Sewers and traffic for Crebilly discussed

The third of five Westtown Township Planning Commission meetings regarding the proposed development of Crebilly Farm centered on sewers and traffic.

At least 200 people sat in the auditorium of Rustin High School Tuesday night to listen to the township’s sewer and traffic consultants offer whatever recommendations they currently have on the proposal from Toll Bros. that, if approved, would result in at least 317 new homes built on the 322-acre family farm bounded by Routes 202 and 926, New Street and West Pleasant Grove Road.

Sewer consultant Bill Malin, from Carrol Engineering, said he didn’t yet have enough information to give a strong recommendation, but he did review two possibilities.

The first is an on-site, drip irrigation system that’s part of Toll’s proposal. That type of system, Malin said, discharges treated water into the ground where it’s naturally filtered before recharging the water table.

But Malin said there is a financial advantage for the township if public sewers are used. The 317 new homes would generate 80,000 gallons per day of waste water, but the township has sufficient capacity at the West Goshen treatment plant and that by sending waste water there, the township gets a greater rate of return on its investment, and generates more money through tapping and user fees.

Westtown Township residents stand in line to ask questions during the Planning Commission meeting regarding the proposed development of Crebilly farm.

Westtown Township residents stand in line to ask questions during the Planning Commission meeting regarding the proposed development of Crebilly farm.

He added, however, that he won’t know what the ultimate requirements will be until the sewer system is formalized. When asked whether an on-site system was feasible for that large a development, Malin said, “I haven’t really looked at that, yet.”

He did say, though, that there’s no doubt that the system would meet township and Department of Environmental Protection requirements.

Malin also said there would be a difference in open space depending on whether public sewers or an on-site drip system is used. He said the on-site system would mean the area used for the irrigation would be passive open space, but that area could become active open space if the public system is chosen.

According to Toll President Andrew Semon, the developer proposed the on-site system because that was a zoning ordinance requirement.

Following a brief recess after Malin’s presentation, and before traffic engineer Al Federico began his, Planning Commissioner Kristin Camp said the applicant must demonstrate that the development won’t create or add to any existing hazard or road congestion. She also said the township can’t reject the application just because of traffic. “That won’t fly, she said.

To no one’s surprise, though, Federico said the development would definitely add traffic to the already congested intersection of Routes 202 and 926.

Specifically, Federico said adding 317 new homes to the two that already exist on the property would add more than 2,700 trips daily through the intersection.

“Everyone going north on 202 [from Crebilly] would access the road from 926,” he said.

According to Federico, the current plan, as is, shows no access to or from New Street on the west, two access points from West Pleasant Grove Road on the north, one on the south side of the farm at 926 and another on 202, the eastern edge of the property.

He said the West Pleasant Grove Road access points are the most appropriate, though there would need to be improvements to that road, and he wants to see the proposed Route 926 access point moved farther west so that it lines up with Bridlewood Boulevard.

Federico said he also would like the commission to consider recommending access on New Street and to totally eliminate the Route 202 access point.

He explained that traffic backups on 202 would prevent people from wanting to use it, even though it would be right in and right out only.

A Jan. 24 meeting will review the development’s planned stormwater management system and the fiscal impact on the township. A fifth meeting will be held in February so the public can learn the Planning Commission’s recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, according to Richard Pomerantz, the Planning Commission chairman.

While the basic plan calls for 317 new homes, Toll wants to increase that to 395 in exchange for making improvements to the township’s infrastructure. Such a decision would be up to the Board of Supervisors after a formal conditional use hearing.

The Planning Commission will make its recommendation to the Board after the informational meetings are concluded.

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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