Supervisors give preliminary nod to townhouse project
KENNETT TOWNSHIP >> The much-discussed Sweetbriar development got preliminary approval Wednesday night at a sparsely attended meeting of the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors.
The proposed development, which includes 38 townhouses on a nearly 10-acre plot at 912 S. Union St., had drawn large crowds and much discussion in previous months during early phases of the approval process.
Current area residents raised concerns about the effect of more development on the already congested Five Points intersection nearby. The Sweetbriar tract is located just north of Hillendale Road and west of Union Street.
The land is also contaminated with arsenic compounds used on orchards there in the past.
The developers said in previous meetings they would address the remediation techniques to stabilize the soil to avoid contact with residents or contamination of area streams and groundwater during the land development approval process.
The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County responded to the situation by urging the township to develop a soils ordinance regulating future development that would specify what sorts of inspections were required to look for soil contaminants and what sorts of remediations should be done if they were found on a proposed construction site.
The supervisors were cautiously receptive to the idea. But township officials found that no nearby municipalities had such an ordinance and it might actually bring them into conflict with other agencies such as the Chester County Conservation District and state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that regulated soil issues.
Gwen Lacy, the conservancy’s executive director, urged the supervisors to nevertheless be aware of potential soil contamination in the development approval process, since as local residents they had a knowledge of the land’s history that county and state officials would not.
The supervisors postponed a decision on granting conditional use approval to a nearby proposed development called Sinclair
Springs. The proposed development would include 78 townhouses on a nearly 20-acre tract on Hillendale Road.
According to Township Solicitor David Sander, the supervisors had received an updated plan for the project that included items discussed in testimony and were not ready to make a decision on the approval.
Roadmaster Roger Lysle said that except for a few last minor steps to be done in the spring, the stream bank stabilization project on Marshall Bridge Road is finished and the road is open. Lysle said the contractor was able to complete the work in two weeks, quite a bit sooner than expected.
Scudder Stevens, chair of the board of supervisors, thanked Lysle for getting the job completed to address the long-running situation. Township Manager Lisa Moore said the township had been aware for six or seven years that the bank along the roadway was capable of giving way and a reinforcement needed to be designed and put in place.
Moore reviewed a draft of the township’s 2017 budget. Tax rates will stay the same, Moore said. Earned income projections are slightly lower because an employer left the township, Moore said.
The township’s growing police force will drive expenses 12 percent higher in 2017 than they are projected for 2016, in part because the township may increase part-time officer hours.
The general fund is expected to end the year 2017 with a positive balance of $3.5 million.