Supervisors clarify Vineyard Commons conditions

There were no substantive changes, but Concord Township supervisors approved on Tuesday, April 14, an addendum to their March resolution granting preliminary approval for the Vineyard Commons project.

The addendum clarifies four of the 19 conditions placed on the developers.

Attorney Jaros, representing the applicant, said some of the conditions “lacked specificity with regard to the timing of improvements and payment of impact fees.”

He added that the clarifications would help avoid any appeal of the conditions.

Among the points addressed were the timing for road improvements to Beaver Valley Road, adding a second southbound turn lane (left turn) from southbound Route 202 onto Naamans Creek Road while also adding a second through lane for northbound Route 202 traffic approaching Naamans Creek Road.

The developers are required to pay $5,000 for adjustments to the adaptive traffic light at the intersection of Route 202, Beaver Valley and Naamans Creek and to perform traffic counts along Summit, Dain and Watkins avenues before and after construction to determine whether motorists are using those roads as cut-through streets.

The clarification says the work on the roads can be done in phases — coinciding with the four phases of planned construction — but there is a specific timing to be followed.

According to township solicitor Hugh Donaghue’s recommended revision, “Those improvements have to be completed within three years of the time the first shovel hits the ground, or the start of phase three, whichever comes first.”

Improvements to Beaver Valley Road itself are to be completed before the final phase is 50 percent completed, Donaghue said.

In addition, if any developer submits a plan during the build-out phase of Vineyard Commons that would affect the existing intersection of Route 202 and Watkins Avenue, the township would request that developer contribute to any traffic calming measures the applicant installed, the addendum says.

Another condition clarified concerns the possible loss of building lots because of Department of Environmental Protection stormwater requirements.

According to the new wording, “A lot line change of an identified building lot is permitted, as long as said lot meets the applicable area bulk and setback requirements. However, should conformance to the requirements of the NPDES cause the elimination of a lot, no relocation and/or replacement to another location within the project is permitted.”

The applicant must also enter into a well guarantee agreement to protect the water supply of homes within 1,000 feet of the development. The guarantee will be “appropriately tailored for a preliminarily approved residential development that proposes both public water and public sewer.”

The final condition clarified concerns the timing of fee-in-lieu payments, which allow a developer to pay a fee in lieu of providing land for open space. According to the new wording, fee in lieu payments “will be apportioned and paid upon the filing of plans reflecting the phased development of the site.”

The Vineyard Commons project would develop 230 acres of the 320 acres owned by Woodlawn Trustees from the Delaware state line north to Smithbridge Road and from Route 202 west to the border with Chadds Ford Township. Woodlawn is the legal owner, while McKee-Concord Homes and Eastern States Development are equitable owners.

However, residents and politicians are looking for a way to raise money for any conservation group interested in buying the property.

State Rep. Stephen Barrar said he wants to facilitate finding grants and a possible buyer who would preserve the property. He held a meeting on the matter on March 27.

Supervisors’ Chairman Dominic Pileggi announced on March 18, the night the board gave preliminary approval for the project, that the township would put up $500,000 and Delaware County would put up an additional $250,000 to save the valley.

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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