Updates from the Coalition

St. Charles settles lawsuit with William Burris

posted Mar 12, 2018, 6:07 PM by Coalition for Neighborhood Character and Quality   [ updated Mar 12, 2018, 6:17 PM ]

Read article from Philadelphia Inquirer about lawsuit over development of the seminary  

St. Charles Seminary Announces it is Planning to Move All Operations from Wynnewood Campus

posted Jun 7, 2016, 7:19 PM by Coalition for Neighborhood Character and Quality

In a press release today, St. Charles Seminary announced it is exploring plans to move all its operations off its Wynnewood Campus:


Immediate Release: June 7, 2016
Contact: Kenneth A. Gavin, Director of Communications
215-587-3747 (office)  610-291-0838 (cell)
Contextual Background

In March of 2013, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary announced a plan focused on continued sustainability and future viability.
Part of that plan called for the Seminary to consolidate existing facilities, seek to lease or sell underutilized buildings and property, and implement new spiritual and academic programming for seminarians and lay students. One component of that plan called for the Seminary to move the College Division program from the lower portion of the campus into vacant space within the Theology Division buildings on the upper side of the campus after a period of study and renovation over a number of years.

Today’s Announcement

Recently, an independent feasibility study was conducted, which evaluated several potential alternate operating models. The results of that study were shared with the Seminary’s Board of Trustees in May. After much careful discussion and deliberation, they recommended a modified path as the best one moving forward to allow for the Seminary’s continued growth and transformation.

Specifically, the Board recommended the seminary cease actions aimed at consolidation on the upper campus. Additionally, the Board recommended that the Seminary begin to explore and develop a feasible plan to affiliate with a local Catholic college or university and relocate the entire Seminary operation in newly constructed buildings on or near the campus of the partner higher education institution.  The exact timing for any specific decisions regarding this new direction is still to be determined. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. has accepted these recommendations and authorized the Seminary’s Rector, Bishop Timothy C. Senior, to begin the process.

Bishop Senior said, “It is my strong belief that this new direction will allow us to build on the already solid foundation of our present program by significantly strengthening and enhancing our seminary.  This new path forward allows us to pursue new facilities that will further enrich and better serve the contemporary academic, spiritual, and human needs of our seminarians and lay students.  We embark on this new journey at a time of particular strength and grace, emanating from the recent visit of our Holy Father, and testified to by another year of projected enrollment increases, a record increase in the 2016 Seminary Appeal and the addition of several new, well-credentialed faculty members.”

With today’s announcement, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary affirms its commitment to support seminarians discerning a vocation to the Priesthood for service in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and in dioceses throughout the country as well as all candidates discerning vocations to the permanent diaconate and the hundreds of full and part-time students enrolled in the Graduate School of Theology, which offers graduate degrees and catechetical certificate programs for clergy and the laity.

St. Charles files plan to subdivide

posted Dec 20, 2015, 12:46 PM by Coalition for Neighborhood Character and Quality   [ updated Jan 7, 2016, 5:19 AM ]

A Preliminary Subdivision Plan, Application No. 3761, proposing to subdivide the 68.2 acre property into two separate parcels, has been submitted to the Department of Building and Planning. The plan shows Lot #1 (Upper Campus) to contain 29.6 acres and Lot #2 (Lower Campus) to contain 38.6 acres. No new improvements are proposed. The applicant has stated that the purpose of the subdivision is to allow for Lot #2 to be sold for future development, but that plans are not finalized for that at this time. St. Charles Borromeo Seminary is the property owner and Steve P. Dolan, authorized agent, is the applicant.

 The application is tentatively scheduled for action by the Planning Commission on February 1, 2016. The Planning Commission date is tentative and could change based on the complexity of the issues involved with the application.

The application file is available below:

Annual Meeting is Monday, November 30th at 7:30 PM

posted Nov 24, 2015, 1:22 PM by Coalition for Neighborhood Character and Quality

The annual meeting is scheduled for MondayNovember 30, 2015, at 7:30 PM at the Merion Tribute House. We’ll recap where things stand with St. Charles Seminary’s development plans, nominate four directors to repeat terms, and enjoy everyone’s company with some wine, cheese, and crackers.
Although the St. Charles Seminary development is in a lull right now, we expect things to ramp up soon – and we’ll need to be ready.  As we experienced with the Upper Campus, a well-prepared community group is necessary to advocate for the rights of the neighborhood.  We hope you can make the time to swing by!
At the least, the meeting gives us an opportunity to socialize!
The four director candidates nominated for repeat terms are:
Jerry Jacobs
Charlotte Martin
Tom McConnell
Todd Sinai

CNCQ settles appeal of Zoning Hearing Board decision on St. Charles Seminary

posted Aug 12, 2015, 8:08 PM by Coalition for Neighborhood Character and Quality   [ updated Aug 12, 2015, 8:19 PM ]

