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Redevelopment plan stirs protests, opposition from neighbors

| Jul 22, 2015 | Land Use & Zoning |

Approximately one year ago, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sold a 213 acre parcel of land in Marple Township to a private developer, who announced plans for construction of a mixed use-development on the site. As approval of the developer’s plans moves through the township’s and county’s zoning process, opposition to the project is beginning to emerge.

The parcel is currently known as Don Guanella Village, but the developer has re-named it “Cardinal Crossing Towne Center.” The developer plans a project that includes several hundred residential units and nearly 1,000,000 square feet of retail and office space. As proposed, the project would require a significant rezoning of the parcel.

The size of the project and the accompanying environmental and related issues have prompted the formation of at least two organizations devoted to fighting the project. These groups are principally concerned about the size of the project and potential adverse impacts on open space in the township. Some of the concern reflects the fact that the project comprises 4% of all of the land in the township. In addition, the Darby Creek Valley Association has submitted a list of comments on the development.

At a recent meeting, the township planning commission recommended approval of the developer’s request to re-zone 150 acres from industrial and residential to Planned Community Center and the balance from residential to Planned Community Residential. The opponents of the project raised concerns about the need for zoning changes, tree removal and environmental studies. The final plan and the zoning changes must be reviewed and approved by the Delaware Planning Commission.

Anyone having an interest in such large redevelopment project, whether as a developer, supporter or opponent may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in handling real estate disputes. Such a lawyer can provide a useful analysis of the project, enumerate the zoning hurdles that it must clear and identify the various zoning boards that may have jurisdiction over the project. In addition, a knowledgeable attorney can provide advice about the many legal rules that affect such projects.

Source: Delaware County Daily Times, “Protesters challenge Don Guanella development; neighbors begin to rally against massive plan,” Leslie Krowchenko, July 11, 2015

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