Below find some quick information about a few current issues and projects in Worcester Township. Please call the Township Building at (610) 584-1410 for additional information on each project or issue.
ZONING STUDY UNDERWAY
State Law requires every local government to provide zoning for every type of residential use – from mobile homes and apartments to townhomes and single-family detached homes. In addition, the law requires that zoning yield a “fair share” of each housing type. And while there is no mathematical formula to calculate a municipality’s “fair share” of individual residential uses, the courts have generally looked to the percent of residential uses – both existing and permitted to be constructed – in communities throughout the immediate region.
If a municipality doesn’t meet its legal obligation a developer can move to invalidate the zoning on any property, then get court approval to build the desired use on that property. That’s why you sometimes see apartment buildings that have been built in zoning districts that allow single-family homes only.
Forty years ago Worcester Township created a zoning district for apartments. This district is located along the southern border of the Township, between Germantown Pike and Lower Providence Township. Apartments were never built in this area, and to date less than ten apartments exist in the entire Township (not including the units in the Meadowood retirement community).
Concerned with having a developer get court-approval to construct apartments at any location in the community, the Township utilized a provision in State Law that gives a municipality a six-month period in which to identify and fix any deficiencies in its ordinance. During this time a developer can’t challenge the zoning. The six-month period began in January, and Township planners are now working to identify any ordinance revisions needed to meet our obligations under the law.
One of the revisions being considered is amending the zoning district that currently allows apartments. This area of the Township is suited for apartment uses – given the proximity to major roadways and the availability of public water and public sewer. And if this zoning district can be improved in a way that meets the community’s “fair share” obligation, no other land in the Township would be required to be rezoned to permit apartment uses.
The Township will complete its review, and any fixes will be enacted, in the coming weeks. For more information visit worcestertwp.com, or contact the Township at (610) 584-1410.
Apartments are now permitted in a zoning district located along a portion of the Township’s southern boundary, between Germantown Pike and Lower Providence Township. If the Township doesn’t provide its “fair share” of apartments a court can grant approval to construct apartments at other locations throughout the community.
Army Reserve Base
The Army continues to work with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other government officials to develop a strategy to address PFOS and PFOA at many of its properties. The potential acquistion of this property by Worcester Township is on hold until an agreed-upon strategy is developed.
To date the Army has tested thirty-four properties near the former North Penn Army Reserve Base at Berks Road. The Army tested for the presence of PFOS and PFOA, chemicals that were used during firefighting training exercises at the property many years ago. Of the thirty-four properties tested, twenty-two properties tested below the EPA's heath advisory limit, four properties tested above this limit, and no trace of the chemicals was detected at eight properties. The Army has reported its findings to the property owners and to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). As the property owner the US Army is responsible for any clean-up that may be required by the EPA and DEP.
Comprehensive Plan Update
The Worcester Township Comprehensive Plan serves as the primary planning guide for our community. The Comprehensive Plan helps to guide growth and land preservation, natural resource protection, traffic management, infrastructure improvement, the provision of utilities, fiscal sustainability, and other issues that affect our community.
State Law requires every municipality to review its comprehensive plans every ten years, and Worcester Township has started this process. In January, the Board of Supervisors appointed a 17-member Task Force to prepare and recommended updates to the plan. The Task Force will meet throughout the upcoming months, and forward its recommendations to both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.
When a municipality updates a comprehensive plan, public input is critical. All meetings of the Task Force, Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors are open to the public. All residents are strongly encouraged to attend one or more meetings, and to share their thoughts about our Township’s future. The Task Force meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month, and the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission meet on the third Wednesday and fourth Thursday of each month, respectively.
Comprehensive Plan Survey Results
In May, the Township mailed surveys to 1,757 randomly-selected property owners and 578 folks completed and returned their survey. The key results are presented below. Thank you to all who responded! The information provided will help shape the recommendations made by the Comprehensive Plan Update Task Force.
About our survey:
- 1,757 surveys mailed to 1 out of every 2 properties in the Township.
- All recipients were randomly selected.
- 578 surveys were returned, 33% responsive rate.
