Rumor flies over Ridge Road plan

Angst over the possible widening of Ridge Road led to a discussion of an unsubstantiated rumor during the Sept. 6 Chadds Ford Township Board of Supervisors' meeting.

At the end of the meeting, township Manager Amanda Serock announced her resignation after three years on the job.

Early on in the meeting, Serock and township engineer Mike Schneider gave a brief update on Heyburn Road. The street has been closed to through traffic since July when a culvert failed, and a portion of the roadway collapsed.

Serock said work would likely start by the end of September after the fabrication of a new, 30-foot long culvert. Schneider said there's no point in digging up the road until the new culvert is ready.

The discussion regarding Ridge Road and the commercial development in Concord Township began with township solicitor Mike Maddren giving a brief update on litigation over the matter. He gave a timeline of the legal filings and said the township had retained an insurance defense counsel. Maddren added that neither he nor the board could say anything else because of the ongoing litigation.

However, the discussion was prolonged when the board asked for public comment. Carolyn Daniels, a resident of the Ridings, has been the most active and vocal in her opposition to the development. She asked whether a traffic count Chadds Ford performed earlier this year has been submitted to PennDOT.

Township engineer Mike Sheridan said no, it was not submitted, but PennDOT has seen it. He added that PennDOT had not provided any feedback on the report.

Schneider's said the new traffic count — done this spring — showed a 5 percent increase in traffic over a count done on behalf of Pettinaro in 2014.

"We did the updated traffic counts and projections based on currently proposed development in the area…The result was that there is an increase. How much of an increase - on how substantial it is— is subject to debate," Schneider said.

(That traffic report is on the township website here.)

Maddren said the report was not officially submitted because it would be discoverable and could be used against the township. He also repeated there were things that could not be said without divulging the township's litigation strategy.

"And we have to see whether PennDOT becomes a party, too," Maddren said. "One of our objections is that we believe the PennDOT is an indispensible party to this process."

Rumor came into the conversation when resident Sheriden Black told the board she had heard that Pettinaro Construction told the Homeowners Association at Springhill Farm — on the other side of Route 202 — that Pettinaro would help Springhill Farm improve its sewer plant if it stayed out of the litigation regarding the commercial development.

"I became aware of some sort of a transaction between Pettinaro and Springhill Farm regarding Pettinaro providing some sort of a sewer for Springhill Farm in exchange for their not objecting to…in exchange for this shopping center going through," Black said.

Supervisors' Chairman Frank Murphy acknowledged that Springhill Farm's sewer plant will need to be replaced and that "some level of agreement" was reached between Pettinaro and Springhill Farm for some sewage facility, but that he has heard nothing about any deal between Pettinaro and Springhill Farm.

"I don't know that. I have not heard that," Murphy said.

Serock interjected, saying that Concord Township had previously agreed to take flows from Springhill Farm and that Pettinaro became part of the conversation.

Black did not say how or where she had heard the allegation. She added, "I honestly don't know the whole story, but I was surprised that had happened at all since it involved Concord Township."

Afterward, when asked who told her of the implied deal, Black could not come up with a name but said a member of Springhill's HOA board gave her the impression that they wanted the suit to go away.

Go here for a review of the litigation's timeline on the litigation.

Other business

Serock announced her resignation, saying it's been an honor to work for Chadds Ford during these last three years. She said she was looking for an opportunity for further professional growth. Supervisors accepted her resignation effective at the conclusion of the Sept. 30 workshop.



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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.



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