NEWTOWN SQUARE–Shoppers at the Newtown Square Shopping Center may be seeing some new parking spaces and parking traffic patterns soon at the parking lot. Newtown Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved, 4-0, the land development waiver requested by the shopping center at a meeting on Monday night.
The shopping center sought a waiver from the township's land development requirements to restripe and redesign the parking area mainly around the former Dressbarn site to create better traffic pattern.
"We have requested in light of the very minor improvements being proposed that the board authorize a waiver of the former land development process," said Robert Lewis, of Kaplin Stewart, the representing attorney for the shopping center.
Because it is commercial property, there is a potential to qualify as a land development due to the alterations to the parking, said Township Engineer Eileen Nelson.
"So it formally needs to be waived by the supervisors in order for it to not go through that process. They would still be required to do the grading permit application and have all that reviewed to make sure that the construction was appropriate," said Nelson.
Approved by township zoning officials in August, the Dressbarn site will now house the location for Panera Bread and a frozen yogurt shop. The Zoning Hearing Board also approved two variances for the application of the two eateries–one for outdoor seating and a reduction in size of parking spaces from the required 10 ft. by 20 ft. to 9 ft. by 18 ft.
Lewis said only the immediate vicinity around the Dressbarn will see the restriping and redesign of parking spaces. "Basically in that area that serves–or should have served–the Dressbarn," said Lewis.
In addition, a few parking spaces behind the Wine & Spirits store in the shopping center will also get some restriping. "There's going to be some cutting and paving but not the entirety has to be repaved there," said Robert Lewis, of Kaplin Stewart. "There may be a top coat put on some of it."
Lewis said with the restriping and redesign of the parking area at the side of Dressbarn, it will create 28 additional parking spaces. According to Lewis, the entrance of Panera Bread will be on the corner end of where the Dressbarn used to be.
"So what we are also trying to facilitate is we're trying to get some of the customers to move away from the 'canoe' and make sure that area stays open for the other in-line tenants there," said Lewis. "Trying to get some of the Panera customers to come around the corner and we're going to have parking actually on that side. So, hopefully utilizing better that parking area down there."
The 'canoe' area of the parking area is referred to where the Hollywood Tans is located, according to Lewis.
Township Manager Mike Trio stated that when the shopping center comes before the board for their fit-out plan, the township will then be able to make sure that all the spaces and redesign is conformed with township code.