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Solebury presents ambitious plan for 202 redevelopment


A draft plan to enhance the Route 202 area around Logan Square and beyond was unveiled Tuesday, calling for a commercial district, senior housing, road reconfigurations, a market square, and a Solebury Square with a clock tower.

Some 60 residents attended the meeting where Mark Roth of McMahon Associates and Mark Evans of Derck & Edson made the presentation to the township board of supervisors.

Among the proposals were increasing hotel rooms from the current 137 to 260, hiking the existing four residential units to 667, realigning West Bridge Street to cross the Solebury Square area, thus eliminating the Route 202 and West Bridge Street intersection and the need for a potential roundabout in the future to control traffic flows at the intersection. Bridge Street would be extended to parallel Route 202.

Apartments, shops, businesses and walkable neighborhoods of townhouses were called for, as well as the alignment of Shire Drive with the entrance to Logan Square.

The existing flea market on Route 202 would become a Market Square of small cafes, retail anchors and upper floor residences and offices.

Green space would be added to the existing Logan Square, framed by new mixed use buildings with the potential for additional upper floor residences.

“The aim is to add value to the area,” said Supervisor John Francis.

Supervisor Chair Mark Baum Baicker noted “this is a vision” and the board will be looking for comments, but it “certainly beats the heck out of what’s over there now.”

Public reaction was mixed.

Helen Tai, former Solebury supervisor, said the senior housing idea was fine, but questioned the need for adding so much development.

Other residents cautioned that stores in the malls are closing as are small shops in Lambertville, N.J., “because of Amazon.”

“I just want to make sure this is what residents want and I’m not sure that’s the case,” said another man.

A real estate broker said he represented several owners along Route 202 who are under agreement of sale for projects that will differ from the plans proposed at the meeting.

“Certainly we need to clean up that corridor,” one resident said, “but what we need is smaller housing units for seniors” who are being priced out of Solebury.

The 667 new housing units with two people per unit adds up to 2,000 more cars, another noted.

“I don’t want to live on Long Island and that’s what Long Island looks like,” said a man pointing at the architectural drawings.

In other business, supervisors agreed to apply for a $300,000 Department of Community and Economic Development grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority, to be matched by $300,000 from the township, for the Solebury Solar Energy Project.

The solar panels would be placed on the Public Works and salt storage buildings and would supply the Solebury municipal complex with 85 percent of its electricity needs, Township Manager Dennis Carney said.

In other matters, District Justice Jean Seaman swore in two new township police officers: Officer Brendan Murphy and Officer Patrick Dorsey.

Police Chief Dominick Bellizzie said he received 80 applications for the positions, and predicted he could have received 200 with an extended deadline.

The board also accepted a painting by Pam Miller of New Hope titled “How to Make a Hayroll,” which she donated “in memory of Malcolm Crooks (1923-2019), protector of our land and water.”

Supervisor Kevin Morrissey urged residents to take advantage of the 9 a.m. to noon E-Waste Recycling Event set for Saturday at the township municipal building on Sugan Road.