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Signal Coming to Route 309 and Line Street With 148-Townhome Firefox Development

Tony Di Domizio

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 • 2:37am

The approval by supervisors of a revised land development plan for the property along Route 309/Bethlehem Pike at Line Street in Montgomery Township Monday night gets the ball rolling on the development of 148 townhomes in an HOA neighborhood called Firefox, to be built later in two phases by developer Select Properties.

With the development—a traffic signal at Line Street and Route 309/Bethlehem Pike.

The 42-acre area, including the Heckler tract, comprises Montgomery and Hatfield townships. It is bounded by Route 309, the Pennsylvania Railroad line, Crystal Road, and Maple Drive. The Colmar branch of the Neshaminy Creek passes through the northern part of the site, according to Gilmore & Associates, the township engineer.

The current owner, The Klein Company, is selling the land to Select Properties, Inc., who will complete Firefox, according to township Planning and Zoning Director Bruce Shoupe.

Futhermore, a new road is planned to intersect Route 309 across from Line Street. Of the 148 townhomes planned, 115 will exist in Montgomery Township, per land development plans

"I'm not thrilled with (148) townhomes to begin with, but it was approved before I go here," said Supervisors Chairman Joseph Walsh.

Supervisors approved the plan 4-0, but enforced one new condition added Monday night: Potential homeowners must be made aware in selling documents that patios cannot be constructed at any of the homes. The impervious coverage is maxed out with roadways, driveways and trails. Decks, however, are allowed in the development.

"It needs to be prevalant—not on page 99, but somewhere in the first few pages so they are aware of that," said Supervisor Candyce Chimera.

Supervisors believed homeowners of some of the townhomes with walk-out basements may assume they can build a patio.

"We are not involved in the actual selling, but it's a perfectly legitimate request," said Clay Chandler, of The Klein Company. The applicant's name and address on file is Firefox L.P., Mellon Bank Center, Philadelphia.

Firefox will have a Northern Village and a Southern Village, with 91 townhomes and 57 townhomes, respectively. A boulevard will connect the two villages with Bethlehem Pike and Line Street. 

Shoupe said the Southern Village would be built first, but the Northern Village will be escrowed. The Northern Village has 33 townhomes planned in Hatfield Township. About nine acres of open space will be dedicated in Montgomery Township, and seven acres preserved in Hatfield Township.

"The North will be done later," he said. "Phase Two will be escrowed and not constructed."

According to Shoupe, the development was originally conditionally approved by supervisors on Oct. 22, 2007. The applicant never satisified the conditions of the approval.

A revised plan was recorded on May 19, 2014, which amended the old plan to allow for phased construction via subdivision of open space. Other amendments included using HDPE pipe over reinforced concrete, making all townhomes have two-car garages, and making the driveways wider to accommodate those new garages. Also, supervisors approved a waiver for the use of Belgian block curbing on the private roadways.

Sewer capacity was also upgraded for the development. Shoupe said there were some delays with the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA, in regard to floodplain concerns. 

"Everything has been put in place," he said.

The developer will pay a fee-in-lieu for 611 replacement trees; it is providing 27 of the required 638 trees on the plan.

An adjacent 36-townhome development to Firefox, known as the Crystal Road and Maple Drive Townhouses, will also be developed by Select Properties on eight acres. Supervisors gave conditional final approval of the development in March 2013. 

Three existing buildings on the site will be demolished.

This property will allow for patios, and will have a homeowner's association.

Supervisor Robert Birch was absent from Monday's meeting.

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