It will soon be easier to grab a slice of the “Red and White Wonder” as the Horsham Township Council approved plans for a second during Wednesday night’s meeting.
The 128-seat restaurant and pub will be situated on Horsham Road near Davis Grove Road at the site of the former Moon Tavern. call for a new entrance, a spruced up façade, additional parking, an expansion of the garage at the rear of the property and the demolition of two homes. At one time, Tonelli's owner Chip Randa had envisioned building a nearly .
The $2.7 million construction of the much smaller eatery is expected to begin in two to three months, Randa said and continue for four to six months. The goal, he said, is to be open by Thanksgiving.
"I will be on that construction site pushing people around until it gets done," Randa said.
With a much smaller site moving forward, Township Manager Bill Walker said steps would be taken to reduce headlight glare and said trees and fencing would be added to “make sure residents are buffered.”
The council’s unanimous affirmative vote follows the at a meeting that drew criticism from some residents, who argued that the venue, and its development, would be a noisy addition to the neighborhood.
On Wednesday, two residents who live near the site expressed concern over lights streaming into their homes, as well as excessive water runoff and flooding.
“People that come in, the lights will flash right into my house,” said one man. “My hope is that something can be done regarding that.”
He requested that a proposed six-foot fence be extended to block lights streaming into his home.
“I have no problem extending the fence,” Randa said during the meeting.
With buffering seemingly addressed, the man and another neighbor voiced concerns over flooding, in particular how water would make its way into basins on the “sloping” property.
“What guarantees do we have … If there is a problem down the road they’re going to be held accountable to fix it?” Questioned a man who said his home of two years sustained $70,000 in damage from last year’s flood. “Is it going to be enough? We actually don’t know until it’s built.”
“Obviously nothing’s guaranteed in this world,” Council President Mark McCouch responded.
Township attorney Mary Eberle said governing bodies do not have the authority to review projects after the fact – unless it’s determined that the developer did not follow the ordinance requirements.
“We don’t get a second bite of the apple,” Eberle said.
Officials suggested that much of the excess water is coming from a neighboring car wash. McCouch urged staff to find a remedy for that as a top priority.
Transforming the vacant former Moon Tavern, which is “in pretty bad condition” into a viable business, while helping to correct some of the site’s existing stormwater issues were the goals, McCouch said.
“When it’s done it’s going to make an improvement,” McCouch said of the new Tonelli’s site.
In other business, the council gave the green light to the following land development plans: Park Creek Sewage Treatment Plant expansion at 1010 Park Ridge Road; ; and the phasing plan.