Toll continues Crebilly application

Toll Bros. continued its application to develop Crebilly Farm with a lengthy discussion at the Westtown Township Planning Commission meeting Wednesday night. Much of the talk concerned trails, sidewalks, roads and traffic.

The developer is going through a second conditional use hearing for the project that would, if approved, result in the development of 317 new homes on the 322-plus acre farm on Route 926 at Route 202. Township supervisors denied approval for a similar plan in 2017.

Toll has since modified the plan. The total number of new homes remains the same, but more of the homes, a combination of townhouses and single-family homes, are now further to the east.

During the Feb. 19 Planning Commission meeting, attorney Gregg Adelman, who is representing Toll, addressed concerns of township consultants and said his client has had meetings with the public works director and with PennDOT, and received review letters from other consultants.

One issue has been trails through the proposed development. Adelman said that while there were trails shown on the original plan, there is now greater connectivity with trails that “meander” through the development but don’t cross streams or riparian buffers. He also said sidewalks have been added. Trails would be open to the general public, not just development residents.

Adelman added that with the move of some of the homes further east, that opens up more open green space — about 77 acres — on the western side of the farm for recreation and for equestrian trails. There would be a total of 196 acres of open space.

Of major concern throughout the application process has been traffic. The intersection of Routes 926 and 202 is frequently backed up and residents are concerned that 317 new homes would make the matter worse.

PennDOT requires developers to mitigate any increased traffic volume so that conditions are no worse after development than they were before. To that end, Toll has added a collector road through the development plan. That road would take traffic between Route 926 and W. Pleasant Grove Road on the north side of the farm. Supervisors also asked for such a road.

However, Adelman said that PennDOT also wants Toll to add dedicated left-turn lanes on Route 926 at S. New Street. Toll would have to acquire land from other property owners to widen that stretch of road for the lanes. He said Toll is agreeable and has made efforts to get the land but there’s not yet been any resolution.

Additionally, Toll agrees to sync three traffic lights along 926, at S. New Street, at the collector road, and at Route 202.

John Snook, the township’s land planner and a retired senior land planner for the Brandywine Conservancy, said he was pleased that the plan has been modified to move some of the homes out of what is called the battlefield swath, an area of the Crebilly Farm property where there was some British troop movement during the 1777 Battle of Brandywine. There are currently 64 homes in the swath area but Snook would like to see even more removed.

“It’s worthy of further discussion,” Snook said. “It’s feasible to do more.”

He said he also wanted more discussion on how to preserve some of the historic properties on the site.

As Toll is working to get a recommendation of approval from the Planning Commission, it continues to go through the conditional use hearing process. The next scheduled hearing is 6 p.m. on March 26 at Rustin High School.

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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