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New Garden Township land acquisition delayed one month

06/26/2018 02:03PM ● Published by Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

The New Garden Township Board of Supervisors voted at its June 18 meeting to tack an additional 30 days on to the transaction period for the purchase of the Saint Anthony in the Hills property in the township, in order to provide time to conduct further environmental testing on the property.

At its Feb. 20 meeting, the board approved the township's acquisition of the 137.5-acre property for an undisclosed price, contingent upon the details that were expected to be ironed out during a 90-day agreement of sale. The cost of the purchase will be paid for through Open Space funding.

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.

In other township business, the board approved Resolution No. 795 that officially adopted the amendment to the township's Comprehensive Plan update. Jennifer Leister Reitz, a senior planner with Thomas Comitta Associates and project manager for the plan, said the amended plan received additional comments from the Chester County Planning Commission, and incorporates the plans they provided.

The 10-year plan reflects the township's priority projects, which include pursuing funding and design construction along the Route 41 corridor, and making intersection improvements near Sunny Dell Road; developing an official township zoning map and ordinance amendments; updating the township's Greenways Plan, and advancing trail connections along Baltimore Pike; creating streetscape improvements in Toughkenamon, as a plan to developing it as a center for business and housing; conducting a marketing analysis to improve the economic development of the township; studying traffic calming ideas and forming a traffic committee; completing an historic resources atlas survey; implementing the New Garden Flying Field master plan; creating a New Garden Township brand and identity; and establishing a township park in Toughkenamon.

The board also authorized to advertise for a public hearing in order to discuss whether or not it will update its' zoning laws in order to permit the construction of self-storage facility in the township. Currently, there is no formal application for a self-storage facility in the township. If passed, the amendment would allow the establishment of self-storage facilities on properties of five acres or larger along the road, and require a 500-foot frontage setback from Gap-Newport Pike.

The applicant, Mark Property Management, is proposing to construct four self-storage units on the Springer property, just east of the Brittany Hills development, located on the north side of Route 41 near the intersection of Starr Road. Mark Property Management currently owns several self-storage units in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Although there are buildings on the property, they are in poor shape and are not likely to be candidates for refurbishing and reuse, said Joe Riper, the attorney for Mark Property Management.

The concern I have is that it's on Route 41, and that's a zoo there, between Sunny Dell Road, Starr Road and the entrance to Brittany Hills development,” said supervisor Pat Little, who lives in Brittany Hills. He advised Riper to consider moving Mark Property Management's zoning request to an area in the township that is less traffic-heavy.

Mr. Mark does not want to push the township,” Riper said. “We think this is a good use for the property. We think it's a good site for this type of use, as the developer.”

The hearing is scheduled to be held on Aug. 20 at the township building.

On June 19, the township opened 23 separate bid proposals for various components related to the construction of its new police facility on Gap-Newport Pike – 6 general contracting bids; 3 electrical contracting bids; 4 bids for plumbing work; and 10 bids for mechanical work. Cumulatively, the lowest bids for all four components of construction totaled $4.33 million. The board will discuss and vote on whether or not to approve the bids at its July 16 meeting.

Finally, the board also approved that it will advertise for and conduct a conditional use hearing, to be held Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at the township building, to consider an application by Matrix-Pa., LLC, for the company to operate a medical marijuana growing operation at 380 Starr Road, in the building currently occupied by W.L. Gore, and owned by 380 Starr Road, LLP.

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



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