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Local Government – Falls Township

Falls Reviews Sketch Plan for Nearly 1 Million-Square-Foot Warehouse

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The Falls Supervisors discussed the possibility of a large-scale warehouse being constructed on more than 95 acres of land along the Delaware River during Monday’s virtual meeting.

The board reviewed a sketch plan from Stalwart Equities for construction of 916,300 square feet of warehouse space and 60,000 square feet of office space. The bulk of the property – 84.664 acres – is at the former Solvay tract.

Two other parcels totaling more than 11 acres are comprised of land on South Pennsylvania Avenue and a portion of the former Rogers foam tract on East Post Road.

The property is bound by industrial uses along East Post Road to the north, the Delaware River to the east and Biles Creek, vacant land to the south and a mix of commercial and residential properties to the east between the site and South Pennsylvania Avenue.

Samuel Wachsman, Stalwart Equities president, told the board that his industrial development company has undertaken multiple developments in central and northern New Jersey. The Falls building would be used mainly for storage.

“Product will be coming in and distributed either to New Jersey or the Philadelphia market,” he said. In response to a question from a resident, Wachsman said the building would not house hazardous materials or toxic chemicals.

Should the project move to fruition, officials said the warehouse would employ 500 or more local employees. Officials told Falls Supervisors that the project would generate $963,000 in real estate taxes to Pennsbury School District, $41,000 in municipal taxes and $33,000 in annual local services taxes.

 

Credit: Falls Twp

Stalwart officials have not yet submitted a land development plan or had the project reviewed by the planning commission. Until land development plans are submitted, the Supervisors cannot vote on the project.

According to sketch plan documents filed with the township, Stalwart officials intend to file a preliminary land development application this fall, followed by a final land development application in spring 2021. Falls would need to schedule, advertise, and hold a public hearing on the application.

To move forward, the Supervisors would need to grant conditional use approval since warehouses are not a permitted use
in the riverfront district.

A similar development in Woodbridge, N.J. is in the works and will be built to suit a tenant or tenants, Wachsman said. Walmart is a tenant for a separate project in Long Island, N.Y., he said.

The Falls site could house one tenant or be subdivided to house up to four, Stalwart officials said, adding that details on occupancy would not be known until the project is finalized and marketed.

Traffic could be the project’s largest obstacle. Stalwart’s traffic consultant told the board that the property would host 700 vehicles daily. Of those, 150 to 200 per day would be trucks.

Developers are planning to widen South Pennsylvania Avenue to help accommodate traffic. In addition, the warehouse would have separate truck and passenger vehicle access. The truck route would be Route 13 to Tyburn Road to South Pennsylvania Avenue.

Trucks exiting the site would be directed to turn left and head south along South Pennsylvania Avenue. Passenger vehicles would be able to access the site from both the South Pennsylvania Avenue and East Post Road driveways.
Traffic from Tyburn Road would be the “biggest problem,” Dence said.

The Supervisors spoke favorably of the project and its economic impact.“We look forward to you guys coming back with a plan,” Dence said. Supervisors Vice Chairman Jeff Boraski said the property has been vacant for as long as he could remember. “The project looks very promising,” Supervisor Brian Galloway said. “It will be a good thing for our tax
base.”

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Local Government – Falls Township

Proposed Future Look for Falls Township Fire Company

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Falls Township Fire Company was granted approval from the zoning board for their request of building additions presented earlier this month at the board’s meeting.

The petition #4 in this month’s agenda was to expand the building with an addition for a new bay. The additional bay would be to accommodate equipment that is being delivered in 2025.The expansion would  accommodate newly purchased apparatus and also other renovations inside the building to make it more usable for them.

Credit: Zoning Board Meeting 4/9/24 – Current Fire Company

Representing the fire company was Brian Binney, a professional land surveyor, of Anderson Engineering now a division of Pennoni Engineering. David Shamberg from the fire company was also present to testify.

The variances presented were as follows: 

Section 209:

  • -20.1.E and Table 4 – to allow a minimum front yard building setback less than 100 feet as required on Table 4 and to allow a maximum impervious surface ratio greater than 70% as required on Table 4
  • -20.1.I – to allow existing parking within 20 ft. to the street line without curbing and plantings as required by Section 209-22.F(2)
  • -38.1.E(4) – to not provide 20 ft. buffer yards
  • -40 – to not provide a lighting plan
  • -42.B(1) – to not provide landscaping between off-street parking and street lines or lot lines
  • -42.C – to not propose additional lighting fixtures 
  • -42.E – to allow an existing continuous open driveway greater than 30 ft. wide

Binney said all the variances except for one were currently in existence. The one non-existent variance relates to the dimensional variant of the front yard. He proceeded to detail each requested variance for the board. 

Comment from the board was that the fire company was not asking for much as most of these variances were already there, and they were not asking to really change any impervious surface or anything that’s going to be detrimental to the neighborhood. Binney replied “….just trying to memorialize it.”

