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Villanova Univ Development — Failure to Be a Stormwater Leader


Villanova sought and secured creation of a special zoning ordinance it can avail itself of for massive new construction.

 Among the many shortcomings are that the ordinance allows increased development but does not mandate the use of best stormwater practices, best stream buffer practices, or open space preservation mandates that are connected with the level of increased imperviousness they might create.

 Ordinance 2013-21 Comprehensive Integrated College Development (CICD) allows for significant levels of imperviousness – an estimated 80% imperviousness in the case of Villanova and 45% imperviousness for colleges who may seek to build in more “green” areas of their campuses. A number of the campuses subject to the CICD have streams that run through them and will be impacted by the increased level of imperviousness – such as Eastern and Cabrini. High levels of imperviousness means high levels of runoff contributing to flooding, erosion and water pollution unless there are mandates that prevent those harms.

Delaware Riverkeeper Network fought with Friends to Preserve Radnor and others to inform the debate and offer ordinance language that would require use of best practices from the university that touts itself as a leader in stormwater management.

Our efforts were rejecred.  When Villanova finally proposed its first new development project it used standard old detention basins as it primary mode of storwmater management.  Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Friends to Preserve Radnor urged something better.  After months and months of fighting we got a little progress — not what one would expect from a university that touts itself as the nation’s stormwater leader, but it was something better than what they had orignally proposed.  

In the spring of 2016, Delaware Riverkeeper Network scientists, experts and Friends to Preser Radnor determined what seems to be a long buried stream running  under the villanova parking lot that is going to be replaced with the new development..  We are now urging VU to go that extra step and daylight the stream as part of its project.  See our letter to Villanova, the Township and DEP.