Smart Growth Alliance
April 19, 2005
Two very different proposed development projects in Chester County – a redevelopment site in the Borough of Downingtown and a new traditional neighborhood-style development in historic Sadsbury Township – have received recognition from the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance (DVSGA), a new non-profit collaboration of more than 100 government, private sector and non-profit organizations in the tri-state region.
These become the second and third projects to be recognized by the DVSGA since its formation last year. Each recognized project receives a letter of endorsement from the Alliance and its 100+ member organizations, as well as an offer of testimony before a governing body. The first recognized project is proposed for a site on the northern edge of center city Philadelphia.
Green Street Mews, to be developed by Progressive Housing Ventures of Malvern, seeks to build 30 townhomes on a 1.65-acre former industrial site at the intersection of Green Street and Jefferson Avenue in Downingtown. The site is less than one mile to the Downingtown SEPTA train station by foot or bike via sidewalk, and within short walking distance of retail and restaurants in and around Lancaster Avenue.
In its recognition, the DVSGA jury cited the project’s community support, its focus on density in the downtown, pricing designed for moderate-income families, and off-street parking that will benefit the entire community. The developer hopes to break ground in late 2005.
On the other end of the smart growth spectrum is Sadsbury Park, proposed by Arcadia Land Company, based in Wayne, PA, on a parcel adjacent to Sadsburyville, a historic older village at the intersection of Old Wilmington Road and Lincoln Highway (Business Route 30) west of Coatesville.
The community, which could break ground in late 2005, will include about 460 small-lot single-family detached homes, townhomes and multi-family homes in a traditional neighborhood design (TND), with a street grid, garages in the back, a sidewalk and trail system, and creatively-designed opened spaces for recreation. The neighborhood will be within a quick walk of historic Sadsburyville, which needs critical mass for sustainable commercial development. The proposed housing prices are among the most affordable in Chester County.
The DVSGA jury applauded Arcadia’s leadership role in the community development process, and further encourages the company, neighboring property owners and the Township to encourage more smart growth and connections to the surrounding community.
“We received several applications in this quarterly round,” said John B. Rosenthal, Jury Chairman and Chairman Emeritus of Pennrose Properties. “Jurors felt that both Green Street Mews and Sadsbury Park reflect the criteria for true smart growth — location; density, design and diversity of uses; transportation and accessibility; environmental issues; and community assets and participation.”
The DVSGA accepts applications for early-stage recognition for development projects in Southeastern Pennsylvania (through Dauphin County), Southern New Jersey (up to and including Mercer County), and Delaware which meet its smart growth criteria (available on the web at www.delawarevalleysmartgrowth.org).
Applicants with projects still in the entitlement stage are encouraged to apply for DVSGA recognition. The deadline for the next quarterly review of applications is June 1, 2005. All applications are treated confidentially and reviewed on a quarterly basis by an independent jury that represents the tri-state region and all of the skills and disciplines within the land use field, including experience in planning, architecture and design, landscape architecture, engineering, environmental and stormwater management, economic feasibility, development and construction of market-rate and affordable housing, commercial and mixed-use projects.
Each project that obtains recognition – based upon compliance with established smart growth criteria — receives a letter of endorsement and an offer of testimony before local approving bodies by a member of the jury. The criteria and an application form can be downloaded from www.delawarevalleysmartgrowth.org.
“By highlighting the potential of smart growth projects to add value to the region, we hope to encourage developers, business organizations, citizen groups and elected officials to strive for smart growth solutions,” said Marc D. Brookman, President of the DVSGA and Chair of the Real Estate Practice Group at Duane Morris LLP. “Projects that will receive DVSGA recognition are those that will help the region to accommodate growth and redevelopment in a manner that achieves important economic, environmental and quality of life objectives.”
Financial support for the DVSGA comes from the Philadelphia District Council of ULI – the Urban Land Institute, PennDOT, The State of New Jersey’s Office of Smart Growth, the State of Delaware’s Office of State Planning Coordination, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Temple University’s Center for Sustainable Communities, the Builders League of South Jersey, and the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia.