Schools, EM sort out HS landscape plan

Township, schools work on plan for auditorium plantings

By Nicole Brown, Correspondent,

Now that it has a variance, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District and East Marlborough must work out a landscaping plan for the new high school auditorium.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — Trees, trees, trees, and more trees. That was the big point of discussion Monday’s Township Supervisor meeting.

The board met with school district officials, following last week’s variance for Unionville High School’s new auditorium, which require the township and schools to work out a landscaping plan for the school.

Although a landscaping plan for the Unionville High School property was previously proposed at the Aug. 1 meeting, Monday, the landscaper, Brent Good, informed the board of a few modifications.

The original plan was to add more trees to the existing “buffer” along the southern boundary between the high school and the large field; however, there is no more room for trees along that existing line.

“Any more trees would not be able to survive,” said Good.

Therefore, the extra trees will be used as a buffer between the new high school auditorium and Route 82, as well as the development across the street. This buffer is one of the conditions of the variance for the 58-foot-high building that was approved by the township Zoning Hearing Board on Sept. 6. The trees will be placed in the grass area between the front parking lot and the road. There is already a mulch path in this area that the plan works around.

“This plan is a way to utilize plants that would have otherwise died,” said landscaping architect Anne Marchino, who worked with Good to develop the plan.

Supervisors Chair Cuyler Walker agreed that it is “clearly a better use” of the trees, but he asked if this plan will suffice for the necessary buffer the Zoning Hearing Board required. His concern was that this new plan was originally developed because they had extra trees, not because they needed to buffer the auditorium.

Both Marchino and Good said they agreed that it is a sufficient plan. They added that the idea is to soften the initial shock of the building, not hide it. They are also being careful not to plant anything that will block the sign on the building.

Walker’s final request was to add some plantings along the building in the grass area between the building and the parking lot. Rick Hostetler, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, representing the school district at the meeting, commented that too much landscaping close to the building presents a security risk, however all agreed that a few low shrubs would be a beneficial addition.

The landscaping plans still need to be approved by other boards, but the Board of Supervisors agreed that they are in support of the plan.

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