Morning Headlines: Delco Residents Protest Strip Mall Proposal

Residents are protesting, but officials haven’t said a word.

 

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With clumps of vacant commercial properties already taking up room in parts of Brookhaven, it’s no wonder the borough’s council members are keeping mum on a proposal the Inquirer’s Laura McCrystal calls “one of the borough’s only large parcels of open space.” Currently, the space is a baseball field and wooded lot.

The plan involves developing 26 acres of the 56-acre lot on the corner of Edgmont Avenue and Coeburn Boulevard, which the Chester Water Authority owns. Developers interested in the space plan to build a Giant Supermarket (the Giant currently across from the space would relocate to the new development), LA Fitness, restaurant, and retail space. Preliminary plans from developer Robert Hill included 770 parking spaces.

Some Brookhaven residents, however, are having none of that. Locals have banded together with protests, lawn signs, public meetings, and general speaking out on the project, as seen in the Inquirer:

“Why do we need more retail development?” said Dan Gallo, a resident who is speaking out against the plans. “We can’t keep our stores open anyway. We have closed storefronts and empty lots. Why are we developing more?”

With little space left to grow, new development is rare in Brookhaven. The borough has 8,000 residents and an already-crowded commercial corridor on Edgmont Avenue.

“If you need to build something in Brookhaven, it’s probably got to be in someone’s side yard,” said Mary McKinley, the borough secretary.

But while citizens voice their feelings, officials (with the exception of council member Janice Sawicki who wants the development “done carefully”) aren’t making a peep. What that silence means for residents will be revealed when council members cast their vote on the proposal (no set date, but it could happen sometime in the next few months) following a review of its potential effects on traffic and other issues.

In the past, the Delaware County Planning Department deemed the property “the borough’s largest privately owned open property.” This was included in a 2009 report that also said Brookhaven had “less than the recommended amount of open space,” which is why it became a recreation space in the first place. If plans go through, the baseball field would move to 5 acres of a different area of the property.

Brookhaven grappling with controversial development plan [Inquirer]

In other news…

Nonconforming fence discussed at LUPZ meeting [Chestnut Hill Local]

Vacancies remain at Avenue North [Temple News]

The Hive, a coworking space for women, is opening in Old City this fall [Technical.ly Philly]

$5M repaving, resurfacing Street Road project begins [Courier Times]

Montco church settles with builder in wrongful-arrest case [Inquirer]

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