Chester County Press : Page 4

Penn Township: parking, parks, and sewage

Carla Lucas

Grant announcements, resurrecting a parking ordinance, dreaming about a new active park and trail system, and various other issues were discussed at the Penn Township work session on Wednesday, March 21. <br /> <br /> The snow event over the March 17 weekend once again demonstrated the need for a parking ordinance that makes it illegal to park cars on township roads. The township had trouble clearing the streets of snow in developments such as Elk Creek Farms because of cars that remained in the street. <br /> <br /> “We are going to be forced to put a no parking ordinance on streets in the township into effect,” said Chairman Curtis Mason. The ordinance was reviewed once before, but the supervisors were reluctant to enact it because of enforcement issues. After hearing about the difficulty the township’s contractor had in getting the snowplows through the areas where cars remained parked in the street, the supervisors agreed that they would have to enforce the ordinance by towing any cars that are parked in the street during snowstorms. <br /> <br /> “It’s hazardous to public safety. <br /> <br /> Even after the car digs itself out, the snow remains in the street,” said Supervisor Henry McKinney. He also commented that roads become narrowed with plowed snow, and when there are also cars parked in the street, there is the possibility that fire equipment could be blocked from getting through in the event of an emergency. <br /> <br /> “We have to have rules in place,” said Supervisor Victor Mantegna. <br /> <br /> Penn Township is beginning the process to develop approximately 50 acres of land off Old Lewis Road (behind the Estates of London Brook) into an active park with various fields for sports such as baseball, softball, soccer, football, and lacrosse. The first step is to work with a consultant to create a Master Site Plan that would be used to obtain grants to develop the park in phases. <br /> <br /> Supervisor Bill Finnen also suggested that walking trails could be developed on the wooded portions of the property. <br /> <br /> Mantegna noted that the township should work toward creating a connected greenway. <br /> <br /> With the park and trails within developments, it could be possible to create a walking path from the schools on Route 796 to the Route 1 By-pass. <br /> <br /> In the coming months, the township will hold hearings and public meetings to solicit community ideas. <br /> <br /> “There is a real shortage of ball fields for youth sports,” said Mason. “We owe it to our kids to develop some playing fields in Penn Township.” The township’s solicitor, Sam McMichael, is preparing bid specifications for review by the Chester County Court of Common Pleas for the Sunnyside Road Bridge replacement. The court ordered Penn Township to pay for the bridