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Rejuvenation of shopping center property streamlined in Richland


Continuing to support a replacement proposal for a “sign of the times” closing of a brick-and-mortar retail clothing outlet in one of its shopping centers, Richland Township has granted a “waiver of land development” request to Velocity Ventures of Bala Cynwyd, the developer. The action was taken at the June 10 public board of supervisors meeting.

The move significantly streamlines the process toward the renewal of the entire 200-acre property. It followed a public conditional use hearing at the supervisors meeting last October; its approval in November; and a Zoning Hearing Board decision last month.

Introduced in 2022, the proposal, is keyed by allowing a “flex-building” use within the township’s commercial district, which was handled by an ordinance the supervisors adopted in 2023. That ordinance also allowed for additional permitted uses within the flex-building use.

The ordinance was noted as representing “significant, substantive changes to the township zoning regulations concerning flex buildings,” and that it “should be reviewed in its entirety for a comprehensive understanding of its provisions,” which was handled by the ZHB.

The 206,500-square-foot building in Richland Plaza Shopping Center on West End Boulevard (Route 309) at Quakers Way, is to be redeveloped to include 77,000 square feet of manufacturing space, 40,000 square feet of research laboratory space and a 60,500-square-foot shopping center.

The project remains subject to the conditional use provisions, and now also to a land development review by the township engineer; the ZHB decision; compliance with stormwater, erosion and sedimentation requirements related to a grading application; and regulations of all municipal and other government agencies having jurisdiction.

The land development process often features stormwater-related issues, but the proposal does not call for any increase in impervious surface on the property, but actually decreases it, and stormwater infrastructure improvements are already included in the proposal.

Supervisors praised the developer for demonstrating promise as a “good neighbor” during the processing of the proposal, including improving the already-existing means for truck access.

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