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Residential Explosion in ABINGTON
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THROUGHOUT THE TOWNSHIP  (see Circles on THIS map ) THEY PLAN TO REMOVE YOUR RIGHTS
AND GIFT THEM TO DEVELOPER, CORPORATE, COMMERCIAL AND MULTI-FAMILY INTERESTS

Map-FutLandUse-3-8-22
  Can you tell if your house is inside one of the BLUE circles on the map above
If IT IS, WHETHER DOTTED OR SOLID, the "vision" for your street is denser development

IF YOUR HOUSE IS INSIDE ONE OF THE dotted blue CIRCLES -- NOT JUST DENSER DEVELOPMENT- BUT COMMERCIAL WILL BE POSSIBLE, TOO
  Most people can't find their home,  but we can't get comr thompson  to
overlay this map on one where YOU can
your commissioner should be getting this done for you - and having all the meetings televised
contact him / her and Comr Thompson now and tell them to do this immediately

Please also see the page called "Population confusion" where they are fraudulently telling you we need to build more because people will be here and need to be housed. As I'm sure you know, they will only be here if we build  beyond our zoning capacity.
https://abingtoncitizens.com/page/PopulationConfusion.html

  We tried to point out the major areas (scroll down to see original YELLOW map below with arrows numbered )
They FINALLY put it on a zoning map - but I can't find the "interactive " version - so it's only a tiny bit better than the original map

   MOST ALL  the  various SHADES OF RED on the map above are  Our commercial areas and are in solid BLUE circles, so that is  WHERE  multiple story residential buildings
would now be allowed (WITH more commercial, TOO)  right on THEIR parking lots
(SO: THE HUNTINGDON VALLEY SHOPPING CENTER, THE FOXCROFT SHOPPING CENTER AND the entire WILLOW GROVE BUSINESS DISTRICT which includes THE mall and all the other commercial there
)

THE r2-r4 hOUSING AROUND THEse commercial areas, IF IN the solid blue  CIRCLE, WILL allow 
DENSER,  multi-family units,  like triplexes, duplexes, twins or  possibly townhouses. NO MORE JUST SINGLE FAMILY IF YOU ARE solid ( or Dotted) Blue  CIRCLED.
Residential R-2 TO R4 IN dotted blue line circles are not just denser housing  but more intense uses,  thAt could include  commercial uses, too. 
The dotted circles  may increase in number as tHey also add them around bus stations, which can pop up anytime, anywhere .
aND CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN WHY R1 PROPERTIES GET SPECIAL TREATMENT?  

 

   thIS IS BEING DONE WITHOUT ANY DISCUSSIONS ABOUT Traffic, crime, overburdened services like library & parks, CROWDED CLASSROOMS WITH  Students  THAT COST $21K each, parking GARAGES, STORMWATER SLOW RELEASE TO ALREADY OVERBURDENED STREAMS, AND SO MUCH MORE ...


  
MISSING PERSON REPORT :
NO ONE SEEMS TO KNOW THE NAME OF THE PERSON WHO DECIDED SO MUCH DENSITY WAS A GOOD IDEA

Ok - I think I do.....

  Almost no one works with the Township map every day like I do - so few can even find themselves on this map  - and the Township refuses to put it on an interactive map . Hopefully these numbers will help you find the circle you may be in . The map at the top was done by Comr Thompson - this was the original map we found in Chapter 13 Future Land Use - which at the time of this writing they have removed and are withholding from view.


Map-FutLandUse-Numbered


where is your house on the map above ?

1) Willow Grove Mall & BUSINESS DISTRICT AREA
 2) WILLOW GROVE TRAIN AREA  3)  CRESTMONT TRAIN AREA    4) tARGET -LONDON TOWN CENTER  AREA  5)  Approx FROM TARGET TO  CHOP  AREA  6A) RYDAL TRAIN AREA   6b) BETHAYRES TRAIN  AREA  7) bAEDERWOOD SHOPPING CENTER  8) NOBLE TRAIN   9)  HUNTINGDON VALLEY SHOPPING CENTER 10) McKinley area  11)  Foxcroft, fox pavillion -York Rd & Township Line   12) Jenkintown -Wyncote Train   13)  Mt. Carmel & easton  Glenside    14) glenside train  15) glenside Commercial district around N.Hills station  16) North Hills station     17)  commercial area near ardsley station 18) ardsley station  19) no number -just above #18  ( sorry)  Glenside weldon school  & keswick    20) Roslyn Train  21) area around roslyn train  22) Roslyn Woodland to Hamilton   23) Willow Grove from Hamilton to the mall   24) between crestmont station and the mall
 
