Concord residents applaud denial of zoning change

A proposed amendment to Concord Township’s zoning code came to a quick, but possibly only temporary, halt when supervisors unanimously agreed it should be modified.

Most of the residents who packed the township building meeting room to standing room only applauded when the decision was made, but the attorney for the applicant said there would be a new submission. He does not know when, however.

At issue was a proposed plan to develop a 17-acre tract of land — the Hall property — in the vicinity of Featherbed Lane, Bethel Road and Route 322, the Conchester Highway. There are steep slopes on the property and a house rated as a Class 1 Historic Resource.

The text amendment to the zoning code would allow the development with conditional use approval.

The proposed development calls for 44 townhouses while keeping the historic house. It also provided for public sewer lines and a new pump station that could handle flows from 150 homes as well as extending Perkins Lane to provide another access point for the existing Cambridge Downs and Clayton Park developments.

That extension would cut through the proposed Hall development to Bethel Road.

Currently, the only ingress and egress for Cambridge Downs is from Route 322. That is already a touchy situation because of the volume of traffic on 322, but the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation wants to widen that road from two to four lanes and prevent left hand turns onto the highway from Cambridge. Those changes would also affect residents of Clayton Park.

Supervisors’ Chairman Dominic Pileggi said he liked extending Perkins Lane because it gave resident of the Cambridge and Clayton developments a safer way in and out.

“They don’t call it the killer Conchester for nothing,” he said.

PennDOT estimates 26,000 vehicles use the Conchester on a daily basis and there are frequent accidents.

Pileggi also said there were flaws in the proposed ordinance. He was concerned about density and that there was nothing in the ordinance that prevents a new owner from demolishing the existing historic structure.

“The ordinance has merits, but is flawed,” Pileggi said. “It needs work and is not ready for adoption.”

Fellow supervisors agreed and the board voted 5-0 to stop the idea from proceeding.

Paul Padien, attorney for the Hall family, said after the Dec. 17 hearing that he would meet with the township land planner and members of the planning commission to improve the ordinance, but he did not know when it would be ready for a resubmission.

More than 50 people in attendance requested party of interest status prior to the start of the hearing. Many were from the Save the Valley organization. One of the attendees told Padien that he would prefer to see larger homes with much less density, suggesting a seven-home limit.

Padien explained that because of the gradient changes caused by the steep slopes, such a limited development would make it economically unfeasible to put in the public sewer lines and extend Perkins Road.

Other business

Supervisors passed the 2014 budget. As previously reported, there was no tax increase.

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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