Toll offers new plan for Crebilly

***UPDATE: The Oct. 14 hearing date has been canceled. The first hearing before the supervisors will be in November. End Update.***

Toll Bros. has presented another plan to Westtown Township for the development of Crebilly Farm, and it isn’t much different than the one the township denied almost two years ago. And the plan comes even while Toll and the township are waiting to hear Commonwealth Court’s opinion on Toll’s appeal of Westtown’s denial of the previous plan.

The new plan still calls for 319 homes on the 322-plus acre property along Route 926 between S. New Street and Route 202, and West Pleasant Grove Road on the north. The plan calls for keeping two existing homes but adding 182 single-family homes and 135 townhouses. Attorney Gregg Adelman said that there would be 196 acres left as open space.

Traffic engineer Nicole Kline responds to questions from Westtown Township Planning Commission members during a special meeting on a new plan from Toll Bros. for Crebilly Farm. The audience jeered when she said the development would not worsen traffic at Routes 926 and 202.

He said one of the differences is that some of the homes are shifted away from the western side of the property. The updated plan also includes a collector road connecting W. Pleasant Grove Road with Street Road (Route 926). The collector road is something supervisors said they wanted during the first conditional use hearing.

Traffic engineer Nicole Kline said Monday night the collector would mitigate additional traffic at the intersection of Routes 202 and 926 from the development. Groans and jeers came from the audience when she said the development wouldn’t add to traffic congestion at the intersection.

Kline also said that a revised traffic study indicated that dedicated turn lanes are warranted for the intersection of Route 926 and S. New Street, but that there might not be enough road space for them.

The new plan also shows three access points into the proposed development along W. Pleasant Grove Road and access on 926 directly across from Bridlewood Boulevard but no access off of Route 202. A right-in/right-out access was on the previous plan but removed from the new one.

Adelman said during an Oct. 7 township Planning Commission meeting that his client filed the new plan in August because township supervisors were trying to change the zoning code in a way that, he said, would have a negative effect on property rights.

He did not say at the meeting how the change would have that effect but said, “The township put forth a zoning amendment that would take away landowners’ rights,” he said. “Toll had no choice than to file to preserve [its] rights. We’re here because of what the supervisors did.”

In an appeal of the zoning change filed September in Chester County Court of Common Pleas, Toll and the Robinson family said the change “specifically targeted the property in an effort to prejudice the exercise by Toll and the Robinson family of their right to develop the property for a flexible development.”

The zoning appeal asserts that the township created “an alleged ‘Brandywine Battlefield Swath’ over almost the entire property and construing it to be a historic and scenic landscape that must be preserved.”

The zoning appeal further asserts that the creation of scenic views, scenic landscapes, historic resources and historic landscapes was an effort to “counter [a] lower court’s ruling that requirements to preserve  such views, landscapes or resources were subjective and not applicable to the proposed development.”

Supervisors denied conditional use approval of the previous plan in December of 2017 after a year-long conditional use hearing. Toll appealed that decision to the Court of Common Pleas but the court upheld Westtown’s decision. Toll then appealed to Commonwealth Court this past spring. That opinion is still pending.

Planning Commission meetings and the conditional use hearing before the supervisors will be happening concurrently, Planning Commission Chairman Dick Pomerantz said. The next Planning Commission meetings on the proposal are scheduled for Oct. 21 and Nov. 17. If a fourth meeting is needed, that would be on Nov. 18. Supervisors are scheduled to hear the matter on Oct. 14, Nov. 18 and Dec. 18 at Rustin High School.

Pomerantz said anyone seeking party status needs to attend the Oct. 14 meeting.


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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