Trio of Longwood cottages spared – for now

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Kennett Township supervisors agree to table demolition decision

By Kathleen Brady SheaManaging Editor, The Times

The Kennett Township supervisors tabled a vote on a demolition permit from Longwood Gardens for three bungalows it owns on Rt. 1 near the entrance to the gardens.

The Kennett Township supervisors tabled a vote on a demolition permit from Longwood Gardens for three bungalows it owns on Rt. 1 near the entrance to the gardens.

Three 1920s bungalows commissioned by Pierre S. du Pont to house some of his Longwood Gardens’ staff got at least a temporary reprieve from the wrecking ball at the Kennett Township supervisors’ meeting Monday night.

At the urging of the Planning Commission, the supervisors agreed for the second time to table a decision on Longwood’s request for a demolition permit until their May 7 work session, again falling short of the 90-day period the planners had sought.

Longwood wants the buildings razed, citing prohibitive costs to rehab them; however, members of the Planning Commission requested additional time to seek an alternative, pointing out that the homes have historic significance. Supervisors’ Chairman Michael E. Elling said a vote must occur within 90 days of the planners’ review and non-binding recommendation.

Elling said the supervisors will have several options available at the work session: They can grant an additional delay up to 45 days, grant the demolition permit outright, or grant the permit with conditions, he said. “It’s essentially a 90-day clock,” he explained.

In other business, the supervisors said they are waiting to hear back from the county commissioners regarding a request for a meeting next month on the Chandler Mill Bridge, a controversial, two-way, one lane span that is currently closed. Supervisor Scudder G. Stevens said he hoped the commissioners would share the county’s engineering studies so that all options could be considered.

A 99-year-old county-owned structure of stone and steel listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the bridge sits next to the bucolic juncture of Chandler Mill and Bucktoe Roads. The county and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation have argued that the bridge is unsafe and must be rebuilt and widened, a plan at odds with preservationists urging an “in-kind” replacement that won’t destroy the area’s character and tranquility.

 

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