  R= 1/4 mi (GREY CIRCLES shown are THE ORIGINAL 1/2 mi - REDUCED NOW TO  1/2 the size of these ) in those grey circles they intend to  allow multi-unit residential  (IN R2, r3 & R4 - they removed r1 ON REQUEST.  ask them why.  WOULDN'T R2,3 & 4 LIKE TO BE REMOVED, TOO )  THE vISION is to have  denser  multi-unit Residential WHICH WOULD INCLUDE Duplexes, Triplexes, TWINS & more,  i/4 mi around the commercial centers....removing THE single family home zones in the process.  dO YOU THINK THE PEOPLE LIVING THERE KNOW THAT?  CAN'T HAVE A SAY IF YOU ARE COMPLETELY UNAWARE.....
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T= 1/2 Mi DOTTED BLUE CIRCLES :  Transit Oriented districts - THE VISION IS FOR  VERY DENSE DEVELOPMENT INCLUDING  both RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL & BUILDings  ON THE PARKING LOTS of shopping centers .... BUS STATION circles ARE EXPECTED TO  ALSO BE ADDED.
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 TRANSITIONS ZONES ARE INTENDED, too, but WE DON'T KNOW WHERE YET ....
That's where if residential is next to Commercial - they'll turn the residential into light commercial claiming the two incompatible uses need a buffer.  Quite absurd - the residences one more row back will now be affected  AND ESPECIALLY ABSURED SINCE THEY ARE TRYING TO MIX COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL NEARLY EVERYWHERE.  you KNOW .... LIKE IN THE CITY.

  all of the areas named  are approximate - and i did them only because the township refuses to put this on an interactive map like a gis map so you can find your property and see if it is in one of the circles  and understand what they are doing.  despite all the tools, equipment and manpower we give them,  most of which they are using to help developers.  this entire comprehensive plan is aimed at passing measures that help developers remove your rights to protest and for you , not developers in cahoots with all too willing commissioners  determine how your township is developed. It is being  facilitated  &  accomplished by  COMMISSIONER THOMPSON AND YOUR OWN COMMISSIONER simultaneously  removing the tools you need to understand what is being proposed. tools you paid for them to have, to work in your interest.

 put your address in the search box on THIS GIS zoning Map - then  go back to the land use map to try and guess IF  it is in A circle ....  because you are not worth the money it would take to provide you with a proper map - despite the 40% tax hike  over just a couple years
https://abingtonpa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/interactivelegend/index.html?appid=599f14516a1d40cbaa809e0d678a9a63


   or ask your Commissioners - one and all, to place the circles on that GIS map !!!!


Find emails here for Commissioners and manager  https://abingtoncitizens.com/TwpGovt/Commissioners.htm


  to leave comments on the plan for the committee, they have provideD an email at
vision2035@abingtonpa.gov

I can't imagine how anyone could leave a cogent comment when they have not been provided a single summary of the kinds of things you see on this page . can you imagine not knowing this and commenting

   Background 
      The current Manager, Richard Manfredi, and the current Board of Commissioners, led by Tom Hecker, Board President  and Matt Vahey, Board VP  are leading the charge to transform Abington Township in ways that they KNOW the people that they serve are not in agreement with.  The Comprehensive Plan Team began in early 2020  and has been busy creating draft  chapters of a "vision"  that they want to speed through to a finish -- affecting  future zoning forever - and it's clear they have developers  who'd like  to get underway soon - so no careful analysiS is being afforded, no time to inform the public.  On April 19, 2022 they zoomed ahead to the "Implementation" Chapter while still withholding controversial chapters - such as Infrastructure ( chaper 8 ) and Future Land Use - the most controversial  Chapter 13. The Implementation Chapter itself is being withheld.  Slipshod, haphazard work designed to speed it to a finish rather than to carefully craft something that is so impactful on our finances and our quality of life.

