 1.622 acre site and a 5.696 acre site, there will be 3 buildings total--- 
--- Lot 1 : The original 7 bedroom home, carriage house & cabin on a 1.622 acre lot  would remain residential    
--- Lot 2 :   Building #1: A Senior Care Facility consisting of a 74 unit/82 bed Assisted Living facility.
        11 of those units are Memory Care. Those 74 units are in  Building One on Lot 2  
--- Lot 2 : Building #2 : An Independent Living Facility  with 46 units /55 beds

So there will be 120 units added - plus the original hom.
A recommendation to  deny it ultimately came   from the Planners



 A recommendation to  deny it will come from the Planners - and from pretty much every citizen that attends --- complete with sufficient legal reasons that  make one wonder how it got past our Engineer, our Legal review,  our Manager  and the Ward  Commissioner  Tom Hecker.  They are not supposed to be forwarding things that have such obious contradictions to code.....  

  DOCUMENTS : Here is the full
Application as of 9-26-23 Planning Commission meeting .There are  253 pages

The Township clearly hoped to get it passed before the residents knew much of anything about it - and the more we review, the more irregularities we are finding.  We are still awaiting an explanation as to how ALL the professionals failed to follow the law..... the Solicitor, the Engineer, the Zoning Officer, the Manager, the Montco Planning Commission, and EVERYONE who handled or reviewed this document. How could ALL  of them ACCIDENTALLY missed the required Planning meeting. Please ask Commissioner Hecker to provide a public answer .

 isn't that PROPERTY zoned r1 residential   Yes, it is in an R1 neighborhood.  But as noted above,  in 2017-while Steve Kline was their Commissioner, he was also leading the  "Zoning Rewrites" creating a very much changed zoning  ordinance for the entire Township . He wrote in this institutional use  to all the "R" ( residential) neighborhoods, including into his OWN constituent's neighborhoods without telling them,  It shouldn't have been there ... Had he told them, so they understood what he was doing,  they would have been out in droves to protest that change.  They should have been told and not had their rights taken will no notification.. He was ASKED to do just that..... He said he would, but then did not . In fact, he made the process so complicated and cumbersome it was akin to making sure no one knew. More on this below uner "HOW DID THIS HAPPEN"

    The date for the Conditional Use Hearing  must occur by theoretically by  October 31st unless the developer agrees to extend the time again. There is some question about that actually being the deadline - because it was the developer that missed the 8-22-23 Planning Review  which put it off a month and the developer who sumitted 3 different versions..... The running clock should go from the last submission , shouldn't it?   But we'll save that question for another day. 

---  It is required  to conform with the character of the neighborhood - clearly it does not. Not even close
---- It appears more parts may be  in the Steep Slope Overlay  District than are being admitted  see  discussions and the maps below .
---- Our SALDO ( Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance ) warns against odd lot shapes - which this creates.
-----The requirement not to disturb vegetation on a steep slope would be grossly violated 
---- It will exacerbate existing  water runoff problems in an area with major flooding issues - see Flood Map below 
---  It will set a precedent for others who don't believe they need to adhere to the codes.
---  The parking is ridiculously inadequate - due, we believe, to fudged numbers of workers, visitors etc.,
---  Traffic would be a huge issue , through these bucolic neighborhoods
---  Noise / nuisances would surely result, ie: how many ambulances could be expected that
disturb others at all hours 
---  The possibility of it becoming a non-profit means that there would be no financial benefit for the Township 
---  The value of  nearby homes plummets with giantic institutions beside  or  behind them - possibly as much as 1/3
---  The value of other local houses would be impacted by the sales of those next to it but in the same neighborhood
---  Was density  properly calculated? Don't steep slopes, floodplains and riparian corridors  reduce available land?
---  When the rezoning was done in 2017, they knew the residents were never properly notified of the changes....
        ....It was their own Ward Commissioner, Steve Kline, who put forth these regulations without holding a
        single meeting, as he was asked to do, for the homeowners impacted by his actions

so much more FUNNY BUSINESS  AND so many more QUESTIONS :
 There is some conjecture they are just using this as a threat to get something else allowed - like the Townshouses - that are ALSO not going to be in conformance with the Steep Slope and other requirements.  There is a reason the house only sold for $600K - because the steeply sloped land is not easily developable without a "special favor  for special friends " - which the Township has tried several times to do (see below)

--- ATTEMPT TO HOLD HEARING BEFORE PLANNING REVIEW  The Township tried to shuffle this quickly to final Hearing in June 2023 before any required Planning Review, as required by law,  and before even the contiguous neighbors had seen ANY of the documents . It is unheard of for neighbors not to have had a single presentation before walking in to a Hearing.

---- DOCS POSTED LATE In June, the  Manager  posted the documents late, and neighbors had no access to them until 4 days before the scheduled  Hearing.

