Township shares 2015 achievements, goals for new year
By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer
A mere moment after Whitney Hoffman was sworn in by District Judge Daniel Maisano to become the newest member of the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors on Jan. 4, she took her seat beside her new colleagues Dr. Richard Leff and Board Chairman Scudder Stevens.
Hoffman joined the board as a result of her narrow defeat of Republican Ted Moxon in an election held on Nov. 3. She beat Moxon by only 146 votes in the township's 328th precinct, defeating her challenger Moxon by a vote of 316 to 155, as well as in the 320th precinct, by a vote of 235 to 217. Moxon defeated Hoffman 275 to 261 in the 329th precinct and 261 to 242 in the 325th precinct.
For some in the room full of volunteers and township leaders who had gathered to usher in a new year of committees and broad stroke mission statements, the sight of three Democrats serving as the most influential voices in the township seemed nearly unthinkable as recently as four or five years ago, when the firmly-entrenched Republican Guard of Michael Elling, Alan Falcoff and Robert Hammaker ran the township with a closed-door, buttoned-down efficiency. And yet, for the next hour, as committee chairpersons, supervisors and Township Manager Lisa Moore spelled out the township's recent achievements and its goals for 2016, the transformation, now sitting side by side by side, seemed to illuminate the good news of what was shared.
Reading from an I-phone, Stevens ticked off a lengthy list of what he considered to be among the township's largest accomplishments in 2015. At the top of his list was the township's taking over the ownership of the historic Chandler Mill Bridge, for the purpose of converting it to a pedestrian-only structure with the capacity to carry emergency vehicles. Stevens also pointed to what he called the township's work to forge a "deeper cooperation" with surrounding municipalities; as well as upgrading the township's grant writing "to fund and augment" township capital and annual expenses; increasing easements and trail transactions; expanding the township's means of communication; and increasing the number of staff on the township's police department.
Stevens also applauded the township for its effective accounting that has led to the funding of capital improvements, as well as its continued accounting measures; its expansion of conservation easements; the use of more volunteers; an increase in number of township employees; the adoption of a comprehensive plan and a transfer development rights ordinance; the township's expanded relationship with the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County; and its expanded role in the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library.
"All of this and more, in addition to the usual management of township business that earned us the accolade of being one of the best managed townships in the Commonwealth," Stevens said.
Highlighting additional township achievements over the last year, Moore said that the board of supervisors enacted 27 new ordinances in 2015, which established better measures for storm water drainage; specifications for proper use of trails; regulations that monitored the discharge of firearms; ordinances that intended to improve various intersections in the township; as well as ordinances that established standards for apartments and mixed-use development; and a township curfew for minors.
Moore praised the work of township volunteer Michael Gutman, who worked with the township on several grant opportunities, as well as his work on the branding of the Kennett Land and Trails initiative, which will kick off a public relations campaign and a new website in 2016, which will give the community and visitors an overview of the township's trail and preservation network.
Moore also said that the township's The Land Conservation Advisory Committee, in partnership with the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, is continuing to search for additional land easements in the township; and that the township has created a new traffic impact fee advisory committee, who will explore ways to offset the cost of road maintenance and construction.
Representatives from the following boards and commissions then provided brief updates: Planning Commission, Environmental Advisory Council, Kennett Area Park Authority, The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, Park and Recreation Board, Historic Commission, Deer Management Committee, Grant Coordinator, Kennett Area Regional Planning Commission, Safety Committee, Land Conservancy Advisory Committee, Trails and Sidewalks Committee, Library Board; Route 52 Bikeway & Scenic Byway; and the township's Business Advisory Committee.
In addition to the swearing in of Hoffman, Stevens was re-appointed as board chairman; Leff was re-appointed as vice chairman; and Moore was re-appointed as secretary and treasurer.
It was also announced that all future meetings for the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors will now begin at 7 p.m.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.