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

 

MANOR WOODS
 (formerly Summerford)

Across from the entrance to Alverthorpe - near Forest and Douglas Ave 

  Currently :  In the 2020 Budget, that saw a 9.9 % increase in taxes which was to have been 1/3 of the total tax hike needed, without any agenda item on Manor Woods  brought before the public at a Public Affairs meeting, Manager Manfredi Budgeted  $100,000.   There was no  description we could find as to what exactly they were going to do with that money.   Manager Manfredi said there was a plan that was to be followed.  They will remove the invasives But the "Masterplan" was concocted in 2012 and there was a great deal of  hoopla about whether the park was to be used as a  football field or an open space park ....  The neighbors were extremely unhappy with Football field  and preferred the open space plan. Ultimately the 2012 Masterplan had both.
       I asked Drew Rothman, the Ward 3 Commissioner why none of the neighbors I asked knew anytthing about it . He told me not to worry, they would be notified and he would hold a meeting so their voices could be heard .

 Click here to see  Abington Township Full Master Plan for Manor Woods as of May 2, 2012

 

    In the past  - a very quick nutshell  Sorry Fonts are a mess - will fix later

2001 

2001 Sommerford  Corporation was granted a conditional use approval to construct a facility on the undeveloped land  at Manor Park .  At some point-perhaps this year or the year after-Somerford was approved to develop a 28,000 square-foot 64-bed hospice care Alzheimer’s facility with a 50 foot buffer. (Somerford purchased the land from the Sisters of St. Basil.) 

2002

2-20-02  The Sisters of St Basil sold the property for $750,000  to the American Heritage partners LLC

2003
Montgomery County
created the resolution  for it’s Green Fields/Green Towns Program

2005

Cheltenham puts a moratorium on the sewer . This property is affected by the moratorium .

2006

3-16-06  Township Solicitor Rex Herder rights to the Somerford Corporation .  To date there has been no activity and the Township is exploring alternatives for increasing the number of public athletic fields available to its residents.  Rex Herder was asked to inquire whether the Somerford Corporation willing to sell -negotiating an amicable, arms-length transaction given that the property has remained undeveloped

2007

11-26-2007  Chesapeake asked  about sewer connections

2008

2008
1-3-08  Abington received the letter from Jen Fields at DEP that there is a moratorium on the sewer

4-23-08 Manager Conway and Parks Director Wendell  went to the county open space board yesterday 22 April regarding an open space application for the Somerford property it will be on the agenda May 1 2008   Closing should take place by the end of May the open space board’s motion included language that would take into consideration the preservation of trees in any future developments such as ball fields.  The St. Basil sisters /Manor College  waived their first right of refusal.  The sisters and their attorney attended the open space board meeting as well because of their concern about how the property would be developed.  Manager Conway thought that ironic since they knew the Alzheimer’s facility had been approved.  He said they have no immediate plans for anything extensive but do not want to be precluded from a ball field or two in the future.  He is certain that their buffer would be as good as the 50 foot buffer in the current development plan
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5-13-08 Executive summary states this is the Contract date  for the sale with a closing date no later than  5-30-08

5-14-08 or later – an Executive summary is compiled . In it the parcel shows as
being assessed at $97,700 which after applying the common level ratio of 50.7% indicates an implied market value for the property of $192,702.  The tax liability on this parcel is $3216 currently.  American Heritage partners claimed that they put $700,000 into the property obtaining approvals.  But other than the zoning the property is unimproved and stands exactly as they bought it 

 

5-23-08  Actual Sale date - Land purchased from Abington Heritage Partners LLC    - the township purchased the land from this  cWhen the company’s plans fell through — the project made it all the way through the planning development stage — the township stepped in and purchased the land.
      The cost was $2.2 million ( though the deed only mentions 2 million – the 200,000 might be costs) ; the
Montgomery County Open Space Program fronted 80 percent of the cost and the township picked up the rest.  The cost which exceeded the purchase price  of the land  originally paid to  the Sisters by   nearly 1.5 million   was said to be so much more because of the new “improvements “ to the land – though no improvements actually had been made – it had only acquired a more intense zoning ……none of which the Township would be using . The valuation priced the land at $378,788 per acre despite the moratorium – which continued on for years and included a note that they were going to file for a “certificate of need” to  bypass the moratorium .
 The land is to remain “pertually under and subject to “ the conditions and restrictions  which will remain with the land. These include that :
It shall be utilized and maintained for open space purposes in accordance with the Montgomery county Green Field/Green towns program subject to limitation and further restrictions --  they have to minimize the application of potentially harmful pesticides and preserve and enhance native agitation.  Within 18 months of the purchase of the property the Township shall develop the appropriate facilities on the property as determined through a master plan including parking area and trails to enhance the public’s use of the property. 

