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The Town Center at Marple Preserve plan is a fraction of the size of the previous plan. It has less than 50% of the commercial square footage of the previous plan and has no townhouses or single-family homes.
The earlier plan was very preliminary and showed a disturbance of about 41 acres. The new plan shows a disturbance of about 47 acres. And, remember that about 38 of these acres have already been disturbed by the existing Don Guanella development. Moreover, there have been probably about 30 versions of the plan done since that earlier effort as we have tried to balance various priorities including the needs of the tenants, traffic, incorporating public space place making, integration of various uses to make it a true mixed use project where the uses support each other, the provision of parking for the playing fields and the passive open space trail network and the financing plan of the space to be preserved.
The process is an iterative one as more information comes in and the balancing of these various issues becomes clearer. In truth, it is likely that more changes will take place as the plan evolves and the public process takes place and no plan should be considered final until it is approved through the public process. However, we have proceeded in absolute good faith at every step along the way to create a preservation plan that is both substantial as well as achievable, so it can be implemented if that is the wish of the community.
TIF stands for tax increment financing. In short, incremental property taxes from the development will pay for the purchase and permanent preservation of the green space.
Support from the community, and the rezoning and TIF implementation are necessary for the Town Center project to come to fruition and ensure the other options allowed by the current zoning are not built.
Please call and email your local public officials. Our agreement of sale is not contingent on a zoning change, and your support is important if we are to build this Town Center.
We look forward to your support on May 21 at Marple Newtown High School.
This land has significant development value based on current zoning. So, we would say that is highly unlikely. The only way to permanently extinguish private property rights is through public ownership, which is what this plan proposes. And it does so with no tax increases to pay for it.
Yes. The old dump will be cleaned up per the Pennsylvania Act 2 program. The trash and other pollution on site will be cleaned up and, importantly, the land will be managed and protected rather than its current unmanaged status.
The developer has pursued public and private financing options and the TIF is the most viable. That said, the developer would gladly work with a public funding source that could purchase the 166 acres allocated to open space.
Senior housing is part of the current plan. The current plan includes 150 units, with roughly 60 units for independent living, 60 units for assisted living, and 30 units for memory care.
GREEN SPACE & ENVIRONMENT
The Town Center is taking a leadership role in protecting a variety of natural resources on the property including the water quality of the tributaries on site. Examples include providing for riparian buffers along the streams in excess of or wider than those required by the Pennsylvania Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual. More specifically, the buffer zone required is 100 feet. While maintaining this minimum buffer zone, we are also proposing a buffer zone width of 150 feet to 250 feet in the majority of the forest riparian buffer. We are also not grading and causing loss of relatively mature trees but using retaining walls which allows the mature trees to remain in place – a key contributor to healthy tributaries.
Yes. The Township’s Comprehensive Plan, updated in 2015, calls for active recreation that currently does not exist. Our plan will preserve 166 acres of green space that will be accessible to the community for passive and active recreation. Walking/biking trails for the enjoyment of the community are permanent fixtures of the plan.
Additionally, playing fields for Marple youth will be part of the development including soccer and lacrosse fields, eliminating the need to use school district fields that suffer from overuse and are expensive to maintain because of excess usage.
The project catalyzes the construction of the fields, which are needed to modernize the recreation areas available in Marple.
The current undeveloped portion of the site is 175 acres. Our proposed redevelopment of the existing Don Guanella site will preserve of those acres – more than 78% of the total site acreage – forever! In other words, of the undeveloped acreage, we are only developing 9 acres and preserving 175 acres or 95% of the undeveloped land. It is important to understand that it is the redevelopment which funds the permanent preservation of the rest of the property for passive and active recreation, without raising residents’ taxes.
Before any TIF allocations, the Town Center at Marple Preserve will contribute about $2 million/year in incremental tax revenue. The Marple Newtown School District will receive 2/3 of this amount with the remaining portion received by the Township and County.
