New battle brewing over proposed Delaware County development

MARPLE TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- The fight over a proposed development is taking center stage again in Delaware County.

Many community members are opposed to the expanded plans for 200 acres of wooded land in Marple Township.

Neighbors and activists shot down a plan in 2016 to convert the plot of land along Sproul and Reed roads into a major development. It would have included retail, residential, office, and recreational spaces.

Now another developer is trying to sell a dramatically downsized plan to the same crowd of skeptics.

"Fundamentally we're preserving 166 of the 175 undeveloped acres on the property, so we are preserving 95% of the currently undeveloped acreage," said Peter Scott of Carlino Commercial Development.

Local activists who, along with long-time residents, prevailed before are gearing up now to block the new plan. They say it is still too large and will double vehicle traffic in an already congested part of Delaware County.

They also say they simply do not trust developers.

"They are not saving any land. The residents, the local government and the county will have to buy that land, and so far there haven't even been any discussions about that. So once he goes to closing with the archdiocese, he can do whatever he wants with the land," said Ken Hemphill of Save Marple Greenspace.

As for longtime residents they are just as leery as last time. A meeting on the issue was scheduled for Monday evening.

"I guess we'll see tonight what they have to say. They did not tell us last week. You give them the okay on one plan, then they change the plans. They change the plans to something else," said resident Chris Ryder.

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