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on either side
will be given
on this site.
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APARTMENTS AT THE WILLOW GROVE MALL
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Zoom meeting will be held at 7 pm by the law firm Kaplin
Stewart representing PREIT, the owner of the Willow Grove
Mall. To sign up ( 24 hours in advance) email
Jessica Welch at
She will send you this registration link where you must
register to get the Zoom information
Be sure to see ( and help us add to ) the list of
QUESTIONS we already have underway for PREIT, found at
the very end of this page.
But changes in the BC
District generall, except to the use matrix, or other areas
designated just for Willow Grove Mall, would apply to all BC
On Nov 1st 2020
received a letter from the law firm
Kaplin Stewart, representing PREIT
(Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust), the
owner of the Willow Grove Mall, saying that PREIT
wishes to build 365 apartments just south of the pond along
Easton Road, near the corner of Moredon Road on the
The property is zoned BC (business
commercial) and they propose to amend the text of the BC
District to suit their new development plan. A request to
make a text amendment to the zoning is something that
the Commissioners do not need to act upon.
They can choose to deny it or take no action at all. They should not allow them to move forward unless
residents clearly want them to. (When they did that at
Abington Terrace, residents spent over a YEAR fighting it in
meeting after meeting after meeting .... and
ultimately were forced into a less that wonderful compromise. There was no need
for that to have happened. They should never have been
allowed to more forward unless a majority of residents
Since we do not yet know what changes they are proposing, it
is unclear whether these changes would apply to other BC
It is my belief as of this writing that the Zoom meeting on
November 9, 2020 is not being held by the Township but by PREIT
itself, via their attorney Kaplin-Stewart. Members of the
Board of Commissioners may or may not attend. And it is
unlikely that our Solicitor would be in attendance, though,
of course, he might.
The matter of the text amendment is a legislative change .
The Board has the right to zone property within the Township
at its discretion. This is a new concept that developers
have caught on to, and they no longer apply for variances and
exceptions, that require hardships or other conditions . They
now just reach right out to the Commissioners
to ask them to rezone the property the way they would like it. This of
course is a great disservice to residents, who deserve to
have the land around them zoned securely to protect the
value of their house. Image that you bought your house
without a giant structure next to it - and all of a
sudden a giant structure is there. Because it is
a legislative process, it goes before the Board of
Commissioners, not the Zoning Hearing Board... This way they do not
need a hardship,
as one normally would for a variance.
Any changes that they propose to the BC (Business
Commercial) district, except for changes to the use matrix,
or other sections that are just for Willow Grove
Park, would also impact other BC ( business commercial) districts in my
understanding of what is happening here. We will learn more
about it after the meeting November 9. And check back,
because I will make any corrections that are appropriate .
meeting is at 7 PM &
you must request the zoom information and to attend the
meeting at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. 24
hours would put it on Sunday so you might be best to request
by Friday - a working day.
PREIT filed for Chapter 11
Bankruptcy on Sunday 11-1-30 . It is anticipated that they
are planning to restructure, not close down. So if the
apartments go through, there will be an active mall and 365
rental units. PREIT OWNS ABOUT 20 PROPERTIES,
INCLUDING HE wILLOW gROVE mALL
The prepackaged financial plan ensures $150 million in
funding to "recapitalize the business and extend the
company's debt maturity schedule," it said in a statement.
The plan has "overwhelming support" from its lenders and
it's looking to quickly emerge from the process.
Preit has about 20 properties – 24% of tenants are now
restaurants, gyms, movies etc
VIDEO TAPED AND AIRED
Ask your Commissioner
and /or The Township Manager for this meeting,and all related meetings, to be
video-taped & aired and stored on a single page
with an individual link on the Township website that is
easily found and shareable ( like this page ).
This helps those who can't make it to meetings, or
those who learned about it late or those who need to review
Here is the newest Code,
passed on 4-17. The BC Business Commercial District
guidelines can be found in it :
page 53 - The intent of
the BC district as well as the intent for Willow Grove Park
( Read all at the website link)
J . Additional Intent
Specific to Willow Grove Park: 1. Serve as a regional
shopping center, providing for the daily shopping needs of
Township residents, employees, and those from the larger
region. Require a mix of retail and office uses, while
allowing community service uses. 2. Provide for outparcels
and some development along external streets, particularly
Easton Road. 3. Accommodate automobile-oriented uses while
establishing a pedestrian-friendly environment. 4. Improve
connections with Willow Grove, including the business
district, train station and Willow Grove Shopping Center. 5.
