- Associated Press - Sunday, May 10, 2015

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A big, old sycamore standing for more than a century near Routes 313 and 263 won a reprieve last week when Doylestown Township supervisors told representatives of the proposed Pavilion at Doylestown commercial development that they have to build around the tree.

“Save the tree,” Supervisor Chairman Barbara Lyons said, as resident Jim Bingler pointed out that the sycamore is 59 caliper inches, a measurement used to determine its diameter, and any tree larger than 48 inches in diameter cannot be cut down, according to the Doylestown Township Code. He estimated its age at 125 to 150 years.

Bingler also asked if several other trees of 25 to 48 inches in diameter would need to be cut down for the development since only 10 percent of those trees are allowed to be cut down without a variance from the code. L. Scott Mill, landscape architect for the development, said some of them would need to be removed.

The Pavilion plan include a CVS Pharmacy, urgent care facility, child-care center and a possible Starbucks coffee shop, along with 36,000 square feet of retail space to be built on the 17-acre site, said attorney Edward Murphy, representing developer Joseph Grasso.

The development’s traffic engineer, Philip Wursta, said there would be several entrances to the site on routes 313, 263 and Rogers Road, and that Route 263 (York Road) would have a new left-turn lane from Edison-Furlong Road to Route 313. “The improvements on York Road are significant,” he said.

But as it is proposed, the development would need to win the supervisors’ approval with nine variances from the building code in place.

Among the biggest concerns was groundwater. Murphy said that the developers tried to negotiate a deal with neighboring Buckingham to provide public water and sewer service to the site but Buckingham declined the offer. So well water and a community septic system would need to be installed.

One resident questioned Monday night how that would affect the wells of nearby home and business owners. “If they deplete our water supply, how long are they responsible,” he asked.

Township solicitor Jeffrey Garton said that a developer could give neighbors a “letter of credit” that would protect them if the shopping center affected their wells within a specified period, like five years.

Garton listed stumbling blocks for the development getting approval, including the impervious surface ratio being too high at 50 percent, the tree disturbance and the possible effect on nearby wells.

“We know you have the right (to build),” Lyons said. “It’s the intensity of all the uses together . especially the urgent care and Starbucks.”

“You could tweak it by reducing the building sizes,” Supervisor Richard Colello told Murphy, Mill and Wursta, noting that an earlier proposal presented to the supervisors last year had smaller buildings and less impervious surface.





Information from: The Intelligencer, https://www.theintell.com

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