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Supervisors Approve Amended Final Land Development Plan For Somerset/Terrazza

Newtown Township Board of Supervisors approved a conditional use and amended final land development application of Somerset/Terrazza application with provisions at a meeting on Monday, Sept. 24.

NEWTOWN SQUARE–Nearly a year after their preliminary final land development plan was approved by the Newtown Planning Commission, the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors approved the conditional use and waiver requirements as well as the amended final land development application for the 40-acre Della Porta property on Monday night.

Developer David Della Porta's application for the proposed Terrazza/Somerset development, off of Route 252/Newtown Street Road and Gradyville Road, was previously approved for rezoning by supervisors last September. The zone was changed from SU-7 (special use) to AO (apartment/office zone).

The plan now includes 250 multi-family units in four buildings approximately 55-feet high (original plan had 14, 55-feet tall buildings) and 137 two-story townhouses. 

A few improvements of the plan:

  • Less density
  • Less impervious coverage
  • Less visual impact on neighbors and drivers
  • More buffer between the development and existing neighbors
  • Greater open space
  • Utilizing less sewage (with potential of giving some back to the township)

Supervisors unanimously approved the conditional use and the waiver requirements as provided in section 134 of the township code. 

Some of the waivers include:

  • Removing 81 trees and replacing 111 trees, 52 less trees than the requirement by the township ordinance (a total of 850 new trees and 2,400 shrubs will be planted on the entire property).
  • Size of sewer pipe of 12 inches instead of 15 inches per the township engineer approval.
  • Buffer planning within 30 days of construction extension per the township engineer and manager approval.
  • Slightly increasing steep slope disturbance (by pushing the development down the hill) to save more woodland area and to minimize retaining walls–steep slope increase of 0.7 acres and very steep slope increase of 0.10 acres or about 0.8 acres. In addition the existing previous total of 0.44 acres, the totality of disturbance will increase to approximately 1.26 acres. 
  • Removing the previously approved 10-foot retaining wall and replacing it with planting on the slope and a rain garden.

Supervisors voted 4-1, with Supervisor George Wood voting against, for the approval of the amended final land development application for Terrazza/Somerset, which includes the approved conditional use and waiver requirements.

In addition, another provision was raised by Supervisors Vice Chairman Dr. Ross Lambert about a mimimum donation amount be made to the Newtown Square Fire Co. from residents of the Terrazza/Somerset property as the other Della Porta properties have previously done.

"Our fire company is survived on donations. If they don’t get those donations from our entire community, then they will eventually go bankrupt," said Lambert. "So moving forward, because of the tremendous number of units being added not only with your [Della Porta] development but with others, we would like to see some responsibility on part of each resident."

JC September 26, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Just what the town needs, more traffic on an already busy road and worse, more apartments to bring more kids into our schools, unless age restricted? Apartments lead to more school taxes and all the extra facilities needed when more children attend schools. Then there’s the problem whenever units remain empty too long; standards are lowered and petty crime starts to appear… empty apartments have been known to lead to section 8 housing.
david jordon September 26, 2012 at 01:20 PM
JC, I seriously doubt that high dollar apartment units are going to bring "section 8" housing into the area. The condos at Terrezza sell for more than $500,000. I would think that the builder has enough common sense not to put lower income housing next door. From what I understand these apartments will be high dollar rentals focused on retired person(s).
JC September 26, 2012 at 01:56 PM
DJ, I know many high price apartments that slowly declined when empty too long. However, I will happily eat my words if these are age restricted. In fact, I may put my name on their list for a rental.
david jordon September 26, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Looking at several other apartment complexes that exist in town, that are far below the proposed new ones, they do not have section 8 in them (yet) So, I would assume that these newer apartments will be many, many, years away from section 8. Although condos/townhouses would be better for a tax base support. I hope that you enjoy the new place! They would appear to be spectacular...
19073 resident September 26, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Holly brook has a couple of apartments that are section 8
JC September 26, 2012 at 07:43 PM
As "19073 resident" stated above, Holly Brook has section 8. At one time, this building was a very high price apartment building; I had friends who rented there. It was extremely expensive at that time..... and now section 8 ??? ...... I hate to be right when I live in the town.
Abe and mike Ns investments September 27, 2012 at 03:15 AM
David. Stop drinking the cool aid. I cannot wait for section 8 .
LF September 27, 2012 at 09:35 AM
High end rentals? Is there such a thing? Ask the residents who paid top dollar to live in those overpriced condos (terrazza). How they feel about having rental units coming next door. This township sure has a strange way of perceiving itself for the future. It seems as if they pick and choose certain developments for Approval based on ????? They make no sense. Look at the shops across the street- The township was told they would be high end stores , Little gym , sushi , coffee , pizza, cleaners , ( your standard shopping center -which will and have no doubt be the standard for the next . High end retail is a fad - of the past They will remain in Ardmore, haverford and Kop. Don't let any developer fool you, the $40-45 / sq ft retail are a thing of the past. JC. - do you think apartments on top of retail stores bring in high rentals? I can't imagine seeing that in our town. The green countrie village condos - Now they should allow retail establishments in that development . " "neighborhood shopping center ".
L. Ferguson September 27, 2012 at 02:30 PM
WE ABSOLUTELY DO NOT NEED MORE HOUSING, TOWNHOUSES, APARTMENTS. WHAT WE NEED ARE TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS TO GET SOME BACKBONE AND STOP THIS NONSENSE. WE, THE TAX PAYERS, DO NOT WANT THIS TYPE OF PLANNING (IF YOU WANT TO CALL IT THAT)!
JC September 27, 2012 at 02:40 PM
L. Ferguson said it all !!!!
david jordon September 27, 2012 at 02:50 PM
LF You have obviously not been in that shopping center. Most of those stores and restaurants are top end! Maybe its time for you to step out of your house and actually expand your horizons. Fresco, Burlap and Bean, Yuki Sushi, Onde and Bedazzled, Little Gym are all very popular, usefull and successfull businesses which are ALWAYS crowded. Your description of a "coffee store, pizza place and cleaners" are pretty weak. Mr. Ferguson, I am very with you that we don't need anymore housing. However, that isn't "realistic" Our constitution gives us the right to purchase land and use it. I am sure if you owned the land you wouldnt just leave it open space to look pretty for everyone. You would probably do what most people do, sell it, build it up, and make a profit on it. Stop being a hypocrite would ya.
david jordon September 27, 2012 at 02:53 PM
JC Florida Park was once considered "a vacation retreat" Things change and we can't stop it. I can appreciate your concerns but something is going to go there. Atleast they are targeting "high end rentals" Yes, your right, we dont know what the future holds, but I don't see goverment paid housing coming to those units for a very long time. Who knows, maybe Florida Park will once again become a vacation destiny...
JC September 28, 2012 at 09:44 AM
Single homes for seniors would have been nice rather than more apartments in a town that has too many now ...... Apartments pack in more people in a small area..... good for developer, bad for the taxpayer.... unless age restricted.

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