New coffee shop? Maybe

The Chadds Ford Zoning Hearing Board heard two applications last week. Members approved one zoning variance request from the Brandywine Conservancy but continued the other for a possible coffee shop in the old First Keystone Bank/Bryn Mawr Trust location.

The board approved a zoning variance for the Brandywine Conservancy to use a residential property on Creek Road for business use. The conservancy had been using a house at 1839 Creek Road for office space with an apartment upstairs but, since the flood of Sept. 1, 2021, it’s been used primarily as office space for volunteers. Now the property will be used strictly as an office and workshop.

The approval came with several conditions, including no parking on Creek Road, no residential use, and paving the existing parking area.

Continued to next month is the hearing for a parking variance at the little strip mall with the old bank space, the U.S. Post Office, and Agave Restaurant.

Property owner Casey Lafferty made the presentation for the request. Township code requires 143 parking spaces for all the businesses in the strip mall, but the township said there are only 79. Lafferty said he went back and found the originally approved plan from 1987 which indicates 108 parking spaces.

He continued by saying he doesn’t see the 108 but does see 102 spaces available with 37 in the front and 65 in the rear. That still leaves the site short 41 spaces and the need for the variance.

Several issues arose during the discussion, including hours of operation of the proposed coffee shop and how that might affect the other businesses, as well as the condition of the rear parking area.

The shop hours would be 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the week and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Barista Steve Sonsini, who wants to open the shop in Chadds Ford, said those hours shouldn’t interfere with Agave, since the restaurant does most of its business after the coffee shop would be closed. There would be seating for 30 in the 1,800 square foot space, he added and said he would anticipate a total of 100 people per day during the week, and maybe up to 200 per day on the weekend.

But the condition of the rear parking area is the snag that caused the continuance. The area needs to be paved but it’s unclear how best to do that.

Lafferty said he was thinking about using stone and pavers, but the board questioned how such an area could be striped to delineate parking spaces. And there was concern from one Station Way resident who said he was concerned about possible stormwater runoff.

Zoning Hearing Board Chairman Bob Reardon said he was concerned about space. “I’m not sure there’s going to be enough parking no matter what is done,” he said, calling for the need for more data. “I want a better presentation, and I might want to hear from a traffic engineer.”

Board member Paul Koch said he couldn’t support the request as presented. Bill Mock, the third member, and ZHB solicitor Steve Durham both said they need more and better evidence regarding how the rear parking area should be addressed.

At Durham’s suggestion, the matter was continued to March 16 to give Lafferty and his engineer a chance to review the possibilities and get a recommendation from, the township engineer.

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.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)



Leave a Reply