The forty or so residents speaking against CC, echoed the concerns we have raised over the past six months. Some spoke to a degraded environment and our terrible air quality which would be made worse by CC and the threat that would pose to our children’s health. Others focused on traffic congestion (~12 million vehicle trips per year), the ding to our quality of life, massive increases in stormwater and flooding, reduced property values, empty stores in this and other shopping centers, One resident said that Goodman would literally be making a profit off the health of our children. Another said that he would rather pay a little more in taxes to pay for a township bond issue to buy the land than to shell out doctor co-pays for his asthma-afflicted daughter. Another
After reaching into his fright bag and pulling out specters of prisons, schools, and hospitals, Goodman claimed that Cardinal Crossing would leave 48% of the site as open space. This was a truly bizarre statement given that the sketch plan clearly shows virtually the entire forest being replaced with ~100 acres of impervious surface, 240 houses, 1.1 million sq. ft. of commercial/office, and ~5,000 parking spaces. To us, open space is a large, contiguous piece of undeveloped land that is set apart from and undisturbed by any development. It’s not a patch of dandelions between houses or big box stores. It’s not the barren monoculture situated between parking lots, behind a gas station, or in front of an office building. When these areas are removed from any open space calculations, we’re left with a sliver (10% ?) of actual open space.
Marple’s township engineer Joe Mastronardo weighed in with his long list of problems with the plans. He noted that current zoning limits development on steep and very steep slopes. The Cardinal Crossing proposal ignores this provision of Marple’s zoning code, fails to observe tree protections, inadequately identifies wetlands, and comes up woefully short on trails and playing fields. Mastronardo also stated that the towering retaining walls would create impediments to any possible recreation and that current sewer capacity cannot accommodate CC. Tom Comitta, the township’s land planning consultant, took his turn and noted that at minimum the large central area containing townhouses should be left open and undisturbed. Goodman’s team made it clear, though, that they cannot remove any more houses or commercial square footage and still have a viable project.
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In case you missed our other articles
Seeing through the greenwash
A litany of problems
The entire list of problems with Cardinal Crossing was staggering.
Our planning consultant, Dave Schwartz, noted in his rebuttal presentation that there was practically no density difference between the Cardinal Crossing versions and that the “fields” Goodman was offering represented a very small percentage of the site. And they wouldn’t even be available for possibly a decade, but even if they were built sooner, the kids playing there would be breathing car exhaust and diesel fumes as they played, at a time in their lives when their lungs are most vulnerable to pollution. He found it inexplicable that anyone would be okay with clear cutting 145 acres of air filtering forest in exchange for fewer than 10 acres of playing fields.
Destroying 203 acres for 10 acres of fields?
Both candidates for the 165th PA State House seat spoke out against the development and called for the conservation of this last eastern Delaware County forest. Elaine Paul Schaefer, the co-founder of the Radnor Conservancy and a current commissioner in that township, said that she would love to take on a conservation project like this and involve state agencies and land trusts. Alex Charlton, assistant to State Senator Tom McGarrigle, said that he would be looking into various potential funding possibilities to preserve the forest. Their comments underscore the fact that the Archdiocese does not need to sell this forest to a developer, but rather a conservation consortium could buy it and protect it.
Air Quality Update: December 27
Next up for the Goodman team was the Chairman of the Chester County Planning Commission, Matt Hammond, who assured the crowd that the Cardinal Crossing traffic tsunami would simply disappear because of space age “traffic adaptive systems.” Residents and some planning board members weren’t buying it, though. Cardinal Crossing would disgorge ~34,000 vehicle trips each day, and no gimmicky traffic system can turn that elephant into a mouse. Hammond was challenged by planning board member Patricia Fanelli who pointed out that the adaptive signals would only be installed in a relatively small area. “Would traffic not bottleneck just past where adaptive signals ended? These expensive signals would have to be added practically all over Pennsylvania to work at all.” We’re fairly certain that Hammond, in his role as chairman of the Chester County Planning Commission, would reject such a destructive plan as Cardinal Crossing if it were proposed for Chester County.
