Hearing underway for Crebilly

The conditional use hearing for Toll Bros. proposed development of Crebilly Farm is underway in Westtown Township.

Toll — the equitable owner of the 322-acre property on Route 926 between Route 202 and S. New Street — proposes to build 317 new homes on the farm.

The developer, however, made the application under Westtown’s flexible development option, which allows for additional density of up to more than 400 new homes if approved by the township Board of Supervisors.

Proceedings began Wednesday night at Stetson Middle School with 38 people and organizations requesting party status. An entity with party status may question witnesses, present witnesses of their own and appeal the supervisors’ decision.

Residents stand in line to request party status in the conditional use hearing for Toll Bros. proposed development of Crebilly Farm in Westtown Township.

Of those 38 entities, 27 had their request granted. But, Toll’s attorney Gregg Adelman, objected to six because their properties are more than a half-mile away from the farm. Supervisors will rule on those six requests in March.

Adelman also objected to Pennsbury Township and Westtown’s Planning Commission from being granted status. Adelman objected to Pennsbury because, while some of that township is along Route 926, that area is two miles away.

Birmingham Township and Thornbury Township, Chester County, were granted party status.

He also objected to Westtown Planning Commission be granted party status because the state’s Municipalities Planning Code doesn’t allow for that. However, Planning Commission solicitor Kristin Camp referenced three court cases that allow for planning commissions to have status.

It was the commission that voted to recommend supervisor-approval of the basic plan, but with 50 conditions that Toll would be required to meet.

Westtown Township’s solicitor Patrick McKenna said the board would reserve judgment on those requests.

Additionally, three other people were granted conditional party status. The board is waiting for documentation from organizations proving that those people are authorized to represent them. The concerned organizations are Westminster Presbyterian Church, The Quarry Swimming Association and a group called Neighbors for Crebilly, LLC.

While each of the people requesting party status cited traffic conditions as at least one of their concerns, testimony during the Feb. 22 session did not address traffic at all.

Emily Stewart, a landscape architect and land planner with ESE Consultants — a wholly owned subsidiary of Toll Bros. — reviewed some of the basics of the 317-new home plan.

Total acreage for the site is 322.26 acres with 14 acres of slopes and steep slopes. There are four “fingers of watercourses,” Stewart said, along with a flood plain, pond, wetlands, woodlands and scenic views.

Stewart also said more than 190 acres — or 61 percent — of the property would be left as open space. Township code requires 60 percent be left open, she added.

The plan on which Stewart was commenting showed an access to Route 202 to the east, W. Pleasant Grove Road to the north and to Route 926 to the south, but no general access to S. New Street on the west side of the property. That S. New Street access would be emergency use only.

Planning Commission recommendations included eliminating the direct access to and from Route 202 and to line up the Route 926 access with Bridlewood Boulevard across from Crebilly. The plan shows the Route 926 access further to the east of Bridlewood.

Stewart also said the plan cited calls for the development to be serviced by on-site septic, though the Planning Commission recommendation was for public sewers.

Stewart finished her testimony at 9:30 p.m. and the session was supposed to end at 10, so McKenna allowed Toll to call another witness before Stewart could be cross-examined.

That witness was Jeff Madden, the Toll engineer and project manager for the Crebilly development, who said the plan meets all necessary state and township requirements for stormwater runoff.

Both of the witnesses are to return for cross-examination at the next meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. on March 29 at Rustin High School. McKenna said the entire conditional use process could take months to complete.

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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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