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Revised Conditions Approved for Haverford Shopping Center Proposal

The Planning Committee recommended approval of preliminary plans for constructing big box stores, contingent upon conditions.

The Haverford Township Planning Commission voted unanimously on Thursday night to approve revised conditions that pertain to a proposal to turn an old quarry property at 116 Township Line Road into a shopping center with a Lowes, a 24-hour Giant supermarket with a gas station and smaller businesses.

The Planning Commission had recommended on May 26 that the Haverford Township Board of Commissioners approve the preliminary land development plans for the shopping center at the board’s June 13 meeting, contingent upon conditions from the township engineer.

was back before the Planning Commission Thursday night because the developers for the project, David Crockett of the Quarry Center LLC, and Eric Mallory of Eureka Development, had asked the commission to consider revising some of the conditions.

Amee Farrell, the developers’ attorney, said she was before the commission for one reason only, to request reconsideration of some of the language of the conditions

Farrell asked that condition two be amended so that the applicant not be required to include, as part of the Final Plan submission, the fully engineered plans for proposed PennDOT highway improvements and modifications.

In its place, the developers want to include a summary of traffic improvements in the Final Plan submission, Farrell said.

Farrell said while a PennDOT traffic study will still be conducted, the PennDOT approval process is lengthy and the applicant wanted to be able to include something earlier.

The PennDOT approval process for the proposed development has been started and in a recent letter PennDOT stated that “both Upper Darby and Haverford townships will have a seat at the table,” Farrell said.

Residents of both townships have expressed concerns that the development would increase traffic and traffic-related problems, township officials and the developer previously told the Haverford-HavertownPatch. Upper Darby Township is across the street from the proposed shopping center. 

Farrell also asked that condition number five be revised because the developers were concerned about the condition’s original language which stated that an after-development traffic study would be conducted by the Haverford Township engineer (funded by the applicants) to confirm the effectiveness of the constructed traffic improvements.

The original language also stated that the developers would agree to construct or install any additional improvements that were identified from the study, subject to PennDOT approval.

“Our concern is that there’s a PennDOT process for off-site traffic improvement,” Farrell said.

Farrell asked that the language be changed to say that the township will permit the applicants to conduct an after-development traffic study, to be reviewed by the township engineer, in order to evaluate the need for traffic-calming measures along Bryan Street, Greenview Lane and Steel Road in Haverford Township.

“We have committed to and have no problem with continuing to do traffic-calming studies post-development,” Farrell said. “Our concern with (condition) five as originally written is it could require something more than what is required by PennDOT.”

Angelo Capuzzi, secretary of the Planning Commission, said the language should be added to condition five to state that the developers must do what the PennDOT post-development traffic study says and the developers should pay for the improvements.  Mallory was at the meeting and agreed to Capuzzi’s request.

Condition number six was also revised to state that the developers would pay for traffic calming devices along Bryan Street, Greenview Lane and Steel Road in Haverford Township, if they were requested by the township within one year of the grocery store and home improvement store openings.  The original condition stated that the traffic calming devices shall be installed along township streets which will be impacted by the additional development.

“We tried to address the post-development study regarding traffic calming devices on streets in Haverford Township because Haverford Township has identified streets you want to look at,” Farrell said.

Farrell said she had added a new condition which recommends that the developers reach an agreement with Upper Darby Township on the post-development study, and potential design and installation of traffic calming measured on streets in Upper Darby Township.

Farrell said they had ongoing discussions with Upper Darby but the township had not yet identified specific streets that may need traffic calming devices.  Farrell said they were also making the condition a recommendation because Haverford Township does not have jurisdiction over Upper Darby Township.

From his seat in the audience, Upper Darby’s Chief Administrative Officer, Thomas Judge Jr., said within 15 days he would get the developers a list of streets that may need traffic calming devices.

Planning commissioners said there needs to be language to make sure the developers pay for the post-development traffic study and improvements for Upper Darby and language stating that Upper Darby has a year after the stores open to request the traffic calming devices.  Farrell said the language would be modified to include those requests.

Modification of another condition concerned the language used to refer to the landscaping along the top bank between Township Line Road and the proposed vehicle fueling station.

Farrell said the developers wanted to clarify that the landscaping was not a “buffer,” as it had been referred to in the condition, but rather a “landscape strip.”

Farrell said there is a difference in the density of the planting and the type of planting with buffers and landscaping strips.

John Hornick of Bohler Engineering stood before the commission with drawings of the landscaping strip and explained that a landscaping strip is less dense than a buffer, which “would be a wall of evergreens”

He explained that he thought a wall of trees would not be the best type of landscaping for this part of the project.

“If you block the business too much, you end up creating an adverse impact on traffic because people can’t see the business,” Hornick said.

Farrell said the properties directly across the street are commercial and the residences are further down.

The clusters of landscaping which are a part of the landscaping strip have “the most effect when you get down to where the single family residences are,” Hornick said.

A condition concerning deliveries to the development’s stores was also changed. 

One of the conditions stated that truck deliveries would only be permitted between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., but Farrell said the developers were hearing from prospective tenants that it would be difficult to comply with that time frame.

