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Is Radnor BOC approval enough to move Ardrossan Farm plan ahead?

12/8/2014 | Real Estate Blog

The dispute over development of the Ardrossan Farm in Radnor was in the news recently. It seems the township’s Board of Commissioners has approved the subdivision plan, though residents continue to question both the process and the plan.

We wrote about the debate over the 311-acre property in August 2013 (see Radnor development proposal: A floor wax and a dessert topping). As we said then, the farm is a rarity on Philadelphia’s Main Line: open space. For nearby residents, the property offers more than a little breathing room. The undeveloped acreage affords existing homeowners near-perfect views of rolling hills and woodlands. For the farm’s owner, Edgar Scott III, the farm’s beauty cannot make up for the financial burden of maintaining it as is.

The Board of Commissioners approved the same plan that Scott proposed back in 2013 that divvies up the land for public and private use. First, the historic mansion and several outbuildings will be preserved, along with about 10 acres surrounding the structures. Second, the township will purchase 71 acres for itself and a little more than two acres that it will then sell to the Friends of Boy Scout Troop 284.

Finally, Scott will develop 70 parcels on the remaining land. In order to preserve the viewshed for existing homeowners and to maximize the views for the new owners, Scott will build the new homes in clusters (the township has approved the exception). He will also market adjacent property as “investment lots.” The investment lots will come with conservation easements that will keep the property as open space. The easements also earn a tax break for the new owners.

While the township may approve the plan, though, residents in the area continue to protest Scott’s project. And the viewshed is not their only concern: From the get-go, they have voiced their concerns about traffic flow in the area.

Perhaps because those arguments have fallen on deaf ears, a neighborhood group raised another issue this fall that may put the future of Ardrossan Farm in the hands of the federal government.

We’ll explain more in our next post.

Source: Main Line Media News, “Radnor to sell $15 million in bonds to pay for Ardrossan,” Linda Stein, Nov. 11, 2014