Mercedes gets conditional use OK

Chadds Ford Township supervisors Wednesday night granted conditional use approval for an in-law suite on Atwater Road, and for a Mercedes Benz dealership between Route 202 and Oakland Road. Supervisors also gave preliminary land approval to the dealership — Mercedes Benz of West Chester — and approved a zoning map change the dealership had requested.

The conditional use approval for the 1,000 square foot in-law suite went to Ralph Cetrullo at 45 Atwater. It will have one bedroom, office, kitchen, and bath above the existing garage, with an elevator from the garage to the living area. The project needed conditional use approval because the work is in an area of steep slopes.

Supervisors placed a total of 14 conditions on the project, as read by township solicitor Mike Maddren. Those conditions include not having "any impediments between it and the existing structure so it constitutes a single-family home" and sharing the same address as the current dwelling. It must also share the same utilities as well as other conditions "to assure no additional separate or independent dwelling unit is created."

Approval for the car dealership was more extensive. Park Avenue Motor Cars, doing business as Mercedes Benz of West Chester, requested a zoning map change and conditional use approval to build a dealership on the Lenz property area between Route 202 and Oakland Road south of Brinton's Bridge Road. The zoning change, from PBC to PBC-1, allows for a dealership with conditional use approval.

Before the vote and conditions formally read, Chris Lang — representing the Brinton 1704 House — said he had seen a preview of the conditions and was fine with some of them, while others were "short-sighted," and that there was concern over the visual impact of the building.

"In particular, we continue to be concerned about the size, bulk, color, and height of this project, and how effectively it will be screened," Lang said.

Supervisors' Chairman Frank Murphy told Lang that the board had reviewed and considered the conditions Lang mentioned.

"I believe some tweaks were made to the proposed conditions…It's the sense of the board that the conditions the township solicitor wrote suffice to address a number of the issues you have raised, which we took very seriously, by the way," Murphy said.

He then went over a series of general considerations with which the board must contend, including the rights of neighbors, what the applicant can build by right without needing any special permission or going through a conditional use hearing, and ensuring any conditions the board would require are reasonable.

Attorney Michael Gill, representing Birmingham Township in the hearing, said Birmingham's primary concern was protecting nearby Dilworthtown and the five-points intersection.

Among the 34 conditions, again as read by Maddren, were limits on test drive routes. Maddren said those routes must be limited to Routes 1 and 202, Applied Bank Boulevard, and State Farm Drive.

"In no case shall any test drives use Webb Road, Harvey Road, Oakland Road, or Brinton's Bridge Road west of the applicant access drive," he read. "The applicant shall preclude delivery from using Brinton's Bridge Road for ingress to or egress from the property and shall erect signage to the satisfaction of the township engineer consistent with that." Additionally, car carriers may not use Brinton's Bridge Road to offload vehicles.

The applicant is also prohibited from using Oakland Road during construction, must limit service hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sales hours are restricted to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Conditions also include a conservation easement being placed on the residential portion of the property, and the plans must reflect that conservation area before final approval. Furthermore, the applicant must construct a trail along the Oakland Road side of the property and along the Brinton 1704 House property.

Maddren also said the applicant shall pay a fee-in-lieu of planting replacement trees on the property of $27,500.

Mercedes Benz of West Chester must still get final land development approval before work may begin on the project.

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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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