* An "externality" is a cost of doing business that is shifted to a third party, in this case, the public. When a development contributes to downstream flooding or degraded air quality, for example, the developer is shifting a real cost to other people who have not agreed to bear that cost.
Can you spot the difference between the two versions?
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April 11, 2016
We expect the township planning commission, which just recently rejected two environmentally destructive development proposals, to view this latest version of Cardinal Crossing as the County planners have. And then there's the township's land planning consultant, Tom Comitta, and the township's engineering firm, Pennoni, who have lodged dozens of objections to the original plans, none of which have been addressed by the new version. All the same problems and externalities* are still there: The threat to make eastern Delaware County’s already terrible air quality even worse; the prospect of vastly increased stormwater flooding Darby Creek and downstream townships; the outrage of clear cutting the last large intact animal habitat and passive recreation area in eastern Delaware County. Added to these environmental threats, residents' quality of life and property values are still imperiled.
As we’ve said before, the Archdiocese should adhere to the teachings of Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, Laudato Si’, which calls on all people, including the Catholic Church, to value and protect our natural environment. Given that the public subsidized the Church's ownership of this forest for more than a century, we don't think it unreasonable that they accept less to preserve it. Even more importantly: will taking less really affect the Archdiocese's financial position? Considering the hundreds of already-developed Archdiocesesan properties that will come up for sale in the future, this place represents only a very small tooth on a big cog of Archdiocesan overall wealth. But the Don Guanella forest is a very big cog for Delaware County's environment and quality of life.
The revised plan indicates a large increase in commercial square footage, AND a zoning change is still required
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Bruce Goodman has decided to press on with his plans to clear cut the last big forest in eastern Delaware County. Instead of incorporating Delaware County Planning Department's recommendations to preserve the important natural features of this forest by leaving a large contiguous piece of it intact and preserved (50% of it by the County’s estimates), he’s come back with essentially the original Cardinal Crossing plans which would level the forest and regrade the entire site (see below). As far as we know, the county planning department won't see these new plans, but if they are returned to the county for review, it is unlikely they would offer anything but their original objections.
The O'Hara campus occupies the lower right portion of the plans. We're not sure why field configurations behind the football field have been changed. Click to see larger images.
To that end, the Archdiocese should release Mr. Goodman from his contract and refund his deposit. Interested parties should be given the chance to discuss with the Archdiocese a fair conservation price for this land which could of course include soccer and ball fields on the current site of the Don Guanella School.
Air Quality Update: December 27
By Ken Hemphill
YYou may have missed our other updates
A preservation scenario could include soccer fields on the current site of Don Guanella which already has several fields.
Clear cutting 203 acres for 10 acres of fields?
It's not a done deal: January 18th
Two of the three "conservation hubs" proposed by Delco Planners in 2010 have been successfully preserved. Why has this third conservation hub not been protected? Click to see larger image.
Please join us at the April 28th Marple Planning Commission meeting at Marple Newtown High School at 7pm
Cardinal Crossing is back, and it's just as bad as before
Is there anything new with the plans? Not really. Marple residents will still get 243 “multifamily units,” about 1.15 million square feet of commercial space (up from one million), around 5,000 parking spaces, approximately 35,000 car trips EACH day clogging area roads, and what looks like one hundred acres of impervious surface. In exchange for this blight, Marple would get six half-size soccer fields in the middle of Cardinal Crossing. And as they're being partly carved out of an original buffer between the residential and commercial areas, it's hardly a concession by Mr. Goodman.
A reasonable person could be forgiven for thinking that the addition of six small soccer fields to “Cardinal Crossing” is an attempt by the developer to divide the community which has unfortunately not been provided with enough field space elsewhere in the township. Residents should consider what they’re actually being asked to accept: a diminished quality of life and degraded local environment in exchange for a handful of fields. This is a not a good trade, especially considering we can have the existing fields at Don Guanella AND protect this forest.
Greenway Plan for the Darby Creek Watershed
Delaware County Planning Dept., 2010
"Marple Township should partner with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to conserve and permanently protect the open space areound Cardinal O'Hara High School. This wooded open space has great potential as an ecological education area and for passive recreation." -Delco Planners, 2010