Deer, historic resources resonate in Pocopson

Information on a historical survey and deer management dominated the Pocopson Township Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, Oct. 12.

Jane E. Dorchester, a historic preservation consultant, explains a historical survey the township is pursuing.

Jane E. Dorchester, a historic preservation consultant, explains a historical survey the township is pursuing.

Jane E. Dorchester, a historic preservationist, explained that she would be conducting a survey that would augment an inventory of historic places done by the Pocopson Township Historical Committee about a decade ago.

Dorchester explained that she would be driving around to identify historic buildings and collect data, such as their original function, present use, style of architecture, construction materials, etc. She said Pocopson would contribute $12,000 and receive a $30,000 county grant.

Supervisors’ Chairman Barney Leonard said the project, an outgrowth of the township’s comprehensive plan, would enable residents to get information about historic properties and assist the township with future planning.

Randy Mims, a member of the township’s Historical Committee as well as the survey’s task force, expressed reservations about the fact that no specific plan exists to take advantage of the project. He said the current inventory hasn’t been used by the Planning Commission or the supervisors. He also pointed out that the township would have to front the $42,000 expense before getting reimbursed from the county.

“I have a real concern that we’re going to do this project … and it’ll sit in a drawer,” he said. “We need concrete examples of what this is going to be used for; otherwise, it’s a huge waste.”

Dorchester explained that her role is not to tell the township what to do, but she suggested that perhaps the survey task force could make some recommendations about ways to use the information.

Susan Woodward, a township resident who lives in a historic property, applauded the initiative. “We wish houses could talk,” she said, adding that the survey would enable residents “to pass on what we know now” to future homeowners.

Don Lane, who heads the township’s Deer Management Committee, offered an update on hunting season, which is underway for archery and will open for firearms on Dec. 1. He said according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the number of injuries from hunting-related shooting accidents has been declining. Twenty-nine incidents were reported in 2014 among 1 million hunters, he said.

Lane said Pocopson’s Deer Management Committee oversees 12 deer stands, only three of which are on township-owned land: one near the Barnard House and two in Pocopson Park. None are within 50 yards of any township trails, he added. Only two hunters are permitted among the 12 stands at any one time, during the hours from daylight to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Township Secretary Susan Simone said she has received some calls from people wondering whether they should wear orange when they are on trails. Leonard said it wouldn’t hurt for people to wear orange.

Lane said he would appreciate having calls forwarded to him. He said since the program’s inception in 2009, he’s only received one complaint and that was from a non-resident. “Once you explain the program and how it’s managed, they feel better about it,” Lane said.

Township resident Lisa Borel noted that the minutes from the Sept. 14 meeting inaccurately suggested that she criticized the deer management program. She said she had just sought information about what to do if a hunter doesn’t have a permit or appears to be violating the township’s guidelines.

“I didn’t want it to appear like I didn’t support the deer management program,” she said.

The supervisors said that any violations should be reported to the state police.

In other business, Supervisor Georgia Brutscher reported that she attended a meeting organized by East Bradford Township with more than half a dozen area municipalities on the possibility of establishing a regional police force.

“I don’t think we want or need to be in that study group,” Brutscher said.

Leonard and Supervisor Ricki Stumpo agreed that the state police are currently meeting the township’s needs, and the township will send a letter to that effect to the other municipalities.

Brutscher also reported that a cleanup day at the Barnard House on Sunday, Oct. 11, was very successful. The supervisors agreed that a request from the township’s engineer to release $4,200 retained by the township for work on the Barnard House needed more clarification before a vote could be taken.

Township resident Sean Rafferty asked when some of the “shoddy work” at the Barnard House would be resolved. Bruscher said the punch list is being reviewed.

Rafferty also questioned the presence of township solicitor Amanda Sundquist, who has attended the last several supervisors’ meetings. Stressing that he meant no disrespect to her, Rafferty said her attendance costs the township a couple hundred dollars an hour. “We’ve never had her at meetings before, one after another,” he said.

Leonard responded: “It’s to the advantage of the township to run an efficient meeting so that we don’t let the meetings stray too far off the agenda and we get the business of the municipality done correctly. So that’s why she’s here.”

After Rafferty suggested that such a role belonged to the supervisors, Leonard and Brutscher cut him off, saying it was time to move on.

Brutscher said the township is currently looking for volunteers for the township’s Parks, Recreation, and Trails Committee.

“We have an extensive network, and it would be nice for someone to keep an eye on it,” said Leonard.

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