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Board hears latest news on planned 77-unit development in New Garden

09/19/2017 01:21PM ● Published by Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

After first appearing before the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors in 2016, the plans for a proposed 77-unit development on Thompson Road in New Garden Township again took center stage at the board's Sept. 18 meeting, and while a new presentation continued to tout the community advantages of such a development in the area, its reappearance a year later continued to raise the same concerns. 
Richard Meadows of Short Brothers Construction in West Chester solicited the board's comments and suggestions as a way of moving the project forward which, if approved and finalized, would create a winding labyrinth of three-bedroom homes between 2,200- and 2,700-square-feet in size, with detached garages and driveways, that Meadows said would be priced between $450,000 and $500,000. The development, Meadows said, will include a community garden, athletic fields, tot lots, exercise areas and an event pavilion.
Meadows called the planned a development centrally-located, and one that would attract a wide demographic of young couples, move-down buyers and retired couples, thus creating a multi-generational community and one easily accessible to Kennett Square and Avondale.
"Our interest is in specific community building," he said. "We're not in the business of doing cookie-cutter and one-acre-per-lot subdivisions. That's not where we put our expertise and it's not where we'd like to see this project go. We think this project and piece of ground is uniquely qualified, given that it sits in the township, on the main thoroughfare close to Route 1 between Kennett Square and Avondale."
Meadows said that the development would be expected to attract high-income earners who are making between $80,000 to $90,000 which, he said, would help stimulate the commercial development of food stores, restaurants and coffee shops, and increase foot traffic.
However, in a virtual replay of last year's presentation at the township, supervisors pointed out several issues about the planned development that still remain on the board, most of them related to determining its future footprint related to road traffic, projected student population, and how a development of this kind would impact the tax structure of township residents.
In order to best address the supervisors' punch list of concerns, Meadows suggested that Short Brothers Construction arrange a work session with the supervisors and the township's Planning Commission.
"There's a lot of devil in the details," he said. "We have done some of that information gathering. I'd be amiss to throw anything out now. We're in that process and can provide some preliminary information in a sit-down session and talk through those type of things, and see where the concerns are."
In other township news, Baltimore resident and Kennett Square native Jose Guerrero presented a proposal to create a soccer campus on a 7.2-acre parcel of township property, located at 144 Sharp Road, that would include outdoor soccer fields and an adjacent indoor soccer facility.
The property is currently for sale for $129,900.
Guerrero told the supervisors that the project is still in the "homework" stage, and welcomed their input and ideas as he moves forward on the planning of the facility. He envisions these facilities to serve as an additional soccer access point for youth and adult leagues. The indoor facility, he said, would include two small pitches, which would allow soccer to be played during the winter months. 
"A lot of high schools do not have adequate [soccer practice] space during the winter, and many have to practice in a basketball court during the winter. If they want to retain the talent and develop their students throughout the year, this gives them another option."
Before a shovel hits the ground on the planned project, however, the supervisors told Guerrero that because the property backs up to a zone that is marked residential, he will need to file a petition with the township to change the zoning of the property from residential use to recreational use, as well as secure connection of water and sewer lines to the township's lines, develop the entrance to the facility from Sharp Road and design parking lots.
By a vote of 3-1 -- with Little abstaining -- the board approved the township's contribution of $7,500 toward a study to explore the feasibility of positioning southern Chester County as a world leader in the indoor agriculture movement.  

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email rgaw@chestercounty.com.







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