For the past year or so, Langhorne Open Space has been very concerned about, and actively engaged in the following projects.
PennDOT Plan to Build Massive CloverLeaf on Route 1, Channeling Increased Traffic onto Route 413 (Pine Street)
During the summer of 2021, Langhorne Borough residents discovered that plans had been made by PennDOT that would significantly affect the borough, the lives of its citizens and those who pass through, particularly those who drive on Route 413 (Pine Street).
Closing off several access and exit points to Route 1, the plan calls for a partial cloverleaf design just south of the borough, and is expected to greatly increase the flow of traffic by funneling it onto already congested Route 413 (Pine Street) as it approaches the intersection with Route 213 (Maple Avenue) in the center of the Borough.
A professional traffic study recently commissioned by Langhorne Borough reaffirmed alternative concepts put forward by the Langhorne Borough Planning Commission. Namely, to eliminate the proposed cloverleaf and to implement roundabouts at certain intersections. These alternative plans are not only safer that PennDOT’s plans, but also far less costly.
The LOSI Board of Directors met to discuss what action, if any, LOSI should take. The result was a unanimous vote to oppose parts of the plan that would increase traffic into Langhorne Borough and to fund items such as signs, flyers, and petitions, as well as legal representation. Since then, LOSI has circulated petitions and sent copies containing hundreds of signatures to PennDOT.
In doing so, LOSI joined a broad coalition of individuals and organizations who oppose PennDOT’s plan, including Four Lanes End Garden Club, Langhorne Council for the Arts, Langhorne Borough Business Association, African Methodist Episcopalian Church, Langhorne Baptist Church, Middletown Friends, and others.
Residents who would like to become more acquainted with the situation and with alternative plans put forward by the Langhorne Borough Planning Commission are encouraged to attend their meetings on the third Wednesday of each month at Borough Hall. You can also attend Langhorne Borough Council meetings on the second Wednesday of each month to make your voice heard.
Citizens Fight Back Over Proposed High-Rise Apartment Building on Maple Avenue
Citizens of both Middletown Township and Langhorne Borough were stunned in early 2021 to learn of plans by Woods Services to build a high-rise apartment building of over 50 units on West Maple Avenue (Rte 213). The structure was to be built within 100 feet of the noted 1850 historic structure widely known as Beechwood.
The location for the proposed apartment building was in Middletown Township, just east of its shared border with Langhorne Borough. Because the proposed plan would be in violation of several local ordinances, including height, density, and use, the matter was referred to Middletown Township’s Zoning Hearing Board.
Many residents in the area, including members of LOSI were unflagging in their efforts to oppose the building project. Concerned citizens organized themselves, reached out to neighbors, and attended numerous Zoning Hearing Board meetings. At each meeting they outspokenly addressed particularly unpopular issues of the plan, such as the increased traffic on already congested Maple Avenue, and the compromising of the historic district in adjoining Langhorne Borough.
Following a standing-room only meeting of the Middletown Zoning Hearing Board, Woods Services announced their withdrawal of their plans for the proposed apartment building.
After the announcement, a member of the Board of Directors of Langhorne Open Space Land Trust was overheard to say, “The defeat of this inappropriate building project is just one more example of the power of dedicated citizens acting in a united effort for the good of their community.”
LOSI Concerned about Threat to Historic Homes on Bellevue Avenue
Langhorne Open Space continues to monitor plans to develop the Woods Services property formerly known as Crestwood. This parcel is roughly bordered by Flowers Avenue, Pine Street, Gillam Avenue, and South Bellevue. Currently on the site are some small residential cottages, and historic mansions fronting on Bellevue Avenue, including the site of Molly Woods’ home.
Early plans have been floated by Toll Brothers for a large townhouse development, including several structures each accommodating four or five individual garage-in-front townhouse units. Some early plans had called for the demolition of the historic mansions on the site. LOSI is concerned about preserving the viewscape and the historic integrity of this site.
The first formal plan submitted by Toll Brothers requested many variances from Langhorne Borough’s land development ordinances. As an alternative to that lengthy process, Langhorne Borough and Toll Brothers have agreed to work together on negotiating a zoning ordinance (“Overlay”) for the site. Our understanding is that such ordinance would define parameters such as building height, dwelling density, stormwater handling, sidewalks, and preservation of historic structures.
Among our concerns is that any density concessions Toll Brothers is seeking could result in less sensitive stormwater handling and increased traffic volume, and could possibly compromise historic viewscapes.
A draft ordinance has now been submitted. Langhorne Borough’s Planning Commission is now drafting Guiding Principles which should be adhered to when drafting the Overlay. LOSI will closely monitor the situation and keep its members informed.