An oft-flooded South York Road property could be home to 16 two-story townhouses or apartments if Hatboro’s zoning hearing board grants permission to build in a floodplain.
Horizon Property Management LLC, which owns the 332 S. York Road structures housing a handful of car repair shops and Manja pizza shop, is proposing to knock down all but the restaurant on the 1.76-acre parcel to make way for 16 residential units.
“The applicant/appellant proposes to renovate the existing building to retain the existing restaurant and to replace all other uses with 16 two-story townhouses or garden apartments normally found in the R-4 residential district,” Jim Case of Horizon Property Management wrote in his application, which was supposed to be considered during the Jan. 9 zoning hearing board meeting. The applicant, however, has requested that the matter be postponed.
If approved as proposed, Case wrote that the development would have the “same general character as mid-rise apartments.”
Tom Dessalet, the owner of 0 to 60 Tranz Tech, which has been located at 332 S. York Road for seven years, said Horizon Property Management representatives had not shared plans with him.
“I got a notice stuck in my door,” he said. “I’m hoping that they want to get me out of here.”
Dessalet, who endured two floods and lost four vehicles and about $50,000 in stock as a result of Hurricane Irene in 2011, said he had been interested in relocating his business, but was locked in with his lease.
Flooding destroyed the former home of Quig’s Pizza – now Manja – requiring the structure to be gutted and completely renovated.
The property’s close proximity to Pennypack Creek and its predisposition for flooding is what prompted Horizon to seek another use for the site, according to Case’s application.
“The subject property is unique having two buildings within the floodplain conservation district which has flooded several times over the prior eight years and which are no longer suitable or appropriate for the existing automotive type uses or other permitted uses located on the ground floor of the buildings,” the application states.
The proposed redevelopment results in an impervious surface coverage being reduced from 98 percent to 40.7 percent through the development of “green areas” and the “redesign of the parking areas,” according to the application.
“The requested relief is the minimum relief necessary to make a reasonable use of the subject property and to overcome the flooding issues caused by its location,” Case wrote in the application.
As proposed, the living areas would be “at a minimum of not less than one foot above the 100-year recurrent interval flood.” In addition, the stucco and brick residences would “require floodproofing measures” as designated by a professional engineer or architect.
Last year, citing extensive flood damage from Hurricane Irene, Horizon Property Management had applied for a $2.2 million government buyout of the properties at 332 S. York Road, meaning that, if the buyout had been approved, structures would have been demolished and future buildings of any kind would be prohibited. Hatboro officials received word in July that PEMA would not grant the buyout for the property.
When reached for comment as to why his company would first seek to demolish the properties and then look to build residences, George Kiriakidi, an owner of Horizon Property Management LLC, said he would “rather not say anything.”
The Hatboro Zoning Hearing Board was slated to hear the Horizon Property Management application on Jan. 9 during its 7 p.m. meeting, but the applicant postponed the hearing. A date has not yet been set.