Kennett Square Borough's Public Safety Committee to look at Kennett Fire and EMS Regional Commission's recommendations
● By Steven Hoffman
In addition to adopting a final budget for 2019, Kennett Square Borough Council handled a number of other items during its meeting on Dec. 3.
In his Finance Committee report, council member Wayne Braffman updated his colleagues about some of the things that the committee has been working on, including the effort that is underway to look at ways for the borough to increase the revenues that it sees from festivals that take place in Kennett Square. The borough would also like to explore increasing revenues from when vendors set up shop at events in the community.
In another matter that the Finance Committee has been evaluating, the committee reached a conclusion that, unless a situation arises where there is a safety concern, Kennett Square Borough should delay moving forward on any plans for a new borough administration building until 2023. The borough will have retired a signficant amount of debt by then, putting it in a stronger financial position to move forward at that point. Additionally, Braffman said, borough officials will have a better understanding of the annual costs that will be needed for the Kennett Fire Company and the ambulance division.
Braffman also said that the Finance Committee members reached a conclusion that it would be difficult for the committee to evaluate the financial implications of some of the controversial recommendations that were made by the regional commission that is evaluating the fire and ambulance services in Kennett Square Borough and the surrounding townships.
“It's extremely complex and there is a lot of uncertainty at a number of levels,” Braffman explained of the commission's recommendations. “We're not really in a position to make a recommendation at this time.”
Braffman made a motion, which was subsequently approved by borough council, to have the borough's Public Safety Committee take a look at the recommendations that were made by the Kennett Fire and EMS Regional Commission. Braffman pointed out that there is a need to address all the questions that were raised by local residents regarding those recommendations, and he said that there should be several public discussions on those issues.
The Public Safety Committee typically meets at 7:30 a.m. on the Wednesday after the first regular council meeting of the month. Mayor Matthew Fetick, who serves on that committee, said that special meetings will be held at times that are more convenient to the public.
In other business at the Dec. 3 meeting, there was a lengthy discussion about the dedication of streets and alleys in the Magnolia Place development. Borough council followed the legal advice that it received and adopted a resolution that will authorize the borough solicitor to advertise an ordinance where the borough will accept the dedication of several streets in Magnolia Place. The streets that will eventually be accepted for dedication, as of now, are portions of South Mill Road, West Mulberry Place, and D Street. In a related matter, council delayed a vote on an ordinance that specifically rejected the dedication of several other alleys and small streets in the Magnolia Place development—the North Alley, the South Alley, and Magnolia Court. These specific streets are not wide enough to qualify for liquid fuels funding from the state so it would be costly to the borough to simply accept the dedication of those streets and alleys. The delay on the vote occurred because the Homeowners' Association of Magnolia Place wants the opportunity to discuss the issue with borough officials before the borough adopts an ordinance rejecting the dedication. If the borough does formally reject the dedication of the streets, it will start the clock on when these streets would be turned over to the Homeowners' Association for permanent maintenance and upkeep.
Borough council approved the demolition of a small home on 124 South Willow Street. The borough's HARB had previously recommended the certificate of appropriateness for the demolition. The home is in disrepair, and it would be costly to update it. The home at 124 South Willow Street is in close proximity to the site where the new library is planned to be built. The demolition of 124 South Willow Street will allow for increased parking on the library site.
Kennett Square Borough Council approved amendments to chapter 23 of the borough's zoning ordinance. The amendments are designed to improve the language regarding corner lots, and the setbacks that are required for structures like sheds and garages that are placed on corner lots. One issue with the ordinance was that corner lots are defined as having two front yards.