---- DOCUMENTS NOT MADE KNOWN TO RESIDENTS  Even after the application was posted, the residents were not told they were there and available with one or two clicks. Despite having asked for them, without help, they would  would have no idea where to look .  Their Commissioner, Tom Hecker,  knew the complete documents were available but didn't tell them.Not just that they could have digital versions - but where they were posted. .

--- RESIDENTS FUTHER  MISLED  Their Commissioner, Tom Hecker, besides not telling them where or how to find the documents, actively misled them further by passing out one single cover  page of the application to some -- and a couple of people got a couple of pages - maybe 3 or 4.  He falsely led residents to believe that's all there was -  The residents, having been thus misled, posted his single page on their facebook site, calling it "the application". The actual application ( see the "Documents " link above) was originally over 120 pages and is as of September  246 pages.

---- violations of policy, code and law This is far more serious than just "late documents" which would give residents no time to consult attorneys, do research or get  united with one another. Everyone knows this is wrong. But it is far more serious than residents just not having the documents .........  The question of how many professionals saw and handled this, knew that it should have gone for a Planning Review in front of the public, but allowed it to move forward knowing that had not been done  iseems to be a serious matter of corruption and/or collusion to deprive residents of their rights and to favor the developer. 

  . No  development application  goes to a hearing without many sets of eyeballs making sure everything is correct, all  laws have been considered and the i's are dotted and the t's crossed.  This was a violation of our Zoning code and our public meeting (posting) rules and of the PA Municipalities Planning Code.  Conditional Use applications are required to go to the Planning Commission first, with full documentation provided to the public. The Zoning Officer / Engineer/ Solicitor/ Manager / Commissioner / Montco Planner  .....all reviewed this and surely knew it had to go for a public  Planning review. 
 No one should be  be let off the hook for this. Answers are due. It would have to be VERY purposeful to get through that many layers of oversight.

--- STEEP SLOPE  The Township has said  the building areas are not in the Steep Slope Overlay at all - when, in fact, on p 19 of the application documents they, themselves, claim that it is.......and on 9-26-23 they acknowledged the same ... they declared  exactly what % of their proposed plan IS in each of the 2 Steep Slope Overlay categories - nearly the maximum in each category. . They contend they are right up to the maximum limit in each category. So why would the Township Engineer have said they were not.  And they only managed those percentages by "gerrymandering" the lot to make odd shaped lots to accommodate this "close shave"
A Township steep slope map found in the Comprehensive Plan conveys steep slope area that is directly in the area being developed. But that map may not be accurate ...the applicant's submission showing steep slope areas seems to be aligned with information from the county that shows less land in the Sttep Slopes.  Given that the documents were withheld for so long, the residents should have been  given more time to investigate irregularities such as these.  

--- TAXES  What are (and were)  the taxes --   Taxes were reduced after the developer bought it --- while he was simultaneously claiming the property to be way more valuable than elsewhere shown since he believed it could support institutional building  this dense, he was also saying the taxes should be reduced.  Neither  the tax assessment nor the sale price  seem to accurately reflect 5 or 6  buildable single family R1 lots,  or lots that allow this much institutional  intensity. The  property comes  with   a gigantic house that  admittedly needed repair , but even with  a need for repair might be worth more than the entire purchase price itself  ---  as well as a  Carriage house, that has bedrooms and bothrooms above , a 4 car garage and 1/2 bath below.  THEN you can add the value of the buildable land which could be worth as much as $100K to $300K a lot - depending on cost and location of utilities.

--- MAY WE HAVE THE CORRECT LOT SIZE PLEASE -  This  developer bought the beautiful home ( seen below ) on what is  noted at the County to be 7.79 acres, then previously described as 7.5  acres, but now described as a 7.316 acre lot.

--- SOME  GOOD NEWS: LOW  SALE PRICE MYSTERY SOLVED - Developer Chaverim Partners paid only $600 K for ALL OF THIS IN in 2019. We recently obtained information  indicating the sale price reflected that the house and grounds needed a lot of work and that  a  sooner rather than later sale was preferred.

   LOT 1

1209 Rydal Rd    1209Rydal-cabin   1209Rydal-CarriageHouse    
This will stay:
7 Bedrooms, 5 full baths, 2 half baths + 5 fireplaces
Plus  Carriage House w/4 car garage &1/2 bath, 2 additional bedrooms, a full bath upstairs, new heating system
Plus a small "Cabin"
All were bought together on 7-1-19 for $600K with the full 7.9 acres
We have been given to know that there was a lot of upgrading/up-dating and outright repair that was needed, and the sale price apparently reflects both that and the desire for a speedy sale by the previous owner.  Investigating the details of creating building lots would have slowed that up.  

