Traffic and noise a concern for planned Fresh Market complex

 

As Bowman Properties move forward in the development of 8200 Germantown Avenue, the neighbors along Hartwell Lane are not budging in their opposition. Joyce Lenhardt, who chairs the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s (CHCA) sub committee which has been meeting with neighbor groups as well as Bowman Properties officials, reported to the CHCA Executive Committee on Thursday evening that the Hartwell Lane neighbors are still concerned over the traffic patterns and noise that may come from the completed project.

“They have a nice quiet street right now,” Lenhardt said.

The project will include a Fresh Market grocer, several storefronts along Germantown Avenue, 14 condo units above the grocery store, and nine townhouses along Shawnee Street.

Currently, Hartwell Lane is a westbound one-way street and will have to be reversed to an eastbound one-way street that will direct traffic onto Germantown Avenue. After several meetings, this change in traffic patterns remains a major source of contention amongst the neighboring residents.

“The traffic is a big problem and we haven’t come up with a way to solve it,” Lenhardt said.

Although there are still a lot of issues to be hashed out, Lendhardt remains optimistic that an agreement can be reached. She emphasized the importance of the process of working towards a common ground with Bowman Properties.

“Time is marching and we want to make sure we can evaluate the project prior to it (Bowman request for zoning change) going to City Council,” Lenhardt said.

 

College expansion plan update

In other development news, Larry McEwen was present at the meeting to discuss the progress of the Chestnut Hill College (CHC) expansion. CHC has proposed a $350-500 million dollar expansion project that will involve both their SugarLoaf and main campuses. A negotiating group comprised of members of the CHCA, the Chestnut Hill Business Association (CHBA), Friends of Wissahickon, Chestnut Hill Historical Society and representatives from neighbors surrounding the properties have been convening with the hopes of forming an agreement on the proposed project.

McEwen reported, the negotiating group has devised a Community Development Agreement (CDA) on the development of the property and CHC has agreed to create easements in the process that will guarantee the conservation of 19 of the collective 32-acre properties.

A vote regarding the development was cast at a recent meeting with seven members in approval and two absent. The two absent represent neighbors who are still displeased with the proposed master plan.

The groups will present their reports to the board at the next CHCA meeting on October 27 at 6pm, to be held on the SugarLoaf campus of CHC.

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