Wonderland Farms not ready for hearing

The residential development proposed for Oakland Road is not yet ready for its hearing. The development is a PRD, or planned residential development, that calls for a total of 34 new homes covering both sides of Oakland Road near Brinton’s Bridge Road.

Because it’s a PRD, where homes are closer together than regular zoning allows, a special hearing is needed. The supervisors already authorized the advertising for such a hearing, and one could have been scheduled for May. However, Mike Dignazio, representing the applicant — Harrier LLC — told the Chadds Ford Planning Commission members last night that the applicant is not ready with a final plan. He said they’d return with the plan next month.

Even though the hearing couldn’t be scheduled, several new concepts were introduced for the development. One was a change in the proposed pedestrian crosswalk on Oakland so residents can cross safely between the two sections.

Marty Eustace of Eustace Engineering said the crosswalk now being considered is a “speed table,” a striped, elongated speed bump about eight feet long.

In addition, Eustace said there would be a walking trail from the homes on the west side of Oakland up to Brinton’s Bridge so residents can walk to restaurants at the five-points intersection.

A third change would be to remove material from the Brinton’s Bridge/Oakland Road portion of that five-point intersection to improve sightlines, Eustace said.

As part of the overall concept, 22 new homes would be built on the west side of Oakland on the former Goodman property. One home already exists there. There would also be 27.9 acres of dedicated open space.

On the east side of the street — on the site of the Lenz property — 12 townhomes would be built, but both sides would be considered one community.

When Harrier, a Joe Grace Family business entity, bought the properties, an additional area between the Lenz property and Route 202 was included. That section is zoned PBC, or planned business center. The idea was to sell that parcel and have the zoning changed to PBC-1 to allow for an auto dealership.

Jim Sipala wants to bring his Kia of West Chester dealership onto that site. Attorney Larry Strohm, representing the dealership, and several engineers went over a preliminary plan for the site, but Planning Commission Chairman Craig Huffman said the commission needs more information before it can recommend a zoning change to the board of supervisors.

One major issue came from township resident Susan Darrell, whose property is adjacent to the proposed dealership. She expressed strong concern that construction and an eventual on-site septic system for the dealership would foul the springs on her property that she needs for fresh water.

Darrell said she doesn’t object to the dealership coming in, but wants assurances that her water would not be polluted.

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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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