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 S.O.S. Update - Aug 2004
 

                                      

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How Will the Proposed High Density Housing Affect You?

 

462 additional homes (condos, townhouses and single family homes) in Sadsbury Township

 

A 40% increase in township population (1,432 more residents), adding 3,500 weekday road trips to Old Wilmington Road

 

Loss of much needed job opportunities

 

Increased school taxes in a district badly in need of commercial and business development for tax relief

 

Increased crime

 

Bringing an urban lifestyle to a rural area

does nothing to enhance our township

A ZONING HEARING WILL BE HELD

ON TUESDAY AUGUST 17TH AT 7:00 PM AT

THE SADSBURYVILLE FIRE COMPANY

If approved by the supervisors, 92 acres of land currently zoned light industrial will be changed to allow Arcadia Land to build high density housing

DID YOU KNOW?

School Taxes

bulletThe cost of sending one child to school in the Coatesville area school district averages $12,000 per year.
bulletThe average household in Sadsbury Township pays about $4,000 in taxes per year, well below the annual cost of educating one child (furthermore, many households have more than one school-age child). The same household pays only $75 in taxes to the township.
bulletArcadia estimates that their planned residential development would add nearly 300 students, almost half of the 621 already attending Rainbow Elementary School, likely resulting in the need for more schools.
bullet70% of the revenue to support Coatesville Area School District comes from real estate taxes.
bulletIf developed as a business park, as currently zoned, this property would bring in at least $1,784,000 in school taxes each year.
bulletIf developed residential, the school district loses out on nearly $1,000,000 in tax revenue per year.

Job Opportunities

bulletDeveloping the property as a business park would generate job opportunities for nearby residents either unemployed or under-employed.
bulletAt the recent job fair, 300 people applied for 20-30 available positions at Electronics Boutique.
bulletWestern Chester County needs jobs!!!

Safety Concerns

bulletThree large Transco natural gas pipelines divide Arcadia’s planned residential development in two.
bulletCurrent zoning requires buildings to be a minimum distance of 100 feet from the pipeline easement. Arcadia wants to build houses 50 feet closer to the pipeline than is currently allowed, which could endanger public safety.
bullet

According to the Department of Transportation, the heat affected zone for pipeline accidents can extend 1,000 feet. 

Traffic and Roads

bullet

If developed as a Planned Residential Development, a large portion of the residential daily trips will enter and exit through the Sadsbury Village townhouse community.

bullet

Existing roads are inadequate to handle the additional traffic.  No improvements are planned by the township, and the developer is offering no assistance.

bullet

The supervisors claim new housing has increased the township tax base significantly, and yet at the July township meeting, the supervisors announced that the road crew was out of money and could not make the planned improvements to existing roads (Compass Road, Western Avenue, etc.).

bullet

If the township takes over the roads within Arcadia's development, special equipment will be needed to plow and maintain the roads.  Who will pay for this additional equipment that is only needed for this development?

Recreation

bullet

Arcadia's development has no active recreation for teenagers. Originally, Arcadia had proposed soccer fields as part of the development (on the south side of Quarry Road), but since then, they have changed their plan and are now building houses in this area instead. 

bullet

Arcadia is counting storm water management and wetlands as part of their "open space" requirement.  These areas are not usable and should not be included as open space.  But, rather than reducing their number of homes to provide more open space, Arcadia is trying to have the supervisors accept this unusable land as their open space requirement.

Public Opinion

bullet96% of 475 township residents surveyed are against changing the zoning from industrial to residential on the 92 acre parcel.
bulletEven though public opinion is strongly opposed, Arcadia procured a state grant to have sidewalks and "traffic calming measures" installed in the Sadsbury Village District.

Arcadia Land

bullet

Arcadia has attempted to get Planned Residential Developments accepted in multiple areas, including other townships in our area, and have met resistance.  To date, four other Arcadia developments proposed or built in our area have consisted only of single family homes.  Why should we tolerate such high density, when other municipalities have opposed it?

bullet

Residents of Independence, Missouri are suing their township government to stop a PRD Arcadia is proposing in their area.  If PRD's are as great as Arcadia claims, why the opposition?

Development Options

bullet

Several development options exist for this property, including:

bullet

The by-right plan: 92 acres of light industrial and 44 acres of single family homes (does not require any zoning change).

bullet

92 acres of light industrial, 44 acres with 400 apartments (apartments require conditional use approval by the supervisors).

bullet

136 acres of high density housing (462 dwellings mixing condos, townhomes and single family homes - this is Arcadia's preferred option and requires a zoning change).

bullet

Re-zone the light industrial parcel to allow single family homes.

bullet

The opinion of existing residents should weigh heavily on the supervisors’ decision regarding the zoning of this property.  Zoning should not be changed just to benefit a developer.

