Date: April 15, 2000
Byline: Cynthia Marone
Plans proposed for the Black Horse Tavern propertyTwo plans presented to Springfield Township staff for the Black Horse Tavern property include razing the historic inn to move two retail stores closer to Bethlehem Pike.
The township board of commissioners discussed the plans at its April 10 workshop session, but seemed to think the two were still too intensive a use for the site. The intensive-use issue was something the board had considered for the initial plan and was a major factor in creating the two new concepts.
This time around, developer, Hampton Development of Flourtown, is pursuing township input and guidance in the creation of the plan.
The plan was presented to Township Manager Don Berger, Solicitor Jim Garrity and Zoning Officer Rick Lesniak earlier this month. Berger said, after Monday's meeting, Garrity will convey the message to the developer the plans presented are still too use-intensive for the site.
The plans proposed for the site by The Hampton Group now numbers three, including the initial plan which kept the tavern standing, but renovated it as a bank or a gourmet coffee shop.
The initial plan before the township included the state store moving into a 10,000-square-foot building, a relocation of the CVS at the Flourtown Farmers Market into a 20,000-square-foot, two-story structure and a one-story, 5,000-square-foot video store all as new buildings. A bank or gourmet coffee shop were possible occupants of the Black Horse.
The developers would spend about $300,000 to remove some additions and restore the Black Horse's exterior, creating a two-story, 1,800-square-foot shell. Interior renovations are estimated at $600,000.
The first plan presented to staff earlier this month including the razing of the Black Horse and the moving up of the proposed drug store and liquor store, Berger said. The former state store would become a video store, Berger said.
In the second plan, everything remains the same, except the former state store is demolished and a smaller, 3,000-square-foot building, possibly to become a bank, will be erected in its place.
The developers have said they will create the new structures in a Colonial architectural style, Berger said. An accessway will be created from Bethlehem to the Bysher Avenue ball field and a parking lot for about 44 vehicles will be created by Hampton on township-owned property to handle Little League overflow parking, he added.
Berger said the developers will be required to go to the township zoning hearing board, then to the Springfield Township Planning Commission and finally to the board of commissioners.
Plans for the Black Horse, which were to go before the zoning hearing board March 28, were shelved by the developers changes to the plans.
The commissioners were to send Bagley on behalf of the township to the meeting because the plan first presented to the township was deemed too congested.
"Our reasoning was the use was too intensive for the property," Commissioner Ken Bradley said of Bagley's attendance last month. "[The proposed plan] called for four retail operations a state store, video store, bank and pharmacy," he said.
Hampton representative Neil Stein said last month the meeting with staff was to "get a sense if we are heading in the right direction. It'd be appropriate to meet with the neighbors again before going to the zoning hearing board."
Stein said there is also the possibility of a visit to the township planning commission.