East Marlborough supervisors contract for a new environmental resources plan
● By J. Chambless
At their April 1 meeting, the East Marlborough Board of Supervisors selected the Brandywine Conservancy to update the township’s Open Space, Recreation and Environmental Resources Plan.
The Brandywine Conservancy is a community-based, non-profit organization based in Chadds Ford that is dedicated to the protection and stewardship of natural and working lands for the public good. The current plan set for update was presented and prepared in 1993 by Glackin Associates and Conservation Advisors.
This lengthy plan, presented in book form, is an accounting and inventory using objectives and strategies to address the geography, population, institutions, byways and resources in the township. It has a stated mission of maintaining the rural character of the township. It recognizes, as well, that growth and changes will occur as time goes by. It also seeks and reports the prevailing public attitudes at the time.
It is estimated that the new project will cost slightly more than $51,000, of which $48,300 is in grants, Township Manager Laurie Prysock said at the meeting.
In the 26 years since the present plan was written, much has changed in the township, although many things have not. In 1993, the population of East Marlborough was 4,781, and the annual township budget was listed at $721,000. The stormwater management plan needed updating and the formation of a non-profit land trust was a suggestion about to take shape. Open space was 77 percent of the township area, and more than half the respondents to surveys favored cluster development with open common spaces, according to the report.
Today there are about 7,400 people living in East Marlborough, the annual operating budget is $2.9 million, and the township has revised its sewage treatment ordinances and implemented stormwater management measures.
Other things remain the same. The Cokeysville marble underground mineral structure -- the cradle of clean water -- still girds the surface geography. And just like quarter century ago, developers are knocking on the township’s door, hoping to create upscale planned residential sites that feed a growing population.
The current Open Space, Recreation and Environmental Resources Plan is detailed and addresses many of these features. It presents a host of charts, maps and copies of surveys that include the area’s underground water supply, the zoning areas, the number of working farms, the locations of scenic vistas, flood plains, historic assets, wetlands, parks and the zoning desires of the residents at that time. This information has provided the intellectual background for decisions the board makes.
But in the view of the board, the updates are needed now.
Prysock said the process of developing the new plan will take the better part of a year. Residents will be invited to a series of meetings to voice their opinions and preferences as well. This includes questions people have about the creation of a dog park, or the establishment of bike lanes -- ideas that have emerged in recent years.
In other business, the Supervisors approved a request by Walmart to sell fireworks in a tent on its property from June 28 to July 6. The supervisors also approved the language of an ordinance to be advertised addressing door-to-door solicitation. The new ordinance, if approved, will allow political, religious and non-profit representatives (including Girl Scout cookie sellers) to knock on doors, but will require background checks and fees from others.
The supervisors also approved a resolution to submit a form to install a flashing pedestrian signal on Route 82 at the Toll Brothers crosswalk.