Concord Township officials in Delaware County have granted the preliminary approval to 160 new homes on a large swath of undeveloped land in the face of a chorus of protest from neighbors.
Hundreds attended the boisterous public meeting on Wednesday night where a 3-1 vote moved the controversial project forward.
That 230 acres of land in question are in the small, but rapidly-growing Concord Township, Pa. The land sits next to hundreds of acres of federally-protected land in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Leading up to the vote, residents circulated a anti-development petition that gained around 4,000 supporters in a township of 17,000. When the vote was read for the proposed development, known as Vineyard Commons, the packed crowd grew upset, booing and chanting “you should be ashamed.”
Kevin O’Donohue was the only member of the Concord Board of Supervisors to vote against the project.
“Large tracts of land like this one we need to approach a little differently and see how we can preserve some of this land,” he said. “This has opened my eyes to look at some other large tracts of land to make sure that we’re pro-active so this doesn’t happen on some of the other open tracts.”
Still, the open land, which now features galloping horses and bike trails, could potentially still be preserved.
Township and county officials say they would pledge $750,000 if a nonprofit group steps up to buy the land from developers.
Otherwise, those who oppose the project have 30 days to appeal.
Barring a preservationist take-over, the 160-home development will be built there.
Before shovels hit the dirt, though, the development needs a pass a final vote from the township’s officials.