Upper Leacock supervisors approve ELA Group application, permits development in mixed-use zone | Community News

When: Upper Leacock Township supervisors meeting, May 19.

what happened: Following public hearings in March and April, the board approved ELA Group’s conditional-use application together with design standard modifications to permit the Villas at Twin Maples development in the mixed-use zone. The 83-unit multifamily project is on an 8-acre tract at 2355 New Holland Pike. Only two board members, chairman Ron Simmons and supervisor Nelson Bard, were present at the meeting. Vice Chairman Hal Leaman was out of the country in Germany. Both Simmons and Bard said there should be recreational facilities available on-site, and this would be dealt with during the land development plan stage.

Background: The application included township design standard modifications regarding building height, parking spaces and landscaping. The project would construct several three-story apartment buildings up to 50 feet in height, exceeding the current 35-foot maximum. Several residents had expressed concern during the hearings over the lack of any area devoted to recreation for residents and children. The township’s subdivision ordinance formula requires there be 4 acres of on-site parkland for the number of units in the development, effectively cutting the site in half. ELA had proposed paying the township a fee in lieu, a discretionary option permitted by the ordinance.

Recreational requirements: Nelson said some recreational facility was needed because it was a long way for a family to take their kids from the site to play. He said he was open to a compromise on the amount of acreage in lieu of the full amount required by the ordinance. Simmons agreed. The supervisors also thought there should be fencing around the development to stop children wandering onto neighboring properties.

Quotable: “I think a development of this size, with 83 units, needs some type of a playground on-site. I don’t see a way around this. We’re open to a proposal … that would be something dealt with at the land development stage (when) we would determine how much,” Simmons said.

Annual audit: Maher Duessel Certified Public Accountants presented Upper Leacock with a clean bill of audit health for 2021 via teleconference. Manager Jennifer Cruverkibi said there were no exceptions. She recommended there be training for all employees as a security measure for township operations.

noise ordinance: Township manager Michael Morris reviewed noise ordinances from neighboring municipalities with the board. This was prompted by a Leola resident’s complaint about a neighbor setting off explosives each evening before 11 pm, Upper Leacock’s cutoff time for fireworks. There was sympathy with the resident’s complaint, and Morris suggested amending Upper Leacock’s ordinance by restricting consumer fireworks to specific holidays such as New Year’s and the Fourth of July.

block party: The board turned down Leola residents Tim and Kim Scott’s request to close part of Sun Valley Drive on Saturday, June 11 for a neighborhood block party. Morris said they’ve refused such requests in the past, notably for an Amish wedding, and this would set a precedent. Morris said the roads are made for transportation and there would be issues with the emergency services, fire and police, detours, etc. He said the township pays a lot of money to maintain its parks and pools if you want a get together with your neighbors rather than closing the roads for a block party.

Next meeting: The board meets again Thursday, June 16.

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