East Marlborough board readies for three-seat election
● By J. Chambless
The ballot on Nov. 5 in East Marlborough includes four candidates for two seats that have expired, and one for an unexpired term. A township supervisor’s term is six years.
In the case of the unexpired term, people who have been chosen by boards for those positions must run and be elected in the next election to maintain their seats. In contention for the concluding terms of John Sarro and Richard “Buzz” Hannum are Republicans Sarro and Shelley Mincer, and Democrats Robert Jerger and Eric Matuszak. Sarro is the current chairman of the board, and Hannum has declined to run for another term.
Incumbent Republican Bruce Jameson will face Democrat Kathryn Monahan for Jameson’s unexpired term.
The candidates are uniformly concerned about growth. East Marlborough, once a quiet country municipality, has become a popular destination for residential and business growth. The issues that accompany that growth and their solutions concern many, including the candidates.
Democrat Jerger, 35, lives in the southeastern section of the township and is a business owner. He said he considered responsible land development and preservation of natural resources to be an important issue. “The continued growth in the township will increase its population very quickly,” he said. “We need to look at our place in the region and form a plan to manage our part of the region’s growth, so our township’s resources and natural landscape is not overwhelmed.”
Dialogue and bipartisanship are also important to him. “We are all here, alive and working together,” Jerger said.
Democrat Matuszak, 57, of Longwood Village, is a sales support specialist for a wine importer and distributor. He said he values managing residential and commercial growth to ensure the quality of life and the integrity of the township’s roads and public works. Matuszak is aware of the coming PennDOT improvements to Route 1 and is concerned about the impact on travelers.
“PennDOT will initiate improvements to the Route 1 corridor, and it is my sincere hope that the local leadership will provide the necessary checks and balances to minimize any inconveniences to constituents,” he said.
On bipartisanship, he said, “I welcome free exchange of ideas and finding common ground that benefits the whole rather than the few. I understand that bipartisanship thrives on listening and compromise.”
Republican Shelley May Mincer, 66, lives at Traditions at Longwood and is a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Fox and Roach Realtors. She is a lifelong resident of East Marlborough. She has held board positions with the Pennsylvania and Chester County Legal Secretaries associations and the Freedom Valley Girl Scout Council. She currently serves on the East Marlborough Zoning Hearing Board and the building committee for the future Unionville Post Office building.
Mincer is concerned about traffic volume, and feels that traffic-calming measures and safety improvements along Route 82 in front of Unionville High School can help.
Growth is also on her mind. “The township has been actively involved in recent new construction, regulating traffic and obtaining land for future parks and recreation without impacting our taxes – no new taxes,” she said.
She said bipartisanship is important in order to solve problems within the community, and for a better understanding of all issues.
Republican Sarro, 56, lives in Willowdale. He is a semi-retired business owner. He said he is committed to keeping the township a desirable and safe place to raise children. He also works to preserve as much open space as possible, to improve safety and reduce congestion on the roads, as well as deliver services while keeping taxes low.
“East Marlborough has become a major cut-through from surrounding areas as the population of Chester County continues to grow,” he said. “We must stay focused on controlling and slowing down traffic. An important project will be a major reconfiguration of Route 82 in front of Unionville High School and Middle School. These improvements will calm traffic and will be funded by a $750,000 grant obtained by the township.
“Bipartisanship is essential to the functioning of our democracy,” he added. “Partisanship should never be a factor in local government.”
Republican incumbent Bruce Jameson, 54, is a corporate lawyer with Prickett Jones and Elliott. He lives in Cedarcroft in Bayard Taylor’s reconstructed former barn. He said he believes in preserving the rural and historic nature of the township in a responsible way that does not impair residents’ private property rights.
“There are still a fair number of large and small, undeveloped, privately-owned tracts of land in the township. As the owners of those properties age, there will be incentives for them to sell the land to developers who in turn will seek to subdivide, clear-cut and build higher density developments on those properties,” he said. “The township supervisors and residents demonstrated significant foresight back when they proposed and passed the open space referendum and, as a result, much land is now protected. However, the township now needs to be proactive in identifying remaining properties and utilizing open-space funds to preserve, to the greatest degree possible, the remaining wooded and farm lands in the township.”
On bipartisanship, Jameson said, “Very few people will agree exclusively with the official platform position of one party or the other on every issue. Reasonable minds can differ on the best way to accomplish jointly held objectives. Given that, bipartisanship in government is necessary in a country of 327 million people, and a township of 7,000.”
Democrat Kathryn Monahan, 59, of Walnut Walk, is a sales representative for Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson. Citing the growth that has followed approved plans to add about 350 new homes between Route 926 and Route 1, she said the growth will result in a substantial increase in use of the roads. She plans to focus on road improvements to preserve and enhance community quality and safety.
“East Marlborough Township is a beautiful and charming community,” she said. “With the recent and planned increase in residential development, it is up to the township supervisors to make sure that growth is accompanied by plans that address the needs and concerns of those township residents most impacted.”
Monahan is a strong proponent of bipartisanship.
“In any dispute, my goal is not to impose my point of view, but to collaborate with others to reach an agreement in which everyone's needs are reasonably well met,” she said. “Taking a position and not be willing to listen to other people's points of view, or to compromise, makes no sense to me.”