Last evening, November 1, 2022, the Planning Commission of the Borough of Hatboro met to continue their review of the RC-2 Ordinance Amendment. The Planning Commission along with approximately 35 residents in attendance for the meeting held a productive discussion regarding the updated draft of the ordinance.
As the majority of our residents know, the Borough spent years in a zoning battle against Wawa due to a deficiency in Hatboro’s zoning code. This process was time consuming and costly, only for the Borough to lose to Wawa in the end. In February of 2021, Borough Council established a Zoning Sub Committee comprised of Councilpersons, Borough Staff, Planning Commission Members, Montgomery County Representatives, and Resident Volunteers. Upon its creation, this Committee was tasked with reviewing the Borough’s current Zoning Ordinances, many of which have not been updated in decades, in an attempt to address any other inadequacies in the ordinances and prevent another Wawa situation from arising.
The Committee’s first project was creating a “Town Center” Ordinance that would focus on properties along York Road. The Committee carefully reviewed the current landscape of York Road and used this as a guide to create an ordinance that would aim to create a diverse main street with a healthy mix of business types. While the Committee was working on the Town Center Ordinance, the Borough was approached by multiple developers who each proposed their own unique Zoning Ordinance Amendments that would allow them to develop on York Road. Because the Borough’s Town Center Ordinance was already in the works, the Borough decided to shift the focus of this ordinance to something that would address areas that developers have expressed interest in. As a result, the RC-2 Town Center Mixed Use Zoning Ordinance Amendment was created. This ordinance was drafted by the Borough’s Planning Expert using feedback from the Montgomery County Planning Commission, Borough Council, Borough Planning Commission, Zoning Sub Committee, and Staff and regulates possible developments that could arise along the main stretch of York Road. The ordinance contains guidelines for developments that the Borough’s current ordinance does not address in order to eliminate any loopholes that may be present.
Since the first draft was created in March of 2022, this ordinance was reviewed in countless public meetings and was modified according to public comment/feedback received. Last evening, the Planning Commission was joined by approximately 35 residents who provided feedback on the latest version of the draft ordinance. The comments received will be incorporated by the Borough’s Planning Expert and the revised draft will be reviewed by the Planning Commission on December 13, 2022 at 7:00 PM (at Pennypack – 130 Spring Avenue, Hatboro). As always, we encourage anyone who has comments, questions, or concerns regarding this ordinance to attend the Planning Commission meeting to provide feedback.
The Borough of Hatboro would like to remind residents that no formal applications for developments along York Road have been received to date. The Borough currently is only considering a Zoning Ordinance Amendment that would address any formal applications for land development along York Road that are received in the future. Once any applications for land development are received by the Borough, these applications will need to be extensively reviewed by the Planning Commission, Montgomery County Planning Commission, Engineer, Planning Expert, etc. prior to any development being built. The review and approval process for land development applications is quite lengthy and there will be numerous opportunities for the public to provide comment, ask questions, and express concerns regarding specifics on individual developments (number of stories, facades, parking, etc.).
Additionally, last evening, Core Development delivered a presentation on the Gamburg’s Property. We would like to note that no formal application has been made by a developer for this property and this was just an informative presentation discussing what the developer could be looking to do with the property in the future.
Since last night’s meeting, we have received numerous calls from residents who have heard misinformation regarding the ordinance and possible developments. As always, the Borough encourages everyone who has questions, concerns, or comments to reach out to Borough Hall at 215-443-9100. Staff is more than happy to assist any resident with questions you may have. Residents are also welcome to email Borough Council and Borough Manager Hegele (emails on the “Contact Us” page of the website) with any questions.
Diane C. Hegele
Borough of Hatboro