While St. Charles Seminary is moving forward with its plan to sell 45 of its 75 acres, several residents of the neighboring community have formed an organization called Coalition for Neighborhood Character and Quality. The coalition has been circulating a flyer around Merion and Wynnewood to announce a November 6 meeting at the Merion Tribute House. The flyer states the goals of the coalition are:
• To preserve the aesthetics, quality of life, green space, low density and character of a historic neighborhood along East Wynnewood Road in the face of increasing development pressures.
• To participate in land use planning for the future use of the St. Charles Seminary tract.
• To inform members of the Coalition and affected neighborhoods of matters regarding the development of the St. Charles Seminary tract, including traffic volume and parking on neighborhood roadways.
• To provide advice and potential support to affected neighborhoods regarding other development along East Wynnewood Road.
Another letter sent to neighbors on behalf of the Coalition says they are “concerned about the impact that as many as 500 apartments constructed in the St. Charles Seminary Tract could have on our small historic streets.”
More than two months ago, Property reported on two meetings to which select members of the community were invited by Seminary Rector Bishop Senior to discuss their concerns about the impending sale and subdivision.
There is a thorough report of those meetings -- called Community Focus Groups -- on the Coalition's website, stopmakingdense.com. None of the Coalition members were available to comment, although it does seem likely (based on the URL of the coalition’s website) that at least one of them, in addition to being concerned about increased density, is a Talking Heads fan.
UPDATE: In case the neighbors meeting at Merion Tribute House tonight didn’t have enough to talk about, Pittsburgh based HFF, LP (HF) announced last week that “it has been exclusively retained for the disposition of the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary Development Site”.
According to HFF’s press release:
The Site is also ideal for redevelopment through a potential rezoning for greater residential density, or change in use, including hospitality or retail. Based on robust supply-demand fundamentals in Lower Merion Township and conformity to neighborhood restrictions, the highest and best use for the Site would be the redevelopment of the existing seminary and utilization of the remaining available air-rights.
Well isn’t that interesting!