Haws Lane Neighbors have a chance to weigh in on development plans at 2 scheduled public meetings

by Betsy Wallace
Posted 4/28/21

MEH will hold an in-person neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, May 25 at 7 p.m.  The Board of Commissioners (BOC) will hold its informal Planning Commission public meeting via Zoom on June 1 at 7 p.m., where MEH will make a presentation and answer questions from those who attend the meeting. 

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Haws Lane Neighbors have a chance to weigh in on development plans at 2 scheduled public meetings

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Since last week’s Chestnut Hill Local online article about the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners meetings, the Haws Lane neighbors have been speaking out on Facebook and Nextdoor, but they’ll be able to register their concerns and ideas with the owner/developer, Brian Halligan, at two public meetings to be held on May 25 (hosted by Halligan’s MEH investments Company) and on June 1 (an informal public meeting arranged by the Board of Commissioners through the Township Planning Commission).

The Board of Commissioners (BOC) will hold its informal Planning Commission public meeting via Zoom on June 1 at 7 p.m., where MEH will make a presentation and answer questions from those who attend the meeting.  The Township is reaching out to all neighbors within 600 square feet of 380-402 Haws Lane as well as posting the meeting on its website and social media.

In advance of the BOC meeting on June 1, MEH will hold an in-person neighborhood meeting at the Flourtown Country Club on Tuesday, May 25 at 7 p.m.  According to Brad McCleary, the MEH Vice-President for Business Development, the MEH Development team will walk everyone through the most recent plan at that meeting.  MEH has posted the meeting on social media, reached out to Haws Lane neighborhood members to get the word out via email chain and social media, and has invited the Township Commissioners.  The MEH meeting on May 25 is in-person.  Masks will be required to keep everyone safe.  McCreary is not sure whether there will be a virtual component to the meeting but those who cannot attend the meeting will be able to receive a digital copy of the presentation and a recording of the meeting.

This Local reporter reached out to two Haws Lane area residents who were active in 2019 – one declined to be interviewed and the other did not respond in time for this article.  The Haws lane neighborhood social media talk about MEH’s current proposal to build a total of 41 townhomes on the Haws Lane tract, however, has been very active.  Neighbors’ posts on the private group “What’s Happening in Springfield Township” Facebook page and on NextDoor.com, indicate that many are discouraged by how the township handled MEH’s previous proposal in 2019, and disappointed by their failed efforts to make the land a public park.  These neighbors appear to be leery of the process, which they feel leaves them in the dark until too late in the process.  As was true in 2019, most neighbors are concerned about the impact on traffic in the area, the loss of green space, and the effect of the proposed development on their property values.  But there are other voices in the mix as well, such as the young township resident who pointed out on Nextdoor that it is very hard to find affordable housing for first time homebuyers and young families anywhere in Springfield Township.

For its part, MEH’s Brad McCleary said that "our development team is committed to working collaboratively with both neighbors and township staff to determine the best use for the property on Haws Lane.  It has been our goal since we started working on this project back in 2017 to create something beneficial to the community…We look forward to hosting a neighbor’s meeting on May 25th and presenting our most recent plan to the Planning Commission on June 1st."

In last week’s CH Local online article, it was reported incorrectly that, in 2019, the Zoning Board gave Halligan a variance to build a 4-story, 100-unit, age-restricted apartment building.  According to Township Manager Michael Taylor, “the 2019 proposal put forth by Mr. Halligan did not receive any zoning approvals and did not proceed beyond a public presentation (not a formal hearing) at a commissioners meeting.  Mr. Halligan’s proposal was voluntarily withdrawn in the wake of public comment expressing a preference for the previously approved 2013 ‘Traditions’ project over the proposed age-restricted apartment building.”

As for the community efforts to turn the Haws Lane tract into a public park reported in last week’s online CH Local article, McCreary recently confirmed that MEH offered the property to both the Township and the School Board for purchase and they both declined the offer.

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