The property
appears on Redfin now  (9-23)   with an estimated value of  $979K including  all 7.79 acres

LOT  2
 will have 2 Buildings  on what is now 65.4 acres  per page 40 of the application
Building 1 has
67 units with 71 beds  ( in another place it says 74 units will 11 that are Memory Care)

Building 2 has  46 units with 55 beds - fully equipped and classified as a Life Care Facility ( Continuing Care ) use
        even though they are called  Independent Living Units


So, there will be 3 buildings on the 7.79 acres 
....... and over 120 beds






        There is so much in the Steep Slope Ordinance that applies - see the whole ordinance here with highlights


 1) Montco Property Map -(Is it a duck?)      Find the target area by thinking of it as a duck with a bill         

   2  Find the "duck"  Then see: Location Of the Buildings on p49 of Application

  3) Find the duck -- Steep Slopes from  page 50 of Application  
Black is over 25%  -  Prohibitive slope
Grey is  15% to 25%  - Precautionary Slope
 see the whole Steep Slope ordinance for the explanation of these 

And here is the  whole Application where the above maps are found : https://d3n9y02raazwpg.cloudfront.net/abingtonpa/cc1e1d79-9802-11ed-96ab-0050569183fa-ca2b9c28-b9cf-4f17-b573-dd2752d4679e-1692189359.pdf

5) County Map showing contiguous  residential properties that will be so affected

6) Another map:  a  Steep Slope Township Map in pinks and fuscias can be found on page 19 at this link . This map differed greatly from the  county map and from the applicant's surveyor - which are  similar   to one another


   HOW DID ALL THIS HAPPEN ?   Yes, it is in an R1 neighborhood.  But as noted above,  in 2017-while Steve Kline was their Commissioner of this very Ward, he was also leading the  Zoning Rewrites --- and he added this institutional use into his own constituents neighborhood without telling them, In the end, he personally was making decisions that he was told were going to affect people  in exactly this way,  He was asked to hold summary sessions on the vast changes he was making. His constituents  and others throughout the Township  were instead clueless that these sessions were even going on, let alone what the changes were. He was ASKED to make sure they knew. Instead, he made pretty sure no one knew.

       Kline  now sits on our Township Zoning Hearing Board (VP at the time of this writing), is also Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Commission  which is responsible for helping to craft, enabling and approving  changes just like this county-wide
on most all zoning matters. Perhaps most notably,  Kline was the project manager at the infamous Colonade (now rebranded as 100 York Apartments) where the very lives and /or health of hundreds of families are still at risk today because of a failure to follow codes and because of the way the conditions there were left at that property.  Approvals of  use and occupancy certifications were followed by a Whistleblower  lawsuit naming Kline and the Township, yet new families were allowed to occupy units that continued to have the same problems that existed  long before Kline's  supposed "renovations" to fix them. Water leaks, electrical and other failures throughout the building, impact hundreds of families today, just as they did 10 years ago.....  Kline was, effectively the "boss" of the zoning and code officials. Do you thing he should be on the Zoning hearing Board?

    Now many Rydal familes are being directly impacted by Klines failure to inform his  constiuents of  the changes to the R1 zoning, or to protect them on his own, since he was to have been working in their interests. If they knew, they could have asked to have that removed.  The same residents having to now consider the cost of hiring lawyers, the cost of their time fighting to protect the value of their homes, the same residents having the quality of their lives reduced,  might not be thrilled to learn that they also have already paid dearly for not just the expensive Whistleblower suit that Kline's actions triggered,  but for many other Kline inspired costs such as the insanely  costly Grand Jury inquiry, that produced  recommended penalties for Kline and for Michael Clarke, our current Solicitor... but which advice was fully ignored by the Commissioners, despite us all having footed the enormous bill.  Kline maintains a positions of authority both in the Township and at the County, where undoubtedly more lives will be continually affected and Michael Clarke impacts lives every day as Solicitor, including the lives of those  at 100 York, where little has been done to see that codes are adhered to, and where changes to the codes, that could have been immensely helpful, were practically nil. The Inquirer also did a disturbing investigation  that you should read about what appears to be "Pay to Play" politics and Clarke's involvement there. Tom Hecker, as president of the Board  presides over all of this - and his addition was, frighteningly, to openly deceive his own residents and allow improper procedures in scheduling  the 1209 Rydal Rd Hearing  that would have served to "sneak through" a fast approval for the Conditional Use.

    These "surprizes" to residents, who have to put their lives on hold to get up to speed and fight them,  create a constant crisis in one place after another. Codes that arent enforced Township wide that include a deteriorated mold-filled building being sold as a "Luxury Apartment" at 100 York, the BET monstrosity intitially proposed on  the YMCA property, 365 apartments proposed by PRIET on Bloomingdale's parking lot, a Comprehensive Plan based on false figures and deceit of the residents, and hundreds of other problems day in and day out are the result of a Township putting a priority on the financial gain of a few - over the quality of life  for the people they serve... and who pay their salaries.  We cannot leave life and death decisions, or decisions about the quality of our lives in the hands of  those who have already shown that they cannot be trusted.  

