Starbucks wants a new location

Starbucks, the coffee company that already has three shops along Route 202 in Concord, Chadds Ford and Birmingham townships, is looking for another site in Birmingham.

Supervisors in Birmingham opened a conditional use hearing on the matter before the start of their Oct. 2 meeting; yet only two supervisors — John Conklin and Scott Boorse – are hearing the case. Michael Shiring, the third supervisor, recused himself because the law firm he works for — Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco — is representing the applicant.

Starbucks wants to open a new shop in the old bank building near Freddy's on Route 202 at Old Wilmington Pike. While township code allows for a coffee shop in that C-1 Zoning District, the hearing is needed because of the many use changes that have happened at that specific location, according to solicitor Kristin Camp.

Camp also said the township Planning Commission recommended approval.

There are residents who are concerned about having Starbucks move into that location because it's already heavily trafficked because of Freddy's, a restaurant that opened there earlier this year. Five residents, Gale Fitzpatrick, Mary Pat McCarthy, Patrick Dougherty and Jim and Donna Walter requested party status, but approval of their status was reserved until a future date.

Lou Colagreco, representing Starbucks, said he had objections to giving them party status because of where the residents live. The closest one lives 0.5 miles away from the site. However, he said he would allow them to ask questions and might withdraw his objection later.

The major concern is traffic. Gale Fitzpatrick — one of the residents who requested party status — lost her son Colin to a traffic accident at the intersection in January of 2006.

Sue Philips, a traffic engineer, acknowledged there had been numerous accidents at the intersection of Old Wilmington Pike and Route 202, but said there had been no fatal accidents at the intersection for a five-year period, 2012 through 2016.

According to Philips, the site is safe for a Starbucks. She said the shop would generate an estimated 144 cars coming into the parking lot during a peak weekday morning hour, 60 during afternoon peak hours and 104 for a peak on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

She added that internal traffic, which will be one-way in a counterclockwise direction, would also be safe. A traffic-calming device — a speed table recommend by the Zoning Hearing Board — "comes directly from PennDOT's traffic calming handbook," she said.

The hearing was adjourned at 7:30 and continued to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25. Camp said she would email copies of the traffic study to those people who requested party status so they could review it before the next session.

Starbucks currently has locations in Glen Eagle Square in Concord, Brandywine Mills in Chadds Ford and the Shops at Dilworthtown Crossing in Birmingham.

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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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