   They KNOW 90 % of Abington is clueless about what they are doing - and they also know  90% of us do not want this density.   The rate at which the density could increase  could be phenominal - and it is not clear that they could control the rate of development once they begin, nor the number of children that would attend the schools. They have refused any open discussion on such matters.   They are  doing this  in a dozen most un-transparent and (we think) very irresponsible ways. Many of our single family neighborhoods will become multi-family without the knowledge or permission of those who live there.  These folks likely asked what the zoning was when they bought their homes and that was likely a factor in many of their purchases.  They are not likely to be very happy when they see commercial uses or triplexes begin to be added to their block ( or next door).  

     It is irresponsible also because they are creating this "vision" where  they will have very little ability to determine how many units will be built, or over what period of time that will happen, and they have not shown a single, solitary financial  analysis or loss/ benefit impact report. In fact, many of us think there is very little benefit  and a great deal of downside risk financially, before you even account for quality of life issues.    Take just the  number of students at an approximate cost  of $21K per student. PREIT recently tried to use $13K as their number - and the Economic Development Committee, (with the school Business Director on it) , didn't loudly protest and withhold their votes because the information was incorrect. There were a dozen problems with the report - but they approved it anyway ( with a " so whatcha gonna do about it?" attitude ) They suggested only 14 students would come from the 365 units ...... and there were other absurdities that a 5th grader would have known were not right.

      And of course, perhaps more important than even finances might be an assessment of the quality of life issues that these drastic changes will promulgate.

  HOW IS IT BEING DONE - the "vision"
       Make no mistake, the Comprehensive Plan is just the "vision".  Phase 1. They are not REZONING in this stage ...... but it will be used as the foundation for approvals of text and map amendments in the next stage where the rezoning WILL occur. So, in essence, now is your only time to protest and get the "vision" for your Township correct - so the later zoning requests will be based on a correct vision.  When the applicants  come to rezone , they'll be told "  You want a triplex there ? Yes, that's just what our expert Comprehensive Plan Team said was best and the public was involved in approving that Plan!  Hurray!  Your triplex is approved.  You meet our vision.  All in favor: AYE ".

      People are asking their Commissioners "Is it true that you are re-zoning us ?" And because this is just the vision phase right now, the Commissioners are telling them it's not true- they are being lied to. Every project will have to come before the Board just like it always did, they tell their constituents   And, of course it  is technically true that they will come before the  Board and the Planning Commission , etc -  but they will have the "vision" of the  the  Comprehensive Plan to inform the Commissioners that yes - that is exactly what we planned - an.

    The Comprehensive Plan could pass as soon as late summer or fall of 2022 - but they are trying to wrap up the language in it by April 2022.   After that it will take an act of Conngress to change things .  And remember  even though there are 58K or 59K of us - it only takes 8 Commissioners to approve a text amendment . You'll have to have some pretty incredible reasons to get a project that is in our "vision"  turned down.

    RIGHT NOW is when your voice is supposed to be included.  They will say it was a public process - we had fully public and transparent meetings . But did they? When no one knew? Literally, nearly no residents have been in attendance because such a tiny fraction of our residents understand what is being done.  And some Commissioners are telling outright untruths about the plans that are being made ..... ie: 
   
     Huntingson Valley Shopping Center
neighbors are being told "there are no cirrent applications"  when people ask if residential is being planned on the  Shopping Center Parking lot. The Commissioner is overtly misleading them.  That recommendation is found very specifically on page 8 of Chapter 7 part 2 . It says :
7.5.2 Recommendations 1. Mixed Use Developments. Allow residential uses at Willow Grove Park Mall, Huntingdon Valley Shopping Center and “the triangle” portion of the BC-Business Center-Noble District. The map that at the time of this writing is being withheld is in Chapter 2 and confirms the same thing.... as does Comr Thompson's map at the top of this page .  A final confirmation can be found in Chapter 15 - implementation- which is also being withheld at hte time of this posting - but confirms that it is an easy task to allow residential on the Shopping Center Parking lots. 

