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Cardinal Crossing is finished, but the fight to save Marple’s Greenspace must continue

A nearly two-year battle by dedicated citizens has ended plans for the proposed Cardinal Crossing commercial development on 213 beautiful acres of woods and streams (see ‘Recent Posts’) in Marple Township. Now the effort is focused on preserving this land as open space for generations to come.

For more information and updates, please visit:

Save Marple Greenspace Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaveMarpleGreenspace/


Protection of Marple’s greenspace is up to its residents

A shocking part of last month’s Board of Commissioners hearing on Cardinal Crossing happened when the township’s hired planning ‘consultant’ actually seemed to be telling Goodman that certain specific changes to his plan would make it acceptable. This was shocking not only because it came from a non-elected consultant but because dozens of Marple residents speaking at the meeting detailed many, many other objections to the unwanted development. Who made this guy the decider?

The never-ending series of meetings and hearings on Cardinal Crossing over the past year certainly unmasked the incestuous nature of the myriad planning, traffic and other hired-gun consultants who work not just for developers but also for municipalities, and conduct peer reviews of each other’s work–No chance for conflicts there.

 Bottom line: it is up to the citizens of Marple Township to stay vigilant and protect their quality of life.


Marple Commissioners Say NO

Cardinal Crossing Plan Blasted

 All six of the Marple Commissioners present said they would not change zoning for the revised ‘sketch plan’ for the massive Cardinal Crossing development proposed by Goodman Properties.

It was a resounding rebuke to the development plan at packed public hearing Wednesday night.

Whether or not this really means the end of Goodman’s push to fill the 213-acre Don Guanella property with big box retail, housing and commercial development remains to be seen. But it should be.

The Marple Township Board of Commissioners made their objections clear, as did the vast majority of more than 350 residents who filled the Paxon Hollow Middle School auditorium. As with last month’s planning commission hearing where the plan was blasted, the commissioners made individual statements and did not take a formal vote.

The commissioners each had big problems with Goodman’s plan:

  • John Lucas: “too much development” and not enough open space.
  • John Longacre: “My position is if you want to change zoning you have to have the support of the neighbors … It’s not Marple’s fault if you spent too much for the property.”
  • Jan Ceton: “A big box center, not a town center … entirely too dense.”
  • Robert Fortebuono: “It’s way too much” and “I just cannot change the zoning based on what I see right now.”
  • Dan Leefson: “I do not support this because it is much too big.”
  • Joe Rufo: “Clearly, this plan is not supported by this board … In my view, we will not be changing zoning for this plan.”
  • Commissioner Michael Molinaro was absent.

Then the public spoke.

More than 25, including a candidate for state representative who said he would work to get state money to preserve the greenspace if elected, spoke in opposition. A couple of people spoke in favor, including a woman who wanted the Wawa gas station and claimed, preposterously, that all residents who did not attend were in favor of the project.

The next move is up to Mr. Goodman. He could decide to substantially revise the plans, but he has said previously he can’t make the project smaller and still make money and do the required traffic improvements.

Goodman told the Delco Times today it was “disappointing” to hear that the Marple Board of Commissioners will not vote for zoning changes needed to build this project.

According to the Times story, Goodman “sounded as if the last year and a half on the project has come to an end.”

But then, the story reported: Goodman said he is not sure what direction he’ll take moving forward with Cardinal Crossing, but that there are “options.”

Whatever “options” he is contemplating, Marple needs to stay alert. Tweaks and incremental trims to the Cardinal Crossing Monster won’t make it any less objectionable.


URGENT:  BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS TO REVIEW CARDINAL CROSSING PLAN SPECIAL MEETING CALLED FOR WEDNESDAY

The Marple Township Board of Commissioners has scheduled a special meeting for 7 p.m. Wednesday (May 11) at the Paxon Hollow Middle School auditorium to review the revised plan for the massive Cardinal Crossing retail, housing and commercial development proposed for the Don Guanella property. This is the same plan the planning commission criticized so harshly (see below). It is important for residents to attend and make their voices heard. 

Special Board of Commissioners Meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday (May 11) Saxon Hollow Middle School 815 Paxon Hollow Road

Official notice: http://www.marpletwp.com/sm_notice_card_cross_5-11.pdf


Cardinal Crossing Plan Slammed by Planning Commissioners

Four of the five Marple Planning Commissioners said after deliberating last Thursday night (April 28) that they could not recommend to the Board of Commissioners that they change zoning to accommodate the Cardinal Crossing project based on the revised sketch plan submitted by Goodman Properties. They mentioned a multitude of issues raised by opponents, including the size and density, environmental impacts, traffic, sewer and other issues

 The board chairman did not specifically say those words during his comments, but did not say the he did recommend the zone change. He thanked Goodman for making suggested changes to the plan and then suggested to Goodman that he include more sports fields, trails and recreation space, and remove the middle section of housing development — which would eliminate 101 multi-family units (out of a total 243).