Credit: Zoning Board Meeting 4/9/24 – Proposed Future Fire Company

During public comment, Amy R. asked questions regarding clarity of the building’s expansion and addition, type of new equipment and logistics of the fire trucks entering and exiting the building. Binney clarified the expansion and addition, explained the new equipment would be fire trucks and that the fire trucks would use the front to enter and exit. 

Shamberg also replied “We have not taken a major renovation like this since the 1950s. We’ve been in the Fallsington area for over a 100 years. Lord knows the township is growing exponentially as all you folks know and we’re getting ready for it……”. He added they were able to purchase three new fire trucks with delivery due next year. 

The board, in relation to public comment, asked for and received clarification that the “addition is not going to be detrimental in any way, it’s taking a part of the parking lot that is already existing there so you’re basically just moving the building sideways pretty much and then you’re just going to relocate the parking that you have existing. Is that correct?” Binney answered that it was correct. Next question from the board was regarding height of the decorative portion. Binney answered that it would  conform to the requirements of the zoning district.

The Zoning Board unanimously approved this petition in its entirety.

Credit: Submitted

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Local Government – Falls Township

Falls Stays with Grant Writing Firm in 2024

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Monday Night, the Falls Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the renewal of Millennium Strategies’ contract as their grant writing firm.

Millennium Strategies has worked with Falls Township since 2021. The company secured a little over $1 million in grants during their tenure, said Vice Chairperson Erin Mullen.

Matt Takita, Township Manager said, Millennium Strategies charges a flat monthly retainer fee of $1,500 not to exceed $18,000 a year and an hourly bill rate of $130 per hour. Millennium monitors grants that may be useful to the community. Once the township decides to move forward with a grant, then the township is charged the hourly rate.

Credit: Laughs for Recovery

Currently, the township and Millennium are working on grants for road improvements, parks and the new building, said Takita.

The grant service was extended to the volunteer firefighters, either 2022 or 2023,and this should help them, said Supervisor John Palmer. 

Founded in 2005, Millennium Strategies is the largest full-service grants consulting firm in the region. They help their clients, local governments and boards of education entities, finance critical programs and projects by working to secure funding through federal, state, county, corporate, and philanthropic grant programs, according to their website.

Credit: Submitted

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Health - Falls Township

New Quick Serve Eatery Possibly coming to Levittown

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A Pittsburgh area fast food restaurant is seeking to open its doors in Levittown

The application came before the Falls Township Zoning Board last week seeking  approval on variances to open a family-owned eatery, called Two and A Fry, in the township.

Jennifer Gage, of Thornridge, purchased the property at 8025 Mill Creek Parkway in 2022. Gage hopes to bring her father’s ( James Pelissero ) Pittsburgh-based business model including quality food and low prices to the township offering up milkshakes, hot dogs, burgers, fries, and more.

Gage explained Two and A Fry derives its name from their signature menu item. The customer gets two hot dogs, french fries, and a drink for $5.00. No matter the inflation – the intent is for the price to never change. The eatery would be open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and employ three to five people.

Bryce McGuigan, attorney for the applicants, Gage and Pelissero, spoke on their behalf. McGuigan explained the property is .69 acres and the existing building is 1562 square feet. The structure was previously a doctor’s office and is located at the corner of Mill Creek Parkway and Fallsington-Tullytown Road. 

McGuigan acknowledged challenges, such as the location being at a busy intersection and, although an eatery is permitted to exist at the location, the drive-thru portion of the structure would go through another, yet different approval process.

John Richardson, a PA licensed professional engineer, testified in regard to his design of the property’s plans presented to the board. He detailed each of the seven variances being sought for approval. 

There were two major concerns to address: Overflow/spillage of the drive-thru onto the adjacent roadways and the location of the entrance/exit driveway adjacent to the two roadways.  To counter the challenge of vehicles overflowing into the streets from the drive-thru, the plans call for a longer drive-thru than the township requires, so as not to impact the traffic on the roadways. Countering the other main challenge of the driveway(s), the design calls to move the driveway as far away from the intersection as possible and also do the same for the Fallsington roadway.

The listed variances relate to existing conditions, parking, and loading, said Richardson. The drive-thru is labeled as a conditional use which is a separate process and goes before the board of supervisors and is reviewed by the township’s engineer.

                                  Credit: Laughs for Recovery

The plans do not call for any proposed changes to the existing building, the roadway or the median. Richardson explained, due to the median on Mill Creek, customers would only be able to turn right on entering or exiting the property.

McGuigan and Richardson said that in addition to the conditional use process, the entirety of the plans need to go through several processes including land development process, and a PennDOT review and would have to adhere to any recommendations by PennDOT.

Residents, during public comment, raised concerns of pedestrian safety, traffic safety and management of waste.

The application was approved with a vote of 4-1 by the board and now heads to land development before seeking Board of Supervisors approval. 

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