Five-way intersection in Kennett crosshairs

Kennett Township supervisors celebrated an award, updated a handful of ordinances, approved a passel of development plans, and discussed a problematic intersection during their nearly three-hour meeting on Wednesday, March 16.

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The five-point intersection of South Union Street, Old Kennett Road, and Hallandale Road is being studied for possible improvements before new developments make it worse.

The latter topic occupied the most time as representatives from Remington, Vernick and Beach Engineers presented a study that focused on the five-point intersection of South Union Street, Old Kennett Road, and Hillendale Road. The township requested the analysis to evaluate potential improvements to the congested corridor before more construction occurs.

“The idea of adding more volume to ‘Five Points’ is something that gives me the willies,” acknowledged Supervisor Whitney S. Hoffman.

The study offered three options. The first and least expensive plan relied on adjustments to timing of the existing traffic signal. The second – and most costly – option would widen South Union Street to accommodate left-turn lanes, and the third approach, which received the engineers’ recommendation, would realign Old Kennett Road, creating a new stop-sign controlled ‘T’-intersection with South Union Street.

A handful of the approximately 30 residents in attendance expressed concerns about all three of the engineers’ options. Criticism ranged from the study’s reliance on posted speed limits rather than the actual velocity of vehicles to its failure to address the turning distance needed for the large trucks that use the intersection. Several residents also questioned the absence of options for bikers and pedestrians.

Kennett Township Supervisors Whitney Hoffman (from left) and Richard L. Leff listen as Scudder G. Stevens reads a proclamation from the state Senate applauding the township for its greenway efforts.
Kennett Township Supervisors Whitney S. Hoffman (from left) and Richard L. Leff listen as Scudder G. Stevens reads a proclamation from the state Senate lauding the township's greenway.

Echoing the sentiments of other residents, Drew Anderson suggested that the study did not take into account the realities of the intersection now – problems that would only intensify with triple or quadruple the homes in the area. “Why are we paying for this?” he asked.

Township Manager Lisa M. Moore explained that the township is trying to be proactive and that two of the developers who are expected to increase the traffic’s volume agreed to fund the study.

Supervisors’ Chairman Scudder G. Stevens thanked the residents for their comments. “We all bring richness to the discussion,” he said, pointing out that the study was intended to be a starting point for a work in progress. “I think it has done what we wanted it to do.”

On a more positive note, Stevens read a proclamation from the state Senate that the township received in conjunction with the Growing Greener Communities Award from Natural Lands Trust and the Chester County Association of Township Officials. The township received recognition for the development of the Kennett Greenway, a 12-mile, multi-use trail, on Thursday, March 10, at the CCATO spring conference in Great Valley.

The board heard an update from Moore on the regional Emergency Services Study, a collaborative analysis commissioned by six area municipalities. Kennett joined with East Marlborough, Newlin, Pennsbury, and Pocopson townships and Kennett Square Borough to hire consultants to study fire and ambulance services. Moore said that the consultants are presently meeting with assisted-living communities and that she expected to have more information at the supervisors’ April 20 meeting.

Moore urged residents to take part in a survey, which is part of another study, this one a collaborative endeavor focusing on economic development with the Borough of Kennett Square, Longwood Gardens, and others. The survey can be accessed here. The next public meeting on the study is scheduled for Thursday, April 7, at 7 pm. at the American Legion building in Kennett Square

In other business, the supervisors unanimously approved six ordinances, most of which involved minor amendments or additions to existing regulations, changes designed to reduce legal challenges.

The supervisors also unanimously approved final development plans for four projects. Longwood Gardens got a go-ahead to construct a permanent parking lot on three acres on Route 1 at Route 52, a tract that has been used as an overflow lot; Pat’s Pizza received approval for a commercial building with a pizza restaurant and commercial units on 1.8 acres on West Baltimore Pike; the Kennett Business Park on West South and West Cypress streets was granted a lot-line change to increase its acreage to 25.2; and Kennett Square Specialties can begin building 38 mushroom houses on a 15.5-acre tract on Ways Lane.

The mushroom project generated discussion since the township had agreed to waive a $150,000 fee in lieu of open space in exchange for improvements to Ways Lane that were not spelled out in the plan. Moore explained that the township lacks authority to impose that condition because the township doesn’t own the road.

Following some questions by township solicitor David J. Sander, property owner Louis Caputo agreed to have his engineer submit a narrative outlining his plans for improving Ways Lane, and the final development plan was approved with the condition that a proposal would be added.

“This is my road. As time goes on, it will improve each and every year,” Caputo said, explaining that he is working with other property owners in hopes of expanding the improvements the full length of the roadway.

Moore reminded residents that Kennett Township will host an annual roadway cleanup along with the Red Clay Valley Clean up on Saturday, March 19, beginning at 8 a.m. All necessary supplies (trash bags, gloves, reflective vests, etc.) will be provided. She said groups interested in a particular area should contact Roadmaster Roger Lysle at 610-444-5130 or

Moore also informed residents that PennDOT is holding two public meetings on major road projects expected to impact the region. The long-awaited replacement of the Route 926 Bridge will be the subject of an open house and presentation on Wednesday, March 30, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Pocopson Elementary School. A meeting on April 4  at 7 p.m. at the East Marlborough Township building will focus on widening a stretch of Route 1 to three lanes, she said.

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