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                The Willow Grove Mall - An Overview  
                     ( a much MORE  DETAILED PAGE can be found here with all the pros and cons and far more info )



 NEXT MEETING :  Oct 12 a Special Meeting  - Economic Development Committee  7:30 am
This is the 10th meeting and follows on the heels of a tatally bogus financial presentation

The Nutshell  (see the details page for WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT)

*  here is a petition you can sign - and pass to others

 * pLEASE SIGN UP FOR THE nEWSLOOP  FOR THE FOLLOW UP INFORMATION ON THIS  AND OTHER TOWNSHIP MATTERS OF IMPORTANCE. 


most recent actions 

  thE  10th MEETING  October 12th, 2021  - stay tuned 


  thE  9th MEETING   September 28th 2021 Held at 7:30 am to be sure very few attend 
 
The June 22nd meeting of the Economic Development Committee was cancelled - and finally rescheduled for Sept 28 .  What a joke.  First of all, Bruce Goodman attended it - he did not recuse himself, even though his properties will benefit with enormously increased rights if this ordinance passes.  PREIT did literally launch again into  the "history " of the Mall - including not a stitch of actual financial information as to how this would help the Mall one single bit.  Bloomies will be selling their parking lot area to Bel Canto -- causing a crisis at holiday shopping time when every space is filled  ( except during a pandemic ).

     Bel Canto will benefit handsomely -- but apparently very much at the expense of the Township taxpayers who will be eating 100's of thousands of dollars of the expense up to  perhaps millions  - because the  chart they produced was rife with inaccuracies. It included financing for just TEN students - less than 1/2 of their OWN estimate.  But the National homebuilders estimates 61 according to statistics shared at that meeting  - and the actual School District numbers start at 8 and climb to 105 possible students in just the FIRST 365 unit building - remember their  request allows for 3 or 4  times that if this ordinance passes. 

   It also , included only a fraction of the expenses the Mall will cost the Township and was WAY, WAY off on the most important part - the calculation of the number of students that will likely go to our schools. At $22,000 per student, this is INEXCUSEABLE.  The real numbers show that there is a great likelihood the Township will suffer a great loss of between several hundred thousand and several million if htis ordinance passes --- and that is without any calculation of expanded streets, improvements to clogged intersections,  traffic signaling, curbs and sidewalks,  the cost of the loss of greenspace, of your time sitting in traffic , of the more polluted air from cars idling at lights ( the  traffic all the way into Roslyn is clogged up every rushhour of every workday -  - with 1248 units a possible 2400 additional cars  might be possible) Stormwater facilities may need expansion - our police force also may .... and Township administrators are already so focused on new developers that they are ignoring basic Township services like code enforcement and property maintenance.  The parks, librairies  will be fuller and may need to expand ... NONE of those expenses are in the developers chart - that already has full bogus figures for our school and uses  a different "property assessment "  when calculating the school side and the Township side.
     
       It is stunning to see what John Spiegelman and Tom Hecker are allowing developers to do.  They are aiding and abetting people who are not playing straight with the taxpayers of this Township.


Chart-Sept28-2021Finances

SEE THE FINANCES PAGE - FOR THE FIGURES USING REAL, NOT MADE -UP, NUMBERS

  thE  8th MEETING  The June 10th, 2021 - Committee of the Whole  - where they returned  after the Planning Commission - supposedly to share their  thumbs up or thumbs down about whether they were accepting this text & map amendment .........

 
This was the 8th meeting that residents have had to endure and once again there were shenanigans. 

1) No Planning Commission report was included  in the documents - even though I had heard from several people some of the Planning comments - and the Commissioners seemed to be privvy to them --the document,  for the public, was  not
available. Not a single word about the Planning Commission reccommendations was shared at the June 10th meeting. So yet another wasted meeting .

