Hannum’s looking to move

Hannum’s Harley Davidson wants to get its motor running, move out of two locations, and head onto Concord Township. But it’s up to Concord Township Council, and even if it happens, it might take a couple of years.

Tommy Hannum and land use attorney John Jaros told Council members Tuesday night that the desired move is part of a corporate-wide decision to consolidate and reduce the number of Harley dealerships in the country. Hannum said the company has already reduced the number of dealerships from 700 to fewer than 600.

Hannum wants to move both its Middletown and Chadds Ford locations into one on Conchester Highway a little south of Route 1. They have the site chosen but need a zoning change.

Jaros said Hannum’s controls a 5.5-acre property on the northeast side of Route 322 across from Concordville Town Centre. Concordville Tire and Service is directly across the street. But the site is currently zoned R-2.

“But we abut the C-2 business and commercial district to our north. Hannum’s is proposing the construction of a Harley Davidson Motorcycle dealership on the property consisting of a 35,000 square foot building footprint to include a 15,000 square foot mezzanine…”

He added that a current building on the property would remain and be used for administrative purposes. He also showed a conceptual site plan that he stressed is only conceptual and does not represent a properly engineered plan. The zoning change must happen first, or the plan can’t move forward.

Jaros said the township code allows motorcycle sales agencies by special exception in the C-2 district, but the project’s proposed use is not permitted in the R-2 district.

“Consequently, we are requesting the township to consider rezoning this property and the contiguous property to our south…to C-2 Planned Business and Commercial District, which is currently just to our north. I believe the township has been considering this for some time,” Jaros said.

He said that rezoning the property “is certainly not the end of the process. The proposed use is permitted, as I said, by special exception in the C-2 district and that would involve an application and hearing before the township Zoning Hearing Board for the proposed use. If that application were approved with conditions acceptable to the applicant, it would then move forward to a fully engineered land development plan application to be reviewed by your planning commission and then before you for approval.”

Hannum said the idea is for his two Delaware County dealerships under one roof as part of Harley Davidson’s plan. Several other Harley dealerships in the region have closed but the company chose Hannum’s to remain. “But we have to modernize our facilities and make a new facility. So we would be the flagship store of their new facility rollout. This is nationwide.”

Under questioning from Councilmember John Crossan, Hannum said his dealership would have gone into  “bad standings” with Harley Davidson had the dealership not honed in on this particular property.

Hannum added that his dealership, originally founded by his father and grandfather, is now in its 68th year and he wants to be able to open the new facility for its 70thanniversary. In addition to being a store for sales and service, it would also include antique bikes for display. The dealership has acquired antique bikes from other dealerships. Some of the bikes are more than 100 years old.

“We would have the ability on our second floor to have on the east coast the most beautiful Harley Museum,” he said.

Council President Dominic Pileggi called the property an “orphan piece” of the zoning puzzle along that stretch of Route 322, considering other properties are zoned for business and commercial use.

“I think Council will have to talk about this and get back to you on it.,” Pileggi said.

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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