New Garden Township enters into purchase agreement for St. Anthony in the Hills
● By Richard Gaw
At its Feb. 20 meeting, the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors approved the township's acquisition of the 137.5-acre St. Anthony in the Hills property for an undisclosed price, contingent upon the details expected to be ironed out during a 90-day agreement of sale. The cost of the purchase will be paid for through the township's Open Space funding.
At the board's authorization, township manager Tony Scheivert will sign a letter of intent to execute the agreement between the township and St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Wilmington, the current owner of the parcel.
The acreage is located in the area just southwest of the intersection of Gap-Newport Pike (Route 41) and Limestone Road (Route 7), just north of Somerset Lake, and sits on the headwaters of the Broad Run Creek. It was owned and operated by the church as a sanctuary for inner-city Wilmington children, as a lasting legacy to the vision of Father Roberto Balducelli, who served as the founder and caretaker of the facility until his death at the age of 99 on Aug. 9, 2013.
The first seeds of the collaboration between the township and the parish dated back to 2008, when Father Balducelli approached the township with the idea of entering into a conservation agreement. Following a public hearing in Dec. 2015, the board voted unanimously to enter the township into a conservation easement in cooperation with the parish. That agreement was later rejected by the parish, which led to the township's negotiation with the parish to purchase the property.
Although it is too early to speculate what function, if any, the property will have in the township, “The intent will be to have this land available for all residents to use,” said board chairman Randy Geouque.
In other township business, the board approved a request by Giant Food Stores, LLC, to obtain and utilize a liquor license for the purpose of selling wine and beer at its 63,000-square-foot store, located at 350 Scarlet Road in the New Garden Shopping Center.
Representing Giant Food Stores, attorney Ellen Freeman requested an approval resolution to permit the transfer of a restaurant-liquor license from outside of New Garden Township to within it. It will be the first liquor license in the township permitted to a traditional grocery store.
Freeman told the board that grocery stores selling beer and wine is a national trend, and in almost every other state, it's permitted. About ten years ago, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) started to approve liquor licenses in grocery stores who were able to comply with the PLCB regulations, she said.
To date, Freeman the PLCB has approved licenses in nearly 400 grocery stores in Pennsylvania, including 59 Giant Food stores across the state.
The beer and wine section will be located at the back-left side of the store, and will permit alcohol sales on Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Purchase of beer will be limited to the equivalent of two six packs at a time, while the purchase of wine will be limited to a maximum of four bottles per visit. Distilled spirits and hard liquor will not be available for purchase at the store.
In addition, the license grants the store the permission to provide tables and seating for up to 30 customers who wish to purchase bottles of beer for consumption at the store, where there will be a two-beer limit per visit that must also accompany a food order. Patrons who wish to order beer can accompany their visit to the area by selecting from a salad bar, or purchasing sandwiches or full entrees.
There will be no bartenders, draft beer, happy hour or entertainment at the location, and security cameras will be placed and monitored throughout the area. Giant Food employees and managers who work in the area will be fully trained in detecting fraudulent IDs, and determining whether or not a patron is intoxicated. Construction is planned to begin in July and be completed by September.
Referring to an overhead map of the store that was given to the board, Scott Schaeffer, brand compliance manager for Giant Foods, said that the design of the licensed area separates it from the footprint of the remainder of the store.
“This creates a fluid design, where the customer can come in and out of the area, even when the rest of the store is closed,” said Schaeffer, who told the board that there have been no citations issued for the violation of the state's liquor code at any of Giant Food's other Pennsylvania stores that have obtained licenses to sell wine and beer.
Sean Goodrick of Tevebaugh Architecture walked the supervisors through the minor modifications that have been made to the site plan of the planned police facility in the township, which is scheduled to become the new home of the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department.
Goodrick referred to the presentation he made to the board last Nov. 20, when the board recommended modifications to the site design, in order to accommodate reduced impact in variances, as well as find ways of reducing the cost of the new facility.
The key modifications, Goodrick said, will be the elimination of a second sally port in the detainment area of the new building's design; working with the township and its engineer to re-design the force frame design of the existing sewage system near the building, that also serves New Garden Township Park; achieving setback requirements for the location of the building; and improving the safety of parking and accessibility routes at the site.
Goodrick said that Tevebaugh Architecture submitted the revised design to PennDOT a month ago, and is currently awaiting comments from them, which will be necessary before the project can move forward to the public bidding process. The board subsequently authorized that bidding can begin, once Tevebaugh receives comments from PennDOT.
The Zoning Hearing Board appointed Ronald Dungey to the board, to fill the position previously held by William Marsden, who died on Oct. 14, 2017.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email email@example.com.