Open Space Funds to Pay for Baseball Fields, Main Street Plaza

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At the February 2 meeting, Souderton Borough Council approved a grant application for the acquisition of the South Front Street baseball fields. The borough has proposed to purchase the fields from Zion Mennonite Church for $640,000, contingent upon obtaining grant funding. After members of the Zion Mennonite Church accepted the borough’s proposal, Borough Council approved the filing of an acquisition grant application under the Montgomery County Green Fields/Green Towns program to provide $512,000 in funding towards this purchase. The remaining $128,000 will be funded by a state grant, which has already been approved. This purchase will be funded entirely through grant funds and is expected to be finalized in summer 2009.

Main Street Plaza

Borough Council also approved a grant for construction of the Main Street Plaza, the grassy area separating the Main Street parking lot from the street. The Green Fields/Green Towns program awarded the borough $66,452 in funding for the project; the borough will provide matching funds of $16,000. The Main Street Plaza will be transformed into a pocket park , complete with new trees, landscaping, curbing, street furniture, a sculpture, and an information kiosk. The money for this project has already been budgeted for this year; construction is expected to be complete by the end of summer 2009.

New Local Service Tax Began Jan. 1

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Starting January 1, 2009, Souderton imposed a local service tax on those who work in the borough. Souderton employers will withhold one dollar per week, amounting to an annual tax of $52. The money will support Souderton’s emergency services, such as the volunteer fire company and ambulance, and go toward road repairs and improvements.

For more information on the tax and to obtain an exemption certificate and refund form, visit Berkheimer Tax Administrator.

Richard Halbom Appointed to Borough Council

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Borough Council appointed new councilmember Richard Halbom on December 1. He replaces Ray Yothers, who stepped down from council in November.

Mr. Halbom will serve as a Ward 2 council member until the next scheduled municipal election in November 2009, when he will have the option to run for reelection.

Council Adopts 2009 Budget, No Tax Increase

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2009budget2At the December 1 meeting, Borough Council adopted Souderton’s 2009 budget, which requires no tax increase. At $2.6 million, the budget is about $133,000 more than the 2008 budget, but the increase is balanced by decreased spending in some areas and a new local service tax for those who work in the borough.

The real estate tax will remain at 4.415 mills.

Redevelopment

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Souderton High School Redevelopment Plan

The pending sale of the Souderton High School property presented a significant opportunity for economic revitalization and enhancement of retail, restaurant, office and other commercial opportunities and establishments. The Borough of Souderton, in cooperation with the Souderton Area School District, Montgomery County Planning Commission and Souderton-Telford Main Streets, conducted a study in 2008 through DePallo Design and Planning, LLC to develop a redevelopment plan to address a myriad of development topics and community concerns. The study included an analysis of exisitng land uses, the “carrying capacity” for building bulk and scale, a traffic and parking analysis and other pertinent components. The study further presented zoning and design criteria recommendations to help achieve the intent of the final Redevelopment Plan.

The site contains nearly 20 acres of land located within the Borough of Souderton, with another 20 acres of land located across County Line Road in neighboring Hilltown Township, Bucks County. Through community meetings and public input, the consensus for a mixed use development became apparent. Further study then concentrated on various development scenerios along with pertinent financial and tax implications for each of the development plan options.

Following endorsement of the final Souderton High School Redevelopment Area Plan in July, 2008, the Souderton school Board moved forward with marketing the property for sale. An agreement of sale was entertained with Metro Development that proposed a redevelopment plan containing 156 residential units and 126,830 sf of commercial use within the Borough of Souderton, anchored by a large box store and a concentration of commercial stores on the Hilltown Township parcel. This agreement of sale and proposed development plan was ultimately withdrawn by Metro Development after an extended period of due deligence failed to obtain sufficient interest in the large box store and other commercial stores under the prevailing economy at that time.

Nearly four years passed until the Souderton School District reached an agreement of sale with Turnersville Estates and Timothy Hendricks to purchase the property. In July, 2013 Souderton Borough Council formally approved a development plan known as Berkeley Court, Phase 1, to construct 24 stacked townhomes and a 2,277 sf commercial building on the site of the high school parking lot along North School Lane and East Broad Street. The first building of 12 stacked townhomes is nearly complete, with six units to be occuppied in May, 2014. A copy of the development plan is appended.

Souderton Borough Council is now reviewing the concept plan for the remaing property within the Borough of Souderton. Many development scenerios have been presented over the past several months, all proposing a mixed-use development consisting of residential townhomes, condominiums, retail, office, restaurant and a hotel use. This concept plan meets the overall intent and objective of the master Redevelopment Plan, but has a building mix of 54% residential and 46% commercial. Current zoning regulations set a maximum of 50% residential. Further discussion on this plan will take place in May and June. The developer has requested a delay in the settlement date on the remaining property to afford more time for plan reviews and approvals. The current concept plan under consideration is appended as Berkeley Court Phase 2.

Attachments
Berkeley Court Phase 2
Berkeley Court Phase 1