    Again, to focus, the "Institutional Use" employed here  was inserted, under Kline's, Hecker's and Clarke's watch, into every residential district in Abington, without the knowledge of the people impacted

     There are plenty of places for such institutions. We have areas zoned for just that.
     This should be removed from the ordinance, before the next residential assault.


   ERRORS? Please check all details  for accuracy before relying on them .
   If there are discrepancies please let us know so we can correct anything that needs correcting. 

      Their first attempt was to put in lots and lots of Townhouses  . 

April 2017-
Steve Kline leads the Zoning Rewrite Committee - which adds  the institutional use to the R1 Zoning. He is, concurrently, the Commissioner of Ward 1.   Although Kline has been implored to let the residents of each Ward learn what is being added to the Zoning, his own constituents are not notified about the addition of the institutional use until  June of 2023, when a proposal for 2 Life Care facilities is made....

June 2019
- Chaverim Realty Partners, LLC is born -

July 1, 2019 Chaverim  purchases the property in the picture above with 5-6  additional buildable lots for $600,000 total. We have learned that there was a great deal of maintenance  needed...  including an expensive roof over 25 years old, updating throughout, windows,  trees that needed removal, etc  - perhaps even up to $1M in all. With several likely building lots that could go for upwards of $100K and possibly up to $200K or more  each - depending on cost to install utilities, etc -  the actual worth of the  property would seem to be  substantially higher - though, in wanting to sell sooner rather than later, the family may not have wanted to pursue anything with such complications ...  or maybe the specific potential of the lots may not have been made known to them. We don't know.  The tax  (that had been as high as $34K per year) show an 18% reduction soon after the sale.  

August 2021 -
The new owner's Contractor MB Crafters, meets with residents proposing  (56 units ?) - A couple of Singles some stacked Townshouses and duplexes or quads - and tells them that they were told by the  Township that  this would be approved.  The unhappy residents are told to circulate petitions, to petition the people who told them to circulate the petitions to deny it.

May 22- 2023 -
Chaverim Realty Partners, LLC  is back and requested a Life Care Facility and a Nursing Home . Note that the announcement does not even so much as give the number of units - you have to make an appointment to get that info....
Notice is hereby given that the Board of Commissioners of Abington Township, on Thursday, June 8, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. at the Abington Township Building, will hold a public hearing and take action on the following matter:Applicant:   Chaverim Realty Partners, LLC
Property:     For the property located at 1209 Rydal Road, Abington, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and is identified as Montgomery County Tax Parcel No. 30-00-61132-00-2This is an application requesting Conditional Use approval pursuant to Section 301 of the Abington Township Zoning Ordinance to permit Use E-10: Life Care Facility (Continuing Care) and Use E-12: Nursing Home in the R-1 Low-Density Residential Zoning District. 
A copy of the application is on file with the Office of the Township Manager and may be reviewed by appointment only between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  Please contact the Township at tcastorina@abingtonPA.gov or (267) 536-1003 to schedule an appointment. Additional information regarding access to the public meeting is available on the Township’s website at abingtonpa.gov.  Comments or questions are encouraged to be submitted in advance of the meeting to tcastorina@abingtonPA.gov.  If a member of the public would like to participate but requires assistance or accommodation, please contact the Township at tcastorina@abingtonPA.gov or (267) 536-1003 prior to 10:00 a.m. on June 8, 2023. 
    There is almost a purposeful attempt here at duping the public - requiring them to individually make a private appointment to come in and see the documents, one by one rather than providing an information session, or even providing the  number of units or telling them when and where they can receive the entire document in digital form, so it  can be easily reviewed and easily shared.
   Any application for development should  be available to the public the minute it is accepted as an official document by the Township, and no Commissioner should fail to alert their constituents at the earliest opportunity. The Commissioner is always notified when development in their Ward is proposed.

June 2023 -
The subdivision acreage  has been  rearranged - taking some acres from the larger plot to add to the smaller one and a few other changes made per recommendation by Engineer (?). They needed 5 acres to have the Institutional Use
So the house is now on 1.6 acreas and more than 5 acres is left for the 2 institutional uses .

