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Chester County Press

Lower Oxford supervisors' decision doesn't adhere to comprehensive plan for area

01/27/2015 12:35PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Letter to the Editor:

There are many reasons to be outraged by the vote in Lower Oxford to amend the zoning to accommodate an electronic billboard prototype.

Supervisors Joel Brown and Kenneth Hershey cited their narrow desire to attract commercial development to the area. Supervisor Ron Kepler, who is up for reelection this year, expressed little, if any, opposition during the township’s fifteen-month process of advancing the applicant’s requested zoning amendments.

Supervisor Brown claimed that commercial development is needed to offset the unbalanced amount of residential development that occurred during the last few decades. Township officials of the Oxford region did little to resist that residential growth as they watched the cost per student surpass the amount of tax collected for each residential unit. So as we await the building of previously approved residential projects closely familiar to these township supervisors, there will soon be a massive billboard primarily affordable by national advertisers. This type of chase for tax ratables has often deflated property values in areas that were altered to encourage commercial activity.

Others have fled from this kind of economic development, when their quality of life was compromised.

If only those who want to enhance the local economy could recognize the benefits of following their respective comprehensive plans. Lower Oxford officials, and even Chester County Commissioners, should be wary of these types of economic development efforts that lack public awareness and stand to benefit a limited few.

Unfortunately, the county’s recently adopted economic strategy, Vista 2025, targets the Route 1 corridor as a “corridor of opportunity,” instead of discouraging sprawling infrastructure. The deliberate failure to follow Landscapes2, the county’s comprehensive plan, will threaten our downtowns, our agricultural industry, and our quality of life, as they turn Oxford into Exton.

Blair Fleischmann

Upper Oxford Township