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 Sadsbury rezones 92 acres


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David Bernard, Staff Writer 08/19/2004

SADSBURY -- At a heated public hearing attended by more than 100 residents, township supervisors approved a zoning amendment Tuesday that reclassified 92 acres of land from light industrial to high-density residential use.

The unanimous vote, which followed two hours of public comment, cleared the way for a proposed 462-unit housing development near Business Route 30.

"We heard a lot of testimony here tonight," Supervisor Douglas Doratt said shortly before the vote. "Some people are for (the proposed development), some are against it, some aren’t sure and some still don’t understand."

Representatives of the Arcadia Land Co., the Wayne-based developer behind the project, opened the hearing with a short explanation of the housing and the amendment under consideration.

"The question tonight is not whether we will develop this property, but how we will develop it," said Arcadia’s Jason Duckworth, who noted that Tuesday’s meeting was his 28th visit to Sadsbury for the project.

The land at issue was 134 acres located south of Business Route 30 and the Sadsbury Village development, and west of Old Wilmington Road. About 92 acres of the property were zoned for light industrial uses, while the remainder allowed high-density residential housing.

Duckworth and Arcadia sought a rezoning of the 92 acres to a "traditional neighborhood development" classification.

Such rezoning, they said, would allow them to build 462 for-sale homes -- a mix of single-family, town house and condominium housing units -- while also leaving about 57 acres of open space, creating a bicycle trail and preserving historic structures.

"It is, in a way, an old-fashioned type of community, designed around pedestrians," Duckworth said. "Designed around the child walking to the corner store, and not designed around the automobile."

Without rezoning, he said, Arcadia would have the right to build under the allowable uses as it saw fit, a plan which would include 443 rental apartments, 900,000 square feet of industrial space, less preserved open space and twice the traffic, including trucks.

"Let me make it clear, that’s not what we want to do," Duckworth said. "There’s a better idea for this site."

Many of the residents in attendance, however, preferred the industrial development option on the grounds that local business would generate greater tax revenues and less crowded schools than new high-density development would.

"I’m opposed to this (residential) development," said resident Robert Oberholzer. "I would rather have industrial development to ease my tax burden."

Oberholzer, like most who favored the industrial over the residential plan, expressed an underlying anger toward the Coatesville Area School District’s recent tax hikes, to which Sadsbury is yoked.

"With all due respect," Doratt replied, "you can’t hold Sadsbury Township responsible for the actions of the Coatesville school district."

Resident Frank Aptacy agreed. "Why does Sadsbury have to be the tax relief of Coatesville?" he asked. Industrial development may bring tax money, he and others argued, but it wouldn’t guarantee lower school district taxes, and residential development would keep once-rural Sadsbury an attractive place to live.

Some residents took issue with both plans. Tammy Pawling and others urged supervisors to act in the residents’ interest.

"There is a third option," she said. "There are other options, and I think it’s important the people in this room demand that the supervisors vote on the option that we want."

"Unfortunately, change is always difficult," Duckworth said after the vote. "I don’t want to dismiss (the residents’) concerns, but people get attached to things."

İDaily Local News 2004

Reader Opinions: 

Name: Mary Althouse

Date: Aug, 19 2004

Here's the problem with Coatesville- who is responsible then? How many townships have turned away industry out here? I can tell you that it is too many. Someone has to put a stop to this. More houses will create more burden on the school district, especially townhouses and apartments. Why not build bigger more beautiful houses? You would have much less people living there not to mention a better caliber of people that could possibly help raise the test scores. It saddens me to think of what Coatesville's future is going to be and what it could be.

Name: Lem Mason

Date: Aug, 19 2004

Mr. Dorratt states "Some people are for some are against it, some aren’t sure and some still don’t understand." This couldn't be better proven by Dorratt and the other two the supervisors themselves. It didn't matter that not even one of them knew the unit percentages or even where the borders of the TND where because the backroom influencing of this township ruining decision determined its outcome months ago. This go-through-the motions debacle is further proof that the empirical rule and term lengths of township supervisors, some even allowed to continue in their affairs with proven ethics violations must be changed ! If the Local ever decides to take a foray into the investigative side of reporting the shenanigans that went on starting at the Chester County Planning Commission level all the way down to the supervisors to get this to happen for Ar Qaedia Land Co. would provide you with a tome of worthy material. Shameful.

Name: Thomas Seth

Date: Aug, 19 2004

Today "townhouse" is a fancy name for row houses. Just remember today's townhouse tomorrow's slum.


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