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Guest Opinion

Buckingham mustn’t sign off on DiGirolamo Tract waivers


The following is an open letter to the Buckingham Township Planning Commission.

At your upcoming meeting on Feb. 7, you are set to consider the plans for a 150,000-square-foot warehouse on the DiGirolamo Tract for recommendation to the township supervisors.

There has been much discussion and opposition from the residents of Buckingham, and even surrounding townships, on this proposal beginning back in May of 2023 when it was submitted the first time.

The proposal requests 18 waivers. Several are concerning to the people and should not be granted. However, there are two specific waivers asked for that, if granted, will greatly negatively affect Buckingham residents’ safety and welfare.

One of the most concerning waivers requests relief from “requiring sidewalks or bicycle/pedestrian paths along all existing and proposed streets.”

Even more egregiously, they are also asking for a waiver of Article 9 Section 7 A.13 of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.

It states: “Where a subdivision or land development abuts or contains an existing street of inadequate width or substandard construction, the Applicant shall be required to widen and/or reconstruct the roadway to meet current Township standards.”

I went out and measured the width of Stony Lane and Landisville Road — 23 feet and 21 feet, respectively.

That makes these roads significantly too narrow for current township standards to be built for cars, let alone tractor trailers. The same zoning ordinance states that streets be a minimum of 32 feet wide with no shoulder required or that roads be a minimum of 24 feet with shoulders.

PennDOT recommends that shoulders be 6 feet to 8 feet. No matter which way you look at this, these abutting roads are too narrow.

Now bundle that in with the waiver request to not install sidewalks or pedestrian paths. People driving, walking or riding on these roads would either no longer be able to use these roads or face a tremendous amount of risk.

When it comes to public safety, there is no room for shortcuts or waivers. By granting these, huge trucks will use this narrow street every day.

On any given day, residents can be seen running, walking, riding their bikes in this area. It is not an overstatement to caution that this combination could get someone killed.

By granting these waivers, you would not be living up to the promises you made to serve our community and to protect the best interests of the residents of Buckingham Township.

Your website states, “The Commission works vigorously with members of the community and developers during the entire development process. Acknowledging that everyone has concerns when a property is considered for development, we strive to advance plans that best address common objectives.” There are few times when hundreds, if not thousands, of residents oppose a project, and this is clearly one of them. Now would be a good time to actually work with the members of the community and put their safety and welfare ahead of developer’s wishes.

We understand the zoning of this land allows for warehousing. What it doesn’t allow for, however, is that waivers be granted that put our lives at risk for the sake of saving money for a developer.

The residents of Buckingham urge you to not offer your recommendation on this project to the township supervisors, but rather work with us and the landowners to find a mutually beneficial solution for the use of this land.

Mike Bateman lives in Buckingham.

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