Judge upholds Chadds Ford position

Chadds Ford Township has won a round in the ongoing litigation surrounding the proposed commercial development along Ridge Road. On Friday, Sept. 22, Judge Spiros E. Angelos, of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, upheld Chadds Ford's argument that PennDOT should be named as an indispensable party to the action brought by Ridge Road Development.

In the decision, Angelos said, "Plaintiff's amended complaint is dismissed without prejudice for the failure to join an indispensable party."

What this means for the litigation and the development is unclear. Ridge Road Development attorney John Jaros said he could not yet comment on the decision, and Chadds Ford Township solicitor Michael Maddren did not return phone calls.

However, over the weekend, Chadds Ford Township Supervisors' Chairman Frank Murphy sent an email to some residents saying he was pleased with the ruling.

He added: "Ridge Road Developers has the right to file another complaint adding PennDOT as a defendant and if they do the clock should start over from the filing of that complaint."

The proposed development is for the 25-acre property at the southwest corner of the intersection of Ridge and Route 202 in Concord Township. However, it borders Chadds Ford Township. When Concord approved the plan in 2008 and reaffirmed it in 2014, there was a condition of approval that Chadds Ford Township sign off on highway improvement.

Murphy, in January, wrote a letter saying he would not sign off on the plan until Chadds Ford residents' concerns about traffic were addressed.

In March, Jaros asked Concord to remove the condition, but Concord refused. He then filed suit in May, asking the court to either order the condition removed or to say Chadds Ford had tacitly already signified approval by signing off on a series of documents. Among those documents was the Highway Occupancy Permit that shows the proposed changes.

Those changes include widening Ridge Road from two lanes to six from Route 202 for about one-quarter of a mile.

The back and forth litigation first named Concord Township as a defendant, but Concord answered saying the plaintiff had to include Chadds Ford Township. Jaros amended the complaint naming Chadds Ford a defendant in July. Chadds Ford responded to that saying the suit must include PennDOT.

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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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