Wawa, propane and ‘spitting on the Constitution’

Concord Township Council members “spit on the Constitution and are intimidated by the 21st century,” according to Council member Joshua Twersky. The first-term councilmember said five of his colleagues were acting disgracefully when they voted to deny tables for politicians and political parties at township sponsored events.

The matter arose innocently enough during township solicitor Hugh Donaghue’s remarks about the possible need to take such an action. Donaghue and Council President Dominic Pileggi both stressed that politicians are welcome to attend township functions and to campaign and express political opinions, but they would not be allowed to have tables at those events.

“They can still espouse any political opinion,” Pileggi said, adding that the township would not violate the right of free speech.
The vote on the matter was 4-2 with John Crossan siding with Twersky. (Council member Libby Salvucci was absent.)

Pileggi declined to comment on Twersky’s statement after the meeting, but Twersky expanded on the idea.

“I don’t think those who voted yes appreciate that in the complex, ever-changing world we live in that more speech not less is what is always needed. Our founders surely knew this to be true. I'm saddened that we seem to have lost our way. I for one won't put up with it,” he said in a message later that night.

He also said that allowing politicians to continue to politic at events without the tables is all the more curious.

“It adds to the illogical nature of the decision. Political people can walk around at events and engage and hand out literature, but tables aren't allowed. It doesn't make any sense. It seems like they want to somehow make it harder on non-incumbent types to get a message out.”

Other business

• The two Wawa convenience stores in Concord Township want to sell propane and will go through the conditional use process to get the approval later this month. Township Council members accepted Wawa’s application as complete during its Aug. 7 meeting and set Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. for the hearings. Both stores, the one on Route 1 at Brinton Lake Road and the other on Route 202 at Naamans Creek Road, will be heard the same evening.

Wawa’s original approval in Concord requires the stores there to go through the conditional use process to amend approval for any addition to their service. The Naamans Creek Road store had to go through the process when it wanted to sell beer, then it went through the process again when it wanted to add wine sales.

• Council denied conditional use to Pulte Homes for a new housing development. Pulte wanted to construct a 257-unit residential community — with 254 townhomes and three single-family dwellings — on the east side of Route 202 behind Whole Foods. The vote was unanimous.

• Council also rejected the lone bid of $636,000 to move the AME Church from its current location on Springvalley Road to a township location on Smithbridge. Pileggi said the council would have to rethink the project. That vote, too, was unanimous.

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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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