Mayor Micozzie Working to Broker Meeting with Drexeline Developer and Opponents Who Filed Appeal Delaying Project
UPPER DARBY, PA – Mayor Tom Micozzie announced today that he is calling on both sides of the proposed Drexeline Town Center – the developer and two township residents who are seeking to reverse the Upper Darby Township Zoning Hearing Board's approval of the project – to meet in the hope they can reach an agreement that will allow construction to move forward. Micozzie said he has directed the township's legal counsel to reach out and request that both sides participate in a meeting facilitated by the Mayor to discuss the issues contained in the residents' appeal.
"As Mayor, I am concerned that a drawn out court battle would be detrimental to local residents," said Mayor Tom Micozzie. "The construction of the Drexeline Town Center would bring a number of benefits, including a reduction in stormwater runoff compared to current conditions, new tax revenues for the township and the Upper Darby School District, and much needed enhancements to a major shopping district in our community. My goal is to bring both sides together and hopefully reach an agreement so this project can move forward."
Upper Darby residents Bonnie Hallam, Janice Haman and Donald Fields filed a land use appeal in July in Common Pleas Court that seeks to reverse the June approval of the project by the Upper Darby Township Zoning Hearing Board. Fields removed himself from the appeal after he was appointed to the school board. A number of local residents attended last week's Upper Darby Township Council meeting to express concerns with the delay in the project caused by the appeal, including the fear that it could result in the proposed redevelopment falling through if the developer directs its financial capital and resources into other projects.
Micozzie noted that under the developer's proposed redevelopment, a new underground stormwater retention system would be installed and impervious coverage would be improved from 91.8 percent under current conditions to 80 percent. He said the developer's plan would more than double the amount of green space and pervious area from 8.2 percent to 20 percent. Micozzie is hopeful that a dialogue with the residents can clear up some of the issues they brought forth in their appeal.
Micozzie also pointed to the economic benefits, noting that the project will create more than 250 new permanent jobs and support 370 construction jobs. He also said that the project will generate $524,000 in one time revenues to the township during the construction phase, as well as an annual increase of $188,000 in tax revenues for the township and $260,000 in new property tax revenues each year for the Upper Darby School District.
"This project brings many benefits to township residents and I am hopeful that both sides will agree to sit down and attempt to work through some of their differences," said Micozzie. "If this project does not proceed, I'm concerned township residents will lose out on the environmental improvements already proposed as part of the redevelopment of the parcel, as well as the economic and community benefits. I don't think anyone wants that."
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