Township agrees to new ordinance
By Richard L. Gaw
The Kennett Township Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at its July 16 meeting to adopt three ordinances into law that enforce township fire code standards, establish rules for swimming pool construction and safety, and enforce parking laws for a township development.
Board chairman Scudder Stevens and supervisors Robert Hammaker and Dr. Richard Leff first agreed to adopt Ordinance 219, which incorporates the International Fire Code into township laws. Township manager Lisa Moore said that representatives from the township's two fire companies requested that the township adopt international fire codes. Township building inspector Rich Hicks said that the ordinance will help to enforce the township's ability to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents. The code will be applied only to new construction.
The board also agreed to enact Ordinance 220, which sets standards for the construction of all new private, non-commercial swimming pools in the township, including the enforcement of set-back distance standards, as well as rules for the construction of fencing and protective latches that are to be built near and around all new swimming pools.
The board also voted to enact Ordinance 222, which tightens parking regulations in the Penns Manor residential development. The idea for the ordinance came from the Home Owners Association for Penns Manor, which requested that the township determine if parking is permitted on the main roads within the development, outside of the specified parking areas. Moore said a a lot of Penns Manor residents have complained that cars are parking on the roads, and that there are difficulties getting through. The traffic study was done, and revealed that parking within the development in non-specified parking should not be permitted. She said that “No parking” signs will be posted in the development.
Each of these ordinances will go into effect this week.
Moore informed the audience that the township recently received an $850,000 grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission that will be applied to the construction of sidewalks along West Cypress Street, Old Baltimore Pike, McFarlan Road and Rosedale Road. The project is intended to “connect” the township, the Kennett Square Borough and New Garden Township by enhancing the walkability between municipalities. The total price tag for the project, which is scheduled to begin in 2015, is estimated at $1 million, with the remainder of the costs being paid by the township and New Garden Township.
The supervisors agreed to pay $237,325.49, the sixth payment for the construction of a paving project that is being developed along the two-mile stretch of Kennett Pike that cuts through the township. The project will broaden the bike and walking lanes along the highway. Moore said that there is approximately $225,000 left to pay for the project.
Moore said that she and two township employees will be meeting in the coming weeks with representatives from the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO), to discuss what PECO and the township can do in the wake of continued power outages in the township. Soon after, several residents expressed anger with the lack of response by PECO officials to large power outages reported in the township, calling the company “arrogant.”
Stevens agreed with the sentiment, and encouraged residents with thoughts and concerns about power outages to share them with Moore. “From my perspective, there's a lot that PECO needs to answer to,” he said. “This is one effort in order to get those answers coming.”
During the July 3 storm, Leff said that although his home in the township had lost power, he still had internet access, and followed how Kennett Township was faring in its number of power outages, in comparison to other areas of Chester County.
“At one time, the township had three times as many power outages than any other township in the county,” Leff said. “One of the questions we're going to ask is, 'What are PECO's plans to have restoration of power within the township comparable to what's present in other townships?' I don't know if the answer will be any better, but we can at least keep asking.”
The Kennett Township Police Department conducted two studies on traffic enforcement and safety during June in order to identify aggressive drivers. The funding for this grant allowed for 24 hours of police enforcement that resulted in 54 traffic arrests and one criminal arrest during that time.
The department, with the assistance of motor carrier enforcement officers, also conducted an eight-hour commercial motor carrier inspection and enforcement detail along East Baltimore Pike in June. The department inspected 25 commercial motor carrier vehicles, seven of which were found to have violations, which caused the vehicles to be taken out of service. In addition, officers issued 20 traffic citations for violations during the detail.
Stevens provided an update on Ordinance 221, which sets standards for the establishment of retirement communities in the township. He said that the supervisors are awaiting input from the township's Planning Commission on the ordinance. The commission is expected to share their comments at the supervisors meeting in October.
Moore also informed the audience that Albert McCarthy, the Kennett Township Chief of Police, has been on leave for the past month and a half, and that the department is being patrolled by Officer Lydell Nolt. Moore would not detail the nature of McCarthy's leave, but did say that it was not "disciplinary" in nature. She told the audience that she does not know when Chief McCarthy's leave will end.
On Oct. 4, 2011, McCarthy rear-ended a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee occupied by Hockessin residents Paula A. Sharpe and George A. Pigford, just south of McFarlan Road. Sharpe and Pigford filed a three-count personal injury lawsuit against Kennett Township and McCarthy, citing negligence and carelessness on the part of McCarthy that led to Sharpe receiving serious injuries, including acute post-traumatic lumbar sprain. As a result, McCarthy was temporarily placed on administrative leave from his position, and was confined to desk duties. He later publicly explained his accident, including his admission that he had suffered a brief blackout due to a medical condition caused by an absence seizure, which is categorized by brief epileptic seizures that occur suddenly and impair consciousness.
During the time of his leave, McCarthy will be entitled to full salary and full benefits. In April, he was awarded with a one-year contract extension in his current role, which will pay him $91,000 over the duration of the agreement. Stevens, Hammaker and Leff all approved the agreement.