By Richard L. Gaw
The London Grove Board of Supervisors gave final plan approval at their Aug. 7 meeting for the development of the long-awaited Three Groves Ecovillage in West Grove, an environmentally conscious development that is expected to break ground adjacent to Goddard Road this September.
Located on the corner of Prospect Avenue and West State Road, Three Groves will be a 37-unit complex that will incorporate sustainable and energy-efficient practices. It will include a common house, a natural pool, a rain garden, an orchard and walkways. The community has been designed to meet Net Zero Energy and LEED Platinum Certification.
Prior to receiving the 5-0 approval, representatives from Three Groves asked for and received waiver requests that asked for a reduction in township recreation fees for residents of Three Groves; to remove a sidewalk to the end of the Three Groves property along State Road; as well as requests for waivers on various internal parking and roadway concerns.
In other township business, the supervisors discussed how determine the benefit package plan for new township employees, Pennsylvania Retirement System (PMRS Plan) per-year commitment from the township, which is currently set at $500 per quarter per employee, or $2,000 per year for each employee.
Each of the supervisors tossed out suggested dollar figures. Supervisor Mike Pickel suggested that benefit packages for employees be based on setting performance standards for employees. "If an employee or group of employees do well, that's how we reward them," Pickel said. "It shouldn't just be expected. I think that's how we will continue to find good people."
The board approved a cash benefit plan for new township employees at an annual baseline contribution rate of $200 per year.
The board also reviewed the township's International Fire Code and Alarm Ordinance, currently in draft form, that attempts to regulate the installation, operation and maintenenance of building alarm systems in the township. If enacted, the ordinance would permit the township to make fire safety inspections of both commercial and institutional buildings. The supervisors agreed that before passage, the ordinance will first need to be reviewed by the township's planning commission.
Trooper Kelly Cruz of the Pennsylvania State Police Avondale encouraged township residents to become vigilant about potential crimes in their neighborhoods, in order to assist an already overburdened police force. Cruz said that anticipated cuts in state spending are expected to have an impact on the hiring of new police officers at the baracks The force has a coverage area from the Maryland and Delaware state lines to the border of Lancaster County and half of Chester County.
"As you understand, with any state agency, funding and manpower is an issue, and we're suffering the same problems, and the plans don't support an increase in our manpower any time soon," Cruz said. "We're doing much more with less, so it's incumbent to rely upon you as residents of the township to ensure that you help us protect you.
"Talk to your neighbors," Cruz added. "You know who belongs in your community. You know who comes and goes at what time. When you see suspicious activities, call the police."
If township residents see a potential theft, Cruz strongly urged township residents to call the Avondale police station at 610-268-2022 and not 911. He said that dialing the police station directly will save valuable time in dispatching law enforcement to the scene.
Cruz said that the biggest concerns in southern Chester County are property crimes -- both burglaries and thefts -- which are being committed by those in other communities entering the township and stealing items to pay for drug habits. During last three months, Cruz said, the state police handled 262 calls for service in the township; seven were personal assaults, ten were burglaries,18 were thefts, and 42 were vehicle accidents.
Inniscrone Golf Course manager Tom Bolko said that revenues at the course saw a 2 percent increase in July from the previous month, despite the heavy rains in the area over the past six weeks. Bolko said that 65 percent of July's revenue came in the last 12 days of July.