Concord First looks to November election

The future is uncertain, but Colette Brown and the other members of Concord First are looking ahead to the November election. They’re pleased their referendum question could be on the ballot, even though it is a year late.

That question will ask voters whether or not they want Concord to change from a township of the second class to township of the first class.

Concord First, a citizens’ group, held a petition drive last summer to get the question on the November 2014 ballot. The group needed 583 signatures, and it got 994.

However, township supervisors and the Delaware County Board of Elections challenged the petition. The Court of Common Pleas denied the petition and Commonwealth Court upheld that lower court decision.

Brown, however, took the matter to the state Supreme Court, which overturned the previous decisions. That announcement came Monday, July 20.

Brown said reading the court’s decision was gratifying, but characterized what happens next as “unchartered territory.”

She believes that the question will be on the ballot this November and that there is a lot of work to do in educating the voters about why she and Concord First think the township would be better off with the change.

“Quite frankly, it will allow us to make a much-needed change in our government leadership and find leaders who will make decisions that are in the best interest of the residents and who will not be invested in continuing to rezone and overbuild,” she said.

Brown called the Supreme Court decision “a huge victory” for township residents because, if the referendum passes, a new township governing body would be appointed.

She also said the current supervisors challenged the petition because they would be out of office if voters approved the change.

Brown added that she was pleased that the court characterized some of the challengers’ arguments as “hypothetical scenarios” and were “dubious at best.”

Regardless of what happens next, Brown thinks the effort has been worthwhile.

“Although it took almost a year, in the end justice has been served. We had no money, no legal resources, no political connections, and no friends in high places. Instead, we had a small group of community members who were committed to making a positive change in our township,” she said.

She specifically thanked Dan Levin and Ken Hemphill. Levin, she said, wrote the appeals even though he has no legal background. She referred to Hemphill as “a driving force in bringing much-needed change to Concord.”

The story on the Supreme Court’s decision can be found here.

 

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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