The Bensalem Township Council has narrowly voted to rezone a controversial property with religious and historic significance. The sisters with the St. Katharine Drexel Mission Center and Shrine are looking to sell their land.

The median age of the sisters is 80 years old. As a result, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament could not maintain the buildings on the property.

Developer Aquinas Realty is hoping to buy the land and has pledged to keep the mother house, mission center, chapel and crypt. Aquinas would build a senior home and town homes along the 45 acre plot located in the Andalusia section of Bensalem.

Sister Donna Brezeline, President of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, supports the Aquinas Realty proposal due their plan to preserve the property.

“We looked at many different proposals, Aquinas was the only one that understood the sacredness of this property.”

However some residents are concerned about the traffic the facilities may cost. Bob Heller, a Bensalem resident, spoke with petition in hand against the proposal.

“The traffic throughout Bensalem is awful,” Heller said. “I hope council votes the right way and eliminate the plans.”

Despite Heller’s protest, the Bensalem Council voted in a 3-2 vote to rezone the property to a mixed residential property. Aquinas Realty promised that the property will be opened to the public.