They appear to have clearly been in violation of this because they did not make it accessible in 18 mo
-
In fact in 2021 it will still be inaccessible The property was acquired to provide the public with park and open space opportunities parking access and structures such as pavilion and restroom facilities that relate to open space use may be constructed on the property general municipal uses and other uses not directly related to the open space purpose of the property are not permitted. The Township shall preserve the majority of the property as a forest.
their plan  was in no way intending to comply with the “forest” aspect
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2009
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2010
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2011

11-30-11  A master plan for the park has been completed with a parking lot on the Forrest Avenue side and a football field / stadium   on the far side both going merely from end to end



2012
1-6-12 From: Abington EAC [mailto:eac.abington@gmail.com] Sent: Friday, January 06, 2012 1:22 PM
Subject: Fwd: Manor Woods Master Plan meeting - Weds Jan 11, 7:00 pm at McKinley Firehouse

 

 

Doug Wendell, Director of Abington Parks Department, is holding a public meeting to present the Manor Woods Master Plan on Wednesday January 11, 2012;  at 7:00 pm at the McKinley Firehouse, 893 Jenkintown Rd, Elkins Park PA 19027.

The township purchased Manor Woods a few years ago from a company that was going to build an Alzheimers facility there. The park is a 5-acre wooded area across from the main entrance to Alverthorpe Park on Forrest Avenue. The Master Plan includes a football stadium for the Abington Raiders. The stadium, parking and facilities will take up almost the entire parcel. Doug will be accepting public comments. Please spread the word and encourage people to attend this meeting.The meeting announcement will be broadcast on Channel 43.

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1-11-12     Chuck Strodoski, a landscape architect with YSM Landscape Architects, out of York, presented a plan for the land: It basically included trails and the possibility of a small parking lot.  (Strodoski also discussed the possibility of constructing a football field on the land; he and Wendell took heat from residents for even considering the idea, and it was quickly scrapped.)

 


 Click here to see  Abington Township Full Master Plan for Manor Woods as of May 2, 2012


2012 Plan


2-24-12  Abington Patch article  https://patch.com/pennsylvania/abington/manor-woods-plan-to-public-affairs      

 Excerpt :  Last month, Chuck Strodoski, a landscape architect with YSM Landscape Architects, out of York, presented a plan for the land: It basically included trails and the possibility of a small parking lot.    (Strodoski also discussed the possibility of constructing a football field on the land; he and Wendell took heat from residents for even considering the idea, and it was quickly scrapped.)…..

 .....      Last night, Strodoski presented a similar plan which included: removing evasive species of plants from the land, creating trails, and perhaps creating a small parking lot.

Some residents said they just wanted the land to remain "open space," and not "developed" in any way, even if "development" meant creating a park and walking trails.

2013 to 2017  no activity I know of

2018

1-31-18 Request to revive the “Master Plan “  At the  Public Affairs Meeting  tonight former Ward 3 Commissioner Michael O’Connor  attended --- he asked why the Master Plan for Manor Park  had not been acted on  -  he did not specify which one !     It is open space money . He said the plan is done,   the trees have been marked – so we know what what we can scrub and get out
As few as 1 meeting is all it would take to get this going . Commissioner Spiegelman  said we  can get this moving again. The Commissioner of the Ward should be involved also

Commissioner  Peggy Myers said  you are correct – but we have other parks that have master plans too that are not being implemented -  I’d like to add Crestmont park to the list

Commissioner Luker – the lion’s share of that was the clubhouse  (that used to be the roundhouse )

Comm Myers  – there are other things too - Hillside – wasn’t a master plan done for hillside?  

Michael O’connor we already have a plan – we just need to get underway

Comm Spiegelman  so get a meeting together – with our  manager , the  commissioner for the Ward , the park director  etc
Lora Lehmann – resident comments -– please include the neighbors . They were concerned . They  are affected by the noise lights etc  They were very concerned   and should be included in any meetings .

 

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