Board delays decision on Grace property

Chadds_Ford_TWSHP_logoChadds Ford Township supervisors delayed a decision on whether to approve a reverse subdivision for several parcels between Route 202 and Oakland Road.

The vote was planned for the Oct. 8 meeting, but developer Joe Grace granted an extension until the board’s workshop on Oct. 28.

As previously reported, Grace and family, doing business as Harrier LLC, wants to redraw the lot lines on the parcels that currently cross over zoning districts, with parts of two being in both residential districts and PBC, or Planned Business Center.

The applicant wants to redraw the lot lines so that those two parcels — with Route 202 frontage — would remain PBC, then have them joined into one 7-acre parcel so that the single, larger parcel, can be sold. The remaining parcel pieces would then all be in a residential zone and possibly developed into homes along Oakland Road.

The issue was discussed at numerous Planning Commission meetings and even Supervisor Samantha Reiner, who attended at least one of the meetings, said redrawing the lot lines, to conform with zoning boundaries, made sense.

However, she, and fellow supervisors Frank Murphy and George Thorpe, want the applicant to get an easement from the future buyer so that there can be access to and from both Route 202 and Oakland Road from those businesses and possible residences in those parcels.

Reiner said during the supervisors’ meeting that the township wanted to accommodate Grace, but that it wanted something in return.

“What’s the reason for not being willing to work with the township to provide that [easement]?” Reiner said.

Mike Dignazio, attorney for the applicant, said, “It would create an encumbrance on our title. It would create a breach of our agreement…We would be violating our agreement of sale.”

The agreement of sale was entered into before the application was made.

Thorpe then interjected saying, “Maybe that’s a matter of putting the cart before the horse. Maybe that shouldn’t have been done.”

Dignazio explained in earlier meetings that it would be up to the potential buyer to provide the easement, and that the township could make the easement one of the conditions issued during a conditional use hearing.

Murphy also expressed concern that realigning the parcels would create a nonconforming issue. There is already a residence on one of the PBC parcels, a pre-existing nonconformity. Murphy said he wants to review the matter to make sure realigning the lots wouldn’t add another nonconformity.

Dignazio said Michael Maddren, the township’s alternate solicitor who has been hearing the matter at the Planning Commission level, told him that the lot line change would not create a new nonconformity issue.

Murphy responded by saying that he had not heard of that from Maddren and wanted the extension to clarify issues.

Thorpe said he wanted to know the purpose of the application and how it would be a benefit to the township.

Dignazio explained, again, that the purpose is to “create a seven-acre lot that is presently under an agreement of sale by the Grace family so they may be able to exercise their constitutional right to sell their land.”

He repeated statements made during previous meetings that the zoning stays the same, but that the land can’t be sold without the lot line changes because they need to create a lot of seven acres under the agreement of sale.

Other business

• Township Manager Amanda Serock said the Planning Commission would, on Oct. 14, be hearing a land development plan from the Henderson Group concerning the fourth and final leg of the loop road from Route 202 at Hillman Drive to Route 1.

• The Zoning Hearing Board is scheduled to hear an application from Drew and Nicole Barnabei, owners of Stonebridge Mansion at Route 1 and Webb Road, to open a residential lifestyle modification treatment facility on their property, which is zoned residential. The Barnabeis were previously denied renting out Stonebridge for special events such as weddings.

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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