Royal Farms has sight set on East Marlborough location

A sketch plan of the proposed Royal Farms off Route 1 in East Marlborough Township.
A sketch plan of the proposed Royal Farms off Route 1 in East Marlborough Township. Submitted Image

East Marlborough >> A Royal Farms convenience store as well as a medical office and possibly retail space is being considered for a 9-acre site on the south side of Route 1, opposite of Applebee’s Restaurant and where a Citgo gas station once operated.

East Marlborough supervisors spent time Monday night discussing some proposed tree removals on the plot, which sees 40,000 vehicles pass every day. The site has been vacant for many years.

Royal Farms has 188 stores in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. It is known for its superb chicken.

The discussion was about a number of trees on the property that could be deemed “specimen trees,” large or valuable enough to have special protection under the township’s regulations.

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After township officials and the developer’s arborist John Hosbach Jr. walked the site, they determined there were eight sizable trees on the East Marlborough portion of the site, which also includes some land in Kennett Township. Of those eight, Hosbach said, only five were really large enough to qualify as specimen trees, and of them, only two were valuable enough to be preserved.

Hosbach said the developers wanted to be given permission to remove the remaining three, which included two Norway maples and an ash tree. The maples were an invasive species, he said, and were in poor condition as well. The ash tree, although seemingly healthy when he looked at it, was subject at any time to infestation by the emerald ash borer, Hosbach said.

Robert McKinstry, who has a background in forestry himself, said he was opposed to taking down a tree that was not currently damaged by any infestation. In the end, the supervisors decided to allow the developers to take out the maple trees and to monitor the ash to see if it was affected by the invasive insects.

The supervisors also added 25 properties or structures to their list of historic resources. Historic Commission Chair John Rosencrans said many were simply left off the list years ago or were made separate from an earlier listing by a subdivision.