Back to drawing board for zoning changes

It’s back to the drawing board for K. Hovnanian Homes in Chadds Ford Township. Supervisors on April 1 voted to reopen a hearing for a requested zoning change that could lead to a 107-unit townhouse development.

Hovnanian requested the change for a 20-plus-acre parcel on Brandywine Drive for the proposed townhome project. After two years of the developer’s interaction with the Chadds Ford Planning Commission to come up with a concept the commission could recommend, the supervisors held a hearing on the matter in February and March. The hearing was completed last month, and an April decision was expected.

However, the board voted to table that decision and reconvene the hearing in May because of some lingering concerns and questions.

Among those concerns, as presented by solicitor Hugh Donaghue, were the potential spread of more townhouse developments in the area, further clarification on how the development would affect traffic on Brandywine Drive, and more information on stormwater drainage issues.

The board also wants the applicant to present a more refined plan and work with Tom Comitta, who would act as a land-planning consultant.

Supervisors’ Chairman Frank Murphy told John Jaros, the applicant’s attorney, that the board was not looking for a fully engineered plan. Fellow supervisor Samantha Reiner interjected, “But I am.” However, she agreed to a compromise.

Murphy further explained, “The issue regarding the plan is that, because the text amendment has been altered in the process, the sketch plan is no longer in compliance with the text amendment.”

Jaros said that happened because the applicant was responding to input from the Planning Commission. He said the applicant is now “a bit stymied” by the request to make changes that go against the Planning Commission recommendations.

“We received a memoranda from Mr. Comitta with certain suggested changes to the text amendment,” Jaros said. “Most of those changes I think we can incorporate, but one concerning the green area was diametrically opposed to the green area as recommended by your Planning Commission.”

The hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. on May 6, prior to the start of the supervisors’ meeting. Murphy said if everyone does what they’re supposed to do, the hearing would reopen and close that same night and that a decision could be made in June.

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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