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Bedminster seeks advice for fixing 611 intersection


An odd and troublesome Route 611 intersection in Bedminster Township, created by the moving of the highway a quarter mile west 70 years ago, is now getting special attention in response to increased traffic volume there.

Across from the Oaks Family Restaurant, off busy, 55-mph Route 611, Scott Road runs parallel to the highway and Quarry Road perpendicular, making turns to and from the highway too much of an adventure. For example, turns from northbound Scott must first block Quarry, and turns from northbound 611 onto southbound Scott must perform a hairpin maneuver.

To “reduce traffic conflict and potential accidents,” township supervisors voted to authorize a request for proposals (RFP) from traffic engineers. The RFP asks for consideration of improvements such as “signage, line striping, intersection widening, and/or street realignment.” Frank Peiffer, a resident of Creek Road nearby, thanked the board and its staffor their attention to the matter.

At their last public meeting, on June 12, following a public hearing on the matter, supervisors voted to table a proposal to amend the township zoning ordinance to allow for “a new Winery/Brewery/Distillery Use; a new Agritourism Accessory Use; and their respective regulations,” with the subsequent appearance of new, “special public events” a primary concern.

During the hearing, residents cautioned about the impact of the beverage operations in the sizes allowed by the proposed amendment, while also noting that state and federal laws allowed for larger ones. They also noted benefits such as requiring 50 per cent of wine production coming from Pennsylvania grapes, and that noise concerns could be addressed by buffer requirements.

Solicitor John Rice advised the board that prior to their adopting the ordinance amendment, some issues needed to be addressed, along with comments from the Bucks County Planning Commission, including questions as to how the township would monitor the number of attendees at a special event, and how they could clarify plan submissions and permitting requirements.

As presently stated, the new winery/brewery/distillery use, an addition to agricultural use, includes requirements for a 5-acre minimum lot area, and any building or structure being at least 100 feet from any street or property line. Other requirements include annual production limits of 100,000 gallons for wine; 14,000 barrels for beer; and 50,000 gallons for spirits.

The new agritourism accessory use calls for an already-existing general farming, equestrian, or winery/brewery/distillery use, and lists commercial entertainment and retail sales as basic types of agritourism. Twenty special event uses are listed as examples, all subject to a variety of general and particular requirements, such as hours of operation and number per year.