News this week…

Information obtained from Suburban Realtors  Alliance

Bucks County

Census: Bucks County added 229 people last year
According to figures recently released by the federal government, Bucks County added just 229 residents in 2014. Over a four-year period ending in July 2014, the county’s population increased just 0.6 percent. Bucks County once averaged 7,818 new residents per year, according to the U.S. Census. Posted online at Factfinder.Census.Gov, the new figures were linked to birth and death records compiled by the National Institutes of Health, Internal Revenue Service tax returns and federal immigration data. The first Census of Bucks County was conducted by the federal government in 1790 with a recorded population of 25,401 persons. Between 1950 and 2010, Bucks County’s population went from 144,620 to 625,326 persons – a population increase of more than 332 percent.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 4/5/2015

Single-family housing plan moves forward in Upper Southampton
Construction could begin next month on a development of 28 upscale single-family homes at the site of the former Stackpole School in Upper Southampton Township. The board of supervisors approved an amended final subdivision plan for Mill Creek Estates. The amended plan was due to the developer’s inability to secure easements for off-site drainage system improvements to address an existing off-site problem. The lack of off-site improvements will only impact the two homeowners who decided against granting the easements, according to the developer County Builders. The homes will each be about 3,000 square feet with two floors and a basement. The cost is estimated to be about $500,000 each and construction is estimated to take up to 2 ½ years.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 4/7/2015

Sen. Mensch, Rep. Simmons, to hold open house on April 11
State Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24th), will host an open house 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at his new Upper Perkiomen Valley district office on the second floor of the Red Hill Borough municipal building, 56 W. Fourth St. Mensch, whose district includes parts of Montgomery, Bucks and Berks counties, shares the office with state Rep. Justin Simmons (R-131st), whose district includes parts of Montgomery, Lehigh and Northampton counties. “The open house is an opportunity for residents to tour the new office, chat with me and my staff and Representative Simmons and his staff about the issues important to our district, as well as learn more about the wide variety of legislative services available through the office,” Mensch said in a statement. Visit for more information.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 4/7/2015

Bristol Borough to hear proposal for former Mill Run property in May
Dallas Properties LLC is looking to buy the former Mill Run property, which used to be an assisted living facility, at Wilson Avenue and Pond Street in Bristol Borough. Tilak Singh, project manager for Dallas Properties, said that a proposal will be presented to Bristol’s council in May. According to Singh, the project will be mixed-use, and could include a physical therapy rehabilitation center and other medical uses as well as housing an elder care facility. The sale agreement is contingent upon a phased-in tax arrangement – a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance known as LERTA. It would provide some tax relief for the developer, but also give immediate tax revenue to the borough and the Bristol Borough School District, with increases each subsequent year. The tax arrangement must be approved by the borough and the school district. After the concept presentation in May, a final land development plan will be due in July. Councilman Greg Pezza said the council had three goals from the outset of its talks with Dallas Properties: to protect neighboring property owners from blight; to restore a much needed tax ratable to the borough and the school district; and to provide scores of job opportunities to borough residents. “We are now in a position to meet all three goals,” Pezza said.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 3/30/2015


Montgomery County

Lower Providence mulls banning apartments in Ridge Pike West overlay district
A proposed revision in the Ridge Pike West overlay district would remove multifamily housing from the permitted uses, effectively banning new apartment buildings along Ridge Pike in the western section of Lower Providence Township. Meredith Curran, a community planner for the Montgomery County Planning Commission, explained the proposed zoning changes to the board of supervisors recently. “This is from Evansburg State Park to Perkiomen Creek. The changes could allow more commercial uses,” Curran said. “Multifamily uses would be eliminated as a permitted or conditional use. The proposed setback of 10 feet would be increased to a maximum of 25 feet including a mandatory 6-foot sidewalk and a 4-foot planting strip.” Curran said that Ridge Pike is a fast-moving roadway that would benefit from more landscaping in front of commercial stores. The proposed zoning changes may be scheduled for a public hearing in May.
Source: Times Herald; 4/6/2015

County sells land to East Norriton for trail
Montgomery County commissioners approved the sale of five parcels of land held in the county’s repository to East Norriton Township for $5. It is hoped that the empty lots will be turned into part of a trail that will eventually connect to trails in Plymouth Township and Norristown. Repository properties are those that have gone unsold at tax sales through the county. According to County Treasurer Jason Salus, the five parcels are along Sawmill Creek, an area where East Norriton has focused on obtaining other parcels of land for a pedestrian trail. The parcels of land are all in the flood plain and not big enough to be developed, Salus said. Commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro commended Salus for finding a use for the land and getting the land off the repository.
Source: Times Herald; 4/7/2015

Upper Gwynedd, Towamencin ratify UGTMA withdrawal
The 50-year charter for the Upper Gwynedd-Towamencin Municipal Authority (UGTMA) was originally set to expire in the summer of 2014, but several extensions have been approved since then as all parties worked out new bylaws and a customer service agreement detailing a new arrangement. The changes to UGTMA articles of incorporation that will turn Upper Gywnedd from a co-owner to a customer of the authority will be on the agenda as all three parties meet to formalize Upper Gwynedd’s departure. The departure has been in the works for several years, as Upper Gwynedd plans to divert wastewater from the shared treatment plant on Kriebel Road in Towamencin to its own plant on Township Line road in Upper Gwynedd. Terms of the agreements include annual payments by Upper Gwynedd to the authority for treatment of wastewater it will still send there until new sewer lines and pump stations are built, and a one-time $4 million payment from Towamencin to Upper Gwynedd in exchange. The amendments to UGTMA’s articles of incorporation will change the name to “Towamencin Municipal Authority,” change its board of directors from the current six members (three from each township) to five from Towamencin, and establish the term of existence of the authority to run through June 30, 2065.
Source: The Reporter; 4/5/2015

Lower Merion Township names new CFO
Lower Merion Township has appointed Eric M. Traub as its new chief financial officer. Traub will oversee a 15-person Finance Department and manage a $60.4 million operating budget and a $44 million capital budget for 2015. He will also handle audits, accounting, debt service, and long-term financial planning, as well as advising the commissioners on financial policies. Lower Merion’s “fiscal reputation is second to none, and I look forward to building upon its strong foundation,” Traub said in a statement. Traub will replace Dean Dortone, who left in December to take a job with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer; 4/9/2015