 

  WHY HAVEN'T SO MANY  HEARD OF THIS ? Can't they afford to notify us ?
           So many, many who are affected who would want to have input but are missing from this process missing because they weren't told even told this was happening.  They are supposed to have input at each meeting -  but even the speaking opportunities have been turned upside down - and the very few that do know about it aren't able to speak at a meeting until the very end,  when they are done deciding everything  on top of them often receiving false or misleading answers)   Our questions at meetings and via email are rarely answered.    They  refuse to put the mapping of the circles  on a GIS map, or on the TV, or to put proper details in their newsletters, or do a direct mailing,  or hold an informational meeting with OPEN comments  where ANSWERS are provided, or post a page where we can question or comment and see each other's comments.

       In addition, they  just took in an extra $20M in Covid funds ( American Rescue Plan Act or ARPA funds ) and despite that, raised your RE taxes what was just recalculated from 22% to be 27% (about $3-4 Million on top of the $19 million - after they knew about it.). Just two years earlier we had what we thought was an insane 10% increase. The highest ever in my 45 years here --No one could have imagined what was to come. But despite that , say they can't afford to mail this info to all 23, 000 homes - They just took in $23 million and can't afford 20-40 cents  for your benefit.  

        W
e bought them all that new staff  and all those fancy tools.... They are using them in ways we don't approve .......for the benefit of developers actually.. yet they can't afford to spend a stamp in a way we would approve  before MORE meetings are missed .  Ward 6 Commissioner Michael Thompson, heading this outrage  is the one who said it is cost prohibitive.   He could  put up a dialogue page but won't. He could overlay it on a proper map but he won't...... Why there are no open mic meetings? Why is no proper detailed announcement and  the Land Use map  on  our TV scrolling - why aren't the Comp Plan meetings being filmed and aired?  It belongs on the TV . Why don't  the Comr  newletters have the real details?  Why can't we send in questions and have the answers posted?   Comr Thompson said at the Comp Plan Meeting 2-15-22 that essentially you don't warrant a bulk mail stamp . He can't spend $.25 to $.40  on you.    What so you think about that? Comr Thompson or  his firm have personally profited from work they just seem to keep getting in the Township since he became Commissioner - some paid directly from your taxes ie : for work on the Township building....  and he has 10's of millions of dollars at his disposal to operate in the interests of your health, safety and welfare.   


  
LET'S SPEAK UP ABOUT THIS ... OOPS... Where could we do that? our speaking rights are being removed- we literally are being given 3 minutes of open comment per month  and there are 23 pages of rules to understand where oen and how we're allow to speak ! that's more than insane
 

       Manager Manfredi, with the love, affection and the undying support of the  Board, has changed your speaking  rights 4 ( yes FOUR)  times in the slightly more  than 4 years he has been here  -- removing more of them each time. He and the Commissioners  simultaneously began  raising our Real Estate tax millage dramatically ( between 30 and 40  % increase levied in just a couple of years ) just as the "overdevelopment plan" was beginning to take shape - just they began wiorking with  PREIT  behind hte scenes to co-write the first big TOD project at the  Willow Grove Mall  ....
    
        I am concerned about the continued role of  our former Board VP Steve Kline in any leadership position in Abington. I am concerned about his involvement in the many zoning matters that will come forward after the Comprehensive Plan is released.  We learned,  as many of you already know, from several sources,  including most recently from direct testimony at the February 8, 2022  Whistleblower Lawsuit Arbitration hearing, that Mr Kline could have been charged due to his involvement at the Colonade. It was left to our former Manager's discretion who could have chosen that option.  He chose, instead that, Kline and Solicitor Michael Clarke were  to step down and leave their positions . But they just did not go..... .  Does THAT sound like someone you would elevate to a Zoning Hearing Board position -  or keep on as Solicitor?  I think we all should be concerned at who made that decision. Comr Jessica Carswell says she was appointed by Comr John Spiegelman to head a Committee to do it - but the Committee did not operate transparently. Even some Commissioners said they did not know of their meetings. And, only one final candidate, Steve Kline, was presented  to the Board, although other qualified candidates had applied and were interviewed and should have been able to be nominated at an open meeting.   Was crucial  information withheld  from the whole Board in order to present one candidate only  or was it done this way so the public could not see who voted for Kline over other qualified candidates ?  

