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Don't Give VU 'Preferential Treatment,' Resident Urges

Watch Villanova officials, Radnor planners and local residents talk about the school's plans.

Villanova University officials presented their latest plan for a major development on the school's campus.

Radnor Township's Planning Commission on Monday considered the school's petition to change Radnor's zoning for their proposal, which includes new dorms, a parking garage and retail stores for the space that is currently a parking lot.

A performing art center is also included in possible future development.

Revisions to an original plan include "a 30-foot frontyard setback along Lancaster Ave., increased setbacks along Ithan Ave. and buffering along the Rt. 100 SEPTA high-speed line, reductions in height for the parking structure and student residence buildings, and a parking scheme that diverts parking concentration and decreases the traffic impact at the congestion-prone Ithan-Lancaster Ave. intersection," reports Main Line Media News.

Part of Villanova's selling point for the new dorms is that it will take students out of area neighborhoods and keep them on campus, lessening traffic and student rental issues. Chris Kovalski, Assistant to the President at Villanova, said that demand has always exceeded supply of on-campus housing, and he believes any new dorms will fill up as others have in the past.

Rosemont resident Patti Barker said "We're not opposed to reasonable development... We just are asking why should Villanova be granted preferential treatment." She asked the Planning Commission to "take your time."

Delaware County Planning Commission will review the school's proposal and give its recommendations.