Require strong buffer and lower building heights near
single-family residential district.
65 to 67 - Dimensional requirements
-Signs and single use properties and joint use properties
pages 347 to 351 is the use matrix - be sure to choose
the middle column listing Willow Grove Mall as there are
multiple BC districts
page 352 has the map showing
the mall in red in the upper left -- But all the red spaces
would be included in any changes that were made generally to
BC districts that were not specified for a particular
JOB FOR YOU - RESIDENTS SHOULD REQUEST TO
JOB FOR YOU -RESIDENTS
SHOULD REQUEST THAT
SPEAKING RIGHTS BE AMENDED TO
- Talk to your Commissioner. Measures currently in place that stifle the voices
of residents should be removed and/or amended to
afford residents proper access to their government. We need
to have a process where residents can properly explain their
concerns . A recent move by Manager Manfredi was touted as
"expanding rights" but actually reduced them yet again.
Our representatives must clearly understand what their
constituents want them to do.
this page for the list of things that we need - and for a
history of the speaking rule changes. Our voices are
needed so we can keep our communities from being developed
or operated in ways that we do not condone. The
residents who live and vote here want to craft our
communities to work for us - we want those we elect to
represent us, to actually....
FOR YOU -
Help us learn some of the following details
IN ADVANCE AND HELP ADD TO
THIS LIST OF QUESTIONS FOR preit so that
we can go fully prepared into the meeting on November 9. If
each person does a little bit we will know a lot that will
be helpful at the meeting. Ask your Commissioner . File a
Right to Know ( which takes at least 5 days for a response-
they can then take an additional 30 days for a legal review
) . Or otherwise research these and share any
answers you get back here so I can post them :
Does the proposed development have a name?
Has the mall appealed its tax assessment in the last 10
years? If so was it successful?
How do you have the funds ( or the ability to obtain funds)
when you have filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
mall has paid in the past five years
Earned Income /// Business-Mercantile /// Real Estate ?
Taxes the new unit is
expected to produce Earned Income ///
Business-Mercantile /// Real Estate ?
What is the mall's assessed
Real Estate Value as it currently is today
What is the # of
apartment units recently built or underway in Abington and
in other areas near Willow Grove?
What is the # of
corporate housing units in the township versus number of
homeowner -owned units ?
What is the intended range
of the rents per unit at the new development
What income (range) must one
be in in order to afford living in these units?
What is the Date (s?)
of any township meetings where this issue is expected to be
many children do you expect these apartments would have that
would be of school age ?
How many seniors do you
anticipate might find these apartments desirable?
What amenities will the
A shared meeting space would
be a perfect space as a "give-back " to the community
the mall meeting spaces have been limited to non-profit use
and have inconvenient hours & availability
What is a ball-park estimate
of traffic increase in and out each day ?
What re the parking
intentions at the Holidays when the lot has traditionally
been full -up at the mall ?
What is the estimated
increase in stormwater run-off and what that will do
to the retention basin (pond) ?
What is the change in
greenspace / impervious surface?
How much of the
impervious space that was intended as mall parking
will be used ( how much sf and how many spots?
How many additional
students will our schools be expected to accommodate after
the apartments are complete?
If you were to obtain
the zoning on the property, via this application, what is to
keep you from selling the property immediately with
the new zoning -- which means simply that development in
Abington expands – and possibly in a way that is different
from your proposal that we might like far less ? (This was
just done at the YMCA)
you allowed to NOT pay back your full debts to some, while
you use your funds to enhance the future value of your
property at the same time?
What will happen if you run
out of funds and have to include the new project in the
bankruptcy? Is that a possibility?
What is your
unstable financial condition ends up putting the new
project into bankruptcy- where would that leave Abington?
In all of the
open discussions I have seen on-line, the vast majority of
residents find this to be a bad idea. They do not want the
traffic, expansions of their schools, library and other
services, or the disappearance of their skyline and green
spaces or the increase in rental housing versus home
ownership, which increases corporate voices over their
individual voices. The Commissioners should not be taking
up projects that the people they represent are opposed to
---- so what arguments would you make to try to convince
the Commissioners that this in in everybody's interest?
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