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Horsham Maps Out its Future

Officials have been working to update its comprehensive plan, a blueprint for projected development

Will Horsham have a need for new schools, future residential developments, or a town center?

Those are all questions being addressed as officials make revisions and updates to its comprehensive plan, the blueprint for the township’s development future. Tuesday night, the Horsham Planning Commission reviewed the most recent draft of the plan and discussed possible adjustments.

The third largest category for potential land use development, not only in the plan, but in the township as a whole, is the available for redevelopment at the , township planner E. Van Rieker said. The acreage accounts for 8.1 percent of Horsham Township, Van Rieker said.

“We would approach the Naval air station property very broadly,” Van Rieker said.

While a separate board – the Horsham Land Reuse Authority – is tasked with composing a redevelopment plan by year’s end that would be submitted and ultimately be approved by the federal government, Van Rieker said local officials included in Horsham’s comprehensive plan items that “screamed out,” including flight termination, the inclusion of a town center and roads. 

“The development should be self-sustaining,” Van Rieker said, adding that if residential developments are built, a school and parks/open space should also be added.

Planning commission member Tim John said Horsham has committed to keeping “regional shopping centers” out of the township. He asked that the comprehensive plan section related to the Navy property require that the property be a “microcosm of the township” to prevent unwanted uses.

Besides the air station, the current version of the comprehensive plan includes improvements to the heading toward the Pennsylvania Turnpike; and streetscape and frontage improvements in Maple Glen and Prospectville, Van Rieker said.

Van Rieker said a comprehensive plan is generally updated every 10 years. The last two updates were undertaken in 1989 and 1978, he said, adding that revisions are long overdue. Township manager Bill Walker said officials have been working on the comprehensive plan for 12 to 15 months.  

Currently, Van Rieker said more than 40 percent of the township is residential. Parks and recreation account for the second-largest portion of the township at 16 percent, Van Rieker said. The 892-acre section of the air base is the third largest, he said. 

Ultimately the plan for future development is to provide for “new growth, smart growth” and “new forms of development,” Van Rieker said. Officials are not looking to rezone parcels to permit high-density housing, he said.

“I want this to be a report card and a post card,” Van Rieker said. “We’re going to project into the future as best as we can.”

The comprehensive plan is being crafted in conjunction with a  for the vicinity around the air base. Walker said the map formalizes the township's intent to bordering the air base with the aim of connecting roads.

Both the township map and the comprehensive plan are slated to be adopted at either the June 27 or July 13 Horsham Township Council meeting following a 45-day review period, Van Rieker said. 

E. Van Rieker April 06, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Hi Theresa, thought your article regarding the HTPC review of the draft Comprehensive Plan Update 2011 as very clear and articulate summary of the discussion. Just for reference, the actual reference to the Horsham Township Map is "The Official Map of Horsham Township". It will be enacted as a part of the Comprehensive Plan review but is actually a stand alone document. VAN (E. Van Rieker, AICP)

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