Layout finalized for development coming to East Marlborough
● By J. Chambless
By John Chambless
A slightly revised alignment of the
proposed Villages at Northridge development was approved by the East
Marlborough Board of Supervisors on Feb. 5.
The community of 54 units will sit on 22.6 acres on the north side of Route 1 and west of North Walnut Road, near the Everfast property on Gale Lane. The twin-home cluster configuration has been revised several times to allow more open space, with less impervious coverage.
Property owner Doug White and his representative went over the details of lot size and placement in response to suggestions made by the township's Planning Commission. The supervisors eventually approved the plan, which lays out the placement of the homes, but which will change slightly depending on the style of home purchased by each buyer.
The board set a date for a conditional use hearing for the new owner of the former Brewster's ice cream site on Route 1. The building will retain its current footprint but will be remodeled as a medical office. The facade will be altered, but the parking area will remain. The board will meet on Feb. 26 to discuss the new use.
Township solicitor Frone Crawford brought up Act 172, a state measure that would grant up to a 20 percent reduction in the township real estate tax for those who volunteer for local fire companies. The state has left enactment of the act up to individual townships. If approved by the supervisors, the act could affect next year's taxes, Crawford said.
The tax rebate would affect volunteers for the Po-Mar-Lin, Kennett and Longwood fire companies and EMS services. Planning Commission chairman Cuyler Walker said the rebate, while it would be appreciated, “is so small that representatives of the commission feel that it might be considered insulting.”
Volunteers answer hundreds of calls each year for “a very small amount of money,” Walker said, “but the commission does feel that the refund would be a gesture of appreciation for the volunteers.”
There is no formal draft for adoption of Act 172 at this point, “but it is an opportunity to send a message to the fire companies that their time and service are appreciated,” Walker said.
Supervisor Robert McKinney reported on Bike Kennett, an advocacy group that has worked with Kennett Township and Kennett Borough to put together a plan for regional bike paths that would link the borough to Longwood Gardens, or to Walmart on Route 1, McKinney said.
Crawford pointed out that a previous deal to install a bike lane along Route 82 was long discussed but ultimately rejected due to the estimated $2 million cost of moving utility poles for the bike lane.
“I know that Bike Kennett is looking to do a regional plan to link the Struble Trail to Valley Forge Park, for instance,” McKinney said, “and south into Delaware.”
The board agreed that they would be interested in hearing a detailed proposal from Bike Kennett and an estimate of costs.
Supervisor John Sarro reported on the township's Safety Committee, saying that interest in putting raised crosswalks in the village of Unionville is an ongoing issue. “Those engineering costs are pretty hefty,” Sarro said. There is also a substantial liability issue for the township if someone is injured in a crosswalk, said board chairman Richard Hannum, Jr.
Hannum added that raised crosswalks are subject to damage from snow plows and are difficult and expensive to maintain.
Speeding along Route 82 was also addressed, and Sarro said some success has been seen due to the lowering of the speed limit in the village of Unionville, as well as increased enforcement and ticketing. The Unionville-Chadds Ford School District is working on improving the crosswalks to the schools on Route 82, Sarro said.
Walker added that Toll Brothers will be installing a crosswalk from Willowdale Chapel to the new residences being planned on the eastern side of Route 82.
Sarro said that he and Police Chief Robert Clarke attended a meeting about expanding parking at the schools, since families are sometimes parking along Route 82 and walking to evening events, creating a substantial safety risk. He said that Unionville Elementary School has 22 acres of open land behind the building that is being studied as some sort of additional parking, possibly with a walking trail around the perimeter that could be linked to the new Unionville Park. “They are investigating all the options,” Sarro said.
The board also discussed a proposed ordinance establishing an Environmental Advisory Committee that would report on the impacts of proposed development on the environment. The group would make recommendations to the Planning Commission and ultimately to the Board of Supervisors. There will be further discussion of the ordinance in March. The commission would be made up of an as-yet undetermined number of township residents.
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.