June 2, 2023  -
Ward 1 Commissioner Tom Hecker and Ward 11 Commissioner John Spiegelmand meet in a Penn State Parking lot - rather than in the Township building board room, where the application could be shown and reviewed. Residents are given just a page or 2 of the application to see - and a limited # of  residents are in attendance - and this is just days before the Hearing.
Today by 5:30 the agenda packet was posted (a full day late) - the documents are found  on page 7 to page 132 here : The application is at p7 to p 132 here :  https://d3n9y02raazwpg.cloudfront.net/abingtonpa/cc1b20e0-9802-11ed-96ab-0050569183fa-ca2b9c28-b9cf-4f17-b573-dd2752d4679e-1689773588.pdf 

June 3, 2023  
The project was withdrawn from the June 8, 2023  Hearing that was scheduled .... since it had never gone to the Planning Commission as required which was brought to everyone's attention . See Zoning code p 120-122 to see that it SHALL go to the Planning Commission.  
 Before a hearing can be set - the item should have / would have received review and scrutiny by 1) the Zoning Officer (Allison Lee )  2) the Solicitor (Michael Clarke)  3) the Engineer ( Pennoni ... Allison Lee again? )  4)  Our Township Planner ( Michael Narcowicz)  5) the Montgomery County Planning Commission  6) the Manager ( Richard Manfredi)  and 7) the Ward Commissioner (Tom Hecker) .
How could it be that NONE of them saw to it that a Planning Commission Review and report was scheduled and received  - none noticed that no proper public presentation had been given. Tom Hecker knew  his constituents  had none of what they needed . They failed not just the adherance to the laws and codes that they all know well and work with every day - but also  they failed at a very simple moral obligation to see that the  residents were properly informed and had what they needed.......

July 2023  -
it was put on   the July 25, 2023  Planning Commission schedule, supposedly to be followed by an August 8, 2023  Hearing.
The Subject Property is a 7 .316 acre parcel with frontage on Rydal Road and Woodland Road that is improved with an existing single-family dwelling. The Applicant proposes to subdivide the Subject Property into two parcels. Lot 1 will consist of 1.272 acres and contain the existing single-family dwelling. Lot 2 will consist of 6.281 acres and the Applicant proposes to develop a senior care facility consisting of a 74 unit/82 bed Assisted Living/Memory Care facility contained in Building One and a 46 unit Independent Living facility in Building Two (the "Senior Care Facility"). Since the first submission, the Applicant has revised the subdivision lot boundary to comply with the dimensional regulations of the zoning district in which the site is located per the zoning ordinance. Under the current resubmission, with the revised lot boundary, the Applicant is now proposing to subdivide the above referenced 7.316-acre property into two (2) parcels as follows: • Lot 1 – will consist of 1.622 acres which contains the existing single-family detached dwelling to remain; and, • Lot 2 – will consist of the remaining 5.696 acres of vacant land which is proposed to be developed for two (2) new senior care facilities totaling 120 units. 

they realized before July 25th that their new schedule would not, of course, allow the Planning Commission its proper time to prepare a report and for  revisions to be made if any conditions were imposed by the Planning Commission,  and then of course the  application with any required revisions  would have to be approved by the Board for  advertisement. So ....  it was withdrawn completely before July 25, 2023 . They will be back, we understand, with a completely new application.

  Aug 18,  2023 - A new application is now available for the Planning Commission Meeting on 8-22-23 .
Supposedly the deadline to take action is Oct 31, 2023 . That can be extended if the developer agrees. If he doesn't agree, the Township can turn the project down. So the deadline is not absolute. However, if the Township doesn't get an extension or turn it down, it can be "deemed approved"
  Aug 22, 2023  - CANCELLED Planning Commission Review.
This was requested by the developer... and should , one would think,  have pushed the required decision date from Oct 31, 2023  out another month--- but it appears that the extension of time was not requested by or received by the Commissioners. Here's where you can find the documents ( the application itself) from  this meeting.   

  Sept 26, 2023  The Planning Commission Review.
The Planning commision voted to recommend to the Commissioners to deny the application



     No documents were posted for this project. 
      June 8, 2023   7:30 pm  Applicant:   Chaverim Realty Partners, LLC
      For 1209 Rydal Road-- Tax Parcel No. 30-00-61132-00-2
      Requesting Conditional Use approval pursuant to Section 301 of the Abington Township Zoning Ordinance to permit :
      Use E-10: Life Care Facility  (Continuing Care) and
      Use E-12: Nursing Home in the R-1 Low-Density Residential Zoning District. 


       Chaverim Realty Partners LLC 
      4122  Haverford Ave  Suite 11  Phila Pa 19104
      The Registered Agent was Active Realty
1751 Easton Road Willow Grove PA 19090
      David Mermelstein PresSolomon Mermelstein  Sec & Treas



So yes – 1209 Rydal Rd has the use by right to put in Institutional uses – see page 350 – go down the  R1 column.  There are 3 pages of uses.
But it does NOT have the use by right to violate the Steep Slope overlay.

