November 1, 2022 Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

PRESENT – Chairman McMenamin, Vice Chair Kline, Member Hegele, Member Farnen, Member Shay, Borough Manager Hegele, Assistant Secretary DeRenzis, Secretary Bollendorf and Borough Planner Kennedy were present.  

CALL TO ORDER – Chairman McMenamin called the November 1, 2022, Planning Commission Meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – Chairman McMenamin led the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Chairman McMenamin stated that he is happy for the attendance as he encouraged all to attend at the last Council Meeting. He stated he knows everyone has strong feelings regarding this Text Amendment Ordinance and it has been a long process as this has been discussed in 17 previous meetings and an ordinance was created with the feedback that was received at the time including feedback from Borough staff and professionals. He stated tonight we will be discussing the new draft, and everyone will have a chance to comment and reminded everyone again that this is only the first step and will help with any misinterpretation and reminded everyone that we are all working on the same goal and also asked everyone be respectful to one another.  

APPROVAL OF SEPTEMBER 13, 2022, MEETING MINUTES – Member Shay made a motion to approve the September 13, 2022, Meeting Minutes. Motion was seconded by Vice Chair Kline, all ayes. Chairman McMenamin abstained as he was not present for the meeting. Motion carried 4-0 with 1 abstention. 


RC-2 TEXT AMENDMENT ORDINANCE – Borough Planner Kennedy reviewed the differences between the last draft (8/10/22) that was discussed at the last Council Meeting and the revised draft in front of everyone this evening (10/18/22) and he will clarify some points and concerns that were raised. The following revisions were made: 

  • Density – Sets max with and without bonuses – base is 30 units per gross acre and the max is 75 units per gross acre. 
  • Setbacks –The minimum setback from York Road is 9 feet and the maximum is 20 feet which is measured from curb line to building facade. The minimum side setback from any side street intersecting York Road shall be 8 feet and the maximum shall be 14 feet. The rear set back bordering a residential district was increased to 25 feet. 
  • General Statement – The bonuses shall encourage sustainable practices and the implementation of the comprehensive plan.  
  • Bonuses – Previously there was a maximum bonus of 25 feet and has been lowered to 15 feet. There was a maximum height of building and stories which has been changed to 4 stories. (Previously was a max of 60 feet now a max of 50 feet). Some of the other bonuses have been revised in terms of feet and others have been clarified and were reviewed.  
  • York Road Streetscape and Amenities – Mostly classifications but did strike the bicycle rack and bus shelter because the bicycle racks would have been a cheap way to get bonus height and you would have to go through Septa and PennDOT for the bus shelter and might have gotten to complicated.  
  • Parking – this was a clarification and was made more straight forward.  

Chairman McMenamin shared a visual aid of a map that demonstrated the sections of York Road this applies to which are between Montgomery and Byberry Avenues. Planner Kennedy stated his reason for showing the map as there was some confusion as a comment was made this change would affect all of RC-2 which it does not.  

GAMBURGS PRESENTATION – Pete Staz and Pete Spain from Core Development, gave a presentation on the possible redevelopment of 107 S. York Road.  


Bill Tompkins, 161 Spring Avenue, asked how many units are proposed at the Gamburg property and the answer was 95 units and feels theoretically, the proposed ordinance applies to all of York Road. He also stated that he thinks the height bonuses are too generous and should be lowered.  

Cindy Giovinazzo, 33 Abbotts Lane, asked if we are capped at 35 feet, then why are we allowing bonuses for height to go up to 50 feet. Chairman McMenamin stated that 35 is the base and the point of this is they can go up to 4 stories or 50 feet. She also stated she doesn’t understand how anyone feels the proposed development would fit in a historical town.  

Rick Michael, 138 Earl Lane, stated he doesn’t support the proposed project as he thinks Hatboro will lose its small-town charm/feel.  

Ann Manichelli, 176 W. Lehman Avenue, stated she doesn’t feel these meetings were communicated properly to the residents and only knew about the proposed developments because she received a postcard about the zoning. 

Chairman McMenamin stated that the Borough can’t mail every person but if anyone has ideas, comment, or concerns, they can let staff know and give suggestions on how to communicate.  

Matt Coyle, 47 N. Penn Street, has been in construction for 25 years and likes the proposed development for the Gamburgs property.  

Ed Henry, 238 Bonair Avenue, asked what happens to the current businesses at 21-37 N. York Road. Chairman McMenamin stated that is between landlord and tenant.  

Chuck Flack, 21 N. York Road, asked how many businesses will be destroyed at the Gamburg property (107 S. York Road) as opposed to the former Canalley property (21-37 N. York Road). Mr. Flack stated he realizes he is a tenant and cannot tell the new property owner what to do with the property. Chairman McMenamin stated that the Borough is not telling any property owner to do anything as it is not in our hands it is up to the owner. Mr. Flack stated that he is a business owner and is worried about where he will go if this ordinance passes.  

Delores Forget, 409 Crescent Road, asked if the 100 feet of frontage was continuous coverage. Planner Kennedy stated yes, it is. Mrs. Forget also asked hos much the rent would be, and Mr. Spain stated they look at all the rental prices in the area and that is how it is determined and that it is actually an economic risk for them when determining the rent amount as it its determined by the market at the time.  

Sean Duffy, 38 W. Moreland Avenue, stated he is one of the three residential properties that borders the former Canalley property, and he appreciates Council taking another look at the proposed ordinance. He stated his property line is the one side of the property lot and questioned if it would still be the 6-8 feet side set back.  

Ed Miller, 32 W. Montgomery Avenue, stated he has 20 years of construction management and thinks all of the buildings on York Road are 35 feet and that the proposed plan at the Cannalley property will be too large and look awkward.  

