Wegman’s, Keystone Plaza hearings continued

The Chadds Ford Zoning Hearing Board continued to next month, two hearings — one involving a two-township development that includes a Wegmans supermarket in Concord Township.

The development is planned for one parcel of 33 acres. That parcel extends across the two townships in the area bordered by Route 202 and Applied Card Way, across from Hillman Drive.

The Concord Township side would include the Wegmans with parking, while the Chadds Ford portion — about 13 acres — would include retail shopping in an area zoned PBC, and an additional 181 parking spaces in a triangular piece of land that’s zoned for light industrial. Those parking spaces run along the township border at the side of the supermarket.

At issue is whether or not those 181 parking spaces are allowed or if a variance is needed. According to township code, parking is permitted in the LI district as an accessory use. The township's interpretation is that a variance is needed because no building is planned in that area.

The developer is Chadds Ford Investors, a group made up of the Hineman family —which owns the property — and Carlino Commercial Development. Peter S. Miller, president of Carlino, said the development would also include building the southeast section of the loop road between northbound Route 202 and eastbound Route 1.

Opposing the application is JMVP Realty, of Concord Township, and two of its employees from Chadds Ford, Vince and Peter Abessino, brothers, who live in the Estates at Chadds Ford off of Hillman Drive.

The two briefly testified, with both saying they were concerned about increased traffic.

Also testifying was Bill Bunch of William Bunch Auction at Route 202 and Hillman Drive. He said that while traffic would increase and is a concern, “It’s a great opportunity to have access to a tremendous retail development.”

He added that the area needs the loop road to be completed.

The Chadds Ford portion of the plan also shows a garden with the previously reported upon Vietnam monument.

The Sept. 19 hearing was almost continued before it began. Attorney Garth Hoyt, representing JMVP Realty and the Abessino brothers, wanted the hearing continued before testimony began because, he said, the plans had been changed without proper notice and that he had no time to get an expert witness.

The board continued the hearing to Oct. 17.

Also continued to October was a hearing for Keystone Plaza on Route 202. Owner Andy Variale was seeking relief from the township sign ordinance so he can put up one replacement sign and one new one.

He testified that the current stand-alone sign listing the tenants is too small for motorists to read as they drive by the shopping center. He said drivers tend to slow down to read what’s there and that this causes accidents. A new sign would be larger, 24 feet by 11 feet.

Variale also requested approval for an LED sign.

Board members Bob Reardon, Joe Vaites and Paul Koch each indicated that they were opposed to the LED sign and wanted the tenants’ sign smaller.

Reardon, board chairman, suggested the continuance so the applicant can revise the plan.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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