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Chester County Press

Abandoned home worries neighbors in Kemblesville

07/24/2018 09:45AM ● By J. Chambless

An abandoned home at 3327 Appleton Road in the heart of Kemblesville has been a longtime concern for neighbors.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

A dilapidated home in the historic district of Kemblesville is an eyesore for anyone driving through the village, but it's especially frustrating for Franklin Township Board of Supervisors chairman John Auerbach.

The brick home, at 3327 Appleton Road, sits at the heavily traveled intersection of Appleton Road and Route 896. In an email to the Chester County Press last week, Auerbach wrote, “In March of 2018, the front porch roof collapsed and the roof and debris remain in place. No effort by the owner has been initiated to remove the debris and replace the porch roof. The exterior and interior are in very poor condition. The property owner is a local resident and has used the property as rental unit. Currently, the property is vacant, with the last tenants leaving sometime in 2017.

“The supervisors and the Historic Architectural Review Board are very concerned about the condition of the property,” Auerbach wrote. “There are concerns about public safety, as the State Police have recently determined that access to the interior is unsecured. The township is developing a plan to secure doors and windows to avoid squatters and nefarious activity.”

At the July 18 meeting of the supervisors, Paul Lagasse, the chairman of the township's Historic Commission, also raised concerns about the building, and noted that neighbors are concerned that it will attract vandals or arsonists.

In his note, Auerbach added that “the township has made many attempts to contact the owner, without success.” The owner has been served with legal papers, and a hearing has been scheduled on Aug. 30 in Kennett Square to try to come to some resolution regarding the property.

The board also discussed solicitation in the township, a topic that had been raised at last month's meeting. The township office has received several calls from residents who were disturbed by sales people knocking on their doors in the evening. Over the years, residents have encountered door-to-door sales people who they said were were rude, and whose sales tactics were questionable.

The board has previously discussed passing an ordinance against solicitation, but the township would lack ability to enforce any ordinance of that kind. There is an expense to draft and advertise any ordinance, and four of the supervisors agreed last month that they were not in favor of moving forward with an ordinance. Supervisor Donna Dea, who was not at the June 20 meeting, was asked for her input at the July 18 meeting, and she agreed that enforcing such an ordinance would not be possible.

The board also revisited the topic of bamboo being grown in the township. The issue had been brought up at last month's meeting. Bamboo is technically a grass, and township solicitor Mark Thompson said that it's not covered by the township's ordinances regarding trees or noxious weeds. The board members felt that a separate ordinance was necessary for bamboo, given its tendency to spread quickly. The board reviewed a draft ordinance prepared by Thompson and made a few changes before agreeing that it should be advertised in time for the August supervisors meeting. The revised ordinance restricts the planting and growing of bamboo, and enforces its maintence within 40 feet of a road's edge and within 10 feet of a property's border.

Kaitlin O’Reilly, a senior at Avon Grove High School, presented details of her Girl Scout Gold Project that will showcase Crossan Park and Nichol Park through a video highlighting the playgrounds, trails and other features that benefit the community. She will be using a drone to capture footage of the local parks. She hopes to encourage people to take advantage of the parks and participate in more outdoor activities. O'Reilly built a hexagonal wooden picnic table and planted a tree in Crossan Park for her Girl Scout Silver project. The board unanimously encouraged O'Reilly to proceed with the new project, indicating that funds up to $500 would be available if needed.

Updated township information, and a video of the most recent board meeting, are available on the township website, www.franklintownship.us.


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

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