Edgmont Township is an attractive community that will be a prime target for new residential and business growth. The question is, how to balance development efforts while still maintaining open spaces that are characteristic of Edgmont’s beauty?
For example, the apartment complex proposed for the heart of the Runnymeade Farms community faces intense opposition. At multiple Planning Commission meetings, opposition is unanimous. Residents are upset and rightly concerned about the lack of traffic planning, parking, adequate storm water management and the economic impact on the neighborhood home and condo values. Many residents feel resignation towards the project and intend to move away from their homes in Edgmont as the solution.
The Township DOES have the right, based on the Planned Residential Development (PRD) Zoning Code, to deny the plan.
So, how do we work with the property owner to find a better community wide solution that yields a fair value for their land?
Real estate professionals tell me that the land is worth about $5M. Apparently, the value is based on 250 apartments times $20K, the price per apartment a builder pays based on projected future rents.
What if, as an alternative, we could approve 30 luxury homes like in the Chapel Hill At Paoli, increasing property values throughout Runnymeade Farms, and likely yielding fair value to the landowner. Liseter on Rt 252 in Newtown Square and The Enclave at Ridley Creek on Rt 352 in Edgmont provide other luxury home comps.
Other options include seeking the help of our conservation groups, like The Natural Lands Trust and the Willistown Conservation Trust, to see if there is a creative solution that gets the landowner to a good place after tax but preserves some open space. Is there an opportunity to swap additional apartments on Rt 3 to create a “Town Center” in exchange for open space in Runnymeade?
What about the old firehouse parcel that has tentative plans to place a large gas station mega complex of retail and apartments on an already busy intersection at the corner of 352 and Gradyville?
How does growth (population and density) affect the ability for first responders to respond? Do we have the equipment or training, do we need to borrow from other townships? At what cost?
Let’s ask some good questions and see what options might be acceptable to both the builders and the community. We must work creatively with current stakeholders to advance a plan that keeps development efforts from creating potential traffic fiascos, or over crowding eyesores. In Runnymeade’s example, it is hopeful a new solution encourages residents to want to continue to stay and live in the community verses move away as the solution, as so many residents are currently contemplating.