Kennett Twp. eager to build on 2015 inroads

With an audience of more than 60, Kennett Township welcomed its newest supervisor, Whitney S. Hoffman, who was elected in November. She joins incumbents Scudder G. Stevens and Richard L. Leff.

Supervisor Whitney Hoffman (from left), the newest member of the Kennett Township board, takes her seat next to colleagues Richard Leff and Scudder G. Stevens.

Supervisor Whitney Hoffman (from left), the newest member of the Kennett Township board, takes her seat next to colleagues Richard L. Leff and Scudder G. Stevens.

Hoffman’s husband, Matt, held the Bible as Magisterial District Judge Daniel J. Maisano administered the oath of office to her at the board’s first meeting of 2016 on Monday, Jan. 4.

“We are really pleased to have you with us,” said Stevens as Hoffman took her seat.

Before tackling a lengthy agenda that included a recap of 2015 and updates from the township’s committees, Stevens reminded residents of upcoming changes in the township’s meeting schedules. Because of the state-mandated reorganization meeting on Jan. 4, the supervisors will not meet on Wednesday, Jan. 6. The next scheduled meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 20

For 2016, the supervisors will continue to meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month, but now both meetings will take place at 7 p.m. in the township meeting room. The township’s Planning Commission will meet on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the township meeting room and will hold a work session on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m., as needed.

The board voted unanimously to continue the tenure of Stevens and Leff as chairman and vice-chairman respectively. They also voted on numerous routine reappointments of township employees, committee members, and assorted consultants, and set the township’s 2016 mileage reimbursement and fees.

The contracts for Kennett and Longwood fire companies will also continue at $160,000 each for 2016. Because of prior equipment purchases, the township will not contribute any capital funds to Kennett firefighters until 2019 and to Longwood until 2018.

Looking back at 2015, Stevens said milestones included taking ownership of the Chandler Mill Bridge, which will eventually anchor a nature center and trail network. The historic span — a 1911 stone and steel structure that traverses the west branch of the Red Clay Creek — will be limited to pedestrians, bicyclists, and emergency vehicles up to 20 tons.

Its purchase from the county for $1 ended nearly a decade of acrimony over the bridge’s fate; the county and PennDOT had sought to raze and modernize the bridge, which sits amid 500 acres of bucolic, preserved land.

Stevens said 2015 also saw “deeper cooperation with the surrounding municipalities” as well as the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County, one of the agencies that had fought to preserve the Chandler Mill Bridge. He said the township is working more aggressively to acquire trails and easements and pursuing grant opportunities to help make that happen.

Township Manager Lisa M. Moore noted that “a very exciting purchase” is expected to be announced at the Feb. 17 meeting. She said that 27 new ordinances were adopted in 2015, including regulations on stormwater management and the transfer of development rights, which will assist the township in managing growth.

Moore said that after talks with New Garden Township, Kennett Square Borough, and London Grove Township on the possibility of forming a regional police department broke down, the supervisors hired three new part-time officers at the end of the summer. She said that Lydell Nolt, who was promoted to chief after Albert McCarthy retired in May, has done an outstanding job.

She said Kennett Township owes a debt to its dedicated supervisors and the many volunteers who enabled the township to achieve many of its goals in 2015. “We look forward to a very productive and successful 2016,” she said.

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