Battle brewing over development in Devon

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There's a battle brewing over a planned development in Chester County. (WPVI)

There's a battle brewing over a planned development in Chester County.

The former site of a family business that was a mainstay on the Main Line could soon become a new residential and retail center called "Devon Yard" in Devon, pa.

For decades, Waterloo Gardens sold plants and perennials off Lancaster Avenue.

But what will it be next?

"The concept here is to turn this into a Devon Main Street," said developer Eli Kahn.

Those who oppose the development see it quite differently.

"It's not anything welcome, not anything welcoming to a town and certainly not a town center," said opposing attorney Joe Kohn.

The six acres of what was Waterloo Gardens, next to busy route 30, the Devon Train Station, and the Devon Horse Show grounds.

Eli Kahn, the developer, provided artist renderings of the project. On the west side, a proposed new retail dominated by an Anthropologie store built around a barn-like structure. Behind it would be an open courtyard, more shops and two Mark Vetri eateries.

To the east would be the controversial element fronting Devon Blvd: a five-story, 60 foot high building with 135 upscale apartments.

"It's a luxury apartment building with first-floor retail underneath, and secured parking below that," said Kahn.

But a group saying it represents 98 neighbors, says it doesn't want a building that large in this Main Line neighborhood.

"It's completely out of character with the Devon Community,' said Kohn.

To drive home that point, the group produced a video predicting a hike in traffic congestion and a drop in quality of life.

The video narrator said "At the proposed and utterly unprecedented density, it would forever change the fabric of this place."

But the developer points to a similar size apartment house in Berwyn, built decades ago that caused no harm.

He argues what's proposed will be a plus to even close neighbors, adding it won't be just another gas station or car dealership.

"I'd ask people to have an open mind in the sense that this is a far better alternative to other things that are permitted in the zoning code," said Kahn.

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