Neighbors oppose plan for new YMCA

Proposed West Norriton YMCA

March 13, 2012 6:00:08 PM PDT
Some residents in Montgomery County are opposed to a plan to build a new YMCA.

UPDATE: Approximately 200 people attended a meeting Tuesday night where five commissioners voted unanimously against the zoning variance that would have helped pave the way for the new YMCA

The 85,000 square foot, $19 million facility is proposed for 24 acres of the Markley Farms Tract in West Norriton Township.

CEO Jay Schaeffer says it would resemble the bustling Spring Valley YMCA in Limerick that draws members from miles around to its upscale pools and workout facilities.

"The focus is one healthy living and social responsibility," Schaeffer said.

But for the West Norriton YMCA to become a reality, this land would have to be rezoned from residential to recreational. That has some neighbors pushing back, with traffic being the biggest concern.

"I think it's something that is going to have a parking lot, that people are going to be going in and out all of the time," said Kimmie Gibbas. "It's going to disrupt the serenity of the neighborhood."

"I believe it will change my way of life here in this community," said John Trailies. "I believe there are other places that are already recreational where the Y can be built."

Shaeffer says exiting traffic during peak times would add a couple cars a minute to nearby roads. Neighbor John Rooks concedes traffic is a worry, but backs the YMCA proposal.

"I think it's a good thing for the kids, a good thing for the families, it will bring local jobs, and it will also add recreation to the neighborhood," Rooks said.