Pocopson supervisors deem resident’s pygmy goat a pet

Pocopson Township Supervisors Alice Balsama (from left), Elaine DiMonte and Ricki Stumpo listen to comments about the need for Founders Day volunteers at their meeting on Monday, May 16.

A crowd-pleasing, pygmy goat named Penelope cleared another hurdle on Monday, May 16, at the Pocopson Township Board of Supervisors meeting.

Penelope the goat is pictured making herself at home at the Colella residence.

Penelope the goat is pictured making herself at home at the Colella residence.

The supervisors viewed photos presented by attorney James S. Tupitza, who appeared on behalf of Justin Colella, a resident of Bragg Hill Road. “This is a pet; it’s like a dog,” said Tupitza, pointing out that one of the pictures showed the goat on a chair in the house.

The board voted unanimously to follow the recommendation of the township’s planning commission that Penelope be viewed as a pet, not livestock. Next, Colella will have to convince the zoning hearing board to follow suit at its next meeting on May 26.

The supervisors also agreed with the planning commission’s view that Ny Seniuk, who lives on Corinne Road, should receive a variance for setbacks to add a garage on his property as long as his neighbors have been contacted. Seniuk explained that the only level portion of the property, most of which abuts the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance, lacks the needed clearance. He, too, will need to appear before the zoning board.

Resident Ny Seniuk shows the supervisors the placement of a proposed garage on his Corinne Road property.

Resident Ny Seniuk shows the supervisors the placement of a proposed garage on his Corinne Road property.

Public Works Director Mark Knightly had some unwelcome financial news to report. He said termites have started doing damage at the historic Locust Grove Schoolhouse. The supervisors voted to authorize him to spend up to $995 to fix the problem. Knightly also needed a vote on the addition of a $2,380 lock for the Barnard House, which the supervisors approved.

On a more positive note, Supervisors’ Chairman Ricki Stumpo said the township was pleased to announce the addition of a new public works employee, Jim Knightly, who had just returned to the U.S. after serving the military in Dubai. After the meeting, Stumpo said that she sat in on all the interviews and that Knightly, who is Mark Knightly’s brother, was definitely the most qualified candidate.

The board had expected to vote on the Barnard House security system, but lingering questions made that impossible, explained Supervisor Alice Balsama. She said she found some of the language in the proposed contract with the Protection Bureau archaic and is working with the township solicitor and the company to resolve the concerns. The supervisors said they hoped to vote at their next meeting on Monday, June 16.

The historic building, once a stop on the Underground Railroad, was originally envisioned as the home of the Kennett Underground Railroad Center (KURC) as well as the township’s offices; however, the building’s layout and renovation costs put the municipal option on a back burner for now. The supervisors have focused their attention on installing a security system – the last step needed to enable the KURC to occupy the building – and seeking input from the county commissioners.

Pocopson Township Supervisor Alice Balsama cuts her birthday cake after the meeting.

Pocopson Township Supervisor Alice Balsama cuts her birthday cake after the meeting.

Supervisor Elaine DiMonte said discussions are underway with the county regarding possible uses for the remainder of the building. When the county sold the property to the township for $1 in 2008, it imposed restrictions on its use. The supervisors said they needed to know their options so that they could make a decision on window repairs before a Keystone grant deadline expired.

“Hopefully at the next meeting we’ll have some answers,” said Balsama.

The supervisors are also hoping to generate some volunteers after hearing a report from Colleen McKinney, who’s chairing the Founders Day Committee. McKinney said plans are progressing for what might be the 10th _ and final – Founders Day. She said she is facing the usual problem of getting help for jobs ranging from parking to prize donations.

Last year's event drew an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,000 for myriad activities that ranged from hayrides to games. “It’s harder and harder to do this project,” said Stumpo. “It’s a shame.” She said anyone interested in offering assistance should contact her at the township office.

A slightly different dilemma surfaced for the Pocopson Township Historic Committee, a group that is holding a garage sale on Saturday, May 21, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Locust Grove Schoolhouse, at 525 Locust Grove Road, near Corinne Road. Proceeds from the sale will help fund the building’s restoration.

Committee member Sarah Mims said the committee has had to turn down offers from residents who wanted to donate items. “We’re going to have plenty of stuff,” she said, adding that perhaps if the sale goes well, they will do another one and solicit donations.

Her husband, Randy Mims, who’s also on the committee, said the sale would feature an impressive assortment of merchandise. He said it would be held inside so it’s a rain-or-shine event.

In other business, the supervisors approved the fourth dedication request from Toll Brothers for the Preserve at Chadds Ford subdivision. Stumpo said township consultants would conduct inspections and make recommendations.

Santhosh Kanjula, a board member of the Preserve’s homeowners’ association, questioned the vote. “They [Toll Brothers] haven’t done anything,” he said. “Why waste your time?”

Stumpo explained that they have to follow the procedure set up by the municipal code. Kanjula asked whether there’s a limit to the number of times a developer can request dedication, and the supervisors said they didn’t think so. However, developers are typically motivated to resolve issues so that they can rid themselves of the responsibility for road maintenance, they said.

Shifting gears, the supervisors adjourned the meeting and invited those in attendance to celebrate Balsama’s birthday with cake.

 

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About Kathleen Brady Shea

Kathleen Brady Shea, a nearly lifelong area resident, has been reporting on local news for several decades, including 19 years at the Philadelphia Inquirer. She believes that journalists provide a vital watchdog service in the community, and she embraces that commitment. In addition to unearthing news, she also enjoys digging up dirt in her garden, a hobby that frequently fosters Longwood Gardens envy. Along with her husband, Pete, she lives in a historic residence near the Brandywine Battlefield, a property that is also home to a sheep, a goat, and a passel of fish.

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