Public Comment on Proposed Zoning
Collegeville Borough residents are invited to comment on the proposed College Gateway Zoning.
This new zoning, which encourages mixed-use buildings with retail and restaurants on the first floor and residential housing or dorms above, is being proposed for the 5th Ave. corners of Main Street.
Individuals wishing to comment on the proposed zoning are welcome to contact Suzanne Robertson at [email protected] and/or attend Council or Planning Commission meetings. All borough documents and meetings are open to the public. You can attend meetings either in-person or via Zoom.
The new zoning overlay respects our small-town character and encourages any new architecture to fit in with the current historic buildings on our Main St. The zoning will be voted on at the June 1st Council meeting.
New Main Street Zoning Overlay
Work is beginning this month on a draft of an updated Main Street Zoning Overlay from Second Ave. up to Fifth Ave. Zoning overlays differ from zoning in that they allow building owners, businesses, and residents to follow either the old or new zoning, whichever is more advantageous to them.
- Currently, the zoning for the north side of the 400 block of Main Street (the Borough Hall side) is Residential/Office (RO) while the south (Marzella’s) side is Residential/Main Street Commercial, which also allows for offices. The new zoning would provide the ability to have Main Street Commercial (MSC) zoning on both sides of the street.
- The new overlay should allow enough height and density to attract developers to the block, yet continue to preserve our small-town village look and feel. Any new buildings would need to blend in architecturally with our existing buildings.
- The zoning will provide a requirement to preserve significant historic buildings. In addition to being over 100 years old, “significant” historic buildings are also associated with an event important to local, PA or national history, culture, or architecture; they may be representative of broad patterns of notable developments in heritage or culture; and/or they may be associated with persons or groups of people important to our history or culture.
- The zoning guidance will also work to improve the look of the streetscape and the safety and experiences of pedestrians.
- Although there was a focus on creating market rate apartments and dormitories on the 5th Ave. corners of Main St., this will not be the focus of the general Main St. zoning. Although apartments and offices will be allowed above the first floors, the Collegeville area is quickly becoming saturated with new apartments. Close to 800 apartments have been approved to be built in Upper Providence Township next to Wegman’s in Providence Town Center and close to 200 will be built at Rt. 29 at and on Yerkes and Hopwood Roads.
Once the draft zoning overlay is reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission, the Borough Council plans an extensive community engagement process to discuss the new zoning and seek additional ideas, comments, and changes from building owners, business owners, residents, the Ursinus College community and local groups.
Our goal is to ensure that every interested individual who wants to have a say can influence the final zoning overlay.
Shared Parking Ordinance
A perpetual concern of business districts is having sufficient parking. The Borough is currently working on a draft of an ordinance to encourage shared parking in the Borough Hall lot when the lot isn’t needed for Borough meetings or for parking for Fire House events. Providing shared parking among local business owners has been successful in making nearby parking available for many small business districts, such as Skippack Village. We are hoping that the Borough’s ordinance can act as a model for shared parking agreements in Collegeville Borough with private business and lot owners.
Green Verges and New Sidewalks
One of the challenges of our Main Street is to safely separate pedestrians from the traffic and improve the experience of those walking or dining on our Main St. Our Montgomery County planners recommended that when our Main Street is developed, that five-foot verges, or planted spaces, be built from the street to the sidewalk to separate pedestrians from the traffic. They also recommended nine-foot-wide sidewalks.
The verges would be planted with trees, grass and/or native plants. Utilities, such as fire hydrants and telephone poles could also be located to the verges. These pictures illustrate how the area near Marzella’s could look with the verges, especially if they were planted to echo the look of the College’s Schellhase Commons. Many of our residential streets have grass verges.
Members of Collegeville Borough and the Council met with Ursinus College’s grant writers to discuss applying jointly for a DCED multimodal sidewalk grant, which, if we were selected, could cover the cost of 70 percent of the sidewalks and verves. Deadline for grant applications is July 31.
Collegeville Rd (Rt 29) / Hopwood Rd Intersection Improvement
Silver Rhino Development has proposed a 185-unit multi-family development at Hopwood Road and Route 29 (map it) that would be called Yerkes Station. Located in Upper Providence Township (UPT), the project’s plan includes traffic- and pedestrian-related improvements including a signalized intersection, turning lanes and crosswalks. It also includes a multi-use trail extension from the intersection to the Perkiomen Trail. The intersection has been identified by UPT as the most dangerous in the township.
The project got a boost in April when it received a Pennsylvania Multimodal Transportation Fund grant for $2.93 million.
The Light Rail Train from Reading to Philly is “On Track” to Become a Reality
The Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority, a proposed partnership between Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties, was finalized last month when Montgomery and Chester County Commissioners voted unanimously to participate.
The nine-member Authority will support the advancement of a passenger rail line from Reading through Phoenixville and Valley Forge to Center City. The new authority is eligible for federal grants and can work directly with Amtrak.
The Federal Railroad Administration was allocated $66 billion in the bipartisan infrastructure law passed last year to restore train service. Amtrak has informally agreed to provide bus service along the Reading to Philly route until the train is ready to open.
More information can be found in the Montgomery County website post Montgomery, Berks, and Chester Counties Authorize Creation of Passenger Rail Authority.
Main Street Milling and Resurfacing Will Soon Be Over
By now everyone is aware that PennDOT is currently resurfacing Collegeville Borough’s Main Street and Rt. 29. The milling takes place during the day, but the new asphalt surface is being applied from 8 p.m. through 8 a.m. at night. The project should be completed and will be restriped over the next several weeks.
Enjoy the torn up roads, and their accompanying dust and noise while you can. Once completed, and you’re driving on smooth, pothole-free surfaces, you’ll have to find something else to complain about.
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