Unanswered Questions

bulletWhy does Sadsbury need this PRD in the first place?  How will existing township residents benefit from this zoning change?
bulletIf the township accepts responsibility for road services and snow removal for Arcadia's new high density development, how much will it cost the township?
bulletWhat is the township giving up in exchange for this zoning change (jobs, quality of life, rural landscape, etc.)?
bulletWho will be responsible for dealing with any future problems relating to over-development (road maintenance, flooding problems, police and fire services)?
bulletDoes the recently awarded PA State grant for $500,000 benefit the township directly, or is Arcadia's previously discussed "gift" of sidewalks just reduced by $500,000?
bulletSince Arcadia will not be the developer for this property, what assurances does the township have that they will abide by the promises being made now (sidewalks, homeowners association, maintenance of traffic calming measures, etc.), especially in view of the fact that Arcadia sold Octorara Glen shortly after filing the plans at the Chester County courthouse, thereby terminating their involvement in the project?
bulletIf the township's finances are being fueled primarily by transfer taxes on new homes, what happens when new building slows down and services still have to be funded?

Please attend the zoning hearing on Tuesday, August 17th at the Sadsbury Fire Co.  This proposed zoning change is the most important zoning action this township has ever taken and it will affect ALL existing residents.

The Supervisors should be held accountable for their decisions - this is not the kind of change that should be entrusted to "consultants" who do not live in Sadsbury Township. We need to hear from the Supervisors why THEY believe this zoning change is good for us. This question has been asked repeatedly and the supervisors have refused to answer.

Please bring your questions and comments to the meeting.

THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO LET YOUR OPINION BE HEARD.

 Call the Township office with your opinion: (610) 857-9503    

e-mail: sadsbury@ccis.net

Thank you,

Stop Over-Development in Sadsbury (S.O.S.)

An Open Letter to the Residents of Sadsbury Township

Taxpayers in and around the Coatesville School District are beginning to understand where the money comes from to educate our children. A recent letter from the Coatesville School District plainly stated that when there are "not enough commercial/industrial taxpayers - the tax burden falls on individual property owners".  OK, I get it!!!

In the August 2nd DLN, John Newton of Meetinghouse Properties described how the industrial development being attracted to Western Chester County is helping to generate tax relief for over-burdened property owners. It appears we are headed in the right direction to enjoy the tax benefits realized by the Great Valley and West Chester school districts. We need to realize, however, that while these gains are helpful, they are not enough to provide tax relief in our district. We must continue to attract more businesses to the Coatesville School District.

            On August 17th, 2004, Sadsbury Township will hold a Zoning Hearing to discuss a developer's request to change the zoning on a large lot of land from light industrial to allow a Traditional Neighborhood Development, or TND (a high density housing development).  The property is located in very close proximity to the Chester County Airport. In looking and understanding the lay of the land, it becomes clear why the property was zoned light industrial.

1)   The takeoff flight path/route (westbound) of the airport air traffic flies directly over the property.

2)   Three large 30”& 36”dia. Transco natural gas pipelines dissect the property in two.

             From a land planning and safety perspective, this obviously is not an ideal location for high-density housing. I cannot imagine why anyone would consider a request that may put residents in harm's way.

            If developed responsibly and in tune with the rural characteristics of this area, this property as currently zoned, along with other adjoining light industrial tracts could be a real jewel for the township. It would provide a financial plus for the school district and generate jobs for Western Chester County.

            The business parks built today can and do look and feel like state parks. There is no reason the residents of Sadsbury twp. should settle for anything less. We deserve fiscally sound responsible development, not just another overbuilt piece of land.

            Our supervisors need to come clean and explain why they feel we need to increase the township population by 40% in one shot, as that is what this zoning change/development will mean. It took us two hundred plus years to reach the level of population we are today. Is it prudent to grow that much in just a handful of years? Will the services we have today handle this much growth? Can our infrastructure handle the increase in traffic? Where will the money come from to cover these increases in costs for services required by residential development?

            With this zoning change and two others the supervisors already approved this year, we will be left with many more houses per acre than the zoning originally allowed. What was wrong with old number of units per acre? Will our quality of life get better or worse? Since 96% of the 475 residents surveyed were against the zoning changes, one wonders why the supervisors have such a different "vision" from the residents.

            Many of us have been trying to get answers to these and many other questions over the last year, but unfortunately the supervisors either don’t know or will not say. My only hope is that some back-room deal has not all ready been hatched and our fate has been decided before there is truly a thorough, honest and open discussion about our future.  

Robert Silvernail

 

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Last modified: 12/01/07