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Library referendum meeting to be held in New Garden on Oct. 24

10/17/2017 01:14PM ● Published by Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

On Jan. 17, by a vote of 4-0, the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors voted to approve Resolution 766, a referendum that will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot and will read as follows:
"Do you favor increasing New Garden Township's real estate property tax by 0.100 mills, the revenue from such increase to be used exclusively to fund the operation of the Kennett Library?"
If the wording of the referendum sounds familiar to a lot of township residents, it's because they've voted on it before. In 2014, the New Garden board voted 5-0 to include a similar library tax referendum on that year's November ballot, asking township residents if they would be in favor of establishing an annual dedicated library tax for the then-named Bayard Taylor Memorial Library, beginning in 2015. If passed, each household in the township would have been required to pay a little more than $37 a year in a dedicated library tax. The referendum was defeated by a slim margin: 1,279 residents – or 47.67 percent – voted "Yes," and 1,404 – or 52.33 percent – voted "No."
If the referendum is passed this year, it would direct $17.50 in taxes per year to the Kennett Library for a household whose home is valued at $175,000, and about $25 annually to the library for households whose home is valued at $250,000. The contributions would help fund annual operating costs at the library, which include providing additional educational programs.
Passage of the referendum would contribute about $50,000 a year to the Kennett Library from the township, and place the township into a "fair share designation,” which will be a far cry from the degree of support the township has extended to the library in recent years.  According to the library's fair share calculations, New Garden is responsible for 8.5 percent of the library's annual total budget, but only funds 1.3 percent to the library every year -- $10,500 in annual contributions over the past few years.  The township boosted that figure to $15,900 to the library this year.
These proportionally low annual contributions have been exacerbated by the fact that township residents account for 28 percent of the population of the eight municipality areas that are served by the library, about 18 percent of its cardholders, as well as 23 percent of the library's assessed property values – all of which factor into what the township is supposed to kick back to the library every year.
If the referendum passes, the budget line item dedicated for the library would go back into the township's general fund, and be spent somewhere else, Township manager Tony Scheivert said.
On Oct. 24 beginning at 7 p.m., members of the Kennett Library board of directors and staff will hold a towns hall meeting at the township building, in an effort to convince township residents that voting in favor of the referendum will benefit both the township and the library.
In other township business, the board approved a refund from the township in the amount of $65,475.17 to Oriole Avenue Enterprises, the existing owner of the six-acre parcel on Newark Road that has since been put up for sale to TKC, who is processing their land development application for a sale that is expected to be finalized next January.
In 2009 and 2010, Oriole Avenue Enterprises processed  land development and zoning approvals for the construction of a small shopping center just north of the Sunoco station on Newark Road, but
the company has since put the property under agreement for sale to TKC, who is still processing the remainder of their land development application.
“It is the intent of both parties that the sewer capacity that was originally reserved for Oriole Enterprises is in excess of what TKC needs for their proposed use of the property,” said attorney John Jaros, who spoke on behalf of Oriole Enterprises. “Forty-three EDUs were originally reserved, and TKC only needs 12 EDUs. This is a request for a refund of 85 percent of the sewer fees paid by TKC, originally reserved by Oriole Avenue Enterprises, which will preserve 12 EDUs for TKC and their plans for the property.”
Avondale residents Michelle and Keith Waggoner introduced their proposed business plans to open and operate a 8,500-square-foot Camp Bow Wow franchise at 739 Newark Road in Landenberg, on an 8.4-acre site just south of the Route 41-Newark Road intersection, commonly referred to as the Singer property.
Camp Bow Wow, a national franchise with 135 locations nationwide, is a premier dog day care, grooming, training and boarding facility, and it attracted the Waggoner family as a potential business opportunity.
“We wanted to do something that we could do as a family, and bring it to a community [that would benefit from it],” Michelle said. “We have a son with special needs, and as he gets older, there's not a ton of opportunities for him, so we thought, 'What could we do that he could be involved in?' Maybe we could also help other kids with special needs in the community.”
Camp Bow Wow locations feature indoor and outdoor play areas, individual sleeping cabins, security cameras and sound proofing throughout the facility. The Landenberg facility would operate daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and would be able to accommodate a maximum of 140 dogs, and average about 32 dogs overnight, a number that will fluctuate according to peak travel times of the year, such as holidays and summer vacations.
After researching potential business ideas for a year-and-a-half, a key factor that drew the Waggoners to Camp Bow Wow is the franchise's commitment to safety and the communities it serves.
“Every last thing down to the screws used on the cabins, to the food that is served, to the toys that the dogs play with has been tested time and time again,” said Michelle, who has visited several Camp Bow Wow locations with Keith. “We will work with shelters to help dogs get socialized in order to be adopted. There will be programs for first responders, and discounts for police, fire and military [personnel].”
The Waggoners will also use their business to bring dogs into schools to work with children with special needs. 
Before they open the facility, the Waggoners – who are looking to secure a ten-year lease on the property, with an option to purchase it at a later date – need to obtain zoning variances from the township, related to regulations governing the operation of kennels.  After discussion, the board invited the Waggoners to its Oct. 23 budget meeting, where it will render a decision on what the next step of their application should be.  
The supervisors passed a township ordinance that authorizes the incorporation of light industrial commerce in the New Garden Flying Field development zone district. Township Solicitor Vince Pompo defined “light industrial” as furniture manufacturing; textile products; pre-shop stone, clay or glass products; and computer and software fabrication.
Although it was originally included on the agenda for the Oct. 16 meeting – and advertised on the township's Facebook and website –  discussion about a proposed country music festival to take place on the grounds of the New Garden Flying Field next year was removed from the meeting's agenda, due to rules and regulations enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration that need to be addressed regarding concerts at the Flying Field. 
“The township will continue to investigate this opportunity and the residents of New Garden Township will receive new information when it becomes available,” Scheivert said.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email rgaw@chestercounty.com.


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