The maps that show what is zoned how,  are on page 352 and 353  (353 shows each parcel & is the most useful)
The  Use Matrix charts (burgundy-ish) that show you what can be done in each kind of zoning  are at pages 347 to  351   (using the counter on the actual page – not the pdf counter at the top of the page )

Up in the text of the ordinance is where you learn about buffers, setbacks, driveways, greenspace requirements, etc – search Life Care Facility  etc…


are found here :  https://www.delcocd.org/DevGuide.pdf
If there are any variances requested – they also have very stringent rules that the TOWNSHIP HAS NOT BEEN ADHEREING TO. See page 4 of the same guide as the Conditional Uses….  We won’t even know if they do have until they post the documents tomorrow .
Make sure Tom Hecker gets them posted EARLY in the day  so you can ask questions before the weekend

Here is the very clear process distributed after the 1st meeting,   before Mr Manfredi came and before  he and  Tom Hecker, as Chair of the Board of Commissioners,  obliterated your rights

There is no time it could have been approved on the same night it was first presented. Until this new administration….  


HOW MANFREDI TRIED TO RECREATE the laws and codes   – which seems to indicate if it is Conditional Use – it must go to the Zoning Hearing Board – but that conflicts with the Municipalities Planning Code and with our own Subdivision and Land Development section of our Zoning Code  --- see the  Citizens Guide to Land Development in Pennsylvania – which I would think would be more reliable than Abington’s chart created by Mr Manfredi & co.
This link above has a better view than the below chart.
The chart is illegal. For instance, Conditional Uses do not go to the Zoning Hearing Board .....

On June 2nd, 2023  Tom Hecker met with some of the concerned neighbors in a Penn State Parking lot.

To be clear -  the June 8th, at 7:30 pm  was not billed as an "informational meeting". They said specifically “ Notice is hereby given that the Board of Commissioners of Abington Township, on Thursday, June 8, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. at the Abington Township Building, will hold a public hearing and take action on the matter.
    But before a hearing can be set - the item should have / would have received review and scrutiny by 1) the Zoning Officer (Allison Lee )  2) the Solicitor (Michael Clarke)  3) the Engineer ( Pennoni ... Allison Lee again? )  4)  Our Township Planner ( Michael Narcowicz)  5) the Montgomery County Planning Commission  6) the Manager ( Richard Manfredi)  and 7) the Ward Commissioner (Tom Hecker) .
How could it be that NONE of them saw to a proper public presentation, the adherance to the laws that they all know well and a very simple moral obligation to see that the adjoining residents were properly informed and had what they needed? 

Instead, Tom Hecker and John Spiegelman met them in a Penn State Parking lot - Tom passed out a single page of the 125 + page application to some and a couple of pages of that application to a few others and when asked if it didn't have to go to the Planning Commission first, he said  "that's for Land Development" . He said there are no picures or drawings here ( referring to the papers he was passing out .  But he knew they were required to post the full documents  by June 1st for a June 8th meeting.
He told them, since he was a judge, he could not act for them at the hearing.  He told them to sign up as parties tot he proceedings and do the best they could.  He did not tell them that hte Planning Commission, had they reviewed it first , could even have taken a position at the meeting on behalf of  the Township...... In other words, conceivebably they could have advocated for the residents position.... if the Township agreed.  But without a Planning Commission meeting first- that would not happen.

This is, of course ,  unheard of. No development EVER should be “presented to the public” for the first time  on the same day it is able to be fully approved.  Comr Hecker  has so severely “amended “ your meeting and public comment rules, and so many times,  in his time as President of the Board of Commissioners in Abington that few have any idea what the rules are or where to find them.  And again and again they are violating the few rules that are left.  

  Before Tom Hecker and Richard Manfredi began tampering with the Committee and public meeting process, there was :
1) First a Code Enforcement and Land Development Committee  that reviewed a project. It was filmed and aired
2) From there it was usually  sent to the Planning Commission to work out specific details – It was filmed and aired if it was a big project that residents were concerned about, like this one .  Residents were allowed Questions and answers and were allowed to return to the microphone  if they just learned something new  or to make final comment.
3) Then it came back  to the Code & Land Development  Committee for that Committee's  review of any changes the Planning Commission made  - so the final version with corrections could be seen and to recommend it to the Board of Commissioners to advertise for a Hearing. 
4) The full Board voted to advertize it 
5) The Hearing was held . This process gave ample time forall to learn what was happening, to research, to network with one another and to get a lawyer if needed.

Comr Hecker and Manager Richard Manfredi   have so curtailed that process that it is a giant GIFT to the developers, who are whizzing large projects through with  flaws and without proper review.  Hecker and Manfredit completely removed the  all 4 Committees - where your speaking rights were very robust and where the meetings were filmed and aired.   The document are required to be posted by the Friday before a meeting, but Mr Manfredi is famous for failing to post as required. If he does post on Friday, he posts at the very end of the day, when any questions can’t get answered til Monday --- so you lose the entire weekend before the meeting to work on it.  

