ASTON — A meeting planned to discuss a conditional-use application submitted by Springbrooke Industrial LLC for the proposed Springbrooke Trade Center at Pennell Road and Springbrooke Boulevard was abruptly canceled, sparking questions from local residents.
The advertised informational meeting, which was to be held last Tuesday evening, was canceled due to an opinion rendered by the township solicitor stating that if held, the meeting would have been in violation of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
“We have been advised by our township solicitor that the board of commissioners is not permitted to receive additional communication, arguments, or evidence, directly or indirectly, in connection with any issue involved in this application outside the presence of the applicant,” reads a notice that appeared on the township website.
The notice stated that once a conditional-use hearing process has started the commissioners may only receive evidence or testimony in the presence of the applicant.
“Residents were permitted the opportunity to speak and ask questions during the conditional-use hearing that was held on Dec. 11, at which point the record was closed,” the notice read.
Springbrooke Industrial has proposed to construct two large warehouses on a 36.5-acre parcel located off Pennell Road behind Woodbrook Way. One warehouse would measure 273,600 square feet and the other 210,400 square feet. In addition, a 400-car parking lot, 80 trailer spaces, and loading bays have been proposed.
The property is the site of the old Mercury Gun Club, which was once owned by Sunoco and sold to Nolen Properties LLC in December 2000 for $2.4 million.
Residents have been attending hearings and raising concerns about increased traffic, emissions, the removal of tree buffers, and disruption of wildlife in the area. There are also concerns that the property will be used as a 24-hour Amazon warehouse, which has not been verified.
Woodbrook Way resident Paula Starinieri has attended the previous meetings and questioned why the commissioners did not contact Springbrooke prior to scheduling the meeting.
“I have to wonder if they (commissioners) really know what they are doing,” said Starinieri. “One would think they would have known to contact the owner before scheduling a meeting. Those proposed warehouse buildings are massive and we do have concerns that the facility that will go in there will be in operation for 24 hours a day. What will this do to our property values? I can tell you that the majority of my neighbors are totally against this.”
On social media, there were comments in favor of the project stating that the warehouse facility will result in additional tax revenue and jobs for the township.
Aston commissioners are planning to vote on the conditional-use application at its 7 p.m., Jan. 15 public meeting, which will be held at the township municipal building, 5021 Pennell Road.