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

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


*       Dear Neighbors, Please share this to as many as you can. Far too few know about this – but it will impact us all………..
Your voices  make a difference.  Please attend the 5-13-21  Zoom and please SPEAK at the Zoom
AND TELL THEM WE DO NOT WANT RESIDENCES. There are so many options that would benefit us
There are plenty of other accessory uses they can add to their existing property that would benefit all of us who live here NOW!

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

 * pLEASE SIGN UP FOR THE nEWSLOOP  FOR INFORMATION LIKE THIS  AND MORE

*   next  meeting: 5-13-21 bOARD OF cOMMISSIONERS

*        Last meeting : April 27 Planning Commission.
The Planners refused to do their duty and properly vote (because it would have had to be a NO.)
Substantial changes were made, so it should have come back for the Planners to review the changed document .
They did not do that - they are trying to jam it through for a vote before the citizens  find out about it .
 This was their 3rd trip to the Planning Commission and the 6th meeting overall to review the
"Petition to Amend our Ordinance (submitted  12-10-20) "   (that's the submitted request)
 In ALL the prior 5 meetings they have avoided all the pertinent questions about how many units will be enabled at the Mall property by their ordinance. In every sceanario we can put together as many as 1,800 to 2500 units might be possible. At the 4-27-21 Planning Commission at long last they showed more than the single  365 unit building ......  but there are still many, many  units they are not showing  The absolute silence of applicant, commissioners, solicitor, manager and others on this issue  has been a VERY telling circumstance.   They are NOT applying to build an apartment building, that will come after they rezone. They are applying to rezone the parcel for themselves AND OTHERS.  Many will be able to build if this passes. They are STLL not being  honest about how many units  that could be .
They did reduce the heights to 65 ft  high  abd said that ALL of an eligible building site must fall withing the 2,500 ft of the train.

 



Your attention has been focused on one single building….   what they are asking is anything  but!
 

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 was never provided. So on this page we have rendered an attempt at hte calculation. 

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 ?????
ALL THE BUILDINGS 
WHERE EVEN A SMALL PART IS   2500 FEET FROM THE TRAIN  WOULD BE ABLE TO BUILD IN THE MANNER  OF THIS FIRST ONE – BUT  WITH MORE THAT WHAT THEY SHOWED – IT COULD  BE
Over   85 feet high –  reduced to 65 ft on 4-27-21
Commercial on the roof, penthouse floor  and first floor 
Residential in between those commercial floors
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 – must come inside


Have you seen the Promenade across from Lowes ? Multiply it by  4 OR 5, maybe more,…… ( we have to now recalculate at 65 ft)

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 read what's IN the documents? Or is he purposely  misleading residents to hope it can be passed quickly before hte 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. No numbers. A ridicule of the numbers we attempted to derive but facts being withheld while they try to ram it through.

So barring them showing us what can be built, we can only make a good faith stab at what the documents seem to enable. 
That's what we'll do here - but first ........

 

*               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 has said that if a small part of the building is in the 2500 ft  area, it qualifies.

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.

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/

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

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  


Macy's

The
Mall itself  
.............................................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 MIGHT BE SOMETHING MORE LIKE THIS  ---- 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
 .


    7 buildings x 365 apartments = 2555  apartments  or more
 Assume average 2 residents per apartment = 
5110 new residents or more

If that’s not correct , Mr Kaplin – show us what is.  This will be our 5th long meeting .
We deserve to have those answers

 

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  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



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  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

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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? 
       
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 Maeeting 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. 

 

        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
 

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

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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