John Fears, 137 W. Lehman Avenue, thanked the Planning Commission for the revision but agrees with Mr. Tompkins that the height bonuses were too generous. He also asked if the Borough could make public the zoning map and Manager Hegele stated yes, they cam post it for the public. 

Don Gamburg, 107 S. York Road, stated that as everyone knows, Gamburgs has been in Hatboro for 90 years and his dad is not physically and mentally able to be present at tonight’s meeting but has always been involved with Hatboro and has always done what is best for Hatboro. He stated they would love to continue as is with the building, but it is not possible, and they wanted to do something with the building instead of having it just sit there vacant. He stated that his father fully supports the multifamily use option for the building as this is the only thing that will actually work as far as future use of the building. He stated this is very emotional for his family and they would like the peace of mind that something great was done with their building. He also stated that a few years ago they were in contact with another developer who was only concerned with finances and that is why he went with Core Development as they have had a long relationship and they know how much his family cares about the building and more importantly, Hatboro. 

Amy Haigler, 560 N. York Road, stated that she thinks everyone gets upset about change and that change is going to happen and the Borough is trying to figure out the best way to make it happen to protect Hatboro. She also stated that even though people rent, they are residents even if they do not own the property as they also have interest ion the town or else, they would not be moving here and that sometimes people will rent in an area until they can buy a house in said area.  

Jackie Nace, 45 Abbotts Lane, stated her only concern is there is no residential around the Gamburg property like there is around the former Canalley property if this passes and they want to do the same thing and doesn’t feel the 25-foot set back is large enough when near residential properties. She also stated she is all for new development but is concerned that what is good for one specific property but might not be good for another one and thinks it is too many units that are proposed at the former Canalley property. 

Vice Chair Kline stated she understands and thinks if we were talking about one property it would be received differently but we are talking about 3 happening at the same time.  

Sally Mandes, 24 Home Road, stated she was one who tried to prevent the new development at 400 N. York Road as well as the new Wawa and she does not want a 5-story building anywhere.  

Vice Chair Kline stated she understands and thinks if we were talking about one property it would be received differently but we are talking about 3 happening at the same time.   

Jen Hartigan, 26 S. Linden Avenue, asked how many parking spots will be required for the proposed 95 units at the Gamburg property.  

Chairman McMenamin stated for retail, 1 space per 200 feet of store/sales floor area, restaurant 1 space per 75 feet of customer area, 3 bedroom – 2 spaces, 1 0r 2 bedroom – 1.5 spaces and studio – 1.25.  

Cathy Kelly, 224 Lancaster Avenue, stated she is confused, and it is hard to hear everyone speak and suggested a microphone. Chairman McMenamin apologized and stated that once we move back to Borough Hall where all of the sound equipment is, meetings will be easier to hear and thanked everyone for their patience regarding sound quality whole we have temporarily held the meetings in Pennypack. 

Matt Coyle, 47 N. Penn Street, asked about addressing the handicap accessible units and asked where that would be addressed. Manger Hegele stated that is covered under the permit process and would be addressed at that time. 

Cathy Kelly, 224 Lancaster Avenue, asked if it was possible the developers could do a Historic façade on the proposed buildings. 

Bill Tompkins, 161 Spring Avenue, stated the façade could be part of the conditional use which would help alleviate some of that concern. 

Alex Myers, Borough Council, stated that the Borough does go above and beyond to communicate with the residents, but the residents need to take some responsibility in order to try to stay informed. He also stated that currently we have several Facebook pages, a website, an electronic and paper newsletter, and an App that provides all of the information and if anyone has any ideas of any other ways to communicate to let staff know.  

Manager Hegele stated there are only 4 of us at Borough Hall and we do try our best to communicate everything. 

Merrie Keller, 110 W. Monument Avenue, asked what #8 was on page 9 and Planner Kennedy stated it’s just a reference to the parking code in zoning. Mrs. Keller also stated that you can’t adjust the entrances at Byberry and York and therefore questioned where the entrances will be if the development is approved at the Gamburg property. Chairman McMenamin stated a traffic study will have to be done and a proposal submitted to determine that. Mr. Tompkins stated that Byberry and York are PennDOT roads therefore the situation would not be worse as they would have to try to make it better. 

Cindy Giovinazzo, 33 Abbotts Lane, asked how many steps there are with this process before a developer would get the go ahead to build what they have proposed and how we can be proactive and prevent what happened at the Wawa site regarding zoning. Chairman McMenamin stated there are many steps to the process and the Planning Commission just makes the recommendations.  

Manger Hegele stated that it is not an easy and quick process and there are plenty of opportunities to come to meetings and comment once the developers make a formal submission. She also stated that the Borough fought a long time with Wawa and spent a lot of money doing so but unfortunately there was not enough money to continue. She also stated that Council formed the sub committee for zoning because of that situation and they sit weekly for the past nine months to try to fine tune the zoning to further protect the Borough.  

Sean Duffy, 38 W. Moreland Avenue, asked to be more specific in the ordinance regarding side setbacks when a proposed development abuts a residential property.  

Chairman McMenamin stated after reviewing, he would like the Planning Commission to work on it more so there will be no vote tonight. He stated he would like to tweak it a little more and discuss at the next meeting on December 13, 2022. 

OLD BUSINESS – There was no old business. 

ADJOURNMENT – Member Shay made a motion to adjourn the November 1, 2022, Planning Commission Meeting. Motion was seconded by Vice Chair Kline, all ayes. Motion carried 5-0. Chairman McMenamin adjourned the November 1, 2022, Planning Commission Meeting at 9:15 P.M. 

Respectfully Submitted by: 

Diane Hegele, Borough Manager

Transcribed by Cindy Bollendorf