Henderson seeks support for housing, loop road

The Henderson Group is continuing its effort to gain support from the community for an age-restricted community so it can complete the loop road project around Routes 1 and 202. To that end, Brian Coyle, the president, and CEO of Henderson held an informational meeting in the Chadds Ford Business Campus Friday to explain options and goals. About two-dozen area residents attended.

The final segment of the loop road — aka the Hillman Drive extension — would connect Route 1 across from Brandywine Drive with Route 202 at Hillman Drive through the Henderson-owned business campus. Chadds Ford Township supervisors approved the project in 2017, but there were delays in getting all the needed easements and approvals from PennDOT. Then COVID hit and Henderson ran out of money for the $7 million project. Henderson has received $2 million in grant money but is still short $5 million.

Coyle called it a “complex problem.”

According to Coyle, Henderson needs the means to generate the needed capital and the idea arose to get approval from the township to construct a 55-plus age-restricted community. That project, called “Greene Station at Painters Crossing,” would consist of 240 apartment units in five buildings on the 21-acre lot on the northeast corner of Route 1 at Brandywine Drive near Hannum’s Harley Davidson.

For that to happen, however, there needs to be a text amendment in the zoning code. There has been reluctance on the part of the Planning Commission to make a recommendation of approval. Indeed, In June of last year, the commission voted not to recommend approval. So, Coyle is taking his case directly to the community.

He told the audience that the proposed site had already been approved for a supermarket, but that never came to fruition. Because the lot is zoned PBC, an office complex could go in but, that would be less environmentally friendly.

There would be less green space available with an office, more impervious surface, and use more parking spaces. Specifically, he said, the apartments would require 450 spaces while an office complex would need more than 1,200. An age-restricted community would also prevent overburdening of the school district since there would be no students living at the complex.

“I’m trying to offer a creative solution,” Coyle told the audience. The alternative, he said would be to do nothing.

And while most people recognize the need to improve the Hillman Drive/Route 202 intersection, no one spoke in favor of the proposal. Those who did speak all said there’s already too much traffic on Route 1 and adding 240 apartments would make matters worse. One person added that she might be OK if the units were condominiums, but that she didn't like the idea of rental units.

In the end, however, Coyle asked those who might support the project to write letters to the Chadds Ford Township Board of Supervisors expressing their favor and also to attend the April 4 supervisors’ meeting where Henderson will argue its case.

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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