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2001-12-15
Lower Makefield, PA. Two Sides to the Lowe's Octagon Center

Residents in Lower Makefield, Pennsylvania have sued the town for revising its master plan to make room on 138 acres of land the development of the so-called "Octagon Center" sprawling retail and hotel complex. The developer reportedly wants to build a new Lowe's and a Sears Great Indoors store. (See June 3, 2001 newsflash). The Matrix Development Corporation,knows by now that there is more than one side to the octagon. Matrixsuffered a setback this week when the town's Planning Commission recommended unanimously that the plan be rejected by the Board of Supervisors. The Octagon Center actually never came before the Board in itsearlier stages, because Matrix took over the project from another developerwho had already received approvals from the town for an office/warehouseproject. Last year at this time, the Supervisors amended the master planat the behest of Matrix, to allow two big box stores to be part of thedevelopment. The project at that point no longer needed the recommendationof the Planning Commission. This week, the Planning Commission voted 4-0that they did "not consider the inclusion of big box stores as being in thebest interest and use of the site with respect to the long range interestsof people of this community. The inclusion of big box retail has a greatimpact on the trip generations that would not exist if the site weredeveloped...entirely under an office use." The group Residents AgainstMatrix (RAM) said they were "thrilled to death" with the PlanningCommission's decision to nix Matrix. Spokesman Larry Borda called theOctagon Center "stupid growth for this community," and warned that it wouldhurt property values. The Matrix Project Planner seems unruffled at thePlanning Commission rejection, and appeared confident that at the TownSupersivors level the corporation would get what it wants. "We are pleasedto now be going to the board of supervisors," the Matrix Planner told the media, "where some of the recommendations made by the planning commission will be accepted and some will be rejected and a binding decision will be made which is what will determine the fate of the project. We are confident that our application is lawful and therefore will ultimately be approved."

What you can do: It appears as if some supervisors have a strong opinion about the casebefore it even reaches them. Supervisors' Chairman Frank Fazzalore toldreporters that his board's main role is to determine if the project islegally appropriate. The town's lawyer told the Supervisors that theproject was "in accordance with the land ordinances." One new Supervisorsaid the the Planning Commission decision was "somewhat subjective."Although traffic congestion remains an obvious problem, the Supervisorconcluded, "we still have to follow the law" and said the town might gettrapped in a "lawsuit it might lose." It turns out that if they say 'Yes'to Matrix, the Supervisors could very well face a lawsuit from their owncitizens. To find out how you can help RAM, contact; info@bucksram.org, andvisit www.bucksram.org.










 
 
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