Perkasie Borough could see more housing in its downtown.
At a regular business meeting Monday night, borough council voted 5-1 with three council members absent to approve an amendment and rezone the former Shelly Lumber property from Industrial-2 [I-2] to Residential-3 [R-3].
The vote clears one of many hurdles for the property developer.
Councilman Aaron Clark cast the single no vote. Council members Matt Aigeldinger, Chuck Brooks, and Steve Pizzollo were absent from the meeting.
Equitable Owner reAlliance, LLC of Doylestown wants to build 28 townhouses on two of the three parcels and redevelop an existing barn on a third property into 26 “residential conversion” units, or apartments.
Borough Manager Andrea Coaxum said the proposal was in line with surrounding streets and activity in the downtown, and it made sense to provide housing within walking distance to Perkasie’s business and retail center.
The three parcels are located between Market and Arch streets at 8th Street and are currently zoned I-2. The proposed development known as the 8th Street Commons would include about 2.066 acres.
Industrial-2 allows for light industrial, retail, personal and professional services, farming, lumber yard, motor vehicle repair and garage and contractor offices, among others.
Residential or R-3 provides a zoning district for the highest density of housing units allowed in Perkasie.
“Residential makes a lot more sense than industrial,” at that location, said Council President Jim Ryder.
“They have an uphill battle. This [tonight] is to rezone the parcel to allow certain uses and dimensional standards,” Coaxum said.
Coaxum said reAlliance was scheduled to appear and apply for zoning relief at the next Perkasie Zoning Hearing Board meeting at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 23, at Perkasie Borough Hall.
If granted zoning relief Coaxum said the developer would have to go through the land development process.
“We’re a long way away from actually seeing any construction out of that,” Coaxum said.
In other news: Council voted 6-0 to amend its Electrical Standards and Service Ordinance to provide for a uniform process for “lagging” electric meter reporting and back-billing.
“Many of the [meter] units are about 20 years old,” Coaxum said. The change provides a uniform process for meters that are malfunctioning and not reporting accurate electric utility uses. “For staff, council and residents we’ll all have the same process and policy,” Coaxum said.
Coaxum said some meters show significantly lower than actual use, and the borough’s system can catch those “red flags” and prompt a meter reading.
Slowly lagging meters can continue undetected and a physical reading is necessary to align the actual use with the reported use. The ordinance allows the borough to back-bill an electric customer up to three years for under reported usage.
She said an electrical meter replacement program was underway, and the goal is to have everyone in the borough on new meters in the next seven years.