Ten-unit townhome project proposed for Toughkenamon
By Richard Gaw
LGB Properties, Inc., a Kennett Square-based real estate management and renovation firm, presented a snapshot of Church Street Mews, a ten-unit townhome project it plans to build in Toughkenamon, at the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors online meeting on May 18.
Introducing the project’s overall design concept, attorney Joseph Riper of Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco said that it will consist of two five-unit townhome lots -- with a minimum lot size of 2,640 square feet – and be located on the contiguous property commonly referred to as the Brown Derby property on West Baltimore Pike that the company owns.
In Oct. 2019, LGB Properties filed a conditional use application with the township that allowed for the re-use of the property, which is now being used as an office, an apartment, a carry-out restaurant and a barber shop.
During his presentation, developer Tom Schrier of Building Control Systems & Services, Inc. told the board that the overall design has been created in at attempt to better the streetscape of the Church Street corridor.
“We have pushed the townhomes forward on the lots to allow for vehicular access and parking in the rear, as well as additional on-street parking, sidewalks and an attractive streetscape,” he said. “With the township’s efforts in developing the Toughkenamon Streetscapes & Transportation Improvement Plan, we believe that this project aligns with what the township is envisioning for this area.”
Schrier said there are five variances that don’t conform to township laws, one of which limits the construction of townhomes to four-unit groups, which is one short of what the project calls for.
“The [current township ordinance laws] allows four townhomes within a group,” he said. “We are seeking to put five in a group, because it allows us to create a looped driveway, which places the parking and vehicles behind the townhomes, creating a better looking streetscape onto Church Street.
“If we were to follow the ordinances with groupings four or less, we could do three three packs to get nine units total, but what that would force us to do would be to put the garages on the front and the driveways directly accessing Church Street. It doesn’t create a very visually pleasing streetscape, as you will have all of these cars in front of the townhomes.”
The developers presented their plan to the township’s Planning Commission in February.
“They felt very positive about the layout, the overall proposal and the way it stood, and they said it reflected with the streetscape plan and were excited to see the first project in the area,” Schrier said.
As the project moves forward, Riper said that the developers are looking for direction from the board’ specifically, whether it is supportive of the plan and whether they are agreeable to the request for zoning relief. Board Chairman Pat Little said that prior to the board’s voting he would like to hear the comments of the Planning Commission.
In other township business, the supervisors passed Resolution No. 825, which extends the real estate tax payment deadline for township residents to Sept. 30.
The resolution, authorized by Act 15 of 2020 that was signed into law by Gov. Wolf on April 20 to provide tax relief in light of the COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration, gives municipalities the opportunity to extend and select a deadline date for real estate taxes to be paid. In a conversation he had with township treasurer Lewis Gay, township solicitor Vince Pompo said that Gay recommended that the end of August or September would be an appropriate deadline for payment.
“[Lew] recommended not extending the date to the end of the year, for the reason that it could result in revenue not given back to the township in 2020, but rather in 2021 – that is, if taxpayers waited until the very end of the period in order to pay the face amount of the real estate taxes,” Pompo said.
Supervisor David Unger recommended that the deadline be extended to Dec. 31, but the board approved the Sept. 30 date recommended by supervisor Steve Allaband by a vote of 4 to 1.
The board approved the concept for phase one of a three-phase stormwater management project for Laurel Valley Farms on Penn Green Road. Engineer Ron Ragan told the board that the first phase would be to enhance the existing stormwater drainage system on the site, in order to better ensure that stormwater gets to the existing stilling basin on the farm.
“Laurel Valley Farms is proposing to put in a fairly substantial system that would collect that water, starting all the way up at the parking lot and continuing to the access to the Starr Road side of the property, down to the stilling basin in the far northeast corner,” he said.
The two remaining phases, Ragan said, will include the installation of a truck wash, and the resurfacing and regarding of areas throughout the farm. He said that the first phase is projected to begin in June, and that the remaining phases would be completed by the end of the year.
Allaband said that the township will seek approvals for the second and third phases in the coming months.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.