Conditional Use Decision - Highlights

The Conditional Use decision contains some significant victories. While the “Greenfield Ordinance” allows a development that is contrary to the best interests of the community, within the confines of that ordinance, the Guardians achieved important improvements through the Conditional Use process. Through our efforts, if the ordinance ultimately stands, we have prevented this plan from being far worse than it could have been.

Here are some highlights:

Residential setbacks - All proposed residential buildings shall have a minimum setback of 100 feet from any Residential Zoning District boundary, and all proposed non-residential buildings shall have a minimum setback of 200 feet from any Residential Zoning District boundary. Accessory buildings and structures shall have a minimum setback of 25 feet from any Residential Zoning District Boundary.

Riparian buffers - During the course of the preliminary subdivision and land development application, Greenfield shall identify all of those instances where a 200 foot riparian buffer from the east branch of the Brandywine Creek would be encroached upon, and, to the greatest extent reasonably possible as determined by the Township Board of Supervisors, Greenfield shall take into consideration design modifications to remove such encroachments from the 200 foot riparian buffer area. Nonetheless, Greenfield shall provide a 150 foot riparian buffer from the edge of any water course, body of water, or wetland on the Subject Property, in which buffer areas there shall be no structures added, vegetation removed (other than maintenance required by the Natural Resources Management Plan or greenway management plan), or earth disturbed, except as follows:

a. Up to 5% of the entire 150 foot riparian buffer area may be disturbed, provided that the area of disturbance must be a minimum of 50 feet from any water course, body of water, or wetland, to the extent necessary to permit: existing structures; new structures in the areas of the Manor House and at the base of the quarry; existing trails; utilities (including, but not limited to, approved sewer and water facilities), subject to the approval of the Township Board of Supervisors in consultation with the Township professional consultants; and stormwater management facilities (including basins and other related facilities), subject to approval of the Township Board of Supervisors in consultation with the Township professional consultants. Adequate engineering measures shall be incorporated by the Greenfield to protect against the possibility of outflow to the buffered water course during construction or operation of the structure and to prevent, to the extent reasonably possible as determined by the Township Board of Supervisors, any other deleterious environmental impacts.
d. No more than five (5) new stream crossings shall be permitted, the locations and design of which shall be subject to approval of the Township upon consultation with the Township's professional consultants, during the preliminary subdivision and land development review process.

Groundwater - Groundwater generated by wells installed on the property cannot be exported from the property or used to increase water levels in the Cornog Quarry.

Golf Course Lighting - Neither the golf course nor any component thereof shall be utilized after sunset or before sunrise. The golf course shall not be lit for nighttime use.
Sewer - Stream discharge from the wastewater facilities shall not be permitted.

Woodland Preservation - Greenfield shall incorporate the maturing to mature woodlands into the Greenway Land. Such woodlands are characterized by a canopy dominated by tulip tree and other species, including beech, hickory, red oak, ash and walnut with spring ephemerals within the understory. The woodlands also contain invasive understory plants, such as multiflora rose, shrub honeysuckle, autumn olive and vines. The exact boundaries of maturing to mature woodlands shall be identified on the Existing Resources and Site Analysis Plan submitted during the preliminary subdivision and land development plan review process, and in accordance with Section 401.D of the Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinances, trees within the Greenway Land shall not be removed except for selective cutting of trees: 1) that are dead or diseased; 2) necessary to install utility lines, including storm sewer lines, sanitary sewer lines, and water lines; 3) to establish or maintain trails or the health of wooded areas, as approved by the Township; and 4) to manage the woodlands by removing invasive plant species.

Gambling - The Property shall not be used for gambling purposes. Greenfield shall deed restrict the Property in perpetuity, in form and substance approved by the Township and Township Solicitor, to preclude the use of the Property for gambling, a casino use, or any slot machine use.

