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Plumstead tumolt erupts as officials present Village Overlay District


Plumstead Township supervisors discussed the plan for the Village Overlay District in Plumsteadville at their meeting last week. They had hoped to limit the discussion to whether review would be advertised for continued public meeting or to abandon the project, but a tumultuous public discussion broke out in the packed meeting room and lasted until midnight.
The zoning changes created in the overlay would permit multiple uses on approximately 70 properties along Route 611 and Stump Road including the Giant shopping center, the Verizon parcel, and the Plumsteadville Fire Company. It would expand the number of possible apartment residences, encourage commercial development of micro-distilleries, music venues, taverns, restaurants, medical offices and marijuana dispensaries.
Those in favor of zoning change said it will encourage pedestrian use of the town center, revitalize crumbling buildings, and create more town center development. Both Bucks County and Plumstead Township planning commissions have reviewed the plan.
Supervisor Dan Hilferty opposed the plan saying that existing zoning allows for those same improvements and says he does not see what would be gained by an overlay district.
“Speaking as a resident representing many others,” former Plumstead supervisor Vince Formica stated that “residents want less development, and this zoning overlay would encourage more.” He noted that new commercial is not needed as evidenced by many empty retail and offices at nearby Plumstead Crossing.

Formica agreed with supervisor Hilferty that current zoning and historic district tax incentives could be used to achieve town center renewal.
The village overlay district idea did not die however, and the supervisors voted 3-2 in favor of announcing a future public informational meeting on adopting it.