Ship Road Area Project Updates

Ship Road Area Project Updates

What a difference a year makes… Almost one year ago, I gave a project update about four projects located within ½ mile of each other being designed and built in the Ship Road/Lincoln Highway Area in Exton. Lochiel Farm, a Lennar Community, which had just broken ground, had about 5 of 32 townhouse groups constructed. Now, just a year later, the last few townhomes are getting their finishing touches. The project will hopefully be closed out this spring.

The second project, formally known as Exton Knoll, was still working its way through West Whiteland, DEP and PennDOT to obtain the necessary approvals to start construction. Now, a year later, the project has been broken up into two separate communities: Exton Grove and Summer Hill. Exton Grove is being developed by Lennar and consists of 99 luxury for-sale townhomes. Summer Hill is a joint venture between Bentley Homes, E. Kahn Development and Cornerstone Tracy and will consist of a 220 townhome rental community. Both communities will have a direct connection to the Chester Valley Trail and naturalized walking paths. The rental community will also have picnic areas, tot lots, dog parks, and a community building with a pool. Both projects have broken ground, with Lennar starting construction on their model home in the coming days.

The third and fourth projects are located further west on the other side of Ship Road. About a year ago, these projects were just getting started on the full engineering design, and now a year later, both projects have obtained final approval from the township and are just waiting on obtaining Penndot and NPDES approvals before breaking ground this summer. Ship Run has 95 single-family homes and is being developed by local developer Joe Behrle. This community will be generally located behind the Laborers Union facility, with access to Lincoln Highway and Ship Road, and preserves roughly half of the tract as Open Space. Homeowners will also have walking and biking access to the Chester Valley Trail. The last project, which will be on the opposite side of the stream from Ship Run, is being developed by E. Kahn Development and consists of 68 townhomes and a separate commercial area on Lincoln Highway, which will be home to a new Wawa. This project will support the Township’s Plan to reduce Ship Road traffic and congestion by installing the southern leg of the new North-South Couplet Road. The couplet will also provide a new public trail that will eventually connect the Chester Valley Trail with the County’s future extension along the out-of-service freight rail line south of the Exton By-Pass.

Pond Removal/Stream Restoration

Pond Removal/Stream Restoration

A few years back, DL Howell designed a subdivision that involved the removal of an old farm pond and restoring the original spring fed channel. While many of us think ponds are a good thing… I mean, who doesn’t love a good game of pond hockey in January or sitting along the banks in the summer with a fishing line out, but surprisingly they can actually be damaging to the environment. Yes, they do provide a great place for wildlife to live, but in reality a large shallow pond can also be very detrimental to the downstream microfauna and fish habitat as they increase the water temperature and can harmfully affect the aquatic ecosystem. The Department of Environmental Protection also looks negatively at in-line ponds as they block fish from moving freely up and down the creek. So needless to say, it wasn’t that difficult to obtain the necessary approvals from the DEP and Army Corp to draw down the water, breach the berm of the pond, and restore the channel to its original condition. After the initial work was complete, riparian buffers were implemented by planting natives species along the newly formed channel, which will provide for new wildlife habitat and water quality filtering.

Take a look at these before and after pictures…

 

 

Project Updates – West Whiteland Township Real Estate Development

Project Updates – West Whiteland Township Real Estate Development

Over the past few years, DL Howell and Associates has been lucky enough to work with some of Chester County’s biggest real estate developers on four great projects all within ½ mile of each other in West Whiteland Township.

Starting back in 2019, Bentley Homes received approval for 140 townhomes and the renovation of two historic single-family homes on the Lochiel Farm property. Lennar, one of the nation’s leading home builders, purchased the property from Bentley Homes and is currently about halfway through construction, and from what we can see, these homes are in high demand.

The second project, Exton Knoll, is directly to the east of Lochiel Farm. This project is a joint venture between Bentley Homes, E. Kahn Development, and Cornerstone Tracy. It will consist of 99 luxury for-sale townhomes and 220 rental townhomes.

