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Chester County Press

Kennett Square's mayor supports '100% Clean Energy' initiative

08/15/2017 04:19PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Kennett Square mayor Matt Fetick has added his name to the growing list of mayors across the U.S. who support the “Mayors for 100% Clean Energy” initiative that promotes a complete transition to clean, renewable energy.

At the Aug. 7 meeting, Fetick outlined his support for Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, and how he would like to see the Borough of Kennett Square fully transitioned to clean, renewable energy by 2022.

Fetick joined a growing number of mayors of small towns and big cities who support the clean energy initiative by signing an endorsement that states, in part:

“I believe that a transition to 100 percent clean energy is good for my community: It will make us stronger, healthier, and more resilient; It will create jobs and new business opportunities; and it will allow us to become a more equitable society where everyone has opportunity in a thriving local economy.”

Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney was the 100th mayor across the U.S. to sign on to Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, and at least ten mayors from Pennsylvania boroughs and cities have joined the movement, including Fetick.

According to a press release issued by Fetick's office, the seriousness of climate change makes action necessary.

“Combating the threat of climate change is not only a moral responsibility,” Fetick wrote. “It's an opportunity of a lifetime to re-power our borough and empower our communities with clean, renewable energy. That's why, as mayor of Kennett Square, I am proud to support the goal of powering our borough with 100 percent clean energy.”

Noting that doctors, nurses, and scientists all agree that pollution from fossil fuels is dangerous, Fetick advocated for a transition to cleaner, more affordable sources of energy like wind power and solar power.

“We know that these climate solutions are readily available and promise a brighter future for our community,” Fetick wrote. He pointed out that just as computers and the Internet transformed the economy, new businesses will be launched and new jobs will be created as a result of a move to clean and renewable energy.

According to Fetick, “The transition will not happen overnight. It will take our community coming together to make it happen. But I know that 100 percent clean energy isn't just the right thing to do for our families, it's the smart thing to do for jobs and for the local economy.”

In other business at the Aug. 7 meeting, borough council unanimously approved a zoning ordinance amendment that will establish new guidelines for the borough's O-I Office and Industrial District.

The new regulations allow and provide definitions for a variety of new entries, including conference centers, taprooms, makerspaces craft rooms, and tasting rooms. These are businesses that would be complementary to existing businesses, rather than competing with them.

The new ordinance takes into account current uses and also the regional economic development study that was completed.

Kennett Square Borough Council unanimously signed off on the establishment of the Kennett Fire and EMS Regional Commission, including a memorandum of understanding with surrounding municipalities to form the commission. The collaboration will open the door to the potential sharing of fire and ambulance resources while maintaining the existing fire and ambulance companies as independent organizations.

Council member Ethan Cramer said that, generally speaking, whenever the borough can work with a neighboring municipality to enhance the services that are provided to residents, that is a good thing. The borough will have significant input into the activities of the Kennett Fire and EMS Regional Commission.

“We are going to be a strong voice at the table,” said Cramer.

Council president Dan Maffei emphasized that the formation of the commission doesn't infringe on the independence of the fire company or ambulance division, nor will it mean a cut in resources for any of the municipalities involved.

“No fire company is going to get less money than what they get now,” Maffei said.

Council also approved an ordinance amendment to chapter 8 of the borough's codes pertaining to housing, use, and occupancy. The new regulations were made necessary by new state requirements, as state lawmakers amended the Municipal Code and Ordinance Compliance Act. This Act establishes the procedures for the issuance of use and occupancy certificates related to the sale of property, addressing both minor violations of municipal codes and ordinances and also substantial violations that make a property unfit for human habitation.

Similarly, federal regulations prompted a change in the borough's flood plain overlay districts. Borough council unanimously approved the zoning ordinance amendments to keep the borough in compliance with the federal guidelines.