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Signs of Towamencin ‘Planet Fitness’ come into view – The Reporter

Posted: May 25, 2021 at 1:53 am


TOWAMENCIN A decision could come this week on a sign package for a Planet Fitness currently under construction at Forty Foot and Allentown Roads in Towamencin.

Township officials saw details earlier this month of the sign package proposed for the new Planet Fitness, and heard news of other users that could be coming into the adjacent shopping center soon.

"We are asking for conditional use approval, to waive the slight excess based on the setback of the building from both of those streets, as well as the size of the building itself and the size of the frontage," said attorney Carl Weiner.

In January the supervisors approved plans for the new Planet Fitness, to be built inside a former Sears hardware store in theTowamencinVillage Shopping Center, whichdeveloperPSDCplans to rename "The Shops at Town Square" and has discussed various revitalization plans for nearly a decade. While the plans inside the building were approved in January, the sign package was the subject of a lengthy conditional use hearing before the township supervisors on May 12, as Weiner and engineer John Anderson showed renderings depicting the buildings decorated with the purple lettering of the Planet Fitness logo.

Required setbacks for signs from streets in the township's Entertainment Lifestyle Overlay district, a zoning created in 2016 specifically for that shopping center and the adjacent properties, is only 50 feet on each side, meaning each side is "substantially in excess" of the required space, Weiner said and Anderson agreed. The total length of the building faade facing Forty Foot is just shy of 150 feet, and the side facing Allentown is roughly 160 feet long, with total square footage of 3,742 facing Forty Foot and 3,985 facing Allentown respectively.

The sign package up for board approval would feature the purple 'Planet Fitness' lettering, roughly five feet two inches tall and 12 feet eight inches long, with a total square footage of 65.4 square feet facing Forty Foot, an amount Anderson said was roughly 1.74 percent of the overall frontage of that building faade. On the Allentown side, a circular medallion sign would contain similar 'Planet Fitness' lettering, in front of a superimposed hand giving a thumbs-up. That sign would be roughly six feet, nine niches wide by eight feet tall and 54.33 square feet total, which is 1.36 percent of the total faade on that side, Anderson told the board.

Current codes for the ELO district permit a maximum of 65 square feet for a building set as far back from the frontage as the Planet Fitness is from Forty Foot, Anderson told the board, so the Forty Foot sign falls just below that total at 65.4 square feet. On the Allentown side, the maximum sign area permitted would be 50 square feet, and the medallion sign proposed is 54.33 square feet, just above the limit amounts Weiner said were "essentially in the same ballpark as what is permitted."

Supervisor Dan Littley said his biggest concern with the sign package was not the signs themselves, but what will surround them.

"I look at your map, and I look at your proposal, and I'm trying to picture where all of the trees are going that were taken down, all of the shrubberies, everything else that blocks signs," he said.

"There's going to be, I hope, some replacement of all of the bushes and trees that were removed. I look at that and go, 'What is the sign going to do for a driver doing 45 miles per hour on Forty Foot or Allentown?" Littley said.

Anderson answered that the overall landscaping plan for the entire shopping center does show "significant tree plantings, and low landscaping materials, proposed along Allentown and Forty Foot."

Littley counted that that was his concern: the new landscaping could block off the new signs on the building from anyone on the roads: "Should you be thinking about a monument sign that sits out there, down lower to Allentown, and talks about what's in the center?"

Anderson said he and PSDC were currently vetting plans for a new set of freestanding signs, possibly at both the Forty Foot and Allentown entrances, and would be back before the board with those plans in the future.

Anderson added that improvements throughout the rest of shopping center, like new facades on the other buildings, new sidewalks and curb ramps, and resurfacing of the parking area, would be presented in future phases following the Planet Fitness project.

Board Chairman Chuck Wilson said he thought those could be discussed separately, outside of the formal hearing on the sign package plan, which he felt "in my opinion, is very reasonable."

"You're very close to what the sign ordinance states, and given the size of these buildings, and the extreme setbacks, I think what you presented tonight, at least with me, is fine," Wilson said.

Towamencin's supervisors next meet at 7:30 p.m. on May 26 and a decision and order on the sign package is listed on the agenda; for more information visit http://www.Towamencin.org.

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Signs of Towamencin 'Planet Fitness' come into view - The Reporter

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