Radnorite March 06, 2013 at 04:37 PM
How are we giving Villanova preferential treatment? We don't give ANYONE preferential treatment. My goodness.
Radnorite March 06, 2013 at 06:13 PM
BTW, doesn't Villanova give Radnor preferential treatment? Between the millions the school gives to the town, they also give many perks to our residents. Sorry for being contrarian to the party line, but Villanova gets way too many face shots from us.
Assaggiatore March 06, 2013 at 06:34 PM
I want to be sure neighbors have a say in things. I'm tired of seeing police reports of drunk Villanova students urinating in the parking lot behind Flip & Baileys or copulating in a Garrett Hill resident's front yard. One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel. I doubt the institution takes discipline seriously as I have seen little effort on their part to curb underage drinking and other anti-social behavior.
Sara Pilling March 06, 2013 at 07:58 PM
At this meeting VU admitted that, after all the to-built dorm space is filled, there will STILL be estimated 875 students who will not be accommodated. Where wil they live? In our neighborhoods, of course!!!
Radnorite March 07, 2013 at 03:22 PM
How do you know what goes on for sure at Villanva? Isn't this stance purely speculative? Do you have specific examples where a student was caught committing an offense and then given a slap on the wrist from the school? How do we know Villanova does not take discipline seriously? Again, I do not want to be contrarian but I am curious.
Intheweeds March 07, 2013 at 03:59 PM
And? So removing 1200 commuting students and putting them on-campus doesn't help Radnor? I love these Radnor residents. First they complain about issues with students living off campus. Then they fight a project that will move 1200 students on campus. Now they complain that when the project was finished, that there would still be some students off campus. What's better for Radnor: 2075 commuting, off-campus residing students or 875?
Tom Dougherty March 07, 2013 at 04:16 PM
So Sara would prefer that even more than 875 students live in the neighborhoods by not building more dorms on campus? Make the students AND the landlords act responsibly.
Tom Dougherty March 07, 2013 at 04:18 PM
I live 2 blocks from the Villanova football stadium before somebody decides to say I don't know how the students are really evil or live too far away to understand the problem.
Radnorite March 07, 2013 at 06:29 PM
I live by Agnes Irwin. I enjoy many benefits from living in close proximity to Villanova. I will enjoy even less traffic on Lancaster Ave soon. This is a win win for me and our town. Also, let's be careful when making spurious claims. No one knows for sure where the remaining displaced students will live. Furthermore, although it is easy to demonize VIllanova (I used to), please remember that we are their neighbors just as much as they are ours.
Tom Dougherty March 07, 2013 at 07:00 PM
I am in favor of Villanova's plan. I think that it is a very small number of students who are ruining the reputation of students in general. The ones who break the law should be dealt with by the police.
Radnorite March 07, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Tom- Amen. I am also in favor of granting Villanova the authority of a standard police force. That will go very far in helping ease any concerns. The Villanova students I interact with have been nothing but respectful. They have babysat our kids on occassion!
Linda G March 08, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Villanova refuses to cap its students. Who will be left to be placed in our neighborhoods remains to be seen. I have over 20 years living with student rental housing. On our street, we have 3 rental houses, which constantly have over the ordinance allowed students, and a boarding house. We have NEVER experienced anything but problems with them - trash, parking, noise, parties, speeding.... I could go on and on... Btw, we were on the street before the students so pls don't try to say that we should have known better. Villanova takes no responsibility for its students breaking our housing ordinances; this I say not only by experience but also in speaking w Villanova. Getting the twp action is just another problem. Villanova cannot be trusted. Just wondering.... how would it be if suddenly it was more cost effective for them to build a nursing or law school where St. Katherine's is.... 5 stories high....
Tom Dougherty March 08, 2013 at 02:21 AM
So, adult citizens (students) are living in properties rented to them pursuant to a private contract with a landlord. Exactly how is this the fault of Villanova University? As an attorney, I would say that the violations of the code and the violators need to be dealt with by Radnor Township.
Radnorite March 08, 2013 at 03:06 AM
Linda- 1. Why should Villanova have to cap its students? Because you want them to? 2. How is Villanova responsible for unscrupulous landlords that decide to allow the law to be broken? They seem to take their money and look the other way. If landlords were held accountable then maybe we would get somewhere with the problem. Yet you quickly point the finger at Villanova. 3. Did you move on to your street in the early 1800's? Since you assert you were there before the University I was just wondering. 4. What has Villanova done that makes them untrustworthy? Because they wont cap student enrollment when in something like 30+ years the size of the undergraduate population has not changed (that includes a period of significant infrastructural growth). It amazes me you have a list of demands yet I do not see Villanova making any demands of you or I. 5. Villanova has a brand new nursing school and law school. Both less than 3 years old. Your hypothetical bears no fruit. I just do not get this deep seated vitriol towards Villanova. I love the "cannot be trusted". Some of you are so incredibly selfish and downright mean neighbors.
Radnorite March 08, 2013 at 03:07 AM
Tom- Not when the money is coming in. Our town needs to address that issue. Villanova is trying to help address the problem yet they are getting static from the very people that decry having students in their neighborhoods.
Intheweeds March 08, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Where to start with this one???? First, Villanova's enrollment has been stable for the last 30+ years. With each and every significant on-campus housing project, the new lodging has immediately been filled, and enrollment not increased. Second, what EXACTLY is Villanova supposed to do to regarding code and ordinance violations on property it does not own, over homeowners/landlords whom it does not regulate and adult students not living on its campus? What exact level of remediation action do you think that Villanova has the legal right to do to the students and landlords on your street? Third, how EXACTLY can "Villanova not be trusted"? Fourth, it is already more cost effective to build that high, but because of Radnor Township zoning code, Villanova is restricted and conforming to height requirements in modifications to the proposal. So, you have problems with student residents in the neighborhoods. Don't you think it better to have 1200 students moved from neighborhoods onto campus? Wouldn't that be good for you?
Catherine March 08, 2013 at 03:30 PM
The newest board member, John Lord, was demanding studies to prove that new dorm space was necessary. Villanova has actual proof that's better than any study: 1. some students are living three to a dorm room, rooms that were designed to be doubles... 2.one dorm is a rat trap old house on Lancaster; another an apartment building -- both removed from main campus ... 3. the fact that there has to be a dorm lottery shows demand is much higher than supply: students want a campus experience but lose out. The Villanova spokesman was right: they need more rooms. And, quality dormitory housing (with the latest technology for internet access, air conditioning, better bathrooms, no concrete block walls) is indeed a factor in whether students will chose a school. It's how you attract quality, serious students who are less likely to 'urinate on lawns and fornicate behind bushes'. Let's remember, too: at a pricey, private, Catholic school like Villanova, the parents are probably paying the bills which means they have a say in where their kids live. Most moms and dads like to have their freshman and sophomore children safe, in a dorm.
Linda G March 15, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Common sense... If Villanova increases their students, then no student housing would be removed from our neighborhood. Additionally, the most likely student rental areas to lose students would be those farthest from the university. You can't trust someone who knowingly withholds facts, or tries to hide the truth... Models not to scale.... What else are they hiding? Villanova is supposed to be a Catholic university. They should take responsibility for the students, students that they bring to our neighborhoods. Instead, they take their money and set them loose in our neighborhoods... Ever heard of ethics? Public drunkenness or violation of township ordinances.. No different to me, yet Villanova will only take action on one of those... And not the housing. Why doesn't Villanova keep local addresses on their students... So they don't have to acknowledge the fact that their students are living illegally in student housing... How is that being a steward to the community? Our house has been in our family for over 50 years. Villanova wasn't the monster it is now, and student housing was virtually non-existent in our neighborhoods. And, yes, I said monster. There isn't anything "adult" with the students living in our neighborhoods. In over 20 years living next to student housing, I have never, yes never, experienced anything positive coming from these students, who are supposedly adults, by age only.
Greg Hudson March 16, 2013 at 07:55 AM
So you want Villanova, a non-profit private entity, to spend money and staff time to administer and enforce Radnor Township housing laws and ordinances. That is unlikely burden to ask of them. Instead they are doing what is in their power and that is increase the supply of housing to meet their demand.
Intheweeds April 03, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Villanova has not increased enrollment in 30+ years, and has zero plans to increase enrollments. This despite doubling on-campus housing in that time. Villanova's architecture firm built the original model, and was changed per Villanova's request. Villanova had NOTHING to do with the errors in that model. What does being a Catholic institution have to do with anything else you say? Villanova has no control over the actions of students living off campus in housing it does not own nor control. Villanova would take complete responsibility and ownership if these students lived on-campus. Radnor township owns the responsibility to police homeowners in Radnor township. Villanova has no control over where students live, once they move off-campus. From all your rants and raves, you should be first in line at the next township supervisors meeting pushing for this project. Instead, you'll just fight it, and complain, then complain about students, then fight this project more. So ignorant.

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