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Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: September 12, 2003
Byline: Bonnie L. Cook

Black Horse Inn will stay put

Officials are allowing the developer to revise its plans for the Flourtown site to include the inn.

A development company has been given a vote of confidence to solidify plans for keeping the Black Horse Inn at its present location facing Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown.

By a 5-2 vote Wednesday, the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners moved to allow Moreland Development, a Bryn Mawr real estate development and management firm, to revise an agreement outlining its intentions for the site, at 1432 Bethlehem Pike.

The vote was taken during a meeting of the commissioners at the Township Building in Wyndmoor.

Under the existing agreement with the township, the company had pledged to move the inn elsewhere along Bethlehem Pike or to the back of the property the inn now occupies, to make way for a Walgreens drugstore and a liquor store.

Under the most recent plan, however, the old tavern would stay put and become the centerpiece of the project, although what it would be used for isn't clear.

The Walgreens and a retail-office building — with space for the liquor store — would be built, though they would be larger than originally planned.

The retail-office building needs to be bigger to accommodate a printing firm beside the Black Horse Inn at 8 Bysher Ave., land from which will be added to the parcel. That purchase, in turn, would allow the developer to move an access driveway on Bysher Avenue for smoother traffic flow.

Those changes will be incorporated into the present agreement, and then detailed planning will begin. Once the agreement is rewritten, the township commissioners will vote on the final version.

The township and developer had postponed making any formal moves until the public had testified.

In a series of meetings as recently as Monday, neighbors of the site and three citizen groups complained that the proposed new construction would cause traffic congestion and would clash with the historic character of the pike.

One group urged Walgreens to go elsewhere, while the other two gave tentative plaudits to Moreland's expressed aim to keep the inn where it is. All said they favored less intensive use of the site, with more green space and less concrete.

No timetable has been set for revising the agreement, Commissioner Jane H. Fisher said. A spokesman for Moreland could not be reached for comment.