Next Zoning Hearing Board Date - october 30, 7pm, at Beaumont Elementary school. 575 Beaumont Road Berwyn, PA 19312

Dear Fellow Easttown Residents:

You may have heard of current plans to construct a mixed use project situated on what is now Handels Ice Cream and its adjacent buildings.  The developer, Berwyn LLC, is requesting zoning variances in order to build above the current 42’ limit, meaning that the building will reach the 50’ + level.  The project will consist of 122 apartments with commercial space, and will fill the entire block of Lancaster, Midland, Woodside, and Berwyn Aves. We are a group of concerned citizens of Easttown Township, who have come together to preserve and promote the historic residential neighborhoods of the village of Berwyn.  We are opposed to the development of this project for a variety of reasons, which we’ve described below.

Neighborhood Impact:

We are opposing the development of this project, because of its size, its population density, the increased traffic it will create, the impact to our police and fire departments, the parking shortages on the adjacent village streets it will cause, and the inevitable increase in the student population within the T/E school district.  We also believe that there is a safety issue related to the number of children walking to and from T/E middle and Conestoga HS, especially with sidewalks being incomplete.

To give an idea of the density -- the number of residents who would be housed in the apartment complex would mimic the entire population of all of Midland and Woodside Avenues combined.  When questioned by an Easttown resident at the August 5 zoning board meeting, on the need for a zoning variance and why a project of this size is necessary, the developers provided two main reasons: the toxic underground waste presents a ‘hardship’ that can only be partially remediated (meaning that they can’t dig down very far to build a parking garage, and thus need to extend the height of the complex), and that the scale of the project needs to be this large, simply because anything smaller would not be “feasible” for them.

A project of this magnitude is unlike anything ever undertaken in the village (and it’s only one of several currently being proposed to our zoning board). The Berwyn village streets were built to accommodate traffic and parking needs from 100 years ago, not for what will occur if this development is allowed to go through as planned.  Unless we oppose this project now, the impact will be felt for years to come.  Not only will we face congested streets and parking shortages for existing Easttown residents (think Friday and Saturday around the local restaurants), but we are also endangering our children who walk to T/E middle and Conestoga HS – on streets without sidewalks. 

View of the Project: 

High level view of the development – you can see that this complex will occupy the entire block. Plus, there are only two entrance and exit points onto Lancaster – Midland and Woodside. And neither are adequate for the expected lines of vehicles entering and exiting the property, and accessing Lancaster Ave. Drivers will seek alternate routes through the village to get to and from the premises.

High level view of the development – you can see that this complex will occupy the entire block. Plus, there are only two entrance and exit points onto Lancaster – Midland and Woodside. And neither are adequate for the expected lines of vehicles entering and exiting the property, and accessing Lancaster Ave. Drivers will seek alternate routes through the village to get to and from the premises.

The perspective on this drawing minimizes the height in relation to the neighboring houses and pedestrians. This is the intersection of Berwyn and Midland Aves (where the large old Oak trees are currently in front of the old Township building). This rendering also leads the viewer to believe that Berwyn Ave is very wide. Instead, this is a narrow intersection that sits directly across from the CVS/Veekoo parking lot, and is already a busy one. Cars not able to exit onto Lancaster via the light at Midland, or the stop sign at Woodside, will use the surrounding village streets such as Berwyn Ave, to get onto Lancaster.

The perspective on this drawing minimizes the height in relation to the neighboring houses and pedestrians. This is the intersection of Berwyn and Midland Aves (where the large old Oak trees are currently in front of the old Township building). This rendering also leads the viewer to believe that Berwyn Ave is very wide. Instead, this is a narrow intersection that sits directly across from the CVS/Veekoo parking lot, and is already a busy one. Cars not able to exit onto Lancaster via the light at Midland, or the stop sign at Woodside, will use the surrounding village streets such as Berwyn Ave, to get onto Lancaster.

View of proposed Berwyn Square from Lancaster looking towards where current Handels Ice Cream is located. For cars exiting onto Lancaster Ave, only 4-5 cars can be in line at one time for this light at Midland & Lancaster, as the exit from the building (just to the left of this rendering) is too close to the intersection. Plus, there is no right turn on red allowed for cars exiting Midland onto Lancaster Ave. Traffic will instead, find alternate routes through the residential streets, immediately surrounding the apartment complex.

View of proposed Berwyn Square from Lancaster looking towards where current Handels Ice Cream is located. For cars exiting onto Lancaster Ave, only 4-5 cars can be in line at one time for this light at Midland & Lancaster, as the exit from the building (just to the left of this rendering) is too close to the intersection. Plus, there is no right turn on red allowed for cars exiting Midland onto Lancaster Ave. Traffic will instead, find alternate routes through the residential streets, immediately surrounding the apartment complex.

What can you do?

Stay informed, engaged, and be aware of how these developments affect our community.  

Our view is that this project needs to be stopped in its current configuration.  There is no logical reason for our town to grant a variance, simply because the developer will be inconvenienced by having to fully remediate the hazardous waste, or that it’s not ‘feasible’ for them to develop a much smaller project that would fit the surrounding residential village immediately behind it.