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Local Government – Falls Township

Falls Zoning Board Approves Proposed Apartments at Levittown Lanes Site



The Falls Township zoning board approved a request to build a three-story apartment building at the old Levittown Lanes site.

Despite traffic, safety and privacy concerns from nearby residents and a petition with signatures to prevent construction, the zoning board, in a 4-1 vote, approved Al and Mary Episcopo’s application for building on the land.. The proposed building would be a multi-family building with 24 units, not available for Section 8 vouchers.

                                      Architectural Rendering – Robert Cunningham

Michael Meginnis of Begley, Carlin & Mandio represented and spoke for the Episcopo family, with testimony from the project engineer, Robert Cunningham, Al Episcopo and his son Michael.

Meginnis said, that the Episcopo family has owned the land for 62 years and this is a multi-million investment for them. The land is on three parcels but will be referred as one property, since in the past, the three parcels were used for one operation.

The project engineer, Robert Cunningham, a partner with Holmes Cunningham Engineering in Doylestown testified that the land is one and half acres comprised of three parcels. The larger parcel , which was occupied by Levittown Lanes, sits on the west side of Orchard Drive and a large parking lot covering two parcels sits to the east side.

Credit: Submitted

The younger Episcopo reflected on the tragedy that occurred in March of 2022, explained the operations of the bowling lanes and the differences in the noise level, parking, and more between the business and what is proposed for the future. He also said that he saw no negatives to this venture and the family is not out to hurt anyone with the apartment project proposal.

The elder Episcopo expanded on his involvement with the property starting in 1962 and his relations to the community, He also spoke on plans to beautify the area with a beautiful building and more greenery; how it would be an asset to the community with regards to the shops and restaurants across the street.

The board heard from several concerned individuals. Most concerns were centered on the safety of pedestrians, homeowner privacy, overcrowded school district, noise levels and traffic safety. Most individuals would like to see the Episcopo family rebuild but would like it to be a commercial venture, not residential.

Ms. Joanne Ames is a Falls Twp resident who handles financial transactions, and for feature and important stories copy edits content when she's not working her other job as retail manager at a local cigarette/vape outlet. Ames' free time is dedicated to hanging out with her "Mom" ensuring she is cared for, comfortable, and loved at all times. Ames is also a crazed Eagles fan and who spends much of her Sunday's reminding LBS Publisher/Editor Jeff Bohen "The Giants Suck.." Ames recently has gotten the reporting bug and is in the midst of preparing for her first big story.

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Local Government – Falls Township

Proposed Future Look for Falls Township Fire Company



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



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



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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