LIMERICK — The continuation of a hearing on a proposal to build a two-story, 112-bed assisted living senior facility on 8.5 acres at 545 Lewis Road was supposed to be about a traffic study done by the developer.
But that part of the action was taken care of quickly when the township’s traffic engineer, Joe Platt, confirmed what the developer’s lawyer had told the supervisors last month that issues raised about the study’s findings have been addressed.
Jerrid Dinnen, with Atlantic Traffic and Design, told the board last month traffic studies show the facility would add only 21 new trips to the morning peak traffic period and 29 to the evening peak.
Rather, what took up most of the hearing Tuesday were concerns raised by residents of the neighboring Aronomink subdivision concerned, primarily about stormwater.
Gaurav Gupta of Navajo Drive said he had just finished his basement and he is worried construction of the 30,000-square-foot assisted living facility behind the Wawa at the intersection with Linfield Road could create a crack and allow his basement to be flooded.
Matt Lewis, also a resident of Navajo Drive, showed the supervisors photos of a storm on March 24 that dropped 12.4 inches of rain, which “barely registers as a storm event,” he said.
Nevertheless, his photos, which could not be seen by the audience, purported to show stormwater from the undeveloped site where the senior housing project is planned, having an impact on homes in the Aronomink subdivision.
He noted the developers had said the project will have an underground retention tank to improve stormwater flow but was shut down after the lawyer for the developer said stormwater is a subject for the land development process, not a conditional use hearing.
Robert Vogt of Cherokee Circle, who said he dealt with stormwater issues for decades, got the same answer when he said the current stormwater plan would be “burdensome” on existing properties.
He was told a formal stormwater plan has not yet been submitted to the township.
But that didn’t stop John Alejnikov, an engineer for the developer, telling the supervisors last month that the underground stormwater management system planned for the project will mean when construction is complete, there will be less runoff from the site than there is now.
The concerns raised Tuesday echoed some raised last month on the same subject.
Resident Andrea Straka said last month that during heavy rainfalls she can see the water running down toward her Cherokee Circle home and neighbors have had flooding problems in basements and yards, “turning them into swamps and making them unusable.”
Proposed by Senior Housing Development LLC, the project complies with the retail business zoning for the site, which requires it first to obtain conditional use approval from the board of supervisors.
The township planning commission has recommended the project receive the conditional use permit from the supervisors.
The project has already obtained four variances from the township’s zoning hearing board, including an allowance to clear more vegetation that the ordinance allows, and to have less parking than the ordinance requires.
If the conditional use is approved, the project must still go through the land development process before the township planning commission before coming back to the supervisors for final approval.
It is during the land development process that formal stormwater designs will be submitted to the township and where resident concerns about the issue should be raised, said Township Solicitor Mike McGrory.
The board adjourned the hearing without taking a vote. McGrory told the supervisors they legally have 45 days to make a decision.
This article first appeared as a post in The Digital Notebook blog.