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Villanova Asks For Zoning to Fit Its Project

Watch video from the most recent Planning Commission meeting.

Radnor Township's Planning Commission on Monday got its first official look at Villanova University’s petition to amend Radnor Township's zoning code to provide for a Comprehensive Integrated College Development within the Planned Institutional Zoning District, reports Main Line Media News.

Watch a presentation by Villanova University, and responses from the public, in the video section of this article.

The newspaper reports the university hopes that being approved for new "residential housing for 1,160 undergraduates, a performing arts center, a parking structure for 1,200 cars, additions to two existing parking structures, and a pedestrian bridge may go more smoothly and more quickly by tailoring the zoning to fit the project rather than the other way around."

Eric Janson February 07, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Does anyone really think the commissioners won't role over and allow this? I predict that there will be some changes, but ultimately Villanova will get what they want. Take a look at all of the developers who go before the board. Seldom do they get denied, more often some concessions are made, but things typcially get built.
B February 07, 2013 at 08:52 PM
Would you prefer nothing to get build or imporved on? How about the work being done at Louella mansion is fantastic, better 12 nice condos than 20 or so rundown apts. Claerly things need to get done at least the comissioners even get concessions made rather than just passing everything. The township is notorious for being hard on zoning that may developers and real eastate investors avoid it.
Eric Janson February 07, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Nope. Louella looks great.
Radnorite February 07, 2013 at 10:03 PM
I applaud Villanova. This will look great when it is done. I thoroughly enjoy the many perks the school has given me. I appreciate the due diligence by our elected officials but let's approve and put this behind us so we can focus on more important issues.
Tom Dougherty February 07, 2013 at 10:10 PM
As I said at the meeting, if Villanova proposed that the sun rise in the east, a group would immediately form to demand further study of the proposal. A second group would run to court to get an Order to compel the sun to rise in the west. The plan is not perfect but I think it will get students and cars out of neighborhoods.
Larry S February 08, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Ah,"Bigger is Better" seems the chant heard from the folks whose homes and community are located a safe distance from Villanova. They likely think that Haverford, Swarthmore, and Bryn Mawr would be better if they could be as big as Villanova.
Radnorite February 08, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Oh come on. Was Villanova there when you moved to Radnor? I knew it was here. I did not ask for access to their facilities. They offered. I did not ask them to contribute millions to our town, they did it on their own. Cut Villanova some slack.
Tom Dougherty February 08, 2013 at 01:43 AM
I live 2 blocks from the football stadium. Is that close enough to allow me to have an opinion, Larry?
Linda G February 08, 2013 at 02:54 AM
I'm tired of hearing that Villanova was here first. It was not. Additionally, even if it had been, we are a republic. They do not rule Radnor, even though the way the commissioners roll over, you would think they do....
Eric Janson February 08, 2013 at 12:38 PM
Yes, your sun analogy is correct, but let's not let anyone think that getting cars and students out of neighborhoods has anything to do with the request or the process. That is a hoped for outcome at best.
Catherine February 08, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Brian, that's just not true. Bentley Homes was given permission to deforest 5 acres along Lancaster Avenue and County Line to build a mega development .. and now Holloway is on the way to squeezing out Adelberger's Flowers on Conestoga. He's building around it for now, but what does the future hold?. These guys know the magic words and tricks to get their projects built in Radnor.
justaguy February 08, 2013 at 03:33 PM
After all of the grandstanding is done, the commissioners have to respect the constitutional and property rights of Villanova. You can't use zoning authority to launch a personal vendetta. This is a free country and people have more rights than some seem to think. College kids are always going to be college kids. You can't control or stop that, if you make rules, they will break them, if you treat the campus like a fascist police state, they will transfer and the college will shut down. Maybe that is what Villanova's neighbors would like, but it isn't right for Radnor, for Villanova, or for many others. Why is the commissioner blaming Villanova, for example (and it's an incorrect use of the term "attractice nuissance," for the record), for the actions of high school students? If you are concerned about the kids at Radnor High School, then tell the school district to keep kids on school grounds until the day is over, or how about their parents police them, like they are supposed to? Still, Villanova has to suffer because the township lets high schoolers do as they please and wants to blame the university for kids they don't have authority over. Brilliant. Classic fascist politics, find a scapegoat for all of the problems you can't or won't solve and then wage a campaign against to distract.
Catherine February 08, 2013 at 04:05 PM
To add to justaguy's comments: it's high time Radnor law enforcement does what many jurisdictions do: turn inebriated, on-foot college students over to university police. They should be the authority dealing with these kids -- campus cops and the administration should be in charge of punishment.
Radnorite February 08, 2013 at 04:09 PM
"I'm tired of hearing that Villanova was here first. It was not" Villanova does not pre-date Radnor. It does pre-date every one who reads the patch. Villanova does not deserve impunity, it deserves equal standing as the rest of us. The parochial view some of you take is silly. It is all about you and no other way! Villanova has been more than a good neighbor. I fully endorse their plans. Let's get this behind us and get to the real problems identified in the meeting. Like why are high school kids running around our town during the school day?