- "Other" responses typically included more than one answer, and as such these responses could not be coded to one category.
The current Worcester Township Comprehensive Plan is posted. Check it out!
Meadow Lane Building Lots
In 2018 the Board of Supervisors discussed the sale of three Township-owned building lots. The Board has not decided when to continue this discussion. Below is some helpful information about these three building lots:
“Where are the building lots?”
The three building lots are located on the south side of Meadow Lane, near the intersection of Hollow Road. One single-family home can be built on each lot. View a plan of the three building lots.
"What do the Township records say?"
Township records show the lots are building lots:
- Purchase Approval
- Agreement Of Sale
- Township Subdivision Plan
- Township Subdivision Plan Letter
- Township Subdivision Plan Submission To MCPC
- MCPC Review Of Township Subdivision Plan
- Worcester Township Planning Commission Recommendation To Approve Of The Subdivision Plan
- E Mail Between Board Of Supervisors, Township Engineer And Township Solicitor About Preparing Bid Documents To Sell The Building Lots
- Sanitary Sewer Reimbursement Agreement
- Reimbursement Amount Calculation
- Sanitary Sewer Planning Module Review By MCHD
- Sanitary Sewer Planning Module Legal Ad
- Sanitary Sewer Planning Module Approval By DEP
Sanitary Sewer System Design
Cover and overview pages only
- Sanitary Sewer History, March 2005 To May 2009
"Is the property preserved or designated as a Township park?"
No, the building lots have always been building lots. When the Township purchased the property the Township’s intent was to sell the building lots and to use the sale proceeds to purchase or preserve many more acres elsewhere in the Township.
“I heard the Township Open Space Plan says the lots are preserved. Is this true?”
No. The Worcester Township Open Space Plan, adopted in June 2006, shows the lots as Township-owned properties only, and the Open Space Plan notes the property may be developed in the future. View the Open Space Plan, part 1, and refer to Chapter 3, which begins on page 29. Also, view the Open Space Plan part 2.
"What is the history of the building lots?"
At the Board of Supervisors’ June 20 Business Meeting Township Manager Tommy Ryan presented a history of the building lots.
“I heard that the building lots adjoin the Zacharias Creek. Don’t we want to preserve land along the creek?”
The building lots do not adjoin the Zacharias Creek. And yes, the Township always wants to save lands along the waterway, which is why, in 2006, the Township Engineer designed a subdivision plan that decreased the size of the three building lots in order to create a 6-acre parcel along the Zacharias Creek that will forever be retained by Township. The Township’s popular off-road trail was constructed on this parcel several years ago. The 6-acre Open Space parcel and the trail are shown on the subdivision plan.
“What did the Montgomery County Planning Commission and the Worcester Township Planning Commission say about the 2006 subdivision plan?”
The subdivision plan was reviewed by both the Montgomery County Planning Commission (MCPC) and the Worcester Township Planning Commission. The MCPC recommended plan approval, saying the plan met the Township’s goal to save sensitive lands. Township Supervisor Susan Caughlan was serving as the Worcester Township Open Space Coordinator at the time the subdivision plan was prepared and reviewed, and she is copied on the MCPC's July 2006 review letter. View the MCPC review letter. The Worcester Township Planning Commission also reviewed the 2006 subdivision plan, and the Members unanimously recommended plan approval to the Board of Supervisors. View the official minutes from the July 2006 Planning Commission meeting.
“How much could the sale bring, and are there any plans on how the money can be spent?”
The sale of the three building lots – which collectively encompass about 9 acres – may bring $500,000 or more at public auction. The Township can use this money in any manner, but recent discussion has centered on using the dollars to purchase or preserve many more acres of open space throughout the Township. Consider that, later this year, the Township, County and State will purchase a conservation easement that will permanently preserve a 35-acre property on Kriebel Mill Road. Worcester Township's cost to purchase this easement is about $73,000. Would you sell 9 acres of building lots to preserve 100 acres, 200 acres or more open space in the community?
“Where can I get more information about the building lots?”
Contact Tommy Ryan, Township Manager, at (610) 584-1410, and after business hours on his mobile phone at (484) 885-8775.