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Chester County Press

East Marlborough supervisors amend zoning to allow medical marijuana processing

11/10/2016 01:28PM ● By J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

The East Marlborough Township budget for 2017 was formally presented to the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 8, but the exact figures were not announced, pending further study, publication and posting online in the coming days.

Board chairman Richard Hannum said that he had not had enough time to study the numbers, but did say that the budget was “overall, much the same as last year,” and that “there is nothing in the budget to raise taxes.”

The board will formally discuss the details of the budget at their December meeting, after it has been published.

At the beginning of the meeting, the board discussed new township zoning amendments, one of which will allow growing facilities for medical marijuana in the township, reflecting a statewide ruling declaring that such facilities will be legal. Cuyler Walker, who is the chairman of the township Planning Commission, worked with township solicitor Frone Crawford in drafting the amendments. “The state recognizes medical marijuana's legal use in Pennsylvania, so townships must provide for that in their ordinances,” Walker said at the meeting. Only growing and processing facilities will be allowed in the limited industrial district, he said, and not in any residential districts. “I'd like to emphasize that this amendment is just for growing and processing,” he said. “There will be no sales in the township.”

The board approved the amendments, which also included a strengthening of riparian buffer provisions, by a unanimous vote.

The board also went through a conditional use order that will allow the construction of an automated car wash facility on Onix Drive, behind the Bank of America building. The facility will be a maximum 3,160 square feet, with 11 canister vacuum stations outside. There will be limitations on signage, which will not be visible from Route 1. The facility will be constructed of bricks, and there will be a sidewalk that will tie into other sidewalks in the area. Each specification was approved by a unanimous vote by the board, with supervisor John Sarro abstaining from each vote.

Sarro presented an update on activities of the township's Safety Committee, saying that faded signs had been updated throughout the township, and tree trimming had taken place along township roads to improve visibility. He also said speeding enforcement had been stepped up, particularly through the village of Unionville, but that the installation of crosswalks is being held up by Traffic Planning and Design, the Pottstown-based firm which serves as the township's traffic engineer. Sarro said that initial estimates of about $30,000 for engineering fees for the crosswalks led to a decision to get the projects itemized, and that is taking more time than expected.

Two Unionville residents objected to the delays, and challenged Sarro to come and see what traffic is like through the village. “I spent time walking up and down Route 82, so I'm well aware of your struggles there,” Sarro said.

Township engineer Jim Hatfield said that Route 82 through the village is maintained by the township, “but it is still a state highway by its route designation,” so the township's ability act independently is curtailed.

Resident Jack Greenwood, who is on the Safety Committee, told Sarro, “We don't meet, and I'm tired of no action.”

Sarro maintained that since taking over the committee about four months ago, “I have been involved, and if I got a proposal tomorrow from Traffic Planning and Design, I'd send it to you.”

Hannum tried to calm the heated discussion, saying, “I think we have to take Mr. Sarro at his word that we will move forward.”

“I live on Route 926,” Sarro said. “I'm familiar with truck noise. I promise you something will get done.”

Supervisor Robert Weer agreed with the complaints of residents. “Traffic problems have increased drastically in Unionville,” he said. “I'm frustrated, too, and we're going to work on it.”

Hatfield reviewed the final punch list of items to complete the Unionville Park construction, saying, “We're close to completion. We hope to be substantially complete by the board's meeting next month.”

Among the work to be completed is the pouring of slabs under the pavilion roof and installation of fixtures in the pavilion, Hatfield said, as well as some fencing.

The type and location of fencing was the subject of a long discussion, with Walker saying that adding fencing at the southern end of the park detracts from the view over the adjoining property, which is privately owned.

There is a forested area that presents an obvious boundary on the southern edge, Hatfield said, and the area is somewhat swampy, making a natural barrier, but he wondered if fencing at the edge should be closed up to provide a consistent barrier.

In the end, it was suggested that a sign or two could indicate that the property beyond is private, and not part of the park, which should keep people from trespassing.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchambless@chestercounty.com.

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