Kennett Township makes 2019 appointments, sets goals for new year
● By Richard Gaw
The Kennett Township Board of Supervisors re-elected Scudder Stevens as board chairman for 2019, and announced the appointment of nearly 100 employees, volunteers and consultants to 24 township committees, at its annual organizational meeting on Jan. 7.
Stevens was also appointed as the township's voting delegate to the state's PSATS convention, which will be held in Hershey, Pa. in April. Supervisor Dr. Richard Leff was re-elected as vice chairman of the board, and township manager Lisa Moore was re-elected as secretary-treasurer of the board.
In other business, the supervisors extended the township's contracts with both the Longwood Fire Company and Kennett Fire Company for 2019, which establishes that the township will pay each company through funds available from the Emergency Services Commission.
The contract agreements, applicable from Jan. 7, 2019 to Jan. 6, 2020, also sets their respective coverage areas for this year. Stevens said that there has been a request for the township to consider adjusting fire, EMS and ambulance coverage for an area that is currently being serviced by both companies. He said that the board will address the issue at a public meeting “in the immediate future.”
During the meeting, representatives from several township committees and affiliated organizations gave brief presentations that highlighted accomplishments for 2018 and goals for 2019.
Tom Janton of the Kennett Trails Alliance said that the committee is currently working on 15 separate projects, which include the upgrading and construction of several trails and trail bridges along the Kennett Greenway, and installing sidewalks along McFarlan Road, from Rosedale Road to Baltimore Pike, which is being funded from an $800,000 grant.
Abbie Kessler, the preservation director for the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County (TLC), said that the TLC recently closed on an easement near Burnt Mill Road, and is working on creating an additional easement nearby in 2019. The TLC also acquired an additional 20-acre property that will be added to the Marshall Bridge Preserve, planted 700 trees along riparian buffers in the township – including 300 in Barkingfield Park – and is cutting down evasive vines throughout the 68-acre Lord Howe property, that is owned by the township.
Gus Teipelke of the Safety Committee said the group is involved in a number of projects, including the exploration of several traffic calming concepts, and the collection of the names and locations of handicapped residents in the township who live in high-rise buildings, which will be provided to all first responders.
Kennett Library treasurer Bill McLaughlin spelled out the vision for the future construction of a new library in the Weinstein lot in the borough. Currently, construction estimates call for a $15 million price tag for the planned two-story, 25,000 square-foot building, that in its current design calls for a 37-car parking lot, several classrooms and a 110-seat auditorium.
McLaughlin said that the timeline for the new library features an aggressive public relations campaign through July, followed by a two-year capital campaign, finalization of design in June 2020, and construction that is planned to begin during the first quarter of 2021.
Moore highlighted some of the township's major accomplishments in 2018. At the top of the list was the township's acquisition of the Spar Hill property, a 103-acre tract of land that borders Burnt Mill, Center Mill and Old Kennett roads, and is adjacent to the 68-acre Lord Howe property, which is also owned by the township. The purchase price was $3.2 million, of which $1 million was paid for by a recent grant the township received from the Mt. Cuba Center.
Other highlights from 2018 included the township's continuing collaboration with the Kennett Borough on an economic development study; the completion of an active transportation study for the township; the creation of a new committee to provide stewardship of environmental and land management practices in the township; the completion of a feasibility study in partnership with the borough and New Garden Township that explores the idea of establishing a center for excellence for indoor agriculture in the area; the continued installation of trails throughout the township; planning the rehabilitation of the Chandler Mill Bridge, which is expected to get underway in 2019; the creation of a new contract with the township police department; and the refurbishing of the historic Fussell House.
The board adopted seven remaining resolutions from 2018, that will be applied to 2019. The first, Res. 2019-1, sets the mileage fee for any township official at $.58 per mile. Res. 2019-2 determines the code for public safety in the township, and identifies all emergency service providers and contact information. Res. 2019-3 sets the standards for the appointment of consultants to the township, and establishes consulting review fees.
Res. 2019-4 establishes various consulting and engineering fees for subdivisions, land development and lot line change application fees, as well as various building and zoning permit fees.
Res. 2019-5 establishes tax rates in the township, including real estate tax, interim real estate tax, library tax, earned income tax, open space tax, real estate transfer tax and street light assessment fees. Res. 2019-6 establishes a cash escrow basis for plan reviews and inspections for subdivision and land development, applicable to review fees for applications filed under the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, and Res. 2019-7 establishes the township's sewer rates. All resolutions are listed on the township's website.
The board also announced that their 2019 meetings will be held on the first and third Wednesday of each month, beginning at 7 p.m. The township's Planning Commission public meetings this year will be held on the second Tuesday of each month, beginning at 7 p.m. The Commission's work sessions will be held on the first Tuesday of each month, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
All meetings will be held at the Kennett Township Building.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.