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Melmark's Mansion Expansion Gets OK From Supervisors

Melmark's application for three conditional uses were approved by Newtown Township Board of Supervisors on Nov. 26.

NEWTOWN SQUARE–The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved three conditional uses for Melmark, Inc., located at 2600 Wayland Road, Berwyn, in Newtown Township, on Monday night.

Melmark received approval from the supervisors on amendments to the existing conditional uses in the current R-1 Residential District and uses permitted in steep slopes of the following:

  • Change in operation of a non-profit school with residential clientele and building/site improvements.
  • Buildings in excess of three stories or 35 feet.
  • To allow limited construction of improvements in steep and very steep slope.

In addition, supervisors unanimously approved the preliminary land development as submitted by Melmark on Monday night. 

Included in Melmark's land development plan is expanding the existing mansion with 21,000 square feet additional space in the rear of the building that will house a conference room, office space, two classrooms, and additional living spaces.

The mansion expansion will also increase 30 more staff members and 16 total day students for the new classrooms, according to Don Petrosa, attorney for Melmark. Currently, there are 230 adult day students and 120 children day students. In other words, the total 350 students will increase by 16 more students.

In addition, Timothy Brennan, the civil engineer for the project, stated that Melmark has the intention of connecting to the public sewer system and approximately 25,000 gallons per day has been reserved for the school. A large stormwater basin will be on the rear of the campus, said Brennan, and a sewage pump is located 200 feet from the nearest residence, which is in accordance with the township ordinance. 

"It's a small corner that's impacting steep slopes there," said Brennan about the location of the stormwater basin. "There is no soil erosion or failure. The Planning Commission already approved Melmark's application for this."

Additional parking will also be part of Melmark's plan. Approximately 109 parking spaces will be located in the main lot in the rear of the campus. In total, the application calls for 194 new parking spaces throughout the campus. According to Brennan, most of the parking will be located in the rear of the campus. Project traffic engineer Nicole Kline, of McMahon Transportation Engineers & Planners, stated the new parking spaces are in existence today but will be upgraded ans formal parking spaces in the plan.

According to Petrosa, there are 139 residents currently residing at Melmark, 30 of which are under the age of 21. Kline said additional traffic with the mansion expansion will result in approximately 49 additional trips in the evening and weekday hours. 

"Traffic conditions will not adversely affect the traffic in the area," said Kline in regards to the main intersection at Wayland Road.

Supervisor John Nawn motioned for approval the conditional uses and preliminary land development plan. Supervisor George Wood seconded the motion for the conditional uses, while Supervisor Ed Partridge seconded the preliminary plan. Both were unanimously approved by the board.

According to their website, Melmark is a private, not-for-profit provider of comprehensive residential, educational, vocational, and healthcare services for children and adults with developmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorders, acquired brain injury, other neurological and genetic disorders, and related challenging behaviors. 

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