Development of the site will not add to student rolls in the School District and will permanently not put any additional strain on school resources by eliminating residentially zoned growth that would otherwise generate children for the Marple Newtown School District.
Additionally, the ability to keep the green acres green is dependent upon tax revenue generated by the Town Center. This will take the form of a TIF, tax increment financing. In short, taxes from the development will pay for the purchase and permanent preservation of the green space.
According to a study by Econsult Solutions, property located near high-quality shopping, eating, and active and passive recreation destinations increases in value.
Econsult estimates the development will generate approximately 1,300 jobs for medical professionals, retail professionals and area youth of which 650 will be new jobs. And, the planned grocery, fitness, and dining tenants are largely Internet-resistant businesses, so the Town Center will become and remain a vibrant destination – and employer – for years to come.
The law requires the developer to make traffic improvements sufficient to maintain, if not improve, current service levels. The proposed traffic improvements will actually improve service levels. The trips generated by the Town Center’s proposed improvements and their accompanying impact on service levels must be reviewed and agreed upon by independent professionals engaged by both the Township and PennDOT before construction starts.
Trips generated due to the new development will be less than the current zoning would generate and are substantially less than the Cardinal Crossing plan. The mix of uses at the Town Center has, in part, been selected based on their low impact on incremental traffic. Examples include self-storage and excluding a large fitness center, a reflection of the developer’s sensitivity to traffic.
Adding turning lanes, adding new travel lanes, modifying traffic signals, synchronizing traffic signals and re-striping are the kinds of improvements that are planned at various choke points and intersections including Sproul and Springfield Roads, Sproul and Old Marple Roads, Springfield and Old Marple Roads and Sproul and Lawrence Roads among others. We will be happy to discuss these at the May 21 meeting at Marple Newtown High School.
The Don Guanella property is currently zoned Institutional and Residential, and therefore can be developed with residential uses including single family homes, townhouses, carriage homes and twins. Also, the front institutionally-zoned ground can include schools, churches, hospitals, nursing homes and similar uses approximating 1/2 million square feet. Also, the large public park and recreation area would not be created under the current zoning plan.
None of these alternatives would provide the Township and the School District the amount of tax revenue provided by The Town Center, and they would generate more traffic than that generated by The Town Center.
Yes. Their current projects include a 144-acre golf course redevelopment in New Castle County, DE, for 713 units of varying housing types; and 123 townhomes in Chesterbrook in Chester County, PA. There is substantial residential interest in the residentially zoned portion of the site.
IMPACT ON NEARBY RETAIL
Yes. Wegmans, as well as other high-quality retailers.
Eight of the 11 supermarkets are Giant Supermarkets or Acme Supermarkets – so you can certainly make a case that we don’t need more Giants or Acmes. The proposed supermarket will be Delaware County’s first Wegmans, America’s favorite grocery store (according to Market Force Information’s 2017 Customer Loyalty Index). Wegmans is also a highly regarded employer, one of only 12 companies to appear on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 20 straight years (listed #2 in 2017). Wegmans is widely considered the most coveted supermarket for a community.
The Town Center at Marple Preserve is not simply a retail development. It is a walkable mixed-use, project where people will live, work, shop and play. The Town Center will be a community asset – a hub of activity and source of jobs, taxes and private funding to preserve the park and make surrounding roadway improvements. It protects and provides permanent walking trails, recreational opportunities and green space; approximately 78% of the undeveloped area of the site – 166 acres – will be preserved as open space.
Most proposed tenants for The Town Center are new to the market and desire to be in a new town center.
Lawrence Park Shopping Center is currently owned by the premier strip shopping center real estate trust. They are financially strong and skilled in redevelopment. While we can’t speak for them, their experience in redevelopment points to an ability to make Lawrence Park Shopping Center a great destination as well. We believe that our proposed development will be a catalyst to the redevelopment of the Lawrence Park Shopping Center, which otherwise could well remain as it is today. There is demand for more retail space by credible retailers looking to enter Marple and there are retailers right-sizing their stores which Lawrence Park Shopping Center can accommodate.