How did the Patton Township supervisors vote on a Patton Crossing ordinance?
What was formerly the Temple Mobile Home Park in Patton Township could be Waters Retail Group’s next project, but developers still have traffic, connectivity and sustainability issues to flesh out.
Waters Retail Group President Joe Waters and Alex Piehl of RGS Associates presented a sketch plan to the Patton Township Board of Supervisors last week — a plan that includes two retail stores, a restaurant, a hotel and townhouses.
The property, which is south of the former Penn State Mobile Home Park, is zoned C-2 commercial and is located behind HiWay Pizza, Fine Wine and Spirits, Red Lobster and Best Buy. The site could potentially connect to Patton Crossing, but Waters Retail Group is still working with North Atherton Associates, the developer of Patton Crossing, and creating a more detailed master plan.
“There’s a lot more studying that needs to be done on our side,” Waters said. “But, we have had discussions with North Atherton Associates as recently as a week and a half ago, and we will continue having those discussions.”
The sketch plan proposes three connections. The first would provide access to North Atherton Street at the signalized intersection for North Atherton Place by the Walmart. Martin Street would serve as the location for the second connection where access would be granted at the service drive for Best Buy and Staples. The final connection would be located on West Aaron Drive at the entrance for Aaron Plaza.
The proposed project has a location for a 2,000-square-foot retail and restaurant site in addition to a plan for a four-story hotel with 115 rooms. Both would occur in Patton Township.
In Ferguson Township, the sketch plan consists of an R-3-zoned area where 45 townhouses would be built.
After hearing feedback from members of Patton Township Planning Commission, Piehl said the project is looking to add additional parking spaces. While detailed studies have not been conducted, the project planners are looking to add stormwater management facilities as well.
Waters Retail Group is still in the planning stages of the development project, so detailed studies of traffic have not been conducted.
Supervisor Dan Trevino asked if there would be connections that would grant access to Patton Crossing, 30-acres of commercial and residential land.
Reading a previous proposal, Chair George Downsbrough said an access road between this land and Patton Crossing was mentioned; however, it did not appear in the June plans proposed by Waters Retail Group.
“It is something that we’re looking at and something that we are open to,” Waters said. “At this point, it’s a little bit more complex ... it’s not just as simple as putting a curb cut.”
Explaining additional factors to consider, Waters said developers need to provide for traffic, review the intersections and provide for both projects instead of just one.
Supervisor Jessica Buckland told Waters she hopes the sketch plan will develop into a refined plan that will help Patton Crossing and the proposed development project grow and expand into Patton Crossing, creating a flowing space where it is easy to move around.
Vice-Chair Betsy Whitman said the proposed plan doesn’t address important issues like sustainability and traffic relief.
During public comment, two community members voiced concerns with the current sketch plan.
In order to create a more livable and profitable site, one constituent asked that the proposed plan be rezoned in order to match the mixed-use and walkable area of Patton Crossing. Another asked the supervisors and developers to not think about the proposed connectivity of the development in isolation, saying that if you have an obstacle in one area, there is backup elsewhere.
Before moving forward with the project, the supervisors asked Waters Retail Group to address their concerns and community feedback in order to develop a more refined, detailed plan. The developers wanted input from officials and residents before drafting a more complex master plan and conducting traffic studies of the area. Once a plan is formally submitted and approved, a time-clock starts and the plan will be reviewed by outside agencies, township staff, supervisors and the planning commission.
“At the end of the day (we want to) develop a project that we think is going to be successful,” Waters said. “If the occupants here are not successful, we’re not successful.”