Radnorite February 08, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Wholeheartedly agree. If Villanova does not take appropriate action against offenders then we really have a reason to take action. Very good point Catherine. I also think Villanova should get the option to be their own municipality. Own police, fire, EMS, and other services. They have a big enough tax footprint to support it.
Intheweeds February 08, 2013 at 09:50 PM
Where is the impassioned commentary of Right Plan For Radnor Chief Hypocrite Kevin Geary? Remember that guy? Lamenting how Villanova was looking to remove all setback and height requirements and getting all kinds of misinformation out there about the proposal. He even paid for misleading robo-calls to Radnor residents, forcing Radnor Township to make a statement that the calls were NOT from the township. Oh yes, I remember. Kevin Geary petitioned Radnor Township for setback relief as a planned addition to his house would violate setback code to his nextdoor neighbor's property. One Supervisors meeting he's frothing at the mouth like a rabid dog about Villanova's proposal. Then in another meeting he's like a meek sixth grader asking a girl to a school dance. As others have mentioned a certain subsegment of Radnor will argue if you propose facts like which direction the sun rises. Villanova's proposal improves an existing eyesore of a parking lot, and transforms it into something wonderful. Something that will also remove 1200 students from Radnor and surrounding neighborhoods. And zero Radnor residents abut the project. None.
Larry S February 09, 2013 at 10:01 PM
All this fuss reminds me of the time that a cloverleaf at the intersection of Lancaster and the Blue Route was being debated. It was said that it would cause no traffic problems, and traffic on 320 would lighten up. Result: more traffic jams with Lancaster turning into a heavy traffic corridor between Devon and Bryn Mawr. Ditto expectations of "something wonderful" with the Villanova project -- Yes indeed, more students, more big buildings, another small-time shopping mall, and more traffic than ever.
Radnorite February 09, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Larry I am not trying to be argumentative here but how does this increase traffic? From my vantage point all the students that used to drive in from rentals in town would no longer need to do so. If anything I would expect traffic levels to stay the same or drop.
Larry S February 10, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Dear Radnorite, I do hope you are right. I was a bit sympathetic to the folks at the recent Township meeting who doubted how the expected traffic was to be handled. Folks along Aldwyn Lane and South Ithan seemed to be saying that the traffic now is already heavy, and I would imagine that the building project at Agnes Erwin might also add to the problem. Incidentally, I also wonder if Villanova's endowment, which is a modest $375 million (not among the 70 colleges, such as Swarthmore, who have over a billion in endowments), will be able to deal with a $200 million project. Moody's and FICO envision a ten year decline in student enrollments (one cause, other than the Recession, is the Trillion dollar student debt now enduring an "unsustainable" 15% default). Present Villanova costs runs about about $55,000/ yr for tuition, room and board -- and students always need "pocket money". Can student costs be raised any further? Perhaps, but time will tell if it can or need be. Thanks for not being "argumentative". Quite refreshing!
Catherine February 10, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Parents put their children in dorms so they don't have to have cars. There's no reason for kids in student housing to have them since they're walking distance to classes and the library. Only a handful will go through the cost and hassle to keep a car on campus. There's a shortage of dorm rooms now and VU parents are going to be thrilled with the new ones.
Intheweeds February 10, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Villanova's enrollment has been stable for the past 30 years. This project is not intended to increase the student population at all. Villanova has added substantial student housing over the past decade, it has immediately been filled, and no increase to the student body has occurred. Traffic will 100% be reduced with this project. 1200 students who currently live off campus, and commute, will no longer have a commute. The small retail element will largely cater to students, and be staffed by students also not increasing traffic. Villanova is looking to develop its own property, not encroaching into neighborhoods, and improving an eyesore of a gigantic parking lot. The proposed buildings are to scale with the rest of the university - nothing over 4 stories.
Bryan Nichols February 11, 2013 at 02:24 AM
An endowment is the equivalent of a trust fueled by donations that remain tax exempt. Villanova would be happy to show you business bank accounts in the billions to calm your fears of the project not being finished. They will take a loan out on the project for the tax benefits and low interest rates instead of paying cash for it. As for student enrollment, your NIMBY neighbors have kept the university population so small that demand for Villanova is at an all time high and filling residence halls will not be a problem.
Bryan Nichols February 11, 2013 at 02:27 AM
I was hoping to find out what Kevin's opinions on variances would be? How does someone apply for and receive a variance to put an addition on his house have the nerve to fight to deny the very same variance for Villanova.
Bryan Nichols February 11, 2013 at 02:32 AM
Well than you are far enough away to not have to worry about the project since it will be on the other side of the road and further down Lancaster Ave from you. Why do Radnor residents not realize this project butts up against a road and railroad tracks, nowhere near homes.

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