 It is anticipated that the sketch plan will go to the Board of Commissioners soon, according to Township Solicitor Adam Matlawski. No meeting or agenda has been posted yet on the Marple Township website:  http://www.marpletwp.com/

The negative comments  by the planning commissioners could be impactful when the Board of Commissioners review the sketch plan.

The planning commissioners did not take a formal vote to recommend approval or denial because they were dealing with a sketch plan, they said. Their public statements about being unable to recommend the zone change based on the revised sketch plan came after deliberations in executive session.

 The planning commissioners deliberated for about a half-hour following more than three hours of public comment and a presentation of the revised plan by Goodman and his traffic engineer.

 At least 200 people attended the meeting at Marple Newtown High School. Close to 40 residents spoke against the new plan, including two candidates for state representative.


Next Marple Planning Commission Meeting on Cardinal Crossing

7 p.m. Thursday, April 28 Marple Newtown High School 120 Media Line Road, Newtown Square


See the ‘new’ Cardinal Crossing plan

Basically, same as the old one

Goodman Properties is back with its promised revised version of the proposed Cardinal Crossing development. But it calls for just as much retail and even more commercial space as the version that drew near-unanimous condemnation. The new version of the massive retail-commercial-multi-family housing project on the former Don Guanella property is basically unchanged in the harmful impacts it would bring, including destruction of the only remaining big forest in eastern Delaware County, which would be clear cut and leveled by ‘cut and fill’ development. The multiple big-box stores in the first plan are still in place. It looks like the developer wants to switch out the hotel and fitness center structures with a five-story, 200,000-square-foot office building (actually adding to the overall size of the commercial development). You may recall that several Marple commissioners have said during discussions of Cardinal Crossing that office traffic is even worse than other types because it is concentrated during commuting times. Cardinal Crossing would generate 35,000 new vehicle trips per day, according to Goodman’s traffic study. A few of the multi-family buildings have been removed in the so-called revised plan, but 243 units of multi-family housing would still be jammed onto the site. The apparent ‘benefit’ added in an attempt to attract some support for this unwanted development would be eight small soccer fields located behind the retail and its sprawling parking lots.  Is that worth such a dramatic change in quality of life for thousands of Marple residents? Here’s the new plan: 2000-Sketch_Plan_Revision_to_Overall_Site_Plan_-_April__2016 Compare it to the previous one. Judge for yourself. 2000-Cardinal-Crossing---Site-Plan-ORIGINAL


PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING CANCELLED

Thursday’s Marple Planning Commission meeting on the proposed Cardinal Crossing development has been cancelled.

Developer Goodman Properties has requested the opportunity to revise and resubmit the proposed plan based on comments heard to date, said Marple Township Manager Tony Hamaday. A date has not been set for submission of the new plan, he said.

Goodman will be withdrawing the current plan and submitting a revised version, which is what his attorney had originally announced after the county planning meeting in January (at which the plans were roundly condemned). 

Marple residents were notified of the cancellation Wednesday through the township-wide phone message system. Just why Goodman reversed course — and now has changed again, at the last minute, is a mystery. 


CANCELLED

MARPLE PLANNING COMMISSION PUBLIC MEETING ON CARDINAL CROSSING

Thursday Feb. 25 7 p.m.

New Location: Paxon Hollow Middle School (815 Paxon Hollow Road)


 

CARDINAL CROSSING DEVELOPER SAYS ITS NOW BACK ON

(Feb 12) Despite telling the Delaware County Planning Commission at its Jan. 21 hearing that plans for the proposed Cardinal Crossing development would be withdrawn and reworked, Goodman Properties is now saying it will continue before the Marple Planning Commission with the same plan that has drawn widespread condemnation. The Marple Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 25— no word yet on where the meeting will be held.

Word of this change came at the Marple Board of Commissioners meeting on Feb. 8. At the meeting, Commissioner Joseph Rufo was quoted by the Daily Times as saying he has attended the two township planning meetings and the Delaware County Planning Department presentation and listened to citizen feedback and feels the current proposal, if not amended, is not the right one. 

“I am against the plan as currently submitted,” he was quoted saying. “I promise you all that at the completion of this process all legitimate interests will be represented and the future of Marple Township will be protected.”


 

GREAT NEWS

(Jan 21) More than 50 people showed up last Thursday afternoon at the Court House for the Delco Planning Commission meeting to show their opposition to Goodman’s “Cardinal Crossing.”  Dennis De Rosa of the Planning Department made a presentation to the commissioners which pointed out the many flaws of Cardinal Crossing. One such point worth stressing was his suggestion that, because the site is so environmentally constrained by steep slopes, mature trees, and streams, upwards of 50% of the forest should be left undisturbed. 
 
At the end of his presentation, Mr. De Rosa asked that the commissioners not recommend this proposal to the Marple Township Commissioners. Joe Damico, attorney for Goodman, spoke after Mr. De Rosa, and announced that the plans would be temporarily withdrawn and revised before being resubmitted to Marple. Mr. Damico gave no indication just how much the plans would be changed, only that this process would take about three months. After an hour long public comment period, the Planning Commission weighed in with their comments, all of which were critical of the proposal.
 