2) After we wasted our 5 minutes commenting on what we might GUESS could possibly happen when they brought the item up for discussion ( after our comments were completed and no longer accommodated)  -  nothing we ever could have guessed was proposed - they decided to send it to the Economic Development Committee. So we were unable to comment on that . They did NOT ever  ask the developer to produce a financial analysis. Manager Manfredi at a previous EDC meeting  had already discussed with those there that they ( the Township and EDC ) should put a financial picture together for the residents of what would happen if this were turned down... to show them how much it was needed - ostensibly to "save the Mall". So it looks like, instead of requiring a financial analysis of the applicant to prove  any benefit to the Township residents, the Township might be planning to use your taxpayer dollars to do that  as a  favor for PREIT.  Keep your wallet open. These billionaires still need your help & contributions. How do you think they got to be billionaires in the first place?  They effectively have a Salvation Army bucket for your tax dollars to get tossed into right there at the Mall ( and you thought that was only at Christmas....)   

3) Though residents had to sit through yet another meeting, Tom Hecker, John Spiegelman and the rest of the Commissioners did not ask a single question of the applicant. They are waiting for the last hangers- on to drop out. Besides not demanding a single  full financial analysis of PREIT , showing any benefit to the taxpayers:
--- they also didn't require the applicant to put in writing  how many kids they expected would go to the school .   22-31 is what they testified to  at one of the meetings - but Abington is a very desireable School District and many move into Abington just because of it. 
--- they also didn't require an answer to our question about how many OTHER residential units could be possible on all the OTHER properties within the 2500 feet of the train, besides Bloomies, such as  Macy's or those owned by Bruce Goodman ( The Dick's Mall and the Vision Works strip) and part of Home Goods. 
----they didn't require anyone  to explain how it is NOT a conflict of interest for our County Planner, Michael Narcowicz, to have his time paid for both by the Township and the applicant .....so who WAS he really working for? And why did he write an ordinance that was in violation of our laws and codes?
---- they didn't ask any questions about the applicant's request NOT to fix the non-comformities,   such as less greenspace that was already a problem, as would be required by law .  Even BEFORE  their proposal to use  the RETENTION POND as their greenspace, the property was low on Greenspace per our code .  ----- Etc  etc., etc., etc..

 Find thedocuments here: https://d3n9y02raazwpg.cloudfront.net/abingtonpa/ae1380ae-3569-11eb-bc32-0050569183fa-ca2b9c28-b9cf-4f17-b573-dd2752d4679e-1623079645.pdf  

   thE  7th MEETING   On May 25th, 2021The  Planning Commission  heard this matter for the 4th time at their 7th tedious meeting. Yes, you heard right ....the 4th time at Planning.  And the 7th meeting overall. Still Mr. Kaplin would not come clean about the actual number of units that would be possible at the mall business district if this ordinance passed. He complained that our estimates did not include limitations that would lower them substantially, but he did not offer any numbers of his own, so the only opportunity we could take is to"guesstimate" . Given that he has shown 700 units possible on the right-hand side, it seems more than possible that another 700 or more than that would be available on Parkside, Park Place, and the TMJ at Home Store. No financial analysis. No description of the ownership so we know who is profiting. We have none of the things that we need to make any proper assessment of the costs of this project. It is quite possible that taxpayers will be stuck with a very heavy load. ..... The Planning Commission turned it down on May 25th, 2021.  However, the Planning Commission report is not amongst the scant documents  that were provided for the 6-10-21 meeting.  So once again we are not being given, under Mr. Manfredi's watch, the proper documentation and accessibility to information. This is a chronic problem with theis Manager .

You might want to view the  "turn down"  more as a “delay” and an opportunity to regroup ……  They are not going away. You will have to be loud and call out all the improper and even illegal things that have been done to try to pass this. One dupe after another ….. And this  meeting was no different .  The Chair allowing the blatant misconduct of the applicant as he interrupted the actual voting  to lobby for votes on his behalf ….  yes, literally right in the middle of the vote itself.  Stunning to watch.  Eventually Chairwoman Strackhouse  stopped him  ---  thanks to Cathy Gauthier  for trying to get that done sooner. How does a meeting like that not bring sanctions on the applicant.  I think that should disqualify his application.  If anyone knows the law on that please call me and let me know.

