Swarthmore Planners Reject Condo Monstrosity

Swarthmore Planners Reject Condo Monstrosity

By Bob Small

I wrote about citizen activists winning in Lancaster County, now I can say they’ve won in Swarthmore.

At least round one.

On April 26, the Swarthmore Borough Planning Commission met to consider the demolition of the historic Celia Building at 102-104 Park Ave along with buildings at 110 and 112 Park Ave. so that developers, William Cumby, Jr. and Don Delson, could proceed with construction of a five-story condominium.

The way these hearings proceed, public comment is followed by discussion among the nine-member panel followed by the vote, usually one of approval.

The various commissions rarely meet a proposal they don’t like.

However as the 35 or so members of the public spoke in the three-plus hour meeting, only two supported the proposal.  The night ended with the planners recommending that Borough Council deny the application.

Save Our Swarthmore has video of the meeting on their website.

The developers have vowed to fight on as they maintain that this will set “a precedent that will  preclude any revitalization of the Town Center”, irregardless of numerous developments like the Swarthmore Inn, the Roundabout, and three establishments in formally “dry” Swarthmore that now sell liquor, all of which were intimated to be part of the “revitalization” effort.

If this doesn’t work, maybe we could try “the Quaker Casino”.

At the Borough Council meeting on Monday, May 2, the developers had gathered 22 supporters against an opposition of 13.  Interestingly enough, Planning Commission Chair Chris DeBruyn who was absent at the April 26 meeting said that he had been there he would have backed demolition.

Walking out after three hours, before the end of the Borough Council Meeting but after all the public comment, none of us felt that a good enough case had been made for how the Condos would actually benefit Swarthmore.

Swarthmore Borough Council will meet May 19 to consider the recommendation from the planning commission.

Swarthmore Planners Reject Condo Monstrosity
Swarthmore Planners Reject Condo Monstrosity

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