Su­per­vi­sors give pre­lim­i­nary nod to town­house project

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Matt Free­man For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

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.

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