Planner Nick Brown, after listening to for meetings of residents telling him they did not want this put forth a motion saying that the planning commission was in favor of the concept.... Whaaaaaat? With friends like those who needs enemies? Fortunately his motion failed.

Ultimately Planner Ron Rosen put a motion forward that  the Planners would not recommend this proposal and that passed. See more below  and if you haven’t signed the petition please do
https://abingtoncitizens.com/petition/wgmall.htm  

But beware I would not count them out yet. Remember Mr. Manfredi created a chart that said he and the commissioners could do whatever they wanted to do at each step of the game.

 
  thE  6th MEETING  April 27 Planning Commission........ Their 3rd trip in the 6th meeting overall..........  where they did not vote or solidify the changes and garner consent on what changes were being recommended. Instead, Chair Lucy Strackhouse seemed to indicate she would pass along every single  comment made from all the meetings. That kind of defeats the whole role of the Planning Commission who is to review all the information and make recommendations. Also,  I didn't see any of the Planners vote to agree to have their vote taken away and to have Lucy do that  unilaterally with no consensus on such a process. Or is business being conducted out of the purview of the public again.
A great number of  significant changes were made and when a document is substantially changed it is, by law, supposed to return to the Planning Commission. The "law" doesn't seem to  matter to anyone involved with this - as the first 5 meetings were deceitfully focused on one single building - and finally at this 6th meeting another building was shown..... but that was only by ignoring about half of the property they intend to rezone, and all the units that can go on those parcels.  

"Petition to Amend our Ordinance (submitted  12-10-20) "  (that's the submitted request    the ordinance they propose )

Yes they recorded this - and all  3 of the Planning meetings - but refuse to play it on the channel or make it available on the web. Making it harder for residents to review  or catch what they missed ----- again, all decisions in favor of the developer.
 


  
WHAT'S THE NONSENSE  ABOUT  :
Through 5 solid, long, tedious meetings the mall owner PREIT, via their attorney Marc Kaplin, led you to believe a single 365 unit apartment building was being proposed next to the retaining pond in Bloomingdale's parking lot.  Your Commissioners sat quietly while that was presented. 
   
     But that's not what the documents said, that they had submitted. In the documents, if the ordinance they seek is passed,  EVERYTHING within the 2500 linear feet of the train is eligible for residential and commercial mix.   So it could be a huge and unknown number . By my best calculations, perhaps as many as 1500 or 2,000 or more could result given ceeeerterain circumstances.
    
     They did not admit to the 2nd building until the 6th meeting ----- hoping by then everyone was sick of slogging through useless meetings that gave rise to no useful information and which sometimes went past 10 pm.  The second building (in the Macy's parking lot, near Old Welsh and Easton), would bring the apartments to at least circa 700 total . But that but that number still fails to take into account many of the buildings and much of the eligible land that could lead, in ideal circumstances , to many more.  

       Please share this with  as many as you can. Far too few know about this – but it will impact us all………..And demand proper answers to our questions and the ability to clarify responses after they are given,  as Planning Meetings have always done  and should continue to do.  After they tell us the details they have refused us for so long,   this should then go to a Committee meeting where we have a chance to ask our Commissioners to hear our full comments and fix whatever needs fixing.  t SHOULD NOT GO STRAIGHT TO A VOTE. 

    PLEASE WRITE YOUR COMMISSIONER ABOUT THIS - AND DO NOT ACT LIKE IT IS A DONE DEAL, WHEN SO MANY OF US ARE FED UP WITH THE OVER-DEVELOPMENT OF  OUR TOWNSHIP, THE TRAFFIC WE SIT IN, THE DANGEROUS ROADS AND SO MUCH MORE.

  
Your voices  make a difference.  Your actions will matter. 
 
There are so many options that would benefit us and plenty of accessory uses we would encourage our Commissioners to allow, if PREIT asked for them.  Residential is a use that benefits only them !   Those who live here  NOW have a right to craft their own communities . 


