Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Proposed Lower Providence hotel, restaurant and credit union reviewed by board

A proposal for the construction of a new hotel, credit union and restaurant was reviewed Thursday by the township board of supervisors.

Audubon Land Development Corp. of Lower Providence has proposed building a 135-room, five-story Fairfield Marriott hotel, a Citadel Credit Union building with drive-through and a restaurant, as yet unnamed, with drive-through on a 20-acre parcel off Trooper Road and Forge Avenue. The developer now has proposed 245 parking spaces after the Lower Providence Planning Commission recommended additional parking, said Brad Macy, the vice president for land development at Audubon Land Development Corp. The original plan had 148 parking spaces.

Attorney Bernadette Kearney, representing ALD, said the developer recognized that a traffic study was required.

"It is a little difficult getting in and out of the ice cream place," said Supervisor's Chairman Richard Brown. "I think a hotel is a wonderful idea. We think it is a needed facility. We have to address the planning commission's concerns."

Supervisor Jason Sorgini said there was a need for the traffic study. Supervisor Colleen Eckman asked how many stories were in the existing Homewood Suites.

Macy said that all the necessary studies would be completed before the plan is finalized. He said that requests for sidewalks and bike trails would be included in the plans.

"Traffic is a major concern over there," said Supervisor Don Thomas.  Brown said the supervisors would like to see a comprehensive plan for the undeveloped land.

Ken O'Brien, the senior project manager of McMahon Associates, said that turning restrictions should be provided on Forge Avenue because of the heavy traffic volume on Trooper Road and the stop sign on Forge Avenue.

A conditional use hearing will be required for the restaurant approval, according to Kevin Chavous, a Montgomery County Planning Commission design planner. A traffic impact study of seven adjacent intersections and the 20-acre project will have to accompany the preliminary site plan submission. The plan includes a collector road extension of about 400 feet from the rear of the Wawa and Bertucci's along with a "wrap-around" road to go behind an existing warehouse building. A Jefferson Avenue extension from the industrial park would be connected to the new driveways.

No members of the public commented on the sketch plan for Audubon Square V. No official action on the proposal will be taken until a traffic study and preliminary sketch plans are submitted to the Lower Providence Planning Commission and the board.

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