SOUTH WAVERLY — The South Waverly Borough Council changed part of the borough zoning ordinance last week to allow an apartment complex to possibly be built on Loder Street.
The location of the proposed project was previously under Business II Zoning District on one side and Residential I Zoning District on the other.
The council has now created a Residential III Zoning District which allows for multi-family rental units.
The multi-family dwelling units are proposed to be built along Loder Street and will develop approximately six acres of an 11.55 acre plot into apartment buildings with supporting infrastructure. The buildings are slated for 96 parking spaces and the proposed entrance is on Loder Street.
The project, which is being proposed by Frandsen Real Estate LLC, is currently in Phase 1 and will need to gain further approval by the borough council and Bradford County Planning Board in order to be completed.
During last week’s public hearing on the zoning issue, several residents — most who live on Loder Street — expressed concern over the possible traffic implications from the project.
Before any comments from the residents, Sayre Borough Police Chief Dan Reynolds announced the results from a recent “unofficial” traffic study on Loder Street.
Reynolds explained that from Oct. 17 to Oct. 23, there were 9,308 vehicles that traveled north into Waverly. Of those vehicles, 97.4 percent or 9,064 cars were traveling less than 35 miles per hour. Only 2.6 percent or 244 cars were going more than 35 miles per hour.
According to Reynolds, there was an average of 1,329 vehicles per day going northbound and the average speed heading north on Loder Street over that seven-day period was 35.18 miles per hour.
When it came to southbound traffic, there were a total of 4,972 vehicles from Oct. 28 through Nov. 2. Out of those vehicles, 4,933 vehicles or 99 percent were traveling less than 35 miles per hour.
Only .78 percent (39 vehicles) were traveling over 35 miles per hour and the average speed was 32.23 miles per hour.
The number of cars per day over that time averaged out to 994 vehicles, according to Reynolds.
“We know how many speeders there are, and we know you can’t do anything about speeding because you can’t use radar, so that’s not our top priority,” one resident told Reynolds. “What is (a priority) is the traffic, and the traffic study does not sound good, and when you add all of those other cars that are going to be there, add that to the traffic study, that concerns us.”
Reynolds told the residents and the council that he would recommend a complete traffic study, which goes into more detail than what the police department is able to do.
Tim Gourley, who is the project engineer, explained that a traffic study would be happening in the near future — and the reason for a delay was because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we started this process back in January and with the COVID restrictions, we were asked by (South Waverly Borough Council) not to do a traffic study yet because traffic volumes would not represent what a pre-COVID status would be,” Gourley said. “We’ve been on hold with the traffic study until we get the blessing from the community that it’s time to do a traffic study. We are kind of waiting until that happens to do that and to alleviate any possible concerns of traffic in and out.”
Council President Roxanne Stevens-Testen noted that the traffic study would be done.
“We are looking at the (Residential I) to (Residential III) decision tonight. The traffic study needs to be done. The issue needs to be addressed, and we as a council have never thought any other way,” she said.
Councilman Chris Wood told the concerned residents that if a traffic study shows there need to be changes to the current plan then the borough council would take action.
“If there’s something that has to change once we get the traffic study, get through Phase 1 then that’s part of our job here is to make sure that we have the safety and what is best for our residents,” Wood said.