 

*   thE  5th MEETING April 27 Planning Commission....... where the Planners did NOT even  vote, as is their duty, or solidify the changes and garner consent on what changes were being made or recommended...  Again, as is their duty.   Instead, Planning Commission Chair, Lucy Strackhouse,  seemed to indicate she would pass along every single  comment made from all the meetings to the Board of Commisioners.

   That  is not how it is supposed to work, and kind of defeats the whole role of the Planning Commission who are  to review all the information and make recommendations- voting  with each voice - not the unilateral decision of the Chair.     I didn't see any of the Planners vote to agree to have their vote taken away ....   and to have Lucy do that  unilaterally with no consensus on such a process. Or is business being conducted out of the purview of the public again?  None of what happened here was ok . 

     A great number of  significant changes were made and when a document is substantially changed it is, by law, supposed to return to the Planning Commission. The "law" doesn't seem to  matter to anyone involved with this - as the first 5 meetings were deceitfully focused on one single building - and finally at this 6th meeting another building was shown..... but that was only by ignoring about half of the property they intend to rezone, and all the units that can go on those parcels.        This was PREIT's  3rd trip to the Planning Commission and the 6th meeting overall to review the "now  infamous" "Petition to Amend our Ordinance (submitted  12-10-20) "  (that's the submitted request) Yes they recorded this - and all  3 of the Planning meetings - but refuse to play it on the channel or make it available on the web. Making it harder for residents to review  or catch what they missed ----- again, all decisions in favor of the developer.

UPDATE -  apparently someone read them the riot act .... and they ARE returning to the Planning Commission -- but what has changed is clear as mud. Apparently   there was a May 3rd draft released which is repeatedly referred to, yet apparently not available.  This is an ordinance with many, many changes . After having it explained at the  Planning Commission meeting, it should get a full vetting at a  Committee meeting where residents comments can create any changes that THEY ( not the Planners) would like.  No final hearing should be had without that working meeting.   And residents should not have to do their   own "compare version "  to know what changes were actually  made.  

You can find  the new version by scrolling down to page 20 HERE :  6a1f9432-4497-11eb-920e-0050569183fa-89f7711d-756c-4bd0-b21c-a2fc67157d29-1621475386.pdf (d3n9y02raazwpg.cloudfront.net   Ask  the Manager  ( rmanfredi@abington.org)    to give us  a marked up version and a comparison with current conditions, as has been repeatedly asked .   Residents are supposed to be at the TOP of the organizational  chart. Would anyone at the TOP of any chart accept this muddle of changes?

How hard would it have been for them to be highlighted with a note in the margin? 100 million for just the 1st building... so hundreds of millions.......  and no accommodation for the reseidents.

 



Your attention has been focused on one single building….   what they are asking is anything  but!  After 5 meetings, they finally admitted to a second building in the Macy's lot - but would not talk about the rights that the other parcels have. So the 300 lb Gorilla is still in the room. How many units can they make with this ordinance if it passes . Heights were reduced in the 6th meeting to 65 feet . 

SOME  OF WHAT IS BELOW IS NOW OUTDATED BECAUSE CHANGES WERE FINALLY MADE AT THE 6TH MEETING ( ESPECIALLY HEIGHT FROM 85 FT TO 65 AND ONLY BUILDINGS  COMPLETELY WITHING THE 2500 LINEAR FEET ARE NOW ELIGIBLE ) BUT THE GENERAL POINTS ARE LARGELY STILL VALID
 

ALL COMPLICIT :  All of  your Commissioners appear to be complicit.   I have not seen one single newsletter  that properly described what was being asked. Most newsletters skipped  the topic altogether, despite the tremendous impact on Abington overall this will bring . and residents  who are questioning their Commissioners are getting FALSE INFORMATION

no proper questions on your behalf  At the meetings – 4 long  ones up to now, we did not hear  one single Commissioner ask ANY  of the relevant questions ….like “what’s going to happen to the Mall itself?” …….  because they KNOW …..  and don’t want to open that can of worms so that YOU know, too

NO SPEAKING RIGHTS HONORED  In the 4 long meetings,  people waited hours and then often were not even afforded the ability to speak.