     Kline has continued operating as Chair of the  Montco Planning Commission, even after the County Board learned of  the  circumstances of his past doings from documents provided to them...... He was not removed.   Montco documentation in late 2021 - shows Steve Kline continuing this push for  Transit Oriented dense development -- acknowledging that his earlier eandeavors in those areas didn't work out so well and acknowledging they are collecting data on it still.  Kline  began many years ago promising that HIS control of the development of the Fairway Transit District would avoid lawsuits and things would be developed more in our interests.  We didn't all agree with that. Many of us wanted the Township to fight the lawsuit agaist the developer. And now we see that just  the opposite result of what Kline  promised was achieved . We didn't avoid lawsuits at all. There were  myriad lawsuits. And the development is as dense as can be .In one case there are 246 units where 8 should have been - or  fewer because of the steep slope.  We just gave the farm away first... and then had the lawsuits, anyway. 

    Even though Kline  himself acknowleded that did not go as planned -- we continue the TOD practice under virtually the same promise - that WE are controlling the developpment.  And now we "envision" them in our Comprehensive Plan  around every train station but one.   I, personally, found Kline's   recent Jan 2022 appointment  to the Zoning Hearing Board to be a very concerning condition, while at the same time -- and right in time for all of this new anticipated zoning, Manager Manfredi appointed a person nearly new to the Township just there a few years - and with ZERO zoning & code experience ---  to be (are you ready for this ) the DIRECTOR of nearly all  Zoning & Land Development matters. A crucial time to have no experience in all htat she is DIRECTOR of : code enforcement, building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, accessibility, energy codes, permits, the property maintenance code, and the zoning ordinance.  Every one of those things  has pages and pages of complicated and  crucially important  laws, codes and regulations that MUST be followed for  the SAFETY  of our residents and  that require YEARS of experience to master. So I believe it is unlikely there will be  any oversight over third parties or others who will have to be hired to do the actual work - or over anyone with a reputation for bullying that has far more knowledge than the "person being bulied".  I am deeply concerned about this string of events  including that  Code,  a voluminous and extremely important department, is now a "subdivision"  of  Community Development  - whereas just a couple of years ago, we were told it was important to group it with Engineering and Public Works .......  until - oops - the Director's firm's racketeering charges got in the way.  We have a manager who changes things up every time the wind blows and provides no stability for Abington Township employees, residents or others .

       The removal of  speaking rights, the lack of transparency, the appointments of those  unsuited or not qualified.....  all paint a picture of an Abington that seems to me very much out of control, with no sound principles at play at all. It seems, under Tom Hecker, Matt Vahey and Manager Richard Manfredi,  we have become a playground for developers and others who care very little about what the needs, interests or concerns of the residents are.

Please agree to lift your voice and take an active role. 

 

Please join  THE NEWSLOOP  so you can stay updated on this and other issues  

call & write  your Commissioner after you read this - tell me if they say something different and I will show you the source

Some of what is below is repetitious - apologies . Editing time is short.

 
  The two major prongs to thE development right now.


    PRONG ONE TEXT AND MAP AMENDMENT CHALLENGES to OUR BRAND NEW ZONING

PREITBelCantoBldgNov2020


As of  6-9-22 Board Presient Tom Hecker announced at the beginning of the meeting that PEIT was not going to get a hearing on this matter .....after over a year and a half and 11 meetings   --- a disgusting waste of everyone's time and our tax dollars ...... But we have little doubt they will be back - perhaps they are waiting for the Comprehensive Plan to pass so it is all a piece of cake.  

     The entire Township was just rezoned in 2017. The prior rezoning had been in1996 -  was well thought out and held for 21 years.  All that time people basically had their zoning largely protected and could feel confident about where they bought their homes.  They had a  "Reasonable Expectation" their rights would be protected .   They didn't have to go to meeting after meeting to defend them.  Reasonable updates to zoning are important to stay current with the times and new trends or needs.  But right after this recent brand new zoning, passed 4-27-17 under the leadership of, you guessed it, Steve Kline, the  developers began right away to both use it in its most intense fashion and also to challenge it to tryto get even MORE ... (which they would really only do if they had some sense they could succeed, as it is an expensive proposition. )  
 
     Even developers who had a great deal of input in creating the Zoning document challenged it. You might remember the YMCA zoning that got changed by a Michael Markman/ BET  proposal,  made just months after the zoning was passed .   So, with that precedent already set - it was clear that our zoning code was up for revamping on a whim.
     