Farrell asked that the condition not limit the hours for truck deliveries but instead make sure that drivers comply with the state idling laws, which prohibits delivery trucks from idling while loading and unloading or more than five minutes while waiting to load or unload.

The developers will also provide better screened areas for the delivery sites, as part of the revised condition, Farrell said.

Planning Commission Chairman Joseph Russo asked if it would be mostly tractor trailer trucks making the deliveries.

Jennifer Walsh, senior project manager for McMahon Associates, Inc. and the traffic engineer who was hired by the developers, said there would be tractor trailers, box trucks and smaller delivery trucks, but the majority is box trucks and there would only be about one tractor trailer delivery per week.

Judge said from Upper Darby’s experience with developments that already existed in the township, the smaller trucks were worse.

“Having bread trucks, gas trucks, Coca Cola trucks pulling in at 6 a.m. will impact the noise,” Judge said. “Those guys make their money by delivering and moving, delivering and moving, and they’re not quiet, and they’re not gentle.  The box trucks, the smaller vehicles, those are the ones that give us the most anguish.”

Judge was happy when he learned that the deliveries would be made to the back of the stores.

“If it’s all rear delivery, that diffuses our issue,” Judge said.

The commission requested that the developer include signage to state that deliveries are to the rear of the buildings only and designating fire lanes out front, where loading would not be permitted because of the fire lanes.

Farrell said that was standard.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the conditions as revised.

Joe June 11, 2011 at 06:38 PM
I recently bought a home in Havertown. This frustrates me because one of the specific draws of this township was the lack of development. I find it laughable that a traffic engineer would suggest that an entire shopping center would take one tractor trailer delivery per week, and discouraging that the Planning Commission would buy it. The Lowe's on its own will have 5-10 such deliveries (full-size trucks, not box trucks) every day, 6 days a week. They'll also run their own contractor delivery service, which will employ an 18-wheeler to deliver materials to contractor sites. How would I know? It used to be my full-time job to load that truck, and to receive outside deliveries (lumber, concrete, fencing, pavers, etc). It took 3 FT employees to deal with the trucks that unloaded directly into the store through shipping and receiving. And before somebody chimes in about job creation, these gigs pay about $11.50/hr, which is a country mile from living wage. So for those adjacent to the stores, you can look forward to hearing that, and the accompanying forklift traffic, from about 5am on. Mon-Sat. For the rest of us, we can look forward to all of these trucks clogging and degrading township roadways. Hooray. The worst thing, though, is the precedent that this sets. Next will be a Home Depot (who specifically target Lowe's locations for their own new stores), a Target, a SuperWawa, and who knows what else. So much for the small town feel.
jim June 17, 2011 at 02:13 AM
Seriously, lack of develoopment in Havertown? Where did you move from? I would rather listen to the truck deliveries than spend an hour sitting in traffic trying to get to the Lowes. Unless you are living nextdoor to it, those 5 tractor trailers are not going to be noticed among the hundreds of tractortrailers driving up township line on a daily basis.
S.But. June 17, 2011 at 05:22 PM
Hmmm...do you really think 5 tractor trailers is all we will be referring to?does that include Giant's trucks? let's not forget the gasoline deliveries.(mmmm...the smell of gasoline..wafting thru my opened windows in the evening..so much for those honeysuckle summer evenings....sigh) This nightmare IS in my backyard right now! I also moved to to this area about 5 yrs ago..it seemed less developed ..the madness was slightly more tolerable when one knew that it would dwindle down after rush hour. I have attended some of these meetings. If memory serves me..the so called traffic study was done for a very brief time in the dead of winter! (Feb.) Now that's laughable..along with the notion of "revisiting" the traffic issue 6-12 months AFTER completion of project. ( Silly me..thought prevention IS the cure ) I have already witnessed the shortcomings of this construction site..(along with the arrogance of it's management/supervision)..stay tuned folks..the best is yet to come.
Joe June 20, 2011 at 07:20 PM
Yes, seriously. I moved from NJ. Havertown is not inundated with big-box stores and retail complexes, and I call that a lack of development. Everyone's all about having the ONE big box store that they like next door, but when the 3rd and 4th pop up, and it starts taking another 5-10 minutes each way to run local errands or leave town, the sparkle fades, believe me. And the trucks probably won't come up Township Line; they'll come from 476, get off at Exit 9, and drive Rt.3 straight through town. Traffic there is already bad enough; I've no desire to see it get to the point where it mirrors that found at Exits 3 and 5. FWIW, It's never taken me an hour to get to Lowe's. Usually about 20 minutes, and I live in the corner of town farthest from 476. I 'm happy to make the trip when I can't get what I need at Sears (takes 5 min), Mapes (5 min), Jacob Low (5 min), Orner's (5 min), or Marple Home Depot (10-15, depending on time of day). It's just discouraging to see the commission so willingly sell out. The developers' statements are obviously disingenuous: how can a person could say, in anything resembling good faith, that one weekly tractor trailer might supply two big boxes and a large gas station? Rather than stand up for residents and say "Obviously, one tractor trailer isn't an accurate number, please report back with some honest data and we'll continue the discussion," the commission simply smiled and effectively said "that sounds lovely, where do we sign?"

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