Updated sketch plan for hotel in Chadds Ford

Chadds Ford Planning Commission members Wednesday night heard a presentation for a revised sketch plan for a possible hotel on Route 202. The proposal is for a Fairfield Inn by Marriott on the Brandywine Summit property north of Keystone Plaza and just south of The Residence at Chadds Ford, the personal and memory care facility currently under construction.

As a sketch plan, there is no formal plan on the table and nothing on which the commission can vote. It’s a concept under discussion. Gina Gerber, the attorney for the applicant — LAPA 1, LP — said the update was needed because the specific location for the hotel on the property had to be moved because of zoning regulations.

“Steep slopes prevent using the area closer to Route 202,” she said. The building would be four stories with a maximum height of 40 feet. With the exception of a loading dock, all activity would be in front of the hotel, including all parking, and there would be no restaurant or kitchen on site.

Moving the location to the rear of the property means it would be closer to the homes on Longview Drive. A number of Longview residents were on hand to hear the plan and to comment. None of the comments were in favor of a hotel going up in the area. While Gerber had said there would be an improved buffer to screen the hotel from the Longview residents, most of the concerns were about the height of the building and with noise and light pollution.

Anne Pounds’ comments seemed to sum up the bulk of the objections. She said a hotel would prevent residents from maintaining their quality of life. She then played a recording of night sounds featuring the chirping of spring peepers and said she recorded that sounds the night before.

“This is what we listen to at night,” she said. “We like this. Who wants a hotel in their backyard? I’d be happier with the medical building that had been approved before.”

Another resident said his property values would not go up if a hotel went in.

Linda Stewart said one of the structures on the property, an old barn, had been recommended to be placed on the Registry of Historic Places.

Commission Chairman Craig Huffman said there were a number of issues that had to be addressed by the Zoning Hearing Board before the Planning Commission can do anything. He also said the applicant would need to get conditional use approval.

He doesn’t think the applicant would be ready to return to the Planning Commission with an updated plan for a formal application by May, possibly not by June.

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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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