Radnor still has concerns about Villanova's expansion

Artist renderings of new student dorms and a performing arts center which will be built in the coming years at Villanova. (Clem Murray DID NOT DO THIS/ Staff Photographer) EDITORS NOTE: SVillanova05-c 2/3/2012 Villanova is the latest college in the area to go on a building spree, with two new dorms, shops, a performing arts center and a parking garage planned on Lancaster Avenue. The 1,000-plus bed dorms are meant to bring more students on campus, which local residents - who complain about noisy, drunken students living in Bryn Mawr and elsewhere on the Main Line - say is a good thing. The project, which is in the early stages and yet to be approved by local authorities, follows big expansions by rival St. Joe's as well as Drexel and Temple. RENDERING BY Nathaniel Harrison
Artist renderings of new student dorms and a performing arts center which will be built in the coming years at Villanova. (Clem Murray DID NOT DO THIS/ Staff Photographer) EDITORS NOTE: SVillanova05-c 2/3/2012 Villanova is the latest college in the area to go on a building spree, with two new dorms, shops, a performing arts center and a parking garage planned on Lancaster Avenue. The 1,000-plus bed dorms are meant to bring more students on campus, which local residents - who complain about noisy, drunken students living in Bryn Mawr and elsewhere on the Main Line - say is a good thing. The project, which is in the early stages and yet to be approved by local authorities, follows big expansions by rival St. Joe's as well as Drexel and Temple. RENDERING BY Nathaniel Harrison
Posted: June 15, 2012

Villanova University has not addressed any of the concerns raised by Radnor Township residents and officials over a plan to build three dormitories, a parking garage, stores, and a performance hall on two parking lots on Lancaster Avenue, said the township manager.

The university has applied for a zoning amendment, but Manager Robert Zienkowski said he planned to ask the Board of Commissioners to "send it back to them" at its meeting Monday.

"I'm going to object," he said.

Zienkowski said he sent 19 pages of questions, recommendations, and comments to the university after the school in February presented its $200 million-plus plan to expand the campus. Neighbors say their community will be overrun with traffic and students.

"We sent them a whole big list. They haven't responded once," he said. "There are a lot of issues and concerns."

Among the issues are traffic flow, pedestrian safety, storm-water runoff, impact on the surrounding neighborhood, the height of the parking garage, and light spill into the neighborhood — long an issue with the university's brightly lit football field.

Villanova's attorney, Nicholas J. Caniglia, said that the filing was "just the start of the process" and that the university would address concerns as it proceeded.

"We're filing to get the process started, to get feedback and comments," he said.

But at the meeting in February, the university got an earful from residents and commissioners who were suspicious of the plan, which includes housing for 1,100 students and an 1,800-vehicle parking garage.

Residents said the garage was too high and would snarl traffic. Others maintain the university is trying to increase enrollment, although school officials say they just want to provide more housing for students who currently live in surrounding towns.

Zienkowski said that usually when he sends recommendations to a zoning applicant he hears back from the applicant or its engineer to work out a solution.

But with Villanova, he said, he could only take the silence to mean, "That's great but we're not going to do anything."

Contact staff writer Kathy Boccella at 610-313-8123 or kboccella@phillynews.com

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