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Fate of Ravenscliff's Phase III To Be Decided in December

The Marple Township Board of Commissioners will be making a decision on the last phase of the Ravenscliff development at their December meeting.

BROOMALL–The fate of the 34.8-acre Ravenscliff development's final phase–located on Old Marple Road in Media–will be decided on at the next Marple Township Board of Commissioners meeting in December. 

A conditional use hearing on the final phase of the property–owned by The Benson Companies–was given at a Nov. 13 commissioners meeting. Attorney Don Petrosa, representing The Benson Companies, said a conditional use approval was really not needed but went before the board with "abundance of caution."

Bo Erixxon, vice president of the land and site development for the project, reported he has met with the two organizations–Crum Creek Neighbors and the Crum Creek Valley Association–who had previously vocalized their concerns over the sensitive nature of the watershed, according to The Delco News Network.

"They [the meetings with the organizations] have worked out effectively in that they both supported our plan for approval at the Planning Commission two weeks ago," said Erixxon at the Nov. 13 commissioners meeting. 

The final phase for the Ravenscliff development will include 146 four-story stacked townhomes in clusters of five to seven ranging from 1,800 to 2,300 square feet. The original plan called for 160 mid-rise units. 

Erixxon said the new units will "look much better on the site and the topography, and will have a better look for the township and the surrounding residents."

Dan Leefson, 7th ward commissioner, shared he liked the new plan, though, he was disappointed in that he wished the developers would continue the townhomes developed in the previous phases throughout the rest of the project. 

"But I'm happy we're not getting the four-boxed buildings that I think would have looked like a massive apartment complex," said Leefson. "So, I'll swallow hard on this one and hopefully you'll continue on. What you've built so far looks very nice."

Two encroachments are anticipated in the plan. Erixxon said they are working with the neighbors in which they are promising 100 feet of non-disturbance and a 150-foot berm with landscaping surrounding Phase III's development from its neighbors. According to Erixxon, no structures, such as sheds, may be built in the buffer area. 

In addition, in the current plan, the cul-de-sac will be located approximately 112 feet from the property line and and a 150-foot berm with landscaping surrounding Phase III's development from its neighbors. 

Joe Inverso, president of the Crum Creek Civic Association, shared his positivity with the new plan.

"We’re very pleased with the changes he [Erixxon] has made for us," said Inverso before the board. "We certainly see this project as a vast improvement over the four condo buildings. We’re encouraged by that."

However, one item that still concerned Inverso was in regards to the berm. According to Inverso, the berm has shortened in length and does not reach one of the property to the other. Inverso suggested a berm with a higher height to mitigate the amount of light coming from vehicle headlights into the neighbors' homes. 

Erixxon responded that in order to create a higher berm and to extend the length of the berm, they would then be encroaching upon the non-disturbed zone. 

"I can't commit to doing that without the room," said Erixxon. "If you give me the berm then I'd do it."

If approved, Erixxon said they will be able to extend the berm but it will encroach 25 feet in from the 100 feet of non-disturbance, which in turn will leave 75 feet of undisturbed buffer. In addition, Erixxon said the berm would vary in height but assured that it would be much taller on Ravenscliff side due to the location of the development, in which the surrounding neighbors are situated uphill. 

Both Phase I and Phase II were granted approval previously by the commissioners in August 2010 and March of this year, respectively. Both phases included 29 carriage homes.

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