What is the "Coalition"?
The Coalition is a group of residents of the neighborhoods along E. Wynnewood Road. We came together in response to the announced sale of 45 of the 75 acre St. Charles Seminary parcel including the large building that fronts E. Wynnewood Rd. We are concerned that overdevelopment of the parcel could increase density and traffic, reduce precious open space, lead to an influx of short-cutting and parking on neighborhood streets, and permanently affect the quality and aesthetics of our neighborhoods.
Who started the “Coalition”?
The Coalition was started by seven neighbors who found themselves discussing, and agreeing about, the concerns that led to the Coalition’s formation. All seven had in mind that the Coalition would be a community group.
Why was the Coalition formed?
The original seven members were concerned that the neighbors’ views and concerns would be excluded from the development process without a strong and effective neighborhood organization. Our main focus is the St. Charles development, but we recognize it is one of many current development pressures along E. Wynnewood Rd including the 45,000 square foot Whole Foods, the adjacent strip mall, and the 250 unit Merriam Estate development. Development ‘upstream’, near Lancaster Ave. will affect neighborhoods ‘downstream’ near City Ave. Similarly, those upstream from St. Charles will be affected as well.
Why act now?
Requests for proposals for development went out the end of October 2013, and responses were received the end of December 2013. A decision on a developer is expected at any time. Also, St. Charles has submitted plans for renovation to the property for the portion they plan to retain.
Perhaps most importantly, the sooner the neighbors can collectively participate in a thoughtful, informed, persuasive manner, the greater the likelihood that we can preserve the aesthetics, quality of life, green space, low density, and character of the neighborhoods.
We are organizing now because our experience is that it is better to be prepared and not needed than to be needed and unprepared.
What is the Coalition’s relationship with the Civic Associations?
Our goal is to collaborate with the Civic associations representing all the affected neighborhoods. Since the development pressures along E. Wynnewood Rd transcend any one civic association or elected commissioner, it strengthens the neighbors’ position to also have an organization that encompasses the various neighborhoods.
What would the Coalition like to see happen with the St. Charles Seminary?
We would like to see the Commissioners, Township staff, and St. Charles engage transparently and collaboratively with all interested community groups to preserve the aesthetics, quality of life, green space, low density and character that have long made the neighborhoods along East Wynnewood Road an attractive place to live.