Time Shares - Time shares shall not be permitted. Greenfield shall deed restrict the ject Property in perpetuity, in form and substance approved by the Township and Township Solicitor, to preclude the use of any of the approved residential uses as time shares. Greenfield shall also incorporate restrictions in the condominium association documents, in form and substance approved by the Township and Township Solicitor, in order to preclude the use of any of the approved residential uses as time shares.

Golf Course Conservation Easement - In the event that the proposed golf course, or any portion thereof, as approved during the subdivision and land development review process, is not constructed or is abandoned, the area approved as the golf course shall be maintained as undeveloped open space. The area comprising the golf course shall be subject to a conservation easement held by the Township, which easement shall be monitored by a third-party, such as a land trust or conservancy, approved by the Township. The area approved as the golf course shall be deed restricted in perpetuity against any use other than: the golf course or other recreational use as approved herein and through the subdivision and land development plan; or as undeveloped greenway land.

Regarding Greenfield Development and Potential Impact on HQ Stream

Delaware Riverkeeper Network

Audubon Gold Signature Program – Audubon International

(a) Country Club Use as defined in Section 1323.D.1;
(b) Spa Use as defined in Section 1323.D.2;
(c) Recreation Retail Use as defined in Section 1323.D.3;
(d) Recreational Maintenance Use as defined in Section 1323.D.4;
(e) Recreational Parking Use as defined in Section 1323.D.5;
(f) Trail Use as defined in Sections 1323.C.9, 1323.D.6 and 1323.F;
(g) Residential Use as defined in 1323.B.2 and 1323.C.1;
(h) Guest House Use as defined in Section 1323.C.2;
(i) Golf Club Use as defined in Sections 1323.C.3 and 1323.C.4;
(j) Historic Resource Use as defined in Section 1323.C.5;
(k) Agricultural Use as defined in Section 1323.C.6;
(l) FRR Maintenance Use as defined in Section 1323.C.7;
(m) FRR Parking Use as defined in Section 1323.C.8; and
(o) Greenway Land in accordance with Article XI.

The proposal by Greenfield plans to participate in Audubon International's certification for its uses listed above and states that all the uses will “be certified under the Audubon Gold Signature Program as administered by Audubon International. Such certification shall be maintained on an ongoing basis unless and until determined otherwise by the Wallace Township Board of Supervisors. “

Audubon International was formed in 1991, in collaboration with the US Golf Association and has been certifying golf courses in developments for a fee. Audubon International should not be confused with the National Audubon Society, an organization that was founded in 1905 for the purpose of conserving and restoring natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats. The two organizations are not affiliated in any way. In fact, John Flicker, past Executive Director and CEO of the National Audubon Society, stated “ The National Audubon Society does not certify golf courses, or any other development, as being environmentally sound. Indeed, Audubon more often opposes such development. Audubon also owns and manages many Sanctuaries around the country. Audubon Sanctuaries are natural places protected from development, not places certified for development.”

Delaware Riverkeeper Network has collected water chemistry data surrounding a Audubon certified golfcourses in Montgomery County, PA. Excessive nutrients run off from the golf course polluting the local stream that runs through the property. The golf course also has very little riparian buffer habitat to help buffer the stream from this intensive management.

High Quality Stream Protection

Antidegradation Review. As part of the required DEP permitting process, proposed new, additional or increased point source discharges in HQ and EV watersheds must undergo antidegradation review under Pennsylvania's antidegradation regulations. Antidegradation review is designed to ensure that water quality of HQ or EV streams is maintained and protected.

Antidegradation review for point source discharges is conducted using a tiered approach, with preference for alternative methods of handling discharges that do not involve direct discharges to surface waters:

•  First, the applicant must evaluate nondischarge alternatives to the proposed discharge and use an alternative that is environmentally sound and cost-effective when compared with the cost of the proposed discharge.

•  Second, if a nondischarge alternative is not environmentally sound and cost-effective, the applicant must use the best available combination of cost-effective treatment, land disposal, pollution prevention and wastewater reuse technologies (referred to as ABACT ).

•  Third, if no environmentally sound and cost-effective nondischarge alternative exists, the applicant must demonstrate that the discharge will maintain and protect existing water quality ( non-degrading discharge ).

