In answer to inquiries to the Township from residents who were needlessly alarmed when they saw this recent post on the Hearthstone Community and other social media pages, please be assured that an Amazon warehouse is not coming to Buckingham Township.

What is true is that an application to the Township was submitted for a parts storage warehouse on the 58-acre DiGirolamo property in the Planned Industrial-2 Zoning District at 4344 Cold Spring Creamery Road. The application was submitted to the Township on May 23, 2023.

The social media post makes it sound like it is a done deal and that the only way to stop it is to come to the Planning Commission meeting on August 2, 2023. This is also not true. The process to review a proposed development is much more involved and much longer than that.

What is Really Happening at the Property?

The Township received an application for an Auto Parts Warehouse which has yet to be reviewed by anyone at the Township or the County let alone the Township Supervisors. In the original sketch plan dated October 19, 2021 the project is shown as Beans Parts Warehouse. The applicant then brought a sketch plan showing a parts distribution center to a public work session in February 2023 before the application was formally submitted. This preliminary discussion was just that – a preliminary discussion of a sketch plan.

Unlike what the social media post would have you believe; this is not a done deal and nothing is approved. There is no agreement with anyone from the Township to approve the project. None. The only signed “agreement” is between the property owner and the private individual interested in building on the site.

State Law requires Buckingham to have a Planned Industrial Zone

The Township is required by state law to allow for every type of use in our zoning so we cannot simply say we don’t want certain uses in the township.

In this case, the property is zoned PI-2 or Planned Industrial 2. Property owners in this zoning district could potentially build for example, a Junk Yard or Auto Salvage Yard, Extractive Operations (a Quarry), a Solid Waste Facility, a Fuel Storage facility, a Manufacturing Factory, an office complex, Outpatient Surgical Center or a Wholesale Storage and Warehousing or a contractor’s yard to name a few.

Although we must allow for these uses, the Supervisors have steadfastly safeguarded and will continue to protect the interests of the residents near the industrial zone. So much so that you barely notice the existing businesses that are already there. That didn’t happen by accident. That was a product of careful planning by the Township.

The Township has tried to preserve the Property

The Township has tried to preserve the property for over twenty years by proposing the purchase of a conservation easement, purchasing the property for wastewater sprayfields and buying it for sports fields. The property owner has refused all the Township proposals. More recently the property owner proposed an auto auction site for the property, which the Township opposed and discouraged, and which does not appear to be pursued any longer. The property owner filed an application with the Zoning Hearing Board to get variances to increase density to allow him to build a large industrial park. The Township opposed this application and while the application is still pending, it now appears to have been abandoned.

What is the Process?

As a property owner you have the right to make an application to your Township to make use of your property. But that doesn’t mean proposed development is automatically approved. Making an application and receiving approval are two very different things!

There is absolutely no reason to believe that this latest application for a parts storage center will be approved in its present form – if it is approved at all.

The social media post simply does not understand the development process in Pennsylvania. Now that there is a formal plan application submitted to the Township, the Township is obligated to follow the local government process like any other development application. For those who don’t know the process it is as follows: a plan and accompanying information is submitted to the Township, reviews by Township consultants and staff begin, it is then scheduled for review by the Bucks County Planning Commission and the Buckingham Township Planning Commission for their advisory opinions on the plan and whether it complies with the law. Only then is it scheduled for review by the Township Board of Supervisors. This plan is in review and is currently scheduled for the Planning Commission’s August 2, 2023 meeting. Only after the Township and Bucks County Planning Commission have completed their review will it be scheduled for a Board of Supervisor’s meeting upon request of the applicant.

All of these meetings are open to the public and the Township encourages public participation.

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