Traffic and the township's use of the donated open space were the major issues during the conditional use hearings for Pulte Homes for the proposed 375- residential units for a gated senior community located near Swinehart and East Reeceville Roads in West Brandywine Township. The hearing is ongoing.
A conditional use hearing reviews a development plan's concept to make sure it will fit into the township's long-range comprehensive plans. As part of the conditional use process, the board of supervisors has the ability to place "reasonable conditions" an applicant must meet in order for the project to go forward. These conditions usually stem from concerns board members and the public believe are neighborhood issues caused by the proposed development. However, the legal definition of "reasonable" comes into play because a developer can appeal any excessive conditions through the local court system.
According to the traffic engineer from McMahon and Associates, traffic patterns for a 55 and older community have a different driving pattern than a normal single family development. There would be minimal traffic at the peak morning and evening rush hours. This is due to senior citizens driving later than morning rush and usually returning prior to the evening rush hour.
The traffic engineer said increased traffic caused by development, traffic patterns do not change. The traffic follows the same patterns; there is just an increase in the number using the road system. From the four intersections studied, Chris McMahon said 40 percent of the traffic drove eastward while 30 percent drove south towards the bypass during the morning rush. Township Engineer Jim McCombie asked if Monacy and Reeceville Roads were studied. When McMahon said "No," McCombie suggested that intersection be included in their study. McMahon & Associates agreed for it to be included.
A glitch came for Pulte Homes when Dennis Glackin, planner for Pulte, testified one of the three properties slated to be given to the township as open space would not be allowed to be used for anything other than passive recreation. Prior testimony from Glackin said, "Pulte did not want any lights on the property." When the board heard the change in testimony, they pursued it for clarification. Pulte was now clear in their demand for only passive recreation for that one space. Glackin said nothing more than trails would be acceptable to Pulte. The other two properties to be used as open space would not have any restrictions.
Supervisor Carl Lindborg said he did not see an advantage for West Brandywine Township in having that property as open space if the township would not be able to use the property. Lindborg said, "I see the advantage of it for East Brandywine residents, but not for West Brandywine residents."
The hearing will continue until all of the testimony is completed. Once that is done, the township will have 45 days in which to render any decision and place any conditions in order for the concept to proceed. If Pulte accepts all of the conditions the board puts into the decision and order, the plan would move to a detailed engineering review during the planning commission review phase. Only after that phase is complete could any construction begin.