April 30, 2016
Several CC supporters were seen after the meeting in the lobby huddled around Bruce Goodman. As one SMG member was documenting this with a cell phone camera, Judi Goodman, Bruce’s wife, jumped in front of the camera and started waving her arms.
Most of the proponents of CC listed addresses on the far side of the township, miles away from the monstrosity. One Goodman supporter echoed him by suggesting that we could end up with a prison on the property, despite the fact that Delaware County already has one in Glen Mills. Bob Small, speaking in favor of Goodman’s plan, blamed Delaware County’s pollution problem on the number of lanes the Blue Route has but then unironically was not opposed to clear cutting the very forest that is filtering that contaminated air coming from 476. Builder Bobby Caprice spent his comment time extolling the virtues of Bruce Goodman as a builder and saying how great 1.1 million square feet of commercial would be for Marple. He also invited audience members to the parking lot if they had a problem with anything he said. His son, Rob, a college student, then said that statistics about science and air quality are meaningless and that it’s only the fields that are important. We’re not sure if he understands that kids would be breathing polluted air while they played soccer on tiny fields sandwiched between the Blue Route and 5,000 parking spots. For some reason, he mentioned that he works for A-Jon Construction, a local concrete company. We’re not sure if John Schivito’s A-Jon construction would get some of the concrete business to build Cardinal Crossing.
In one of the more peculiar statements by supporters of the development, Bob Hays said that “this is the type of development you see in other communities – this is what people want. We can live in the 1950s or move to the present with a development like this.” However, it was the handful of supporters of Cardinal Crossing who were living in the 50s with their antiquated and troubling attitudes towards the environment. Save Marple Greenspace has been trying to get residents to recognize that we’ve been saddled with 1950s era zoning that lacks emphasis on environmental protection, our health, air and water quality, and open space in general.
Attorney Joe Damico led off for Goodman’s team by stating that the Delaware County Planning Department and the PA DEP “reviewed” the plans, implying that those agencies approved and signed off on Cardinal Crossing. In fact, Delco’s Planning Department eviscerated the proposal and we have gotten no word that DEP has completed any official review of Cardinal Crossing let alone given its imprimatur. It’s also very curious to us that Joe would be associated at all with this project because, as the solicitor for Middletown Twp
Strange support for Cardinal Crossing...
What you can do to help
Cardinal Crossing leviathan harpooned by planning commission
Rejection of high density has important implications for Marple's last forest
It's not a done deal: January 18th
While this was a review of a "sketch plan," Marple's planners found the CC proposal very unacceptable
Cardinal Crossing is back and it's
just as bad as before
(which has one of the best open space programs in the county), he knows that Cardinal Crossing would have a zero percent chance of being approved in that township. Ask Frank McKee and Steve Wolfson who wanted to completely build out the Franklin Mint site but were stopped by Middletown.
man noted that the cost of buying the land would not be the $47 million that Goodman was willing to pay the Archdiocese. The actual price would be less than $20 million if all environmental constraints were factored in and the entire site weren’t entombed in concrete as it would be by Cardinal Crossing. Several commenters mentioned that Delaware County is alone among Philadelphia area counties for never having had an open space bond issue, something that could easily be rectified by county government.
By Ken Hemphill
Some planning commission members offered more strenuous objections than others, and so while one member Tim Moore said that he thought Goodman had addressed many of their previous concerns, Patricia Fanelli had serious concerns about traffic gridlock, pollution, and the inadequate provision for open space. She said she would not recommend a zoning change. Another member echoed others’ concerns about the huge traffic volumes and said the only way to remediate that problem would be to have much fewer buildings on the site. One board member expressed disappointment that Goodman had met privately with a local sports group to promise them fields. As we’ve noted before, courting an athletic association seemed to be an attempt to pit one group of residents against another. One board member rightly observed to Goodman’s team that there is a strong trend away from bricks and mortar stores with more shopping being done online. But this didn’t stop a few residents from standing up during the comment period and saying with a straight face that Cardinal Crossing would offer much needed shopping!
Hundreds of concerned Delco residents came out on a cold rainy night for another episode of the Cardinal Crossing saga.