    In November of 2020  residents near the mall got a  notice that the Mall owner PREIT ( Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust) wanted  to build a 365 unit apartment on the Business District parking lot owned by Bloomingdale's.  (By the way - that was the ONLY notice many of them got ... they were NOT notified of the next 10 meetings and many had - or still may have - no idea they even happened....) 
    
Problem was, it was WAY more than ONE  building they were really asking for.  The whole presentation was basically a farce. They wanted  to create a TOD ( a " Transit Oriented District ".... where federal or state incentives might apply) on properties within 2500 linear ft of either the Crestmont or Willow Grove train. It would enabled MULTIPLE buildings on that business district  and even talked about a "master Plan  to coordinate all the building that would occur - but for over a year PREIT kept insisting htey were only asking for  one building ( while they enabled may more)  Over the  course of 11 meetings, the residents were quite frankly, just  deceived ...accomplished by removing their voices, not answering their questions, withholding documents, and not having their elected representatives  act on their behalves. It has been a year - long disgrace that every member of the Board participated in (exception : Lori Henry who joined in 2024)   The answer to the most important question ..."how many units could be built if the ordinance passed " has never been answered to the time of this writing - late Jan 2022.  Over a full year's time, they simply kept pretending they were only asking for ONE building, when that was utterly false. The Commissioners allowed  this deceit - and some promulagated some that were even worse themselves. Planning Commission irregularities and  illegal processes and other problems seem to be someting they will ignore. We are expecting it to appear again at hte brand new Comprehensive Plan Consistency Committee  (perhaps May 4th 2022 but they have given themselves the right to have a Special Meeting at any time they darn well feel like it. Now there's a sense of security for residents. 

     At the top of this section is the building they hoped would take your focus away from their real intent.
The Developer is Bel Canto who would buy the parking lot  and Bloomies would use the money to "spruce up" and modernize , and this would  supposedly "save the mall" they would apparently like you to believe, per implications of their  nearly irrelevant "history of shopping" presentation that we were endlessly shown...
and of special note is a list of all the problems and questions that have never been answered :
https://abingtoncitizens.com/aaISSUES/Development-Zoning-CodeEnf/WillowGroveMall/00AA-QuestionsForTheDeveloper.htm

You can find all the details on the Mall debacle here
 
https://abingtoncitizens.com/aaISSUES/Development-Zoning-CodeEnf/WillowGroveMall/00AA-WGMall-365Apts-main.htm

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Prong  TWO  - TOWNSHIP WIDE RE-ZONING USING THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
           -----   EVEN WORSE THAN THE TEXT AND MAP CHALLENGES 

In essence they seem to be trying to approve every text and map ammendment they can possibly anticipate by incorporating it into their "vision"  in the Comprehensive Plan .  Major zoning changes are being laid out Township-wide in a dozen different ways. Again, between the speaking rights they have removed, the refusal to answer questions and by moving at breakneck speed, they hope to pass the Comprehensive Plan somewhere around March or April. ( In December they did not publish the meeting documents within 24 hours of the Dec 21, 2021 meeting - so it is possible that may set it back a month or so...or they may figure out how to make up for lost time.....because they want to pass this as soon as they are able, before too many residents understand what they are doing .)

The last rezoning took 8 years. They now have it on speed-dial, even though we are only just now beginning to see the results of the LAST  increase in density from  2017.

The Oct 19, 2021  Comprehensive Plan "Future Land Use Map" shows most of their plan - and then there are a few more: 

  1) They will put Mixed Residential Overlay zoning  (duplexes, triplexes , possibly Townhouses or Stacked Townhouses and the  like) 1/2 mile out around a shopping or commercial centers on properties that are currently zoned  "Single  Family Home"  throughout the Township,  wherever the gray circles are on the map below. No analysis as to how many plots are affected,  what the possible impact could be on schools, traffic, facilities like parks, librairies, or quality of life......

  2) They will put TOD ( Transit Oriented District ) designations 1/2 mile around  every train  station except Meadowbrook (see the dotted blue lined circles), allowing greater density and both mixed commercial and residenttial. No analysis as to how many plots are affected, what the possible impact could be on schools, traffic , facilities like parks, librairies, or quality of life...... 
     
