Garage goes down three feet; Radnor Commissioners approve

Radnor Township commissioners took up a long agenda, numbered 1 to 20 and A to V under “Committee reports,” Monday night. Along the way they lowered the 40 Louella Court garage project by three feet.

By a 4-0 vote, the commissioners approved HARB’s certificate of appropriateness for demolishing an existing two-car garage and building a 24-car underground garage with a trash room, ramp and steps attached to the existing building with one modification, that the southeast corner slope be changed from an estimated nine-foot above-ground elevation to just six feet.

Developer Cas Holloway pulled drawings for a sloping gararge-floor out of his briefcase, and quickly the modified plan had an appeal that a “nine-foot wall of dirt” had not had. Gone was the flat “Victoria garden”-look to the east of the Louella mansion, replaced by a sloping structure top that might emulate more nearly the look of the terrain as it is now.

HARB chair Cameron Lacey, who explained to the commissioners that the southeastern elevation had become a concern during that board’s approval of the connection between the garage and the mansion two weeks ago, said “we could get behind this plan,” of the developer’s proposal.

Also, as a consequence of adding a downward pitch to the garage floor, the south-side entrance to the structure would need to be moved to the west, toward the mansion, which apparently pleased Louella neighbor Cliff Fleming, who called the plan ‘acceptable. The existing lines have been explained,’ he said. “We like it.” The aiming of headlights toward his house from cars exiting the garage had been an issue with Fleming.

Not all the neighbors seemed to like the change as well as Fleming. A request for a 15-day delay, as mandated for a new plan, and a claim that moving the entrance had made the modification into a new plan were discouraged by township solicitor John Rice.

Holloway crews had staked out the garage’s dimensions and elevations last week and had taken test borings to make sure the garage could go three feet deeper on the southeast corner.

Board chair John Fisher said that in voting approval, the board had shown ‘faith in the process,” and that the developer’s plan for renovating the Louella mansion into 12 condominiums still had a long way to go, through land development and zoning, and that “the developer and neighborhood should continue to work together [to ensure the best final plan].”

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