This community will also have a direct connection to the Chester Valley Trail, naturalized walking paths, picnic areas, dog parks, and a community building with a pool. This project has received final approval and is hoping to break ground in the coming months.

The third and fourth projects are located further west on the other side of Ship Road. Both projects have received Conditional Use Approval from West Whiteland Township and are in the design engineering phase. Ship Run has 95 single-family homes and is being developed by local developer Joe Behrle. This community will be generally located behind the Laborers Union facility, with access to Lincoln Highway and Ship Road, and preserves roughly half of the tract as Open Space. Homeowners will also have walking and biking access to the Chester Valley Trail. The last project, which will be on the opposite side of the stream from Ship Run, is being developed by E. Kahn Development and consists of 68 townhomes and a separate commercial area on Lincoln Highway for a convenience store with gas pumps. This project will support the Township’s Plan to reduce Ship Road traffic and congestion by installing the southern leg of the new North-South Couplet Road. The couplet will also provide a new public trail that will eventually connect the Chester Valley Trail with the County’s future extension along with the out-of-service freight rail line south of the Exton By-Pass.

DL Howell would like to thank all the consultants and regulatory agencies involved in the approval and construction of these great projects, including traffic engineers, McMahon and Associates and Traffic Planning and Design, landscape architects and land planners, Stuart Associates, Heuser Design, West Whiteland Township, PennDOT, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the Chester County Conservation District.

Just How Bad Was Hurricane Isaias?

Just How Bad Was Hurricane Isaias?

So you don’t have to be a meteorologist to agree that Hurricane Isaias was one for the record books. While it may not have produced as much total rain or extreme winds as other hurricanes that have traveled through the Delaware Valley like Sandy or Irene, I think everyone can agree that it did produce an incredible amount of rain in a rather short period of time. So after having to come home from a family vacation to pump out a few inches of water from my basement on Tuesday, and hearing stories of many friends and family members who also had more water problems than they’ve ever had before, I decided to do some research to find out how much rain actually fell from Isaias. After spending some time browsing through the area’s rain gauges, it was very clear that rainfall amounts varied widely. Areas in Center City Philadelphia came in generally between 2 to 4”, while the immediate suburbs slightly west of the city such as Delaware and Chester Counties were in the path of the heaviest rainfall. Areas here received anywhere from 5” up to the highest amount recorded of 8.59” in Wynnewood, Delaware County. Now this is a lot of rain considering this amount of water is generally associated with what the engineering community considers more than a 100-year storm. And just a quick note for those of you who don’t deal with this every day as we do, most municipalities in this area and the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) require stormwater management to be designed for storms up to the 100-year storm. The “100-year storm” is simply the estimated likelihood of that storm event happening in any given year. The 100-year event has a one (1) percent chance of occurring in any given year, but statistically that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen every year or even twice a year. It is just a measurement of the chance of it happening.

With that being said, the 100-year storm event in this area would be considered anywhere from 7.2” to just over 8” of rainfall within a 24-hour time span. Most people would look at this and the rainfall amounts I referenced above and be like, well Isaias must have been a 100-year storm. To be honest, I initially thought so too, however, looking more closely at the storm’s timing, this 7” to 8.59” of rain occurred over a time span of approximately 8 hours. It started about 3 AM and tapered off around noon. After reviewing the NOAA National Weather Service charts, I was absolutely blown away to see that 8” of rain within a 9-hour timeframe in the Delaware Valley is a 1,000-year storm. Yes, you heard that right! It would be considered a 1,000-year storm. This storm has a 0.1% chance of happening in any given year, and of course it just happened. Knowing how extreme an event such as that is, I absolutely understand why roads and basements were flooded, and stormwater facilities were spilling over their banks. It was just too much water, way too quickly. Not only were we dealing with the high total volume of rainwater, but also the extreme intensity of the rainfall for a long period.

So for those of you who would like us to start designing the stormwater management facilities for the 1,000-year storm, please give us a call because we’d love to help out; just don’t be surprised by the size and cost associated with controlling that much stormwater.