Search for new borough manager continues in Kennett Square
● By Steven Hoffman
Kennett Square officials are continuing the search for a new borough manager. Borough council president Leon Spencer offered a brief update on the search at Monday night's council meeting, saying that they want to take their time with the search to get the best candidate possible.
Joseph Scalise, the town's director of public works, has been serving as the interim borough manager since former administrator Brant Kucera departed for a job as city manager of Cannon Beach, Oregon in late October of 2014.
The borough manager search is being facilitated by Peter Marshall and Associates. Peter Marshall previously performed the borough manager duties for Kennett Square for about eight months while officials conducted a search that resulted in the hiring of Kucera in 2008.
In other business at the March 2 meeting, the second part of a conditional-use hearing regarding the Cannery Row project was held. Cannery Row Properties LLC is looking to develop a mixed-use project on a 3.9-acre property that is situated along the boundary between Kennett Square and neighboring Kennett Township.
Most of the land is located in Kennett Township, with approximately 1.3 acres is in Kennett Square Borough. The property is adjacent to the new Victory Brewing Company facility. Kennett Realty is involved with the Cannery Row project, which right now includes proposed apartments, retail space, office space, and a restaurant.
Because most of the property is located in Kennett Township, Kennett Square Borough Council previously approved an intergovernmental cooperative agreement with Kennett Township that will expedite the development of the property.
The applicant was seeking conditional-use approval on Monday night, and with little discussion council approved the conditional-use application by a vote of 5-0 with council member Dan Maffei abstaining because of a business relationship with the applicant and Chip Plumley abstaining because he was not in attendance at the first part of the conditional-use hearing.
Spencer said that the conditional-use application is approved contingent on five conditions: The project must be in full compliance with zoning ordinances; there must be strict compliance with the testimony and exhibits that were submitted during the conditional-use hearing; the project must be in compliance with all the documents that have been submitted; the applicant must still secure land-development approval from Kennett Square Borough; the applicant must still secure land-development approval from Kennett Township.
The intergovernmental cooperative agreement that was previously approved applies to zoning issues only and will allow the developer to have reasonable use of the property without having to go through the process of obtaining variances to have that use. Parking and storm-water issues will primarily be addressed in Kennett Township. The project will still need final land-development approval from both municipalities.
The only comment from the public about the project came from resident John Thomas, who expressed his concerns about parking in the area. Thomas said that Mill Road, Washington Street, and other streets in the area can’t handle the additional traffic. He said that without additional parking, people will be parking along streets or in the dance studio parking lot.
“It’s not fair to the neighbors to put as much as we can in there and say, ‘to heck with the parking,’” Thomas said. “Where are all the cars going to park? We’re causing another parking problem.”
Also at Monday night’s meeting, Historic Kennett Square executive director Mary Hutchins told borough council that they are working to prepare for the next fundraiser, the Evening of the Arts, which is slated for April 10.
Hutchins also told council that Historic Kennett Square officials are working with Kennett Township leaders to secure a planning grant to undertake a study to look at future growth in the area. Longwood Gardens has also expressed an interest in being involved with the study.
Huchins said that the goal is to retain a firm to conduct the study sometime this summer, with work beginning on the study shortly after that. It should take between 12 and 18 months to complete the study, Hutchins said.
Kennett Square Borough Council approved the Special Event applications for Healthy Kids Day, which takes place on April 25, Art on the Square and the plant sale, which is also being held on April 25, Cinco de Mayo, which is slated for May 3, and the Kennett Run on May 16.