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Chester County Press

Marijuana facility denied by East Marlborough supervisors

07/11/2017 09:14AM ● By J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

A proposed medical marijuana growing and processing facility will not be built in East Marlborough Township after the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on July 12 to reject the proposal.

The supervisors had heard detailed plans for the facility in May. Enrico Avello, Sr., and his son, Enrico Avello, Jr., had sought zoning approval for the warehouse-like facility, to be built on a vacant lot at 532 N. Walnut Rd. While growing and processing medical marijuana is legal in Pennsylvania, the supervisors had reservations about extensive home construction that is in the works on land near the proposed facility, as well as access to the building in case of a fire. A document outlining their reasons for turning down the proposal was given to Avello, Jr., and his attorney. They left without comment after the facility was voted down.

Another proposal that has long been in the works was approved, however. Planning Commission chairman Cuyler Walker has made several presentations to the board about a regional commission to oversee EMS services, and the board took a vote on July 12. Walker summarized the plan, saying that the commission will coordinate fire and ambulance services from the three local companies for six municipalities. There have been issues with overlapping territories for the fire companies, and the commission would regulate the allocation of services more accurately. The board voted unanimously to approve the new Kennett Regulatory Fire and EMS Commission, and voted unanimously to appoint Walker as a representative to the commission.

Board chairman Richard Hannum, Jr., thanked Walker. “It would be a disservice if you weren't representing East Marlborough on this,” Hannum said. “We would like to thank you for all your hard work.”

The board got an update about the new Kennett Library facility from library board secretary Margaret Egli, who thanked the supervisors for the financial support the township gives the library. While there has been extensive wrangling over who will be leading the way toward a new library building and what the building will look like, Egli said, “The proposed library will be an economic engine and an anchor for our community. We will be going about this on our own, but it is going to be happening.”

The library backers need to raise $8 million to $9 million during a capital campaign, but Egli said, “We have all the right people in place, and I think this is the right time. The library is not just about books on a shelf. It offers a whole range of programs for the community. Hopefully, this new facility will be there for the next 50 to 75 years.”

The board also approved a permit regarding requirements for reducing stream sediment. As part of regional MS4 restrictions, the township is obligated to reduce the volume of runoff entering local streams.

The township has four watershed areas. Two drain to the Brandywine, and two drain to the Red Clay Creek. Fortunately, the township was an early adopter of more stringent stormwater ordinances from 1984 to 1995, and many developments in the township already have systems in place. Under the permit,systems in several developments will be checked to make sure they are working properly, and those systems will be counted into the mandated 10 percent reduction in stream pollutants from the township. The five-year process of assessing and improving stormwater runoff systems is estimated to cost about $70,000 beginning in March 2018 and continuing through March 2023.

There was a lengthy discussion of intersection improvements connected to a proposed bike and pedestrian path that will cross Route 82 on the south edge of Route 1. The path, which is part of an extensive system of trails in Kennett Township, will run between the southern edge of Route 1 and the cemetery on Route 82, ultimately connecting with trails in Anson B. Nixon Park. Because the trail will be on the southern edge of East Marlborough Township at that point, Kennett was seeking approval for that section, said East Marlborough Township manager Laurie Prysock.

While the trail project is being led by Kennett Township, supervisors Eddie Caudill and Robert Weer expressed concern about the placement of the path, and about improvements at the intersection. An on-demand red light will allow those who use the trail to cross Route 82 safely, Prysock said, adding that the plan has been initially approved by PennDOT.

“I hope somebody's paying attention to this,” Weer said. “I have some concerns about people crossing Route 82 at that point.”

The board ultimately approved the resolution in support of the plan, which clears the way for Kennett Township to apply for grants for the project. Caudill voted against the approval.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email [email protected].