  3) They will possibly add bus stations -  instead of just trains - to the TOD districts. Bus stations ( stops ) are so "moveable" that one could literally pop up anywhere -  I have been unable to verify if they mean a bus stop -" or if it would have to be a "transit center " like Fernrock........ that just was brought up at the 1-18-22 Comprehensive Plan Meeting. There will be a bus station at Susquehanna and York - so everyone  in 1/2 mile should .... oh well, there's a commercial center about to be  built there to. We really do need them to put their intentions on a GIS map.

   4) They will allow "infill development" which is taking a fully developed parcel, for instance the Willow Grove Business District , or the Huntingdon Valley Shopping Center ... and deciding that MORE building - both residential and Commercial - can occur on it .  By not specifying where or exactly how much, they have created a developer's bonanza.  We could be challenged every where at the same time. Residents are already fatigued after 8 years of trying to protect their Zoning from Steve Kline's committee, from the challenges that came immediately after it  and from constantly needing a grass roots movement to tell Commissioners to stop doing the opposite of what they are asking. Also, building every inch of the parking space up will leave you likely needing a garage for the spots you build on - even if the new building had a garage inside it (as the mall building did)

  5) They will re-introduce  the despised "Transition Zones" -  like the Highland Ave Zone behind Abington Hospital. They are contending that an intense Commercial Use like the Hospital doesn't match up with the residential use becaue of the  intensity of the  noise & activity - so they will make the residential use a light commercial use to "gradually transition" to the residential neighborhood. Of course, that is absurd to the n'th degree when you consider that they are 1) just moving Commercial farther back into the neighborhood, and 2) they are actually PUTTING residential right next to commercial in the TOD's purposely and in the infill anticipated on the shopping centers like the PREIT proposal.  Instead, what this will accomplish for them is another place there corporate ownership can remove a single family zone (ie Highland Ave across from the Hospital) where they would no longer have to have the doctor live there to be a doctors office. The Dr;s office would be a light commercial use.  Of  course, that  changes the nature of the buildings behind that first row -----  one street further back is now next to commercial.


6) They may  negate the protections of Spot Zoning . In the concept of Spot Zoning  a property owner may not have his own property zoned differently that the  ones around it to only benefit himself . Once the Comprehensive Plan creates the "vision" that residential is allowed on, for instance, the Willow Grove Park Mall Business District, or in the Huntingdon Valley  Shopping Center etc - Spot Zoning protections are more  likely to fall with the slightest legal challenge - because they will say this is the "vision of the Commissioners " - and there may even be caselaw that then allows that. This is something we are still researching - you can help. 
If  the new Comprehensive Plan passes, the ENTIRE Business District might be able to do what PREIT tried to do - without having to be  2500 ft from a train --- despite the intense resistance from residents  on that project.

7)  They will "adjust" our code to account for caselaw. They have given us no idea what things are included in that list. To be sure one of the things they will adjust for is removing our requirement for non-combustible  construction in hi-rises.  Rather than adjust to that. I believe  we should be challenging it the next time someone wants to construct less safely in Abington, and throwing that caselaw out the window for better caselaw.  When only the builders & developers  with bottom line interests  appear in a court suit - and residents are not even notified - it is no wonder that bad caselaw is created. Bad caselaw should be over-turned.  So where is the list of caselaw you'll be accommodating? 


THIS "YELLOW MAP"  - The FUTURE LAND USE MAP ABOVE WITH ALL THE ARROWS - TELLS THE STORY OF THE IRRESPONSIBLE CHANGES TO OUR ZONING 



 25 Different  sections of the township will carry the "vision" for denser development . But they don't know how much, or how fast, or what the impact will be on our traffic, schools, services, wallets...etc    No analysis is being done. They can't let one property owner zone densely and then prohibit the next from doin the same thing.    

