New plan nixes apart­ments

Ur­ban Out­fit­ters, de­vel­oper strike a deal that re­moves 4-story build­ing and garage

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Linda Stein lstein@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @lstein­re­porter on Twit­ter

DEVON >> If at first you don’t suc­ceed, try, try again.

In a let­ter Tues­day, J. David Ziel, chief de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer for Ur­ban Out­fit­ters, Inc. an­nounced that a new plan for Devon Yards will soon be sub­mit­ted to East­town Town­ship of­fi­cials. The new plan will no longer in­clude a four-story apart­ment build­ing and park­ing deck on the eastern side of the former Waterloo Gar­dens prop­erty that had been residents’ main ob­jec­tion to the project, the let­ter said.

The re­tail com­pany “has long en­vi­sioned a vi­brant ‘Devon Yards’ life­style cen­ter on the site of the old Waterloo Gar­dens in Devon,” Ziel said in his let­ter. The “plan is to build a large for­mat An­thro­polo­gie store, Ter­rain gar­den cen­ter, and Ter­rain Café, along­side award win­ning chef, Marc Vetri’s Amis and Pizze­ria Vetri. We have pur­sued this goal for three years and have been grat­i­fied by the com­mu­nity’s strong sup­port for our vi­sion.”

Ur­ban Out­fit­ters “has sup­ported the pro­posed zon­ing changes for both its own and the de­vel­oper, Waterloo Devon, L.P.’s project. The com­mu­nity, how­ever, raised con­cerns re­gard­ing cer­tain el­e­ments of the pro­posed mixed use de­vel­op­ment. We had ini­tially be­lieved that an ac­com­mo­da­tion could be reached that would sat­isfy ev­ery­one. When it be­came clear, how­ever, that a com­pro­mise would not be reached, (Ur­ban) worked with Waterloo Devon, L.P. to find a so­lu­tion that would ad­dress the com­mu­nity’s con­cerns and al­low the Devon Yards project to pro­ceed.

“We are now pleased to an­nounce that we have

reached an agree­ment with Waterloo Devon L.P. and will shortly be propos­ing a new ver­sion of the Devon Yards project ... ,” Ziel wrote.

Ziel went on to thank the town­ship Board of Su­per­vi­sors and Plan­ning Com­mis­sion for “their hard work and ef­fort” on the project.

“We look for­ward to con­tin­ued sup­port for our Devon Yards project and to quickly mov­ing through the zon­ing process to ac­tu­al­ize our vi­sion,” Ziel wrote.

De­vel­oper Eli Kahn said, “We’re very happy. We spent months work­ing out a deal that was best for ev­ery­body and al­lowed the project to move for­ward ex­pe­di­tiously.”

Kahn added, “There should be no com­plaints about this. One of the high­est qual­ity re­tail­ers any­where in the coun­try is do­ing a one of the kind shop­ping, re­tail and restau­rant en­vi­ron­ment in the heart of Devon. I couldn’t be hap­pier.”

Kahn hopes to be­gin build­ing Devon Yards next year. Asked about what will be sited on the area that was for­merly to be a garage and an apart­ment build­ing, he said it would be sur­face park­ing.

Joseph Kohn, a res­i­dent and lawyer who rep­re­sented a group of neigh­bors op­posed to the ear­lier

Devon Yards pro­posal, was happy that the new agree­ment re­moves the apart­ment build­ing and park­ing garage from the plan.

“We’re cer­tainly pleased that that ap­pears to be off the ta­ble,” said Kohn. How­ever, he said it was “un­clear, what if any­thing will be done on that side of the street. We want to look at the de­tails of the re­fined plans for the old Waterloo Gar­dens site.” The residents never had a prob­lem with the re­tail and restau­rant pro­posal, he said.

“We want to see the de­tails, but we are glad the re­tail de­vel­op­ment will move for­ward con­sis­tent with the zon­ing and no longer be held hostage to the plan for an apart­ment build­ing,” he added. “Over­all, it looks like a pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment.”

At pre­vi­ous town­ship meet­ings, residents packed the room to ex­press op­po­si­tion to the pre­vi­ously pro­posed Devon Yards de­vel­op­ment, fear­ing ad­di­tional traf­fic, noise and den­sity from the pro­posed apart­ments and that the tall apart­ment build­ing would loom over the his­toric Devon Horse Show grounds.

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