Chestnut Hill College Master Plan gets planning commission approval

Update, 4/22/11, 2:49 p.m.: Video duplicate has been updated and is now correct.

Chestnut Hill College’s master plan outlining the development it hopes to complete on its main campus and at the newer, mostly untouched Sugar Loaf Campus across the Wissahickon was approved by the Planning Commission this week.

The action is preliminary to changing the zoning of both campuses from residential to an Institutional Development District. IDD zoning is common on college campuses as it allows for many different uses. Colleges have classrooms, residential facilities, recreational facilities, president’s houses, daycares, and places for outdoor sporting events, among others. No other zoning allows for all of that, said the planning commission’s IDD supervisor Martin Gregorski. Within an IDD, these uses can be moved around easily, so that a building’s purpose can change, Gregorski said. A zoning bill is still being drafted, he said.

The master plan dictates what can be built within an IDD, Gregorski said, and all buildings need approval of both the planning commission and city council.

Chestnut Hill College’s master plan calls for a new campus center, residential and academic facilities and parking.

Some neighborhood representatives and the Friends of the Wissahickon objected to the plan, saying it would harm the ecology of the creek and its surroundings, and would add too much traffic to the area.

Commissioners disagreed with both of those assertions, and voted for the master plan.

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