Falls Amends Zoning, Allows Warehouses in Riverfront District
In an effort to boost business operations – and increase hundreds of local job opportunities – in Falls, the Supervisors unamimously adopted an ordinance amendment to permit warehouse operations in the riverfront district. The original zoning permitted warehouse operations only as a conditional use.
The amendment was made at the request of Stalwart Equities, a developer interested in constructing a nearly 1 million-square-foot warehouse on more than 95 acres of land along the Delaware River.
The board recently reviewed a sketch plan from Stalwart Equities for construction of 916,300 square feet of warehouse space and 60,000 square feet of office space. The bulk of the property – 84.664 acres – is at the former Solvay tract. Two other parcels totaling more than 11 acres are comprised of land on South Pennsylvania Avenue and a portion of the former Rogers foam tract on East Post Road.
Stalwart has not yet submitted a land development plan. Attorney Robert Gundlach Jr. called the ordinance amendment the “first step of the process” prior to the filling of a land development application. Stalwart, as well as any other developer interested in constructing a warehouse in the riverfront district, would need to come before the Board of Supervisors for land development review and approval prior to moving forward.
Township attorney Mike Clarke said the text amendment “is just a way of expediting a process.”
The Stalwart property is bound by industrial uses along East Post Road to the north, the Delaware River to the east and Biles Creek, vacant land to the south and a mix of commercial and residential properties to the east between the site and South Pennsylvania Avenue.
Officials told the Supervisors previously that the warehouse would employ 500 or more local employees. The project would generate $963,000 in real estate taxes to Pennsbury School District, $41,000 in municipal taxes and $33,000 in annual local services taxes.
The Falls site could house one tenant or be subdivided to house up to four, Stalwart officials said, adding that details on occupancy would not be known until the project is finalized and marketed.
Traffic could be the project’s largest obstacle. Stalwart’s traffic consultant told the board that the property would host 700 vehicles daily. Of those, 150 to 200 per day would be trucks.
Developers are planning to widen South Pennsylvania Avenue to help accommodate traffic. In addition, the warehouse would have separate truck and passenger vehicle access. The truck route would be Route 13 to Tyburn Road to South Pennsylvania Avenue. Trucks exiting the site would be directed to turn left and head south along South Pennsylvania Avenue. Passenger vehicles would be able to access the site from both the South Pennsylvania Avenue and East Post Road driveways.
Stalwart officials are working with Morrisville Borough to restrict trucks traveling on Post Road to a certain tonnage.