Pettinaro sues over Ridge Road condition

As anticipated, the Pettinaro Co. has filed a suit against Concord Township because Concord's council declined to remove a condition of a development plan that was approved in 2008.

The plan calls for a commercial development — the Shops at Ridge Road — on the empty 25-acre lot at Ridge Road and Route 202 across from Glen Eagle Shopping Center and Olde Ridge Village. The property is in Concord Township but borders Chadds Ford Township.

When Concord approved the plan in 2008 and then reaffirmed the approval in 2014, there was a condition — Condition 19 — attached that said Chadds Ford supervisors had to sign off on highway improvements associated with the development. Proposed changes include having the main entrance for the Shops at Ridge Road to be on Ridge Road and that Ridge be widened to six lanes for a quarter-mile stretch from Route 202 to the end of the property.

Earlier this year, Chadds Ford Supervisors' Chairman Frank Murphy said he would not sign off on the plans until Chadds Ford residents' concerns were addressed. To that end, the township conducted a traffic count, and the results are scheduled to be announced at a town hall meeting Monday, May 22.

In the interim, however, Pettinaro filed the suit against Concord for refusing to remove the condition calling for Chadds Ford's approval of traffic changes.

In March, attorney John Jaros, representing Pettinaro, asked Concord Township Council to remove the condition, but council voted against that. Jaros said he would likely have to ask the court to resolve the situation. Jaros, who was unavailable for comment, filed the suit earlier this month in the name of Ridge Road Development, L.P.

It asks the court to order Concord Township to sign and release the plans so the project can be developed according to plan.

According to court documents, former Chadds Ford Township supervisors and the current township manager had already signed off on proposed changes. Specifically, the suit says Chadds Ford was a co-applicant/co-permittee for the PennDOT Highway Occupancy Permit signed on Sept. 23, 2013.

"As a co-applicant/co-permittee of the Highway Occupancy Permit, Chadds Ford Township was copied on all correspondence issued by PennDOT relevant to the review of the HOP plans and revisions requested by PennDOT," the suit says.

The suit further says that Chadds Ford was a party to a July 19, 2012 Traffic Signal Easement Application. That easement was granted to Chadds Ford.

Chadds Ford was also a party to a PennDOT stormwater management agreement in September of 2013, and the suit contends that the township was advised of the highway changes at that time.

Citing those points, the suit argues that Chadds Ford had already signed off on the plan:

"…Chadds Ford had already approved the traffic improvements by virtue of signing the HOP Permit Application and acting as co-applicant/co-permittee…"

Documents show township secretary Matt DiFilippo signing the HOP application in 2013, former Supervisors George Thorpe signing off on the Traffic Signal Easement, former Supervisor Deborah Love signing the stormwater management agreement and Township Manager Amanda Serock signing an HOP application extension in June of 2016.

Concord Township solicitor Hugh Donaghue was unavailable for comment.

 

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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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