by Pete Mazzaccaro
After nearly two years of discussions with nearby residents and other Chestnut Hill Institutions, Chestnut Hill College will present its final plans to expand on the SugarLoaf Campus it purchased six years ago before a meeting of the Chestnut Hill Community Association at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27.
The presentation will take place on the Sugar-Loaf Campus at Bells Mill Road and Germantown Avenue.
The plan to present the expansion to the community was made after the college finally received financing from its bank and offering an agreement to the community to ease as open space of 19 acres of the 32-acre property.
According to LUPZ co-chair Larry McEwen, who has chaired a negotiating group composed of nine interested parties, seven of those nine groups met and voted to approve a Community Development Agreement, upon which the College has said its easements will be based. In other words, unless the
CDA is agreed to, the college will not ease the open space.
Part of that CDA is contingent on the acceptance and signatures of two neighbors’ groups that declined to meet with the other seven groups that voted last week and have, according to McEwen, filed four separate lawsuits against the City of Philadelphia and the college.
Those lawsuits have targeted a number of issues in the college’s plans, including the granting of Institutional Development District status, a piece of legislation passed by City Council that allows the college to follow an approved master plan without having to seek community approval for subsequent zoning variances.
Chestnut Hill College wants the neighbors groups to withdraw the lawsuits so that it can proceed with fundraising for the expansion.
Those neighbor groups – The Northwest-Wissahickon Conservacy and the North Chestnut Hill Neighbors did not return separate e-mails seeking comment as of Monday.