When an item FIRST comes to the Township, it is a public document and as such should be posted witht he link distributed. That also is not happening - so residents are losing valuable time .

It is important to get the process straight ---- lest you become the victim next.

historical overview --- prior efforts to develop



This is about a proposal to take a 7.79 + acre lot - at least partially on a slope, that could at most support 7 single family homes under the current R 1 zoning, and to ask the Commissioners  to violate the rights and wishes of the residents and allow this developer to change the zoning in order to build  either 18 Townhouse units and 16 Duplex units (34 units total)  where only 7 should currently be  .... or maybe a mix of Townhouse condo's, Duplex condos and single family homes  for even  more than 34 units ( again, where only 6 more single family homes should be, if current laws codes were upheld. )  
This will
increase the bottom line of the  developer and undoubtedly detract from the value of the beautiful homes that are currently there. 
The developer's wealth would come at the expense of the citizens' rights to have their zoning protected.

Sign the petition  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdlcOkgpYWQ6epoQB-ChQcXnzDyVWmf5vzCL76H65BG60lZxw/viewform   or  Email lel@abingtoncitizens.com to be connected

  1209 RYDAL ROAD   
   View the Property here  

  VALUE:  It is  off  the market now.
   Before Chaverim bought it, it was listed  at well over $1M at one point

   From Zillow  10-21:  Zillow estimates this
5 bd 6.5 bth  4947 sf  home at   $1,403,600 
   So why did it sell at $600K? Yes, it needs work - but THAT much? Almost a million?

  VALUE:  The assesssed value is $680,050  and the Common Level Multiplier is 2.24  indicating  a potential  calculation of market value as $1.52 M  So why did it sell at $600K?

   Chaverim Realty
Partners LLC 
   4122  Haverford Ave  Suite 11  Phila Pa 19104
   The Registered Agent was Active Realty
1751 Easton Road Willow Grove PA 19090 Montgomery 
David Mermelstein PresSolomon Mermelstein  Sec & Treas


  6-27-19  CHAVERIM PURCHASES THE PLOT  June  27, 2019  for   $600,000 per Montco Property Records

Sale Date        27-JUN-19      Sale Price        $600,000     Tax Stamps     6000    Deed Book and Page  6143-02991
Grantor            STEINBERG MARY ELLEN       
Date Recorded 10-JUL-19     Sale Date        27-JUN-19

he buidling contractor  MB Crafters   Moshe Barazani 
The business is registered on Ambler Rd in Abington on at least one report - but the principal Moshe Barazani, coincidentally ives just a few blocks away from Commissioner Hecker. They are listed with 2 employees and annual revenue just over $300K . There is not date on that report - but it came up on D&B  in mid October 2021 https://www.dnb.com/business-directory/company-profiles.m_b_crafters_of_pa_inc.fce627345a13b542bfa2724667ce85ff.html


Craig Lerch ( realtor involved in the sale) introduces MB Crafters , the building contractor . 
They offer their proposal  for feedback. There is some confusion over the exact realtionships - for instance , whether  MB Crafters is just the Builder/Contractor -or partner .  but we are trying to clear that up.  Chaverim Partners is the only entity  listed in the Montgomery County property records as the owner.

   TOWNSHIP ENCOURAGEMENT TO VIOLATE ZONING ?  We are also seeking to clear up who it was in the Township that encouraged denser development  be offered .  Some stories have the Commissioner saying that is not true - others have him syaing that he will find out who it was .  SThere may have been a  zoom call with the Township where the deeper density was encouraged.  All that is yet to be sorted out.  Please let me know if you have learned more about this, so we can keep this page as accurate as possible. 

   A SECTION FROM THE PLANS as presented  8-9-21 
16 duplexes on the left . 18 Townhomes on the right.  50 homes altogether on 7 acres . 51 counting the main house.
Totally out of sync with this beautiful, single family home neighborhood. 

 Rydal Map


TOD stands for Transit Oriented Development - and generally there are monies available to builders to build densely around Transit hubs - like the Rydal Train station. From our pockets to theirs - to do things we don't want done.
Yes - the TOD funds come from taxes you pay.  Or, as they would have you believe, from the tooth fairy.

 TOD Spec Chart 


  THE PROPOSED HOUSING INFO below is from the bottom of the chart shown above - It shows 4 single family homes, 9 townhouses and 16 stacked townhouse duplexes... but  SOME residents came away with the sense that 18 Townhouses and 16 Duplexes were what was in the plan. Others thought thtere was a mix like this.  Some understood all to be condos. So as of this 10-21 writing, confusion reigns.