 
And see what more you can do to help at: https://www.facebook.com/SaveMarpleGreenspace/?fref=nf

 

Huge Turnout For Planning Commission — And More Problems With Cardinal Crossing Plans

 At least 300 residents attended Wednesday night’s Marple Planning Commission meeting, and so many wished to speak in opposition to the Cardinal Crossing plans and zoning changes that about a dozen people were still standing in line when the meeting was adjourned. It was a very strong message that exposed a multitude of issues and reasons why this project is wrong on so many levels. Of the 25 people who did get time to speak, not one voiced support for the project.

 A Radnor Township commissioner and a representative of the Darby Creek Valley Association described the dangers posed by stormwater runoff and flooding to downstream communities. A doctor spoke about worsening an already horrible air quality problem in Marple if the 213 acres of forest and tree canopy are destroyed, as proposed. Lack of sewer capacity was cited — one of just a number of new problems identified at the hearing.

 Thanks to all who came out on a cold Wednesday night and listened intently to more than two hours of presentations before citizens got their chance to speak. The Planning Commission meetings will resume in February — stay tuned, and involved.


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save-marple

Stop the rezoning and over-development of the last substantial greenspace in Marple Township.

 

Diminished Quality of Life for Marple Residents

Eliminating 213 acres of woodlands, vegetated slopes and streams for nearly one million square feet of retail and commercial sprawl plus more than 300 units of housing will bring urban-style noise, congestion and commotion.

Declining Home Property Values

As quality of life is harmed, impacts of this high-density commercial and multi-family residential development will also cause home property values to decline.

Traffic

Cardinal Crossing will create 36,818 new vehicle trips per day according to the developer’s own traffic study. The Saturday midday peak will add 2,842 new vehicle-trips per HOUR. Traffic will increase by a huge amount on local roads. The traffic situation in this area is already far in excess of what current road infrastructure can manage. Adding to this problem is just ridiculous and irresponsible.

No Need

Does anybody believe there is a need for 1 million square feet of chain retail and big box store and commercial development? Or demand for a dense development of 303 new housing units? Our region is saturated with retail and commercial shopping centers and malls, many with empty space. More retail will simply lead to decline and more vacancies in existing commercial centers.

Environmental Harm

The Cardinal Crossing proposal woud basically build on everything except for the creeks (with bridges over those). It is almost total destruction of 200 acres of forest, which may amount to near 10 percent of the tree canopy coverage of Marple Township. The Archdiocese property contains important streams, wetlands and habitat. The intense development proposed would also impact flooding problems downstream. The Darby Creek Valley Association has raised serious issues with the proposal. (Link to Letter)

‘Town Centre’

As can be seen from the plans, Cardinal Crossing Town Centre absolutely in no way, shape or manner resembles a town center. With three massive big boxes fronted by huge parking lots, it is an overdeveloped retail shopping development.

No Rezoning

Under its decades of ownership by the Archdiocese, the property has been zoned for Institutional use and for low-density housing. That makes sense. Because the Archdiocese now chooses to sell the property to a developer is not reason for Marple Township to change everything to allow unwanted, high-density, high-impact uses that will devastate an important environmental resource. Quality of life for all Marple residents should not be sacrificed for business desires.

REWRITING THE MARPLE TOWNSHIP COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

As a first step to changing the zoning and approving the Cardinal Crossing land development plans, the Marple Board of Commissioners is proposing to change the township’s Comprehensive Plan, which is supposed to guide decision making and provide a guide for future land use development. The Comprehensive Plan has long designated the Archdiocese Property as “wooded” and for “community services.” To allow Cardinal Crossing, the Board of Commissioners is proposing to change the classification to allow intense retail, commercial and multi-family residential development as proposed by Goodman Properties. This is the opposite of planning and the opposite of what Marple Township has long intended for this land.

County Refuses to Recommend

Even the Delaware County Planning Commission on July 16 refused to support changing the property designation to ‘Mixed-Use Growth’ as proposed by the Marple Board because that is inconsistent with the property’s environmental features of vegetation, tree cover, streams and steep and very steep slopes. Any new land use classification should be protective of these environmental features. The Marple Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the Comprehensive Plan addendum at 7 p.m. on Monday August 10 in the Marple Township Municipal Building. It is very important that residents and organizations attend and speak out against this change. This change has been proposed with NO public input. Please attend on Aug. 10 and speak out against changing the Comprehensive Plan to allow intensive development on the Don Guanella property. More hearings will be scheduled by the County and Township on rezoning the land to allow commercial and residential growth and on the Goodman Properties land development plans for Cardinal Crossing. Please plan to attend and speak out that those as well. Save Marple Greenspace Facebook Letter from DCVA Check out the PowerPoint “A Better Broomhall” (PDF) [emailpetition id=”1″]