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Nonresidential Development Rises As Residential Proposals Decline In Bucks County

A look at development trends in Bucks County.

File photo.

Bucks County experienced a decline in proposed residential developments while witnessing a rise in nonresidential projects in 2023, according to the latest data from the Bucks County Planning Commission.

The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (Act 247) mandates that the county planning commission reviews all land development proposals before local municipalities can take action. The process includes reviewing development proposals across all 31 townships and 23 boroughs within the county.

Credit: Bucks County Planning Commission

In contrast to the previous year, the number of proposed residential units fell by 66 percent, from nearly 2,000 in 2022 to just 664 in 2023.

Despite the sharp decline, the figure remains higher than those reported in 2016 and 2017.

West Rockhill Township, Lower Makefield Township, Middletown Township, and Bristol Township led the county in proposed residential development.

According to the report, single-family detached homes were the most favored type of dwelling proposed, leading for the first time since 2018.

Nonresidential development, which includes industrial and commercial projects, saw a substantial increase over 2022.

The commission reviewed plans for approximately 5.8 million square feet of space, marking a 37 percent increase from the previous year.

Credit: Bucks County Planning Commission

Although this number is a decrease from the record high of 10 million square feet in 2021, it shows a growing interest in nonresidential development.

Falls Township, Richland Township, Bristol Township, and Buckingham Township were the leading locations for nonresidential developments. In recent years, Falls Township has become a nonresidential development hotspot due to the construction of the massive Keystone Trade Center logistics park at the former U.S. Steel property. It is one of the largest projects of its kind in the country.

Industrial projects accounted for 85 percent of the nonresidential plans, according to the report.

The county planning commission has collaborated with multiple local entities, including Bristol Township, Doylestown Borough, Haycock Township, Langhorne Borough, New Hope Borough, Newtown Township, Plumstead Township, Quakertown Borough, Silverdale Borough, and Warrington Township on a range of additional planning and zoning reviews.

With a strong economy, rising home prices, and high interest rates in recent years, affordable housing has become in issue in Bucks County. Real estate data from Rocket Homes shows that the median sale price for a Bucks County home is $460,009 over the past year, an increase over past years.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for 12 years for both newspaper and online publications. Tom’s reporting has appeared locally, nationally, and internationally across several mediums. He is proud to report on news in the county where he lives and to have created a reliable publication that the community deserves.

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