Tredyffrin Township’s first Board of Supervisors meeting of the 2015 is tomorrow, January 5, 7 PM at the township building. The organization meeting includes the election of chairman and vice chairman of the BOS. Although an annual election is held for the board’s leadership roles, typically these positions are held for two years. Mike Heaberg and Kristen Mayock served in the chair and vice chair positions, respectfully, during 2014 – the election will determine if they continue in their current roles for 2015.
Following the 2015 organizational meeting, is the public hearing for the Arcadia/Wayne Glen conditional use application. At the corner of Old Eagle School and Walker Roads in the Glenhardie section of the township, Arcadia Tredyffrin, LLC is seeking conditional use approval to construct 108 residential units in the R-1 (Residential) District and approximately 240,000 sq. ft. of non-residential building that is currently in the O (Office) District although in the P (Professional) District at the time of application filing. With recommendation from the township’s planning commissioners, the Wayne Glen project has now moved to the Board of Supervisors for their approval.
If history dictates the future, the Wayne Glen development project will have a crowd of local Glenhardie residents in attendance at the meeting. Unlike the widespread community support that developers have enjoyed with the Chesterbrook redevelopment plans, Wayne Glen has seen its share of spirited debate. The issue for the residents close to the proposed development project is how the developer will manage the stormwater situation, as much of this area is prone to regular flooding. The Wayne Glen project is located in Tredyffrin Township’s Trout Creek Overlay District and the developers believe that their plan will utilize design techniques that will alleviate the erosion along the stream banks and flooding issues and improve the poor water quality.
In addition to the stormwater issues, some residents have expressed concern about the proximity of the Wayne Glen project to the Valley Meeting House cemetery and the possibility that this could be the burial grounds of early Continental Army soldiers. Arcadia’s owner Joe Duckworth is acutely aware of the historic nature of the property. He has hired a history consultant to work with the engineers and plans to use ground-penetrating radar in the development project. Duckworth has experience with burial grounds at the site of the Constitution Center in Philadelphia and is committed to dealing with any historical remains found at Wayne Glen responsibly.
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I watched last night’s hearing and what I saw was very troubling. Let me say at the outset that I believe, for the most part, Arcadia wants to do the right thing. Doing the right thing for them however is tempered by what is in their financial best interest. That is to be expected. The counter to that is our government and more specifically our elected officials.
Getting to the point, it is an outrage that the Tredyffrin BOS seeks to pass on charges to those who seek and were granted party status. These public hearings have to occur as a matter of law. There needs to be a court reporter. It is the applicant who must bear those charges. The idea that citizens, who must do what they need to do to defend their homes and way of life should have to also spend money for what is already legally required.
This is a clear case of the BOS bending over backyards to accommodate developers at the expense of the very citizens the BOS is elected to serve, represent and most of all, protect.
We heard from Vin Donahue in his capacity as solicitor. It appears he needs to be reminded that while he is there to legally advise, he is a vendor. In other words, the Tredyffrin taxpayers are the ones who pay his firm’s hourly billings.
Where were the supervisors in objecting to this fee shifting scheme? Specifically, where was Freed and Wysocki? You think having Democrats up there would bring a different perspective. In the past year, it appears those two have fallen in lock-step with the Republican majority. This isn’t a D vs. R thing. Rather, this is about right and wrong.
Affected property owners already have to undergo the expense of hiring their own legal counsel. Getting nickeled and dimed like this is an insult. As for paying for copies? Who does that anymore. Scan the docs once as PDF’s and be done with it. It’s 2015. If people want to print hard copies, they can do so, on their own from the PDF’s.
Mark my words, Joe Duckworth and Arcadia is gong to get everything they want with little to no pushback from the BOS. The Planning Commission has already recommended approval of impermissibly narrow streets. The lower impervious coverage by Arcadia was clever. That however, is only a small part of the equation. First, streets are actually part of the storm water management system. Second, narrow streets are cheaper. The citizen who made the suggestion to get that issue squared away now was spot on.
We’ve seen what happened with the Duffy Property. What is being built is a far cry from what was proposed. That’s what happens in Tredyffrin. Our planning and development is for sale. The bigger problem is the general incompetence on the part of our government when it comes to planning and zoning.
The public hearing for Wayne Glen will continue on January 26th at 7pm.
I’m concerned about the effects of this higher-density housing on my neighborhood – especially if the builder is unable to work out an agreement with Brandywine Properties to link their proposed main thoroughfare with the road that leads to an existing traffic light on Swedesford Road. This absolutely should be made a condition of approval.
I’m also concerned as a TESD taxpayer. Given the reasonable price points, this development will be very attractive to younger families with school children. It seems likely that VFES is going to need additional classrooms – perhaps similar to the expansion project at NEES – to accommodate the influx new students. The developer’s talking point of “age targeted housing” is hollow. If they mean it, they will accept a condition of making this an age restricted development.
And no matter what the developer says, I’m also concerned about the unintended/miscalculated consequences of this kind of impervious development being added to the overloaded Trout Creek. It simply does not pass the “eye test”. Think about it. Areas that have been pervious forever will now have 108 house roofs, new office building roofs, new roads, new parking lots, and new sidewalks spilling rainwater into the situation. This, on top of the still-be-completed development at what used to be the Valley Forge Golf Course!
I’ll be watching the proceedings closely. And, I’m sure others in the area will be as well. It’s clear to me that the Trout Creek Overlay Ordinance fiasco led to local voters either sitting out the local 2013 election or voting against their Republican supervisors that rammed it through over clear community consensus that this change in zoning should not be made. … So, when the chair of the BOS said on 12/15 “It’s time to move this development forward” (in response to a reasonable community request to delay this latest public hearing until after the holiday season), this voter’s ears perked up.