HOW MUCH  DEVELOPMENT  would be approved if this passed has never been properly provided. So on this page we have rendered an attempt at the calculation. 
That will be conditional of course on the fact that they keep changing what is eligible and what is not.  It changed April  27 - and they seem to be proposing something different for May 25th, 2021 .  The changing goalposts make this calculation difficult. 

  WHERE IS THE FINANCIAL ANALYSIS ? There has been none - for 8 full meetings now and 7 months - as of the end of  June . And not even ONE Commissioner has asked them to produce one . Who does that look like your Commissioners are working on behalf of ?

  WHAT ABOUT THE SCHOOLS ? PREIT ( the mall owners) claimed that we might anticipate 22 to 31 students from their FIRST 365 unit apartment building -- (remember this ordinance is enabling far more) -- but I spoke to the School District and our local apartment complexes produce a rate that is more like 22% to 29% --- which would effectively mean we could be looking at 80 to 105 students - 3 times what they are suggesting. PREIT is not promising 365 one bedroom studios -- in fact they are not promising anything. At $22,000 approximate cost per student, that would be $1.7 million for the 22% or $2.3 million for the 29%. So effectively, we all could be paying them to build here. As everyone knows, Abington Schools are one of the biggest reasons people move here. So wouldn't it make sense to get statistics from Abington ?


Come zoom with us and let’s have an HONEST discussion about whether the mall really needs this – or whether it is good for us.  It will take away jobs, use up more  than it pays in taxes, crowd and congest us for no benefit, etc email me to set up a zoom  lele@abingtoncitizens.com

*       WHAT CAN THEY BUILD ?????
Originally it was: ALL THE BUILDINGS WHERE EVEN A SMALL PART IS   2500 FEET FROM THE TRAIN 
    but some changes are in the process of being made and right now it appears the whole building must be inside the 2500 linear feet

Originally  it was over   85 feet high –  reduced to 65 ft on 4-27-21
Commercial  still can be on the roof, penthouse floor  and first floor 
Residential units  can go  in between those commercial floors ( why would you want strangers accessing floor both below AND above you ?
They can go right up close to residential ( just have to build a bit lower if within 100 or 200 feet )
No outside access to stores will be allowed – must come inside. Suburbanites drive to what they want- put it in their trunk and move to the next errand.
      Whom does this serve? 


Have you seen the Promenade across from Lowes ? Multiply it by  4 OR 5, maybe more,……

Why hasn’t John Spiegelman, or Tom Hecker REQUIRED PREIT and Marc Kaplin  to tell you the real facts?   Why is John Spiegelman telling residents things that aren’t true?  Does he not KNOW?   Can't he read what's IN the documents? Or is he purposely  misleading residents to hope it can be passed quickly before the  truth is known? 

People  asked 4 or 5 times at the Feb Planning Commission meeting - and again at the March Planning meeting  about the additional building that could be done. The most we got was that …”yes… there would be more building “. No elaboration.  Until meeting 5 or 6 - where  finally a second building was shown. But Kaplin would not discuss the other HALF of the eligible area . He  ridiculed the numbers we attempted to derive but continues to withhold any real calculation while they try to ram it through.

So below , after the presentation on TOD's so you understand the linear feet issue - was our first good faith stab at what the documents seem to enable.....  If we are wrong please say WHY.  ( since then they removed the eligibility for building not fully inside the 2500 linear feet. )

 

*               PLEASE DEMAND OF YOUR COMMISSIONER THAT THEY  BE REQUIRED  TO SHOW  US IN GREAT DETAIL  THE ACTUAL  MAXIMUM THAT THIS ORDINANCE COULD  ENABLE
and to allow open mics and open questions during any part of that presentation. 

Here’s 
what they presented  …… but the ordinance affects the entire district and certain others within 2500 ft of the train can build one of these, too.