The Plot in relation to its neighbors



The plot in relation to the train  station - Where is the walkable area? Who will pay for the sidewalks ? Who will maintain them ? The intersection at Valley and Susquehann is crazy busy at rush hour . Is it smart to drive pedestrian traffic there . It is NOT for the benefit of the  current residents who voted these legislators in to oversee their interests. Any benefit will go to the developer and to new tenants or owners of these residences .... at the expense of the others already there.



 and your disappearing zoning rights. You cannot simply request to have your own property improved for your benefit alone by changing the zoning for yourself, and not for others that have the same kind of properties. So when developers add things into our Zoning Code to benefit themselves, often other properties get rights that the residents near the other properties never even learn about and never have a say in - even though the law intends that they should. Our Township famously does not reveal these things or explain them to the residents impacted.

### When the York Rd Wawa  at the top of the Fairway got their massive benefits ( the equivalent of 23 variances or waivers), other properties were affected and would now ALSO be allowed to have a gas station and 24 hour  operation.  Contiguous neighbors to these other properties, however,  were not alerted. 

### When the former YMCA property got their new rights as a gigantic gift from the Commissioners, significant changes to other properties occurred. The impact of that was never explored.

### Penn State just held many meetings about changes they soon hope to have, without notifying the neighbors near other properties that may get the same uses by right.  Manor College will also change and those neighbors were never given any proper explanation.

The same is likely to happen here. Spot Zoning,  on it's face, is improper and illegal - but the laws and codes are being twisted or ignored in unethical ways  that leave residents helpless unless they want to dip into their own pockets and try to sue either a wealthy developer or a Township that has immunity. Recent case law twisted the intents even further by suggesting if the Commissioners WANT that kind of zoning - if it is in theri "vision" then it is not spot zoning. 

Now - as of 10-14-21 we have another threat to our zoning .  The Township revealed at the Committee of the Whole on 10-14-21 that they are planning to unveil an even further erosion of your zoning rights. They want to give themselves the right to "amend " the zoning ordinance virtually at will.  That means you would no longer have any strong zoning protections for your property at all.  They tried to sneak this into a paragraph some years ago that would have affected  most of the York Rd corridor .  The simple phrase was discovered and there was an outcry to remove it .  Now they put the assault on your zoning rights into an agenda item that was billed as Public Comment changes  --- and it would affect the entire Township.  More to come on this matter. 
  Whether our laws and codes work properly or don't is in the hands of your legislators (even though they falsely may tell you it is not ) .
 Do not allow them to continue passing legislation that removes your rights  and puts everything in their hands. Hold them accountable by learning  what they are doing - but protecting your public comment rights so you can inform others - and by learning how your system of elections works, so you can find new candidates to replace those that are "hard of hearing". 



  HERE IS YOUR ZONING CODE -  near the very end are the uses that are already allowed in the R1 districtand the zoning maps   http://www.abington.org/home/showdocument?id=6053    Remember : whatever they put in it will apply to all other properties that meet the same specs Township-wide.


On 10-19-21 there was a Comprehensive Plan meeting  with a focus this session on Future Land UseThe Land use map tell the whole story. The blue dotted lines show the  1/2 mi  TOD's ( Transit Oriented Districts)  - ( see the 1/2 mile around the Rydal Station)  where dense development generally is  encouraged . The TOD around  Rydal Station includes 1209 Rydal Rd --- apparently they didn't want to wait for public input and the hearing and the plan to be officially passed.  The dense development already IS  "encouraged" without the input of the public. But the gray circles are  1/2 mi "Mixed Residential Overlay" areas.  I would interpret Mixed Use residential to be exactly what was proposed here --- but I am unsure how they are differentiaing their TOD overlay from the  "Mixed Use Residential Overlay". Does the TOD allow mixed use including commercial as TODs often do ? 



  IS THIS IN THE INTEREST OF THE HEALTH, SAFETY OR WELFARE OF THE RESIDENTS THESE COMMISSIONERS ARE SERVING ? No. Really, it is not.  Despite that it is the Commissioners'  duty to protect our welfare, this is contrary to that.  Multiple projects are, at this very moment,  being pushed through with no proper financial analysis  nor any analysis whatsoever of any kind that shows a  benefit to the current residents of the Township or shows the full extent of the negative impacts. Some of these impacts may even be very costly, may  devalue our homes, crowd our schools, raise our taxes,  keep us sitting in  time-wasting, pollution-creating  traffic and may require expansion of major facilities. Not to mention  changing the very character of our beautiful residential neighborhoods, or showing any recognition that  a great majority of residents again and again have vocalized that they do not want to be "urbanized".
And you should be sure to factor in  that your Commissioner is not the only one who votes on this issue .  You can find all the Commissioners here . Please let them hear from you. And please send their responses here so that others
can know what they are saying about all of this.

  Please join those holding discussions, lending their voices and taking action.
 Email lel@abingtoncitizens.com to be connected in .


   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 

   ERRORS? Please check all details  for accuracy before relying on them .
   If there are discrepancies please let us know so we can correct anything that needs correcting. 

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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.

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