By Bajeerah Lowe, Staff Writer
February 24, 2003
SADSBURY -- Officials here are poised to consider next month a unique proposal by a group of developers that would enhance the village of Sadsburyville, at the same time attracting more businesses and making it pedestrian-friendly.
The plan for improvements by the five developers includes the installation of sidewalks, street trees, "traffic-calming" measures and a traffic light.
"We were asked to come up with a comprehensive view of what Sadsbury would look like with all the development done and we were asked what we could do to improve the life in Sadsburyville," said W. Joseph Duckworth, of Arcadia Land Co. in Wayne, during a presentation of the plan to the townships Zoning Feasibility Study committee.
It was the second of three presentations to township officials and residents. The final presentation will be before the board of supervisors March 4 when they consider approval of the proposal.
While it is usual for developers to make small "off-site improvements" such as sidewalks or road improvements in the municipalities where they are building, it is unusual for developers to work together on one plan. In this case, said Duckworth, who is one of the five developers involved and is heading up the village planning process, the combined efforts came at the request of the township officials.
"They didnt want a hodgepodge of off-site improvements, but rather one comprehensive plan," said Duckworth.
For a number of months the developers have been working together to come up with a plan.
"What the township seems to be telling us," said Duckworth, "is they would like to improve the pedestrian experience and connect the old and new developments."
With 25 years experience in land-planning and a particular interest in walkable communities, Duckworth said it just seemed natural for his firm to take the lead.
The resulting plan, which came about after input from all five developers, dictates a two-phase plan. The first phase calls for the installation of streetscape improvements for either side of Business Route 30 and along the west side of Old Wilmington Road. Where space allows, street trees would be planted as a buffer between the sidewalks and street. And crosswalks and a traffic signal would be installed at the intersection.
Duckworth said the roads right-of-way could be used for the sidewalks, while the tree buffer would require residents along Route 30 to give the township five more feet of right-of-way.
"Our proposal, if this is approved by the township, is to go to all the residents and propose in exchange for five more feet of right-of-way they would get sidewalks and street trees. In the ideal world most of the residents will see it beneficial to add the five feet," Duckworth said.
For those residents who either cant supply five feet because their homes abut the road or are not willing to, Duckworth said the right-of-way will provide more than enough room for a sidewalk.
The second phase of the plan involves traffic calming. "We want people to move through the village at a speed closer to 25 mph," said Jason M. Duckworth, project coordinator for Arcadia, and Joseph Duckworths son.
The proposal from the developers calls for a landscaped median and entrance signs at either end of the village as a signal to drivers that they are entering a different area.
"Speed limit signs alone are not sufficient to slow anybody down," Jason Duckworth said. In addition, he said on-street parking could provide both another signal that people are about to enter a pedestrian-friendly zone and more parking to the businesses the developers hope the improvements will attract.
These changes would require permission from a number of entities including the state Department of Transportation, the Chester County Planning Commission and the township, said the younger Duckworth.
If approval is given by the supervisors to go forward with the plan, Duckworth said the expectation is to complete the first phase of the improvements as Phase One of the housing and commercial developments his associates are planning are being completed.
While several residents attending the meeting questioned whether the changes would actually attract more businesses to the village, John Lymberis, one of the developers involved and owner of Harrys Hot Dogs, said he believes it can only help.
With his business at the intersection of Route 30 and Old Wilmington Road, Lymberis said he believes small businesses are interested in moving to the village area. "Its just not conducive right now," he said. With slower traffic along the drag, he said he could envision a lawyer, dentist or real estate agent quickly opening shop.
Zoning committee member Cathy Kryzanauskas said while she liked the concept she is unsure whether this is the right time.
"I think it might be a little premature," she said. "There really are no buildings right now for businesses to move into. And no traffic light is going to slow down that traffic."
But Joseph Duckworth said now is the time. Sadsbury, which was once beyond the edge of development, is now in the midst of it as the westward push continues, he said. "Whenever a Wal-Mart is built within a mile, its not country anymore. Its no longer if its going to be developed, but how?"
With 2,582 residents, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, Sadsbury is one of Chester Countys least-populated townships. Located in the western half of the county, its population consists primarily of families with children under 18 who live in single-family homes, the majority of which were built before 1970. There are few rental properties, and no apartment complexes.
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