Chestnut Hill Community Association endorses revised college expansion plan
October 28, 2011By Jenny Swigoda
The Chestnut Hill Community Association (CHCA) voted to back a revised blueprint for a larger Chestnut Hill College (CHC).
CHC President Carol Jean Vale said the student population at the private college has nearly doubled since going co-ed in 2003 and that expansion was inevitable.
At a special CHCA Board meeting held on the school's Sugarloaf campus, the college presented an amended Master Plan. The new plan took nearly two-years to complete and includes changes aimed at winning community support. The college and the community worked together by forming a taskforce to work out any concerns.
The plan includes several easements on the property, which would prevent high-density development by protecting certain areas from development and ensuring that the buildings will not be overly visible from the street.
The plan calls for several new dormitories and 450-car underground parking structure.
The majority of the community representatives on the taskforce are supporting the college expansion plan. Only two, the Northwest Wissahickon Conservancy Inc (NCW) and the North Chestnut Hill Neighbors Inc (NCHNI), oppose the plan and both were not present at the meeting.
CHCA Board member Richard Snowden reminded the group that this process has been a long one, and that the college has been very accommodating.
"The college is not bound to the 62 % of easements, and they are not bound to a lot of items in the CDA, (Community Development Agreement)" said Snowden, adding, " let's get a spine and vote."
Greg Welsh, president of the Chestnut Hill Business Association and CHCA board member, said that the CHBA had voted and unanimously approved the college's plans.
In the end, 17 members of the Chestnut Hill Community Association board endorsed CHC's master and want it to move forward. Two board members voted against this measure.
8200 Germantown Ave.
Bowman Properties has reduced the number of townhomes planned for its retail/residential project for the old Magarity's site.
At last night's CHCA board meeting, Joyce Lenhardt with the organization's land use committee said the developer plans to build only eight townhomes instead of nine. Also each townhome will now get two parking spaces instead of one.
Lenhardt is also on a subcommittee that is working with Bowman Properties to work out concerns raised by neighbors, which include: traffic, lack of community amenities, parking, lack of set-backs and buffers on the sidewalks, townhouse height and garages below the townhouses.
Bowman properties' project calls for a Fresh Market grocery store, retail storefronts, condominiums, and townhomes for 8200 Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill.
The developer is working with the community association in an effort to win its support before asking the city for needed zoning changes.