The battle lines have been drawn in Aston Township over the development of Hunter's Run, a 20.6-acre tract. Residents say environmental and safety issues will threaten their community if the land is rezoned for housing.
Hunter's Run is under an agreement of sale to Mazzenga & Stackeni Enterprises of Swarthmore, pending rezoning. It is now zoned R-1, which calls for lots of 20,000 square feet for housing. The developer is seeking an R-2 zoning, which requires 10,000-square-foot lots. The surrounding housing is zoned R-2.
James J. McEntee, a West Chester lawyer who represents the developer, contends that because the existing housing is zoned R-2, the Hunter's Run R-1 zoning represents spot zoning. In two hearings, the township commissioners have heard testimony on spot zoning and have voted against rezoning the tract.
According to McEntee, the developer wants to build single-family houses that would sell for about $160,000. He refused to name the sale price in the agreement between owners and developers.
But Simpson, who has lived with her family in the Cherry Tree Woods community for 13 years, says there are other issues besides the size of the lots in the rezoning battle.
"There is going to be water runoff into our development when they start digging up the ground for construction," Simpson said.
There are wetlands and a pond on the Hunter's Run property whose loss would worsen the already poor drainage in the community, she said.
"I have been in contact with government and private environmental groups in an effort to preserve the wetlands, but I have been told that they are too small for preservation purposes," she said.
Another issue is the opening of Jennifer Lane in the Cherry Tree Woods area to traffic.
Jennifer Lane is a cul-de-sac that ends at the boundary of Hunter's Run. The developer would like to open the street.
Simpson said traffic in the community was light, just residents or visitors. Thus, she says, children can play in the streets in relative safety. But with the opening of Jennifer Lane, traffic from Route 322 could
cut through the development as a shortcut to Concord Road.
"Our streets would be less safe," she said.
McEntee said that the residents' concerns were discussed with the township commissioners and that a compromise plan put forth by Ed Kulesa, Third Ward commissioner, allowed for seven acres of the property to be set aside as open space and a number of lots not to exceed 41 on 10,000 square feet each.
But the commissioners voted down the proposal. Kulesa, whose ward includes Hunter's Run and Cherry Tree Woods, said the township solicitor had asked all commissioners not to discuss the issue until the rezoning had been settled.
A public meeting has been scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday.
McEntee says he believs that the township will again turn down the request. ''If this is the case, we will go to court and contend that the R-1 zoning of Hunter's Run is spot zoning and illegal," he said.