 

 

*                Although zoning is supposed to run with the land, the co-author of the ordinance from Montgomery County  Planning  Commission had said that if a small part of the building is in the 2500 ft  area, it qualifies. So these drawing reflect that . On April 27th, that was changed such that only things inside the 2500 foot radius qualify .  Why a couple of things would change - much of the sample I drew would be similar  --- and the applicant (via attorney Kaplin) has gotten up to 2 buildings and 700 apartments without even talking about all of the other eligible areas. 

Here are the lines that show you what is within 2500 feet of the Willow Grove and Crestmont train.  See the 2 circles that intersect each other in the photo below.

Parts of  Goodman Properties Parkside  Shopping Center   with Dicks Sporting Goods, Old Navy, Rally House, AAA, Planet Fitness and Mattress Wareouse  and possibly their parking lot separately would get this zoning
https://goodmanproperties.org/goodman-properties/parkside-shopping-center/

All of Goodman Properties Park Place with Visionworks, Floyds Barbershop, Chipotle and Ideal Image
https://goodmanproperties.org/goodman-properties/park-place /

Part of the "At Home" Store ( former K-Mart) a Texas company   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At_Home_(store) Marc Kaplin touts their 25 year lease as "protection' against their conversion to apartments - but  in a continuing pandemic, many more stores may fall victim to a lack of shoppers. Or the Owners may try to arrange modifying part of the store while the business remains active in another part.

Bloomingdales - operated by Macy's  


Par of Macy's

The
Mall itself  would not seem to qualify now - so diregard that in the drawings
.............................................all  touch within the  2500 feet according to our best calculation.  

 If this is wrong – why hasn’t Marc Kaplin been required to show us what is RIGHT?  It matters don’t you think? 


 

 


   SO....THE EQUIVALENT OF 5  OR EVEN MORE OF THESE APARTMENT COMPLEXES  MAY BE POSSIBLE – AND SEVERAL  SMALLER ONES, TOO….    

Which would enable something more like this :

 

*               5 buildings x 365 apartments = 1825 apartments  or more
 Assume average 2 residents per apartment = 
3650 new residents
If that’s not correct , Mr Kaplin – show us what is.  This will be our 5th long meeting


  OR WHO KNOWS – MAYBE WITH A LITTLE SUBDIVISION AND MERGING OF LOTS IT COULD BE MORE

 

WE DON’T KNOW. BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT TELLING – APPROVE IT NOW. THEY’LL TELL YOU LATER – IF THEY FEEL LIKE IT.  OF COURSE, THEN  YOU WILL NO LONGER HAVE ANY SAY IN WHAT THEY BUILD. THEY WILL HAVE THE USE BY RIGHT .

  WHERE IS THE FINANCIAL ANALYSIS ? There has been none - for 8 full meetings now and 7 months - as of the end of  June . And not even ONE Commissioner has asked them to produce one . Who does that look like your Commissioners are working on behalf of ?

  WHAT ABOUT THE SCHOOLS ? PREIT ( the mall owners) claimed that we might anticipate 22 to 31 students from their FIRST 365 unit apartment building -- (remember this ordinance is enabling far more) -- but I spoke to the School District and our local apartment complexes produce a rate that is more like 22% to 29% --- which would effectively mean we could be looking at 80 to 105 students - 3 times what they are suggesting. PREIT is not promising 365 one bedroom studios -- in fact they are not promising anything. At $22,000 approximate cost per student, that would be $1.7 million for the 22% or $2.3 million for the 29%. So effectively, we all could be paying them to build here. As everyone knows, Abington Schools are one of the biggest reasons people move here. So wouldn't it make sense to get statistics from Abington ?

