During their Tuesday, September 26 meeting, Allen Township Supervisors approved the Stone Ridge Major Subdivision Plan’s lot consolidation and waiver requests. This approval did not include the proposed Wawa at the intersection of Route 329 and Savage Road or the other commercial properties in the area. (The Wawa plan is contingent on this subdivision and will be discussed at an upcoming October meeting.) As part of their approval, supervisors voted to require sidewalks on the west side of Savage Road and traffic metrics on Savage and Atlas roads.
Supervisors have expressed fears that traffic from the proposed Wawa will travel south on Savage Road, turn left onto Atlas Road, and attempt to turn left onto Weaversville Road to return to Route 329. Engineers for the development have countered this, saying studies indicate a majority of the Wawa traffic will remain on Savage Road due to the number of residential properties south of the convenience store.
“I’m using a common sense approach…I’ve lived here,” said Supervisor Dale Hassler. “I see the way the cars go,” he continued, indicating that most traffic will be traveling east or west from Route 329.
Joseph Zator, legal counsel for the project, said the property’s developer has committed to addressing safety concerns on Atlas Road as a good-faith offer. However, doing so immediately would be “speculative.” Instead, supervisors and the developer agreed to study the total number of cars using Atlas Road in the nine months following the convenience store’s opening. Within a year, supervisors can decide whether or not the developer should pay for a cul-de-sac or dead-end at Atlas and Weaversville roads. Funding will be added to security.
But Zator warned that no metric will prevent them from eliminating the property’s exit onto Savage Road.
“There’s a right to connect to Savage,” he said. “There is no metric that we could live with to limit the access to Savage.”
Township Solicitor Lincoln Treadwell echoed this sentiment, warning supervisors that attempting to block access to Savage would not win in court.
“I need an expert to say that [it is a safety issue],” he said. “And right now, your traffic engineer is saying something different.”
Supervisor Gary Behler said he does not see “a legitimate safety reason why the access road [from Wawa onto Savage Road] should not be there.” He said he worries eliminating it will push traffic up to Stonegate Drive and Route 329 and east to the intersection at Route 329 and Savage Road, which accident reports have shown as the most dangerous intersection in the township.
Sidewalks leading to the Wawa development were also a major discussion point. Plans showed sidewalks on the western side of Savage Road. However, because sidewalks are a homeowner’s responsibility, homeowners with properties backing up to Savage Road would be responsible for maintaining these sidewalks. Supervisors said this was unfair.
“It is unfair for us to mandate this to people 12 or 10 years after they bought a home,” said Hassler. “All of a sudden you have to maintain sidewalks behind your property.”
Hassler added he did not think it would be fair to have the township’s public works team (and taxpayer dollars) maintain the sidewalks for a corporation.
Supervisors discussed waiving the sidewalks, but worried this would create safety concerns for pedestrian traffic coming to Wawa from Howertown Park.
Supervisors ultimately decided to extend and wrap a portion of the township-owned sidewalk on John Drive up the west side of Savage Road. Public works would maintain this sidewalk to limit the burden on residents. Developers did say they may have to narrow Savage Road to 11-foot lanes and 3-foot shoulders to accommodate the sidewalks without impacting a stormwater swale. But engineers said this may have a positive effect in slowing traffic.
With these measures in place, supervisors ultimately voted to approve the plan. Only Hassler voted no.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be on Tuesday, October 10 at 6 p.m.