Bensalem residents win fight against Royal Farms going in their neighborhood

Bensalem residents have won the fight against Royal Farms going in their neighborhood.

"This is for my kids. This my life. This is going to be my retirement life," said 69-year-old Lou Rollo as he shows us the serene place he's created for his family, especially his grandchildren, in the backyard of his home on Virginia Avenue in Bensalem.

"I got a big yard, I put a deck in there and I put an above ground pool for everyone to enjoy," he said. But Lou was worried his peace and privacy would be gone. Hartford Properties wanted to put a Royal Farms convenience store right behind his home at Street Road and Forrest Avenue. It would be similar to one in northeast Philadelphia. Lou says they offered to put in trees as a buffer.

"I'll be 70 years old. Those trees will never be mature enough to help my case," he said. Lou and other neighbors who back up against the site which is now Diamond Furniture Store are worried about noise, bright lights and additional traffic. The plans also included nearly a dozen gas pumps, outdoor seating and it would be open 24 hours 7 days a week.

"It's going to be turned into a hang out," said Lou. The super store would come within 20 feet of some homes.

"I think they want it here because of the proximity to I-95 but that' doesn't help us," said Mike Thomas, another resident. Regina Karley lives the closest to the proposed site.

"I'm not happy at all," she said, adding that developers told her they would put an 8 to 10 foot fence.

"I said well I already have a fence. They're basically going to have to put a big sound barrier around but then that means that I'm closed in," she said.

Thursday night's township zoning meeting was supposed to be the final hearing for the plan. Neighbors were stunned to hear the company had sent a letter indicating a change.

"Saying that they were withdrawing their application for all zoning relief and they did not intend to proceed with anything," said Barbara Kirk, attorney for the Zoning Hearing Board.

Regina Karley said, "I feel it's a victory. I feel it's a victory right now."

Township zoning officials say Hartford Properties could at any time resubmit the application but they did not say whether they would or why they withdrew.