FutureLandUsePlan10-21

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And if we were concerned about our schools  because of what  PREIT is/was doing at the mall ......just imagine what will happen when the number of units inside the circles double and triples /
No analysis has been done as to how many plots are affected, what the possible impact could be on schools, traffic, facilities like parks, librairies or quality of life......  So.....Buckle-up ---  here are some statistics showing what you can expect if you turn our neighborhoods into corporate controlled rental units - rather than single family homes which are owned by the person who lives there. The below chart is found here: https://www.nahbclassic.org/generic.aspx?genericContentID=255505&fromGSA=1 

NumberStudentsFromRentalUnits

 






 

 

 

 How will the Zoning Code get  changed?
Text and map amendments will now come before the new ( in 2022)  Comprehensive Plan Consistency Committee -- The name alone should tell you what you need to know . We have been promised that all text and map zoning change requests will come to this Committee and  they will be approved strictly "consistent" with the Comprehensive Plan.  So in essence - the Comprehensive Plan is becoming a zoning document.   "Yesiree - your plan matches our vision. We're recommending you right  along through to approval. 

     On October 14th, 2021 at the Committee of the Whole meeting, Manager Manfredi  gave a presentation found here
 https://abingtonpa.viebit.com/player.php?hash=21O1F8wW3HVC  Follow his words.Manfredi: (16:30 mins ) "again making sure the relevance and consistency are measured against the Township’s mission and vision  to enhance the livability for Township residents, considering any amendments to the zoning or subdivision or land development ordinance (16 :54 mins) we have sitting, right now, amendments to the zoning ordinance that have been worked on for a year. That’s going to have to be vetted - the zoning ordinance is going to have to be amended- (inaudible) and you can be sure when the zoning ordinance changes, & the subdivision ordinance changes that any text amendments that might come about are measured against the Comprehensive Plan that so many people have spent so much time working on ( at 17:05 mins): And, of course, focusing on chapters that are currently being developed, and in particular the housing and future land use plans for the surrounding area. And talking about future land use goes right to the heart of inclusivity. How we live and work - how we ___ (inaudible) ____ so that would also be for when the Comprehensive Plan gets completed.

On Feb 10, 2022 , Commissioner Hecker said that text amendments would come to the Comprehensive Plan Consistency Committee - and then go to the Board to get advertised. That isn't right either - because they need to go to Planning first before they are advertised for a hearing . Oh my. You never saw so much confusion .  This administration under Commissioner Hecker and Manager Manfredi is a mess. After Planning they SHOULD come back to the Committee - because often changes are made in Planning and the public should have the right to view what the final product now looks like.  But I doubt they are going to do that either .... in their rush to over develop and to appease developers. So after a giant "go round"  it's still as clear as mud  as nearly everything has been with this Manager.

  Draft chapters of the Comprehensive Plan are available for public viewing here-  https://www.abingtonpa.gov/government/board-of-commissioners/board-of-commissioners-intiatives/vision-2035-abington-s-comprehensive-plan-update

  WHAT YOU CAN DO
Please add your voice by calling  & writing  your Commissioner
Please also include Ward 6 Comr Mike Thompson and Michael Narcowicz,  the Comprehensive Plan Team
Use these emails 
mnarcowi@montcopa.org ; mthompson@abingtonpa.gov  
And you can send questions or comments to the

  
  
--Please ask your Comr to put the Future Land Use circles on a GIS map so you can find your house
   -- Please ask your Comr to do direct mailing to every home  ( $,20 to $.40 ) of the Future Land Use Map
   -- Please add your voice by calling your Commissioner after you understand the details
   -- Please share back to us what they told you - ( often it fringes on the truth, but misses the mark)
   -- Please take a lawn sign to alert your neighbors
   -- Please  write letters to the editor, etc
   -- Please share this page with as many as you can
   -- Please have them put a page up with the definition of TOD & Mixed Residential  overlay
   -- Please ask them for a question answer page that we can see now
   -- Please ask your Commissioner to hold open mic zoom info sessions on this - multiple ones
   -- Please sign up for the THE NEWSLOOP so you get updates

  Here is a site where you can begin to appreciate the over-development already underway -
even before this Comprehensive Plan is instituted . Scroll below the map on this development page to see individual projects like St Basil's or 770 Jenkintown Rd.  This amount of overdevelopment will affect our home values, our quality of life and everything about the "suburban place" we now  call home.  it will change our township forever!
https://abingtoncitizens.com/aaISSUES/Development-Zoning-CodeEnf/00AA-Development/00AA-Development-main.htm
 

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