Diminished Quality of Life for Marple Residents
Eliminating 213 acres of forest and replacing it with nearly one million square feet of retail and commercial sprawl plus more than 300 units of housing will bring urban-style noise, congestion and commotion. With 24,000 residents in 10 square miles, Marple can ill afford to add 1,000 new residents to its population.
Declining Home Property Values
As quality of life is harmed, impacts of this high-density commercial and multi-family residential development will also cause home property values to decline. Also, flooding the housing market with hundreds of new homes will bring down everyone's values through simple supply and demand economics. Even if this were all commercial, the development will have an adverse effect on existing homes due to the traffic, loss of the noise barrier, visual pollution, etc. Instead of working to make Marple a walking town, with a small town feel with community oriented parks and trails, it will become a stop on the crossroads of the highways.
Cardinal Crossing will create ~37,000 new vehicle trips per day according to the developer’s own traffic study. The Saturday midday peak will add 2,842 new vehicle-trips per HOUR. Traffic will increase by a huge amount on local roads. The traffic situation in this area is already far in excess of what current road infrastructure can manage. "Adaptive traffic signals" will not make this problem less ridiculous or irresponsible. The pollution from these cars would also have a measurable impact on our health.
Environmental and Health Impacts
The Cardinal Crossing proposal woud basically build on everything except for the creeks (with bridges over those). It is almost total destruction of 213 acres of forest, which may amount to near 10 percent of the tree canopy coverage of Marple Township. The Archdiocese property contains important streams, wetlands and habitat. The intense development proposed would also impact flooding problems downstream. The Darby Creek Valley Association has raised serious issues with the proposal. There is also Delaware County's existing air quality problem to consider. The county ranked 3,126th out of 3,143 counties nationwide in a very dangerous air pollution category called PM 2.5. Clear cutting 213 acres of air-filtering forest will exacerbate our already hazardous air pollution problem.
Dubious Tax Benefits
Several important national studies have conclusively proven that new development costs municipalities between $1.03 and $2 for each new dollar of tax revenue raised. The increased need for expensive services like schools, police, sewer, water, road maintenance and repair, snow plowing, township personnel, insurance, etc., offset or negate any increase in tax revenue. The increase in school costs from Cardinal Crossing by adding possibly hundreds of new students is another cost that was strangely underestimated in the presentations by the developer. Open space on the other hand is actually economcially beneficial for a community.
Increasing Sewer Demand Will Cost Everyone
Building out this site will substantially increase the burden on an already overburdened sewer system. The existing trunk lines do not have the capacity to handle the additional flow from such a huge development. The enormous costs of expanding sewer capacity will be borne by taxpayers.
Unnecessary Added Shopping Would Dilute Existing Business
Does anyone believe there is a need for one million square feet of chain retail, big box stores, and other commercial development? Is there demand for a dense development of 303 new housing units? Hardly. Our region is over saturated with retail and commercial shopping centers and malls, many with empty space. More retail will simply lead to decline and more vacancies in existing commercial centers.
Destroying a Virtual Public Trust
These 213 acres were owned for more than a century by the tax exempt Archdiocese of Philadelphia. This adds a "public" component to the ownership of the land. The other public components are, one, developing these 213 acres will adversely impact the community in and around Marple Township and, two, the public has had access to these woods for many decades. The overwhelming sentiment in Marple is that this taxpayer-subsidized forest be protected because of its environmental value and the special nature of its ownership. Moreover, it is now official Catholic Church policy – in light of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' – to find ways to protect our "common home." We're quite confident that Pope Francis would agree with us: that this land be sold for conservation. We hope, though, there's not a disconnect between the Vatican and the Archdiocese.
The Costs of Losing the Don Guanella forest