PERKASIE, Pa. - Perkasie Borough Council approved a rezoning ordinance Monday that'll allow developers for Perkasie Woods to propose a housing development on a 16-acre property previously restricted to industrial use.
The Perkasie Woods plan features 143 townhomes along Spruce Street and Constitution Avenue that'll initially be priced around $300,000 per unit and will require minimal owner maintenance, with wholesale insurance and maintenance plans included with each unit.
Perkasie residents have repeatedly expressed frustration with the plan, saying that what the borough needs is not more housing but jobs and industry.
"Our main objection from the beginning is that this neighborhood is too dense, too big, too many houses for this town," said resident Evelyn Lewis. "I would like the number of houses reduced and the issue addressed before the council grants the zoning change."
Council member Justin Stottlar, who cast the sole vote against the project, expressed concerns over the number of houses as well.
During Monday's public hearing, others also voiced concerns over the potential impact of the plan on traffic, taxes, public education and safety.
But council stressed that the land development was not yet up for consideration, but instead whether the housing development should be allowed to propose a development at the site.
Council president Jim Ryder said he felt that the days of industrial development in boroughs like Perkasie were waning.
"Those days are over," he said. "Nothing's happened here in years. We haven't done anything and we are getting a reputation for not wanting to do anything."
Ryder said that when a legitimate developer with a quality product seeks to develop in the township, it should be encouraged.
"That's what drives jobs. That's people here spending money," he said.
The 8 to 1 vote in favor of advancing the project will also allow the developer to exceed the maximum height allotted for buildings to 35-feet.
At the meeting, Perkasie Woods representatives said they had worked to address issues previously expressed by council and the public, particularly concerning lack of open space in the development.
Project engineer Robert Blue said they allocated 1.5 acres of open space in the development, including three "pocket parks" and a larger green-space that will feature swings, see-saws, benches and slides, aimed at providing activities for those aged two through 12.
"It's a nice little pocket park," said Blue of one of the sites. "It's not overwhelming but it's something that can be used by the residents."
Representatives also said they had the community's best interest in mind.
"We're not here in any adversarial manner," said attorney Robert Gundlach. "We want the best project for the community."
Perkasie Woods will now head toward the review phase of land development, with numerous officials saying the process will likely take several months.
The project was first introduced July 21.
Developers said they hope to break ground next year.
Allentown, PA 18102