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Chester County Press

Penn Township officials discuss Chester Water Authority, a proposed bikeway, phorid flies, and more

02/07/2022 10:49PM ● By Steven Hoffman
An hour prior to the start of the Penn Township Board of Supervisors meeting on Feb. 2, the board held the continuation of a conditional-use hearing that was first presented in January. 
The application of Pallares Family Holdings, LLC is seeking to use the Hood farm at 377 and 378 Hood Road for a vineyard and tasting room. Members of the Pallares family would live in the two residences already on the property, while the country store would be converted to an office. Vines would be planted and the barn would be made into the tasting room for their Casa Carmen label wines.  
The continuance included some additional testimony and questions on parking and events.
The meeting was continued once again to 5 p.m. prior to the Feb. 16 board meeting. At that time, the board is expected to render its decision on the application. If they vote in favor of the conditional use, it is possible that the board could place conditions on the use of the property.
In other business, supervisor Radar O’Connell gave a brief update on the status of the proposed sale of Chester Water Authority by the city of Chester to Aqua. Having seen the sale of the Penn Township sewer system to Aqua result in escalating bills for residents, the supervisors have been following the struggle by the CWA board to stop the sale of the non-profit water system and the Octorara reservoir to the for-profit water company.
Penn Township supervisors support the fight against the sale by Save CWA. The city of Chester is in receivership and funds from the sale would help the city on the way out of debt. At this time, a draft agreement of sale has been uncovered through ‘right to know’ requests by Save CWA. 
“They (Chester) blew their own money. If they get these millions, they’ll blow it too,” supervisor Victor Mantegna said. 
Last month, the board rejected all bids for their proposed renovation of the veterans’ garden at the township’s passive use park. To seek lower costs, the township researched the cost of just replacing the existing brick with new brick. That method was estimated to cost $67,000. Because that project would have to be bid, the township will first check to see if work can be obtained without bidding through the state’s Co-Star program
The latest estimate does not include a monument or benches but it does cover new pads for the benches. Action was tabled until next month so more information can be found.
At the township sports park, the design for the entrances has been completed and a highway occupancy permit application should be ready for submission soon.
The board of supervisors is giving its support to the concept of a bikeway along Baltimore Pike that would connect Kennett Square to Nottingham.
In other business, resident Lauren Burnham spoke during the public comment session to be sure the board is aware of the problem some township residents have with phorid flies. Burnham lives off Route 796 at Quimby Road. Her home was infested by phorid flies which are so small they can fly through window screens. “They absolutely infest a home until it is sickening to live there,” she said. “I’m just letting you know this is something affecting people in your community.”
Burnham was concerned that the opening of the expanded Philips Mushroom operation would contribute to the problem. She was told that the new construction is a state-of-the-art facility that has all operations indoors, so they should not be the source of phorid fly problems. Instead they would expect older or no longer operational mushroom houses to be the source.