We are pleased to announce that CNCQ and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary have negotiated a settlement agreement regarding the Upper Campus that will facilitate the Seminary’s plan for financial stability while also addressing the concerns of our neighborhoods.  The agreement paves the way for St. Charles Seminary to consolidate operations into its Upper Campus and grow its enrollments, both of which the community has long-supported, and drops the elements of the Seminary’s Upper Campus plan that the community raised as the main issues in the Zoning Board hearings.  This agreement was vigorously supported by the CNCQ membership at the members-only meeting on June 24, 2015. Click here for the full details

Zoning Hearing Board rules; opinion here.

posted Sep 15, 2014, 7:01 AM by Coalition for Neighborhood Character and Quality

On Friday, the Zoning Hearing Board released its order regarding St. Charles Seminary's application for a special exception to consolidate its operations in the "upper campus", add parking, and move its entrance to a new driveway and gate opposite South Highland Ave.  The Zoning Hearing Board granted the application.  The written order is attached below.

St. Charles Seminary Zoning Hearing concludes; useful documents here

posted Jul 17, 2014, 8:23 PM by Coalition for Neighborhood Character and Quality   [ updated Jul 17, 2014, 8:34 PM ]

The Zoning Board hearings about St. Charles Seminary’s proposed consolidation into its upper campus concluded Thursday night, July 10. The hearing was mostly dedicated to testimony from neighbors and community members. Neighbors described traffic backups at the current entrance – important, because the Seminary has proposed a new, smaller entrance that we think won’t have enough capacity – and directly disputed the Seminary’s testimony that the current entrance has never experienced significant queues. CNCQ President Susan Guthrie provided nearly 70 photographs showing how conditions along E. Wynnewood Road at the proposed South Highland access point would make that entrance unsafe, how cars back up at the existing entrance, how (counter to the Seminary’s testimony) large trucks do make deliveries to the campus, and how the Seminary does not currently follow zoning code along its boundary with Indian Creek. Other neighbors also testified to the difficulties with the proposed South Highland entrance.

The CNCQ photo presentation is attached to this post, below.

CNCQ also submitted proposed conditions of approval for St. Charles Seminary’s application for a special exception. Our proposed conditions support the Seminary’s stated goals to have a healthy and viable educational institution – in fact, we suggest that the Zoning Board allow all the growth in enrollments that the Seminary asked for – while protecting the community by precisely defining what would be allowed under the special exception and precluding changes in the type or scope of use of the property other than what the Seminary sought in the hearings for its educational mission. We also suggested that the Zoning Board require the Seminary to adhere to Township zoning code along its boundary with Indian Creek and to reject the use of the Seminary’s proposed second entrance on E. Wynnewood Road, directly opposite South Highland Ave, on the grounds that it is unsafe. 

We have posted our proposed conditions of approval for the special exception, along with an explanation of the reasoning for each of the line items, in the file below.

Zoning Board hearing about St. Charles Seminary's upper campus continues on July 10

posted Jul 8, 2014, 1:46 PM by Coalition for Neighborhood Character and Quality

The Zoning Board hearing about St. Charles Seminary’s consolidation into its upper campus continues on Thursday night, July 10, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the second floor conference room of the Township Building, 75 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA.  Please note the early start time.  
We believe that only testimony from community residents remains.  CNCQ plans to have a few residents testify about specific issues. Then, the Zoning Board should allow open testimony from the audience. 

New information from St. Charles Seminary

posted Jun 17, 2014, 10:39 AM by Coalition for Neighborhood Character and Quality   [ updated Jun 17, 2014, 11:48 AM ]

At the June 10 Zoning Board hearing, St. Charles Seminary submitted a new sketch of an entrance from E. Wynnewood Road across from S. Highland Ave. The Seminary's planning expert offered this new sketch to the Board as an alternative, although its significance is unclear because they have not actually amended their zoning application.  Also, since the sketch was not in the original application, residents have not had the opportunity to review it or weigh in on it.  We just received the scan and are posting it for your review.

In addition, we have posted the exhibits the Seminary gave to the Zoning Hearing Board about their current and future enrollments, use of the Seminary property by visitors, and square footage.  It was determined in the hearing that these exhibits were not complete.

Zoning Board hearing regarding St. Charles Seminary continues on Tuesday, June 17

posted Jun 14, 2014, 6:14 PM by Coalition for Neighborhood Character and Quality

Last Tuesday’s Zoning Board hearing regarding St. Charles Seminary’s plans for its “upper campus” was productive, but did not finish by the end of the allotted time. We still have yet to hear from St. Charles’ traffic expert and from the residents who will testify.

Thus, the hearing will continue on Tuesday, June 17, at 7 p.m. in the second floor conference room of the Township Building, 75 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA. Please put it on your calendar and come support your neighbors!

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