Concord residents balk at Woodlawn plan

Scores of residents packed the Concord Township municipal building to hear about a proposed plan that would rezone and develop 324 acres of land. More than 40 members of the standing room only crowd asked for party status to oppose the proposal.

The area is owned by Woodlawn Trustees. As previously reported, Woodlawn wants to sell off some of the land so that it can continue to provide affordable housing in Wilmington.

Concord Township supervisors began — and continued — two hearings on the matter Oct. 2. One hearing was on the proposed zoning change; the other hearing was for land development. Both were continued to 7 p.m., Oct. 30.

The area in question runs along the west side of Route 202 from the Delaware state line north to Smithbridge Road. The western boundary is along the border with Chadds Ford Township.

There are three zoning districts in the area, but Woodlawn wants to rezone it into a new single district, R-PRD-4, that will require more open space, but allow for both residential and commercial use. The commercial area is in the southeast part of the property abutting Route 202.

While many residents in the mostly pastoral area of Concord complained about the possibility of losing their current country feel and open space, space where there are horse farms, Brandywine Summit Camp Ground and the Penns Wood Winery, security was the concern for residents who will wind up bordering the commercial area.

As one resident said, he could wind up living 50 feet away from a big-box store.

“Is that enough to keep my 7-year-old daughter from being abducted,” he asked.

Supervisors’ Chairman Dominic Pileggi told all the residents that they had valid concerns that would be taken into consideration.

Marc Kaplan, the attorney representing Woodlawn, echoed Pileggi, adding that Woodlawn would do what it can “to make this work.”

As currently zoned, developers could put up 209 apartments, 249 townhouses, develop 20,000 square feet of commercial space, but provide only 15-20 acres of dedicated open space.

Under the proposed zoning, there would be 314 townhomes, 120 age-restricted units, 195,000 square feet of commercial property and 209 acres of permanently preserved open space.

Unless supervisors deny the plan early, approval is estimated to take a year or longer, according to several sources on the board.

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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