Area residents and nonresident alike were stunned and
dismayed when the Wawa in the Village of Chadds Ford shut down in early 2008.
For a year, the parking lot at the little strip mall with the US Post Office,
First Keystone Bank, and other businesses, was a virtual ghost town after the
bank and post office would close on Saturdays. All that was missing from a
photograph taken on a May 2008 Saturday afternoon was tumbleweed.
Everyone thought that the opening of the Cattie Shack this
year would infuse much needed life back into the village. While there is more
activity there now, there are still concerns. A reader posted the following
comment to a recent column in ChaddsFordLive:
“How do we get our village back
when the township does not want to allow the people of the township to meet at
the Cattie Shack and sit down with a cup of coffee and talk or eat a sandwich
together? How can the village survive when the rules for signs are so strict
that no one knows we have businesses here? The signs are so small and obscure
you can't see them...The Cattie Shack was told they
could not have the chairs and tables and they were not allowed to have signs
showing they serve coffee and sandwiches. They had to be taken down. The Chadds
Ford Gallery was told they could not have balloons. Don't know the answers.”
We agree that it seems ridiculous for the township to oppose
the three small tables, with two chairs each, that were put up on the porch
outside the Cattie Shack. They provide a nice, comfortable, and friendly
atmosphere for people to sit down, sip some coffee for a few minutes, and catch
up on the local gossip. People also read their mail at the table outside the
The township opposition seems especially hurtful to a new
business in light of the overall economic downturn. Signs have always been
issue in Chadds Ford Township, yet township supervisors displayed some level of
understanding when they amended the sign ordinance earlier this year to allow
for businesses to have additional signage, at least on a temporary basis.
Tables and chairs on the porch at the Cattie Shack and First
Keystone Bank are a zoning issue, according to Township Manager Joe Barakat. He
said the code restricts such seating to restaurants.
Mr. Barakat added that a bench for people to sit on would be
OK, but not the tables and chairs, and that supervisors would be willing to
accommodate a request, though they can’t make special exceptions.
Perhaps the supervisors could be persuaded to amend the
zoning ordinance to allow the tables and chairs to stay. There is a petition
that people can sign at the Cattie Shack, but residents should take their
concerns directly to the supervisors. Call them, e-mail them, and go to the
Board of Supervisor’s meeting to express those concerns face to face and in a