Although the Kennett Square Borough Council members took no action on the matter, they got an earful on Monday about the NVF Co. and the possible uses of the land it sits on after it is sold.
NVF is located on the west end of the borough between Mulberry and South streets. The company is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and acting CEO Frank Romanelli said the company intends to sell. That has given the Council members the chance to ponder how to zone the land so the uses will conform to their hopes for the future growth of the town.
First up with information was Romanelli, who said it's important to him and the company to sell the land as fast as possible for the highest possible price. But he also said that he has been working with real estate agent Russ Richardson with the goal of accepting a bid from a developer who has a positive and imaginative plan for the land's use. In that regard, he said, he wants to work with the borough.
Romanelli reminded the members that the land has been in use for about a century, and in that time may have absorbed various contaminants.
"It's a Superfund site," he said, referring to places that the federal government deems areas of hazardous waste. Still, he said, it is not on the high priority list, and tests that the company has conducted indicate that the main 19-acre tract of land is appropriate for residential development.
Consultant Peter Simone, who has spoken at several recent meetings about how the Council might best change the town zoning, followed Romanelli.
Simone said the Council would be well advised to listen to proposals of potential buyers for the NVF property and then zone according to what they like. He also recommended extending Magnolia, Mulberry and Lafayette streets as inroads into new residential developments in the area.
He said the NVF property and the greater area around it could be divided into four sections:
1. The area around State and Cypress streets at the west end of town, he called the gateway. He said a zoning overlay to increase the density of new buildings would allow developers to put in something "nicer than an auto parts store." He said altering zoning could permit mixed use commercial and restaurants. "Maybe extend the height from 35 to 45 feet," he said.
2. The area that now houses the old ShurFine building he called "transitional residential." One type of residential development could be seven acres of high density housing, he said, possibly holding 84 units.
3. This is the area that the NVF building now sits in. He said it is large enough for a variety of residential uses, possibly adult housing, civic space and interior plazas. That land would be 25 percent open space.
4. The fourth section he called the "south sector," and that is the area now occupied by the NVF baseball field. He said that land would allow for the free market to buy properties with lot sizes similar to those of the surrounding neighborhoods.
@bod:The Council unanimously approved the new subdivision and land development ordinance, which has been in the works since 2001. The ordinance essentially provides for municipal right of ways in land that is being developed or subdivided. It also accommodates new Environmental Protection Agency regulations that demand greater attention to stormwater management.