Zoning ordinance amendments approved in Kennett Square
● By Steven Hoffman
Kennett Square Borough Council approved some zoning amendments, received reports from Historic Kennett Square and the Codes Department, and approved two Special Events Applications during its Feb. 1 meeting.
The agenda was topped by the consideration of proposed zoning ordinance amendments to the borough's zoning.
“This is essentially a house-cleaning ordinance,” borough solicitor Marc Jonas said, explaining that changes that the borough made to the Historic District necessitated some of the language changes that were made. In the old ordinance, for example, references were made to the “Architectural Review Board,” while the new ordinance refers to the “Historic Architectural Review Board.”
The public hearing regarding the ordiance amendments took only a few minutes, and there was no public comment offered about the proposed changes. Council unanimously approved the changes.
Historic Kennett Square executive director Mary Hutchins offered her monthly report about the organization's activities. She said that about 100 people attended Historic Kennett Square's annual meeting on Jan. 28, when new officers were announced for 2016. Nicole Grebloskie was selected to serve as the president and Tom Sausen was selected to serve as vice president for the coming year.
Hutchins reported that the first public meeting regarding the economic development study that is being compiled will take place on Thursday, Feb. 11, when preliminary results of the study will be unveiled. This public meeting will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Genesis HealthCare building. As work on the economic development study continues, interviews will be conducted with all the stakeholders involved.
Hutchins also reported to borough council that people have contacted Historic Kennett Square with interest in the building that served as the longtime home of Bove Jewelers on State Street. Overall, Hutchins said, there are only a few vacant buildings in the downtown, and Historic Kennett Square is working to fill them.
Borough council president Dan Maffei asked Hutchins what the vacancy rate is in the downtown, and
she replied that it is probably only two or three percent. She added that when she joined Historic Kennett Square about 16 years ago, the business district only included about two blocks. It has been expanded in all directions since then.
Borough council approved the Special Event Applications for two new events: a block party that will include a food truck festival and children's activities hosted by Victory Brewing and Historic Kennett Square on Sunday, May 22 and a Run 2 Shine Half-Marathon on Oct. 15. Organizers are hoping to get about 700 participants in the half-marathon. The block party will serve as a fundraiser for Historic Kennett Square.
During his report to council, Maffei extended his gratitude to the police department, the public works department, the administration, and all other staff involved with the efficient response to the snowstorm that dropped approximately 26 inches of snow on most parts of Chester County. Maffei noted that there were no injuries or incidents reported during the snowstorm.
Maffei offered a reminder to residents to try to clear snow from around fire hydrants in front of their properties so that the fire company will have access to them in case of an emergency. He also encouraged residents to sign up for the Swift911 service that alerts residents about emergency situations.
Mayor Matthew Fetick is hosting a town hall meeting to give residents and property owners the cahnce to ask questions of the mayor, borough council, and the department heads. The town hall meeting takes place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24 in the lower level of the Genesis HealthCare building.