Timeline on Pettinaro litigation

According to Chadds Ford Township solicitor Mike Maddren, there is not yet a hearing date for the lawsuit over the proposed commercial development on Route 202 at Ridge Road in Concord Township. The property abuts Chadds Ford Township and involves widening Ridge Road to six lanes.

The suit now involves Pettinaro, Concord and Chadds Ford townships and possibly PennDOT, Maddren said other parties are scheduled to file their answer to Chadds Ford's preliminary objections by Monday, Sept. 11.

The timeline of actions is this:

Concord Township approved Pettinaro — operating as Ridge Road Development — for a commercial development of the empty 20-plus acre field at Route 202 and Ridge Road in 2008 and reaffirmed it in 2014. Concord placed 21 conditions on approval.

Among the conditions set was "Condition 19," which requires the applicant to have Chadds Ford sign off on highway improvements. Those improvements include having the main entrance for the shopping center on Ridge Road and that Ridge be widened from two to six lanes from Route 202 to the end of the proposed shopping center, about a quarter of a mile.

Chadds Ford Supervisors' Chairman Frank Murphy wrote a letter in January that he would not sign off on the proposed improvements unless Chadds Ford residents' concerns were addressed.

Early this spring, attorney John Jaros asked Concord Council to remove that condition, but they refused. In May, he filed a suit against Concord. Concord responded by saying Chadds Ford is "an indispensible party" to the action and that the applicant could not sue Concord with out making Chadds Ford a defendant. So, in July, the suit was amended with Chadds Ford named as a defendant.

Chadds Ford filed preliminary objections on Aug. 22 saying that PennDOT is an indispensible party and the suit could not go forward without PennDOT as a party.

On Sept. 1, Concord responded to the applicant's amended complaint (naming Chadds Ford as a defendant) saying Ridge Road Development's concern is with Chadds Ford, not Concord.

"While defendant Chadds Ford may properly be compelled to produce the letter required by Condition 19 in light of its course of conduct over the last nine years, Concord Township may not properly be forced to release the signed plans without compliance by [the] plaintiff with all of agreed upon conditions of plan approval," the response reads.

Concord's response also asserts that any damages to the plaintiff "were caused by the conduct of Chadds Ford Township."

In the initial complaint filed on behalf of Ridge Road Development, Jaros asked that the court strike Condition 19 and order Concord to release the plans so his client could begin work on the project or, in lieu of that, declare that Chadds Ford officials, including two former supervisors and two current employees, have already acknowledged the highway improvements by signing off on related matters.

Murphy said those documents dealt with stormwater management, not widening Ridge Road.

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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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