 

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

  THE ACTUAL SUBMISSION BY PREIT

Here are the documents they submitted
https://abingtoncitizens.com/aaISSUES/Development-Zoning-CodeEnf/WillowGroveMall/2021-01-26-OrdinanceUsedAtPlComm.pdf

ShortV-Excerpt1

ShortvExcerpt2

Shortv-Excerpt3
Sortv-Excerpt4



(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

  LAWSUITS WAITING TO HAPPEN 

“how dare they ……”



Their ordinance – reviewed and approved by attorneys on both sides,  appears to be a rare piece of legal work,  seemingly designed to keep lawyers in court for a long time arguing over which one of the ordinances  they should obey.  Just like the Colonade …..

 

Our ordinance says noncombustible materials must be used,  like block or brick- theirs says frame is fine

Our code says they says they have to bring legal nonconformities into compliance - theirs says they don’t

Our code says that where they differ , ours takes precedence - theirs says theirs takes precedence

They say theirs complies with section 1806C of our zoning code which says that they must meet all requirements and objectives of the zoning code. Clearly theirs doesn’t.

Section 5 on the last page says: (are you sitting down) “All ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith or in conflict with any of the specific terms enacted hereby, to the extent of said inconsistencies or conflicts, are hereby specifically repealed.  SERIOUSLY ??????– They are giving themselves the right to 
repeal our other ordinances, or parts of them, as they see fit.    How dare they  ….?

How dare we let them ?


CONCLUSION :    LEGAL HEYDAY … PAID FOR BY YOU

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

THEN THERE IS : 

  THE MYTH OF JOB CREATION
FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE REALLY BAD AT MATH 

Jobs ( long term jobs) ……………………….155 
New people ( looking for local jobs ) ……… 500 to 800  (in 365 apartments) 
The real math:
500 people looking  – 155 jobs  = a possible LOSS of  345 jobs 
800 people looking  – 155 jobs  = a possible LOSS of 645 jobs

SO 345 – 645 COMPETITORS FOR YOUR LOCAL  JOB
And that is only from one building. Multiply that by 5 or more
 

Yes, there will be 400 + very temporary jobs  during construction … 18 months
The  developer may  have a regular “team” for a lot of these…….
Have fun hanging on to YOUR local job

 (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

AND  :

  THE  MYTH  OF THE EXPANDED  TAX BASE
 ….
 FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE REALLY   BAD AT MATH
    WHAT ARE THE  REAL COSTS OF SO MUCH DEVELOPMENT  ?

Road widening is necessitated
        ( Montco Pikes project studying Easton now- you get to pay
 for the study and implementing the fixes)
The position of 
the first building proposed would prohibit necessary lane additions for the massive unflux 
Traffic Signaling increases (Penn Dot just did Reservoir & the Mall … )
Intersections, walkways and crosswalks ( a recent attempt was made to use
        HUD monies to alleviate a Mall responsibility in such a project) 
Increase in all infrastructure repairs ( roads,bridges, etc from increased use) 
Sewer  expansion
Storm water measures ( these are about to move to a fee basis )
School expansion ( how fast can we make the current expansion obsolete?)
Cost to educate each student  $20K to $24K per child
        so if they are saying there will be none- lets see that in writing… 
Increase in police services, patrol cars, resources, anti crime measures, etc 
Increased use of our parks, librairies,  and other shared resources
Increased services for seniors
Increased costs at the Township 
     Clerical staff,  Code personnel, public works personnel and resources
      like trash trucks,  paving machines, etc
Increased needs for County, State and Federal  grants and projects
      (which also come from your taxes …. these  are rarely factored in ) 
The cost of corporate voices & corporate homeownership --A cost few ever even think . The corporations already are planting their associates and employees on our  Boards and Committees .  They can afford to  hire people to go to meetings and sway the conversation and have even brought large cheering sections  with them during development issues . 
 
 
and the list just goes on…..


