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3/10/2007
Councilman Weiner, Rep. Valihura & CCOBH seek to preserve open space on Naamans Road

By Kevin Barrett, Staff Reporter
Community News

Acadia Reality Trust, owner of the Brandywine Town Center, is in negotiations with the Commonwealth Group to purchase three parcels of land, known as the Brown Property, adjacent to Naamans Road.

The negotiations are being encouraged by County Councilman Bob Weiner and Rep. Bob Valihura. Weiner said the goal, through rezoning, is to preserve the Brown Parcel, as well as two of the three restaurant pads at Brandywine Town Center, as open space in perpetuity.

In exchange, Weiner said that if negotiations are successful, he will sponsor a deed restriction change to modify deed restrictions on Brandywine Town Center, which would allow Acadia to build a 65,000-square-foot building on the largely unused commuter services plaza parking lot.

Brandywine Town Center would also be allowed to reposition the covered bus stop and have the right to lease the floor space under the large, unused glass dome on the property.

One of the major benefits of this arrangement, Weiner said, is that the community would have the benefit of uninterrupted open space along Naamans Road, which would be forever protected against any future county administrations that might be choose to be less restrictive in terms of the deed restrictions on the restaurant pads that require only a round building be built on the two outer restaurant lots.

The third restaurant lot, Weiner said, has already been leased by a national hamburger chain, although he said he isn’t sure which one. In addition, as part of the arrangement, residents of the State Line Road community would receive a one way exit road that would hook into the Brandywine Town Center ring road.

The rezoning of the Brown parcel is tabled, Weiner said, because he believes keeping it tabled encourages good faith negotiations between Acadia and Commonwealth.

"I’m trying to encourage them to come to a compromise," Weiner said. "I think I can best do that by keeping the rezoning tabled at this time."

Weiner is hoping an agreement will be reached by the council’s March 13 meeting. However, he said he is willing to table it if necessary.

"I have no desire to keep this tabled once they come to a meeting of minds on the price," Weiner said. "I don’t care what the price is – it is none of my business."

It is Brandywine Town Center’s last chance to earn some goodwill from the community, Weiner said, and its last chance to do something with the empty restaurant lots and the empty dome. No restaurant, he said, wants to build a round building, and it is also currently forbidden to build in the commuter services plaza parking lot.

"If they don’t come to a deal, they can forget it as long as I’m in office," Weiner said.

Chuck Landry, president of the Council of Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred (CCOBH), said CCOBH supports the Brown Parcel and the restaurant lots at Brandywine Town Center being preserved as open space forever. The group is also supportive of the deed restriction change that will allow the building to be built on the commuter services plaza parking lot.

CCOBH, Landry said, is trying to prevent Naamans Road from becoming another Route 202, and so the group would like to see as much open space as possible be preserved.

"The Brown Parcel is one of the few properties in play right now, and we see in this potential agreement an opportunity to keep open space," Landry said.

Representatives from Acadia Reality Trust and the Commonwealth Group did not return telephone calls from the Community News.

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