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Separate Richland warehouse plans proceed


At the May 13 board of supervisors meeting, Richland Township approved two properties zoned Rural Agricultural (RA) to be changed to Planned Commercial (PC). The move was understood to allow for further development of a warehouse proposal that had originally called for seven properties to be similarly changed, toward a much larger warehouse.

The vote came following a duly advertised public hearing on the matter.

The total conversion of 1.74 acres of “RA’s surrounded by PC” had passed review by the Richland, Bucks County and Quakertown Area planning commissions, with reference to the township’s comprehensive plan.

During a February meeting, residents called for adherence to the township’s comprehensive plan commitment to preserve its rural character and supervisors rejected a request from the developer to rezone all seven properties to enable the full scale of a 2.2 million-square-foot warehousing proposal for the south end of the Route 309 (West End Boulevard) corridor to go forward.

The May 13 decision is understood to allow the developer to pursue a scaled-back plan of about 600,000 square feet.

For a different warehouse proposal, supervisors also granted Conditional Use approval for a 167,500-square-foot warehouse on a presently vacant site at the corner of West Pumping Station Road and O’Neill Drive. The supervisors had conducted a public hearing on that one at their April meeting.

Per the supervisors’ request last month, the five conditions listed in the approval letter include “the applicant submitting a full traffic impact study, to be coordinated with the township engineer…as part of the land development process. In addition, the applicant shall provide an update to that traffic impact study upon the identification of an end user for the warehouse facility to ensure that the assumptions and use identified in the study are correct.”

At the outset of the May 13 meeting, Richland Township promoted police officers Thomas Murphy to Corporal, and Michael Colahan to Detective. They were sworn in separately by District Magistrate Lisa Geier.

“These officers rose to the top during our promotional testing process,” noted Police Chief Rich Ficco in a statement. Murphy is a 20-year veteran with the township, while Colahan has served 10 years there.

After the promotion swear-ins, Ficco recognized retiring Detective Sergeant Raymond Aleman, who served 23 years with the township, and Detective John Burke, who served for 25 years. Both had also served as police officers elsewhere.

During his monthly police report later in the meeting, Ficco said his advertising for a new police officer was seeing more than twice the response of his previous effort earlier in the year. The new hire would restore the force to its full complement of 17 officers, with two civilians continuing to serve in administrative support.

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