Set amid 14 acres of the historic Ardrossan property — former home of Helen Hope Montgomery Scott, the socialite who inspired The Philadelphia Story — is a sprawling stone farmhouse that looks like it’s been there for a century. Surprise: It’s a new build, the work of West Chester-based architecture firm Archer & Buchanan, Ltd. “Everything feels like it has layers of history and time,” says the firm’s partner and co-founder, Richard Buchanan. “It looks like a well-preserved 100-year-old house.” Read more »
The famous “Philadelphia Story” land — represented on behalf of two family trusts by Edgar Scott III — has been the subject of ongoing neighborhood debate until developer Scott and Radnor Township commissioners brokered a compromise: The township’s planning commission would okay Scott’s plans for between 62 and 75 houses as long as the township had an opportunity to buy a tract or three to serve as green space.
And that’s exactly what’s happened: According to the Main Line Times’ Linda Stein:
Radnor Township has announced an $11.6 million deal to buy 71.03 acres of Ardrossan Farm at Darby Paoli and Newtown roads. If approved by the Board of Commissioners, the township plans to purchase the 27.65-acre Wheeler field, the 16.3-acre quarry tract and the 27.04-acre Rye field. The township land will be used for trails, wetlands and woodland preservation and protection of the viewshed.
It’s been a long battle, soldiers, but at long last Radnor Township has ruled on of part of the famous Ardrossan estate — late of The Philadelphia Story, late of Hope Montgomery Scott, late of civil conversation during many drawn-out meetings. Scott family heir Edward Scott III’s plans for development of the Ardrossan chunk in question — in the form of 62 homes at Ardrossan Farm — will, subsequent to this approval, move on to the next step: a hearing with a hearing officer, because there’s nothing like another hearing to get things done.
The Township Board has become progressively more flexible on the topic because of its plan to buy some of the Farm’s land and preserve it as green space. For more on the conditions the Township put on Scott, read this article at the Main Line Times.
And now, for other news…
Monday night at a Radnor Township conditional use hearing, Hope Montgomery Scott heir Edgar Scott III told hearing officer Bill Bolla that he hoped to find “like minded people” to buy some large tracks of land, along with a proposed 64 to 87 smaller home lots that comprise the remaining 311 acres of the iconic Ardrossan Farm.
The purpose of the hearing was for Bolla, on behalf of Radnor Township, to determine if Scott’s plan meets the criteria of the township ordinance that allows developers to build homes on lots that are smaller than what are usually allowed, based on standard zoning rules.
Scott’s company, which applied for the conditional use is called E.S. LP. He was represented at the hearing by John Snyder a partner at the Saul Ewing law firm.
After Bolla explained who he was and what the purpose of the hearing was, he invited interested parties who wanted to be recognized as having “standing,” to step forward.
Right then and there, things got contentious.
Parts of the Main Line land known as Ardrossan are close to getting a new owner–one that would likely preserve its current character and open space. Radnor Township is said to be “near a deal to buy part of the property,” specifically Wheeler Field and a 22-acre stretch at Newtown and Darby-Paoli roads, reports the Main Line Times.
Potential development plans as sketched out by heir Edward Scott III have caused strife in the township and concerns about multiple new dwellings and the new residents those dwellings would attract. The drama has been covered internationally, from the UK to the Huffington Post, which featured a slideshow of a house that is not, in fact, part of the drama. Oh well.
On August 5, the Radnor Planning Commission had its first opportunity to hear about ES3 LP’s plans for the Ardrossan estate, the land immortalized in the play and film The Philadelphia Story. Edgar Scott III, the principal of ES3 and one of the heirs in control of the Montgomery-Scott-Wheeler family trust, was, at the time of the meeting, applying for a single density modification that would pave the way for him to develop the land.