The development, proposed by K. Hovnanian Homes, is designed to highlight and preserve the historic nature of the surrounding properties and the Whitemarsh community. Input from community leaders and neighbors has been considered at all stages of the development process, and the plans have been revised to meet the public’s suggestions.
The proposed townhomes fulfill a suggested use in the Township’s comprehensive plan while highlighting the open space and neighboring historic sites. The development uses just 70 percent of the allowed density on the site and will include open space that could function as a welcome park adjacent to the historic neighboring Abolition Hall. This open space will be owned by members of the Whitemarsh community, as part of The Villages at Whitemarsh Homeowners Association.
On Oct. 25, 2018, the Whitemarsh Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the conditional use of the proposed plan with 22 conditions the developer found to be acceptable. These conditions further demonstrated the developer’s commitment to fully preserving the historic buildings and maximizing open space. It would also be providing an even greater distance between the townhomes and the historic structures. In June 2019, the Montgomery County Planning Commission provided an analysis of the proposed plan for the Villages at Whitemarsh, stating it supports K.Hovnanian’s proposed subdivision development and the plan addresses the Township’s Conditions of Approval.
THE SITES CURRENTLY LISTED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES – ABOLITION HALL AND THE CORSON ESTATE – WILL BE FULLY PRESERVED AS PART OF THIS DEVELOPMENT.
K. Hovnanian Homes took great care to ensure that the views and land around these sites is maintained in the proposed plans. After the development is underway, K. Hovnanian Homes plans to subdivide the land around these historic structures and to sell the properties to an interested buyer.
Township ordinances ensure that Abolition Hall and the Corson Estate will continue to be preserved.
INPUT FROM NEIGHBORS SURROUNDING THE PROPERTY, LOCAL GROUPS INCLUDING FRIENDS OF ABOLITION HALL, AND TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS IS REFLECTED IN THE K. HOVNANIAN HOMES PROPOSAL.
In 2016, K. Hovnanian Homes hosted a community meeting at the William Jeanes Memorial Library where neighbors came to provide feedback on our proposed plans. The open space could function as a welcome park and the distance between the townhomes and Abolition Hall are based on community input. There will be a walking trail across the site that will be a part of Montgomery County's "Cross County Trail" system.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION SUPPORTS PROPOSED SUBDIVISION DEVELOPMENT
According to the Montgomery County Planning Commission’s (MCPC) latest review of the proposed plan for the Villages at Whitemarsh, it states the MCPC generally supports K.Hovnanian’s proposed subdivision development. The plan addresses the Township’s Conditions of Approval decision of October 25, 2018. The subdivision of the National Register historic properties on Lot #1 and the various conditions will help to ensure that maintenance of the structures is provided and will assist in attracting new ownership for the National Register of Historic sites. The MCPC examined the various permitted land uses of the VC-2 District and it believes that a wide range of compatible land uses for historic properties are permitted which would attract a new owner with goals and objectives sympathetic to these historic properties.
AFTER DISCUSSIONS WITH COMMUNITY LEADERS AND LOCAL RESIDENTS, K. HOVNANIAN HOMES ADJUSTED OUR PROPOSED PLANS TO ACCOUNT FOR THE PRESERVATION OF NATURAL SPACE AROUND THIS HISTORIC SITE.
At the suggestion of the Friends of Abolition Hall, there will be a large open space area that remains undeveloped and could function as a welcome park for Abolition Hall and the townhome development.
Although the Township and County did not express interest in retaining control of this space as a public park, it will be created and managed by The Villages at Whitemarsh Homeowners Association.
THE WHITEMARSH TOWNSHIP COMPREHENSIVE PLAN SPECIFICALLY DESIGNATES THE CORSON TRACT AS AN AREA ZONED FOR TOWNHOUSES.
The Comprehensive Plan calls for high-density residential development on this tract, in order to buffer the Plymouth Meeting village from the more intense office park and industrial uses along Butler Pike. Our plan features significantly more open space than is required, and would create just 70 percent of the allowed density on the site.
2015: K. Hovnanian Homes first proposed the construction of The Villages At Whitemarsh, submitting a sketch plan and starting to meet with local leaders about the potential development.
2017: The proposed plans for The Villages at Whitemarsh were updated and revised, based in part on the input given to K. Hovnanian Homes by neighbors and community leaders.
April: The Whitemarsh Township Zoning Hearing Board denied the Friends of Abolition Hall appeal.
June 2019: The Montgomery County Planning Commission provided an analysis of the proposed plan for the Villages at Whitemarsh, stating it supports K.Hovnanian’s proposed subdivision development and the plan addresses the Township’s Conditions of Approval.
2016: K. Hovnanian Homes hosted a community meeting where neighbors came to provide feedback. The proposed plans were revised based on input from neighbors and community leaders.
November: The Whitemarsh Township Zoning Officer issued a zoning opinion establishing that K. Hovnanian's plan was in compliance with some of the requirements of the VC-2 Zoning District by the Whitemarsh Township Zoning
December: Residents and members of Friends of Abolition Hall filed an appeal of the Whitemarsh Township Zoning Officer's opinion with the Zoning Hearing Board.
2018: Throughout the spring and summer, K. Hovnanian Homes presented its conditional use application to Whitemarsh Township Board of Supervisors. They detailed why the plan has met all the requirements necessary to be granted conditional use.
October: The Whitemarsh Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the conditional use of the proposed plan for the Villages at Whitemarsh. The next steps include submitting an application for the Land Development use phase.