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June 19, 2018

Carlino’s full-court press

In the last month, they’ve had “community meetings,” an “open house,” full page newspaper ads, a "petition," two mailers to every Marple resident, and a corps of  spokespeople pushing the monstrosity on social media.  The developers know "Marple Town Center" is too big, so they're trying to bully Marple residents into accepting it.

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Hundreds of residents turned out for a presentation and got a bottle of Wegman's water instead

Anyone attending Carlino’s “open house” in Cardinal O’Hara’s makeshift sauna had to be impressed by how much money and effort went into the extravaganza, the sole purpose of which was to “hard sell” the community a regional shopping center that will create havoc on Marple, Springfield, and Haverford roads. The event backfired, though, with hundreds of area residents expressing anger at Carlino for their bait and switch. They saw Carlino’s trade show for what it actually was: an underhanded way of heading off public anger that would otherwise have been expressed at the previously planned auditorium-type meeting at Marple Newtown High. Their last minute change of venue and format to an “open house” (after our flyer and article went out) enabled Carlino to control their message by isolating community members in small groups. As one observer noted, “someone voicing an objection in an auditorium meeting would be heard by everyone in the room, but at Carlino’s open house no one would hear it.” The event also doubled as an information harvesting operation with Carlino collecting email addresses and phone numbers from residents – under the guise of a raffle – in order to have trained employees pitch them later on accepting a 47 acre regional shopping center which would be eight acres bigger than the entire Springfield Mall complex and parking lot.


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Several hundred vehicles pack the enormous Wegmans parking lot (on two sides of the building) at noon on a Saturday in Concordville. This large shopping center has TWO major three lane roads – Route 1 and Route 202 – to exit onto but it's about 15 acres smaller than what Carlino wants to build in Marple. Marple, by the way, would have just one exit/entrance road to handle traffic from 36 stores/uses over and above the Wegmans, a four-story medical office building, 150 senior living units, a four-story storage facility, and nearly 2,600 parking spaces. Tens of thousands of vehicles would be added to the current 33,000 average daily load which already backs traffic up from Route 1 to the Depot, to pick just one choke point. Add to this nightmare the many funeral processions entering the cemetery across the street.

Would you want to live anywhere near this? 

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Haverford Township approved several hundred houses and condos on land they bought for cheap. They could have preserved so much more without adding roughly one thousand new residents to the township. Carlino's ad compared this monstrous orange to their huge apple.

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Carlino wants to burden our already congested area with a shopping center 8 acres BIGGER than the entire Springfield Mall complex.  

"The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."

-The Pennsylvania Environmental Rights Amendment Article 1, Section 27

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in an already heavily congested part of the county, Carlino wants to build something more than TWICE the size of the Drexeline Shopping Center complex. Note: the area bounded by the red line is 22 acres, which includes the apartments next to Drexeline.

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Just another Saturday afternoon in Marple. This is a "before" pic. For the "after" pic, we'll have to wait until Carlino adds tens of thousands of new vehicle trips to the mess. Believe your own eyes, not Carlino's traffic magicians who claim they will make all this disappear by adding another traffic signal to Sproul.

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Carlino says they're just adding "a little bit more" to the size of the their proposal. Here's what that looks like: The abandoned Giant shopping center at Springfield Road and West Chester Pike is about 13 acres (the area within the polygon). The 12 acre difference between the actual Don Guanella Village site and their larger proposal is roughly equivalent to this large shopping center.