COMPARE WITH LOSS OF  QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUES
Crowded roads, sitting in traffic
Crowded classrooms
Crowded parks
All the other  reasons that many moved from the city and prefer hte suburbs

 

*      THE MYTH THE MALL WILL GO GOING DEFUNCT IF WE DON’T ALLOW THIS

 Really ………??? And if  I told the Township that I was going defunct unless they let me turn my home into a triplex – and maybe sell off the side yard to put a fast-food drive -through on it … you would AT LEAST WANT TO SEE SOME NUMBERS BEFORE YOU FELL FOR THAT, WOULDN’T YOU?  AND THE MALL IS NOT EVEN DIRECTLY BENEFITTING  Bloomies ( a separate entity on it's own lot ) will get the $ from the sale  ( and on Sept 28, 2021 they said Bloomies will use that to fix up their store  )  There is no guarantee that those funds will be recouped anytime soon by increases in sales - and Bel Canto will benefit 
       
So we deserve to see numbers –  of how this will help the Mall ..... instead of just addding to a very wealthy developer's bottom line so he doesn't have  to sell one of his 18 Malls off and only have 17 left ( poor thing) .  See, I would rather he do that than ruin Abington.  

We deserve to hear about alternatives – that could make the mall more viable  and learn about what they are doing at their other  18 Malls etc .  Plymouth Meeting turned down their request for residential, too.  We deserve that – because we would be giving up a LOT and we haven’t been told what we are GETTING. 
The answer from the Economic Development Committee Meeting  on sept 28, 2021 seems like we will be GIVING not getting . 

 

        This is going to have a huge impact on our Township. But it is also already setting a precedent for how this administration – with Commmissioners Spiegelman and Hecker in cohort with Manager Richard Manfredi  - are operating........ by keeping you in the dark, using very unsavory techniques, like putting meetings on at 10 pm and not allowing us to speak, by NOT forcing the developer to answer even the most crucial of questions. 

Now perhaps you see the harm that can be done to you when you allow them to remove your Committee meetings and your speaking rights . They were removed almost  totally in October 2020  via lout right lying to the public and saying you would have EXPANDED speaking rights if they invented the Committee of the Whole and replaced your Committtee meetings with it.   Who needs to do that when they are operating in your interest??????  Wake up Abington. 

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 WE BRAINSTORMED
…WHAT WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE INSTEAD

They do not have to put in RESIDENTS
We’d like Roller Rinks, Ice Rinks, Bowling Alleys, 
Concert Venue, Performing Arts Center  w/  Stage for Shows, Concerts, Musicals, Operas, Symphony, Laser Tag  & Family Games of every kind, Exercise Park Yoga Classes, Strength Training Sessions, Trapeze, trampoline,  Movie Theaters with  reasonable prices for families, Restaurants –QVC or similar -           
Expanded Medical for  Hospital needs –( docs offices, MRI, PT  etc) keeping hospital growth out of neighborhoods-  Research Facilities….Med Or  Dental Labs , Electronics, Robotics, Genetics, all kinds of Life Sciences, Digital Think Tanks, 
Family  Entertainment –Escape Rooms, Dance Clubs, Group Dance Nights ( Club Med Style) Dance Lessons, Karaoke Etc Geared For Families /

There are many many more ideas – ALL better than residences.  Especially RENTAL ones  in an already saturated market that might end up being subsidized housing……  

 

and – oh yes, maybe  some Real Estate offices   - for the people fleeing Abington as it becomes over-crowded

 


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   A  PROPER   CONVERSATION IS NEEDED

 I will be glad to hold personal  zoom meetings or group zooms at any mutually agreeable time to help you understand this issue .   Please email me if you are interested    lel@abingtoncitizens.com
 

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A much more detailed page on this issue ( the Willow Grove Park Mall ) can be found here 

 

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   EXCELLENT LOCAL NEWS SITE "MORE THAN THE CURVE " JUST DID THIS SURVEY SHOWING THIS IS UNIVERSAL – RESIDENTS  ALL OVER ARE CONCERNED WITH THE OVER DEVELOPMENT   HERE IS A RECENT SURVEY DONE BY OUR NEIGHBORS

https://morethanthecurve.com/results-of-morethanthecurve-coms-local-issues-survey/

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FINDING ME : Lora Lehmann  
lel@abingtoncitizens.com 
 215-885-7130  address 1431 Bryant La, Meadowbrook, PA 19046
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