A zoning change in Towamencin, Pa., has paved the way for a real estate developer to build a self-storage facility on a 9.8-acre parcel it owns in the borough of Souderton. Wambold Realty sought a change to the township’s code that required certain setback distances to separate limited-industrial from residential properties. The board unanimously approved a text amendment, allowing the setback requirement to be waived if a utility easement is nearby, according to the source.
Wambold Realty will use a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation right-of-way below power lines to meet the setback requirements to build the facility on the trapezoidal parcel at 551 Wambold Road, just north of Fretz Road. The plans include preserving a few of the existing structures, including a barn, as well as the construction of six new buildings, drive aisles and parking in several phases, according to Carl Weiner, the attorney representing the developer.
Patrick Stuart, a land planner, was also present at the Oct. 28 meeting. He pointed out there’s a 50-foot setback requirement for the rear yard, a 75-foot setback for the front yard and a 50-foot setback for the side yard. When the property abuts a residentially zoned district, the rear setback increases to 200 feet, he said.
Development is prohibited on the west side of the property where there’s a 300-foot-wide PECO Energy Co. easement below the power lines, the source reported. Using the easement toward the setback requirement will allow the entire parcel to be developed, Stuart and Weiner told the board. “Being the widest part of the property, that 200-foot setback would render about 4 acres of the 9.8 acres unbuildable,” Stuart said.
Combining the right-of-way and space on the Wambold property itself, the distance between the first storage building and the nearest residence would be nearly 460 feet, Stuart added. The development would be elevated 20 to 25 feet above the height of residential structures along Fretz Road, and trees and berms would be added as buffers.
“These types of buildings are one to two stories—very low buildings. They don’t have a tall roof line to them, and relatively flat roofs. I think their visibility will be very minimal,” Stuart said.
The developer first approached the board last July with the text-amendment change, which Weiner and the township staff believed would be easier than changing the township zoning map, the source reported. The board also asked the developer to submit a formal land-development application, which was approved.
Only two other properties in the township could be affected by the text amendment, according to Tom Zarko, township engineer.
The first phase of the storage facility would be built on roughly half of the property closest to Wambold Road and include four storage buildings, oriented southwest to northeast and parallel to the road, the source reported. The second phase would add four more structures on the other side of the property.
- The Reporter Business: Towamencin Zoning Change OKâ€™d for Wambold Road Storage Facility