•  Fourth, for HQ waters only, if after evaluating all of the above the applicant still proposes a discharge that lowers water quality, the discharge is only permitted if the applicant can demonstrate that allowing lower water quality is necessary to accommodate important economic or social development in the area in which the waters are located ( SEJ )

A proposed country club development should not qualify for SEJ so Greenfield will have to utilize technologies that do not discharge to the stream.

Importance of Forests Statistics – What Could be Lost

The loss of the existing forested buffer area to permitted encroachment for golf crossings will damage the current buffered areas that maintain the health of over 5 miles of the East Branch and its tributaries.  The PCCC allows for the encroachment into our highest valued woods, buffers and steep slopes (From anne). A forested buffer has ten to fourteen times the amount of runoff storage capacity than turf or grass.

The organic litter layer found in forests “provides a physical barrier to sediments, maintains surface porosity, high infiltration rates, and increased populations of soil mycorrhizae. The organic soils provide a reservoir for storage of nutrients to be later converted to wood biomass

It has been calculated that tree loss (in) an urban corridor resulted in a 19% increase in runoff from major storms, an estimated 540 million cubic feet of water. Replacing the lost stormwater retention capacity would cost $1.08 billion.”

In the Baltimore-Washington corridor the stormwater retention capacity of forest cover in 1973 was calculated to be worth 5.7 billion.

In Atlanta, GA a 20% loss in tree cover in the metropolitan region produced a 4.4 billion cubic foot increase in stormwater runoff; and official estimates are that it would cost at least $2 billion to build containment facilities capable of storing this excess water.

Building on a steep slope makes this capacity of natural vegetation to assist with groundwater infiltration even more important.

Site Development Destroys Natural Soils

Travel over soil with heavy equipment or repeated travel with lighter equipment compacts the soil, reducing the pores in the soil and reducing the soil's ability to, and capacity for absorbing and infiltrating runoff. Studies indicate that compaction of soils on a site that is being developed takes place in a very short period of time. Generally, during development activities, nearly all of the compaction occurs during the first trip over the ground, with most of the compaction taking place near the surface. One study found that even one pass by an empty pickup truck can reduce the void ratio from 1.23 to 1.00 and that slightly more truck travel brings the void ratio down to .71. Areas mowed regularly have been found to suffer from soil compation with a reduction in the void ratio from 0.79-0.81 to 0.12-0.13. Even excessive human foot traffic can compact soils reducing pores in the soil.

Maintaining the vegetation on the land is the best method of protecting soils from compaction. The vegetation allows the creation of topsoil and humus (which is the most absorbent layer on the ground) providing pathways for the water to enter the ground. This maintains the natural absorbency of the soil sponge.


1.25 Pa. Code §§ 93.4a-93.4d.
2.Site Planning for Urban Stream Protection, Center for Watershed Protection, December 1995.
3.DNREC and Brandywine Conservancy, Conservation Design for Stormwater Management. Sept 1997.
4.Common Ground, Vol 10 No 4 May/June 1999
5.Common Ground, Vol 10 No 4 May/June 1999
6.Center for Watershed Protection, Better Site Design. August 1998.
7.1993 soild engineering evaluation conducted by Earth Engineering Inc.
8.Chris Smith, Soil Scientist, “Soil Health Restoration” April 1998.

Support the Guardians!

Come support the Guardians by coming to the next conditional use hearing in Wallace Township. We are trying to protect the waters of the Upper East Branch of the Brandywine. You can help by showing your support.

Buffers 100

Download the PA Campaign for Clean Water's flyer: "Buffers 100 - Beside every good stream is a good buffer" to share with your friends and neighbors so they too can understand the impact and the importance buffers will have on the Upper East Branch of the Brandywine.

A Healthy Buffer

A healthy buffer is filled with native trees, shrubs, and ground covering plants and is wide enough - 100 ft wide - to filter pollution, hold and absorb flood waters and create healthy habitat.