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East Marlborough will be getting Aldi supermarket next year

09/12/2017 12:08PM ● Published by J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

East Marlborough Township will be getting its own Aldi supermarket next year, and the township supervisors approved the conditional use order for the new business at their meeting on Sept. 11.

Aldi will be moving into the former Sears Paint and Hardware store at 817 W. Baltimore Pike. The Sears store is in the process of closing. An Aldi representative who was at the supervisors meeting estimated the market will open in the second quarter of 2018.

Aldi is the common brand of two leading global discount supermarket chains that have stores in 18 countries. Locally, there are Aldi stores in Exton and Coatesville. Board chairman Richard Hannum, Jr., read each of the specifications for the conditional use order aloud. The Aldi store will not be allowed to store items on the sidewalk, will have off-peak times for deliveries, and will close daily at 9 p.m. Since the grocery store is expected to draw more traffic and business than the Sears store, the township is securing a $10,000 donation from the company to be used for the Baltimore Pike Improvement Program. The Pet Valu store, located next to the new Aldi, will remain.

Supervisor John Sarro, who has a sign business, recused himself from voting on the Aldi conditional use order because he has worked for the shopping centers. Supervisor Eddie Caudill also recused himself.

At the opening of the meeting, during public comment, supervisor Christine Kimmel expressed her concern about overflow parking at Unionville High School. At the annual back-to-school night, Kimmel said, cars were parked along Route 82 and in the fire lane at the school. “This has happened several times in the past, and there is nobody directing traffic,” she said. “People were walking to their cars, at night, along Route 82, and I am concerned that someone will get hit.”

Parking is not allowed on Route 82, and cars could be ticketed and towed, but Police Chief Robert Clarke said the township does not usually have an officer working at night. Township manager Laurie Prysock said she would contact school superintendent John Sanville to discuss options for parking when a large events are taking place at the high school and middle school.

The roundabout on Route 82 was also discussed. Prysock said that the Longwood Rotary and the Four Seasons Garden Club have agreed to plant and maintain the traffic island if the township agrees to water and mow it. The commitment has been made for five years, Prysosck said, at no cost to the township. Planting will take place at the end of September. The design has been approved by PennDOT. The board unanimously approved the proposal. “It will be nice to get that area cleaned up,” said Sarro said.

The long-discussed issue of crosswalks in front of Unionville High School and Patton Middle School was brought up by Prysock, who reported that a grant is available to pay all the construction costs of the crosswalks if the township and the school district are willing to split the design costs. The Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board will vote on the proposal on Sept. 18, but the grant application is due on Sept. 22, Prysock said. If the cost sharing is approved, and an additional grant from the Longwood Foundation falls into place, Prysock said the township and school district would each pay about $60,000 for the project. Without the Longwood grant, each would pay about $90,000. “Basically, it's a $900,000 project that we'd pay $90,000 for,” Prysock said.

Supervisor Bob Weer said he believes the school district should pay all of the design costs. Other supervisors disagreed. “Route 82 is a township road, and it's our responsibility to do this,” said supervisor Eddie Caudill. “It's a safety issue. Sharing the costs is a great idea.” Ultimately, the board approved the grant application, with Weer opposing.

The board heard from Fred Wissemann of the Kennett Area Senior Center, who is asking for donations from townships that use the senior center. “There are 312 residents of East Marlborough who use the senior center,” Wissemann said. Weer pointed out that number was less than 5 percent of the township's population. “I support the senior center, but we have to be careful,” Weer said. Wissemann said the senior center provides valuable services and would be happy with any amount the township decides to donate. No decision about a donation was made.

There was a lengthy discussion of a preliminary plan for Longwood Preserve, a proposed 150-unit townhome development to be built on land to the north of the Everfast property on Schoolhouse Lane. Attorney John Jaros asked the board for input on several issues, including a proposed reduction in the width of the entrance road to the community, as well as public access to walking trails bordering the homes. A boulevard-style entrance with plantings on a center island was altered in response to concerns from local fire companies about getting emergency equipment into the area. A secondary emergency entrance was also added on the southern edge of Longwood Preserve. The road will be gated except in emergency situations.

Township solicitor Frone Crawford pointed out that a proposed walking trail for the public requires the builders of Longwood Preserve to negotiate with surrounding property owners to allow public access. Jaros said an initial plan to locate the walking trail in a loop 50 feet from a large number of the homes raised concerns about security, and several alternate locations were discussed. Next month, the board will decide if the township will adopt the streets in the proposed development as public.

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

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