Ecological topics dominate Kennett meeting

Immersed in environmental issues – running the gamut from energy conservation to soil analysis – the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors heard an urgent call to action.

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Larry Knutson of Penn Trails LLC, reports on a conceptual connected network of trails in Kennett Township.

The board’s regular meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5, began with a presentation from local representatives of the Sierra Club, Ken Hemphill and Paula Klein. Both explained that as the world grapples with the negative repercussions of climate change, steps taken at the local level are vital to reversing global damage.

“It’s urgent; our time is limited,” said Klein, expressing frustration that national officials aren’t doing enough to reduce the impact.

Klein said that the Sierra Club is calling on government leaders to convert to renewable energy by 2050. They encouraged the supervisors to set targets and appoint a committee to research options.

To facilitate that process, Hemphill and Klein said the Sierra Club has materials available on the ways to accomplish that as well as a list of agencies available to provide technical support. The supervisors said they would share those materials with residents once they receive them electronically from Hemphill and Klein.

The supervisors also heard from Larry Knutson of Penn Trails LLC, who gave a report on the overview his company was asked to provide regarding opportunities for a conceptual connected network of trails in Kennett Township.

Township Manager Lisa M. Moore explained that the data Penn Trails provided, which included identifying areas that could take advantage of existing trails, walkways and roads, as well as information on the dimensions, surfaces, and optimal uses of other parts of the proposed corridor, would serve as a comprehensive guide as the township expands its trail network.

Kennett Township Supervisors Whitney S. Hoffman (from left), Richard L. Leff, and Scudder G. Stevens review materials during Wednesday night's meeting.

Kennett Township Supervisors Whitney S. Hoffman (from left), Richard L. Leff, and Scudder G. Stevens review materials during Wednesday night's meeting.

The supervisors spent about 45 minutes discussing a proposed amendment to its Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) that would require a developer to submit an environmental impact study with its preliminary plan. The draft was prepared by borough solicitor David J. Sander, who said he also incorporated some good suggestions from John Wilkens, a consultant for The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County.

Wilkens explained that the goal of the amendment is to avoid the “ignorance is bliss situation” that could occur when developers fails to research the history of a parcel to ensure that it doesn’t contain contaminants that could endanger residents.

Expressing an interest in balancing the developers’ rights with the health and safety of residents, the supervisors ultimately opted to have the draft reviewed by the township’s Environmental Advisory Committee before sending it to the Planning Commission. The first draft can be viewed here.

The board voted unanimously to approve the Traffic Study Capital Improvement Plan, a step toward implementing a Transportation Impact Fee, which would be paid by developers to mitigate the expected impact of projected developments on township traffic.

The supervisors also unanimously agreed on a memorandum of understanding with Kennett Square Borough and Historic Kennett Square. Sander explained that the agreement is not contractual and simply states that everyone will communicate and cooperate.

“Let’s help our region be the best I can be,” Sander said, adding that both other entities had already signed it.

In other business, Moore reminded residents that the Kennett Library Board of Trustees would be seeking public opinion on Thursday, Oct. 13. The public is invited to drop in from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the conference room of the Kennett Fire Company, 301 Dalmation Street, to express views on what a new library should include.

Sessions for specific groups, such as caregivers and seniors, have been scheduled; however, residents can drop in any time, and the public is also welcome to attend a 7 p.m. wrap-up meeting. For more information, click here.

Finally, Police Chief Lydell E. Nolt also issued a reminder about a Public Safety Forum – the first in a series – the borough and township are hosting in the lower atrium of the Genesis Healthcare building at 101 East State Street on Tuesday, Oct. 11, starting a 7 p.m.

The event, which will feature presentations from the police chiefs as well as an FBI agent, will also include a question-and-answer session. Nolt said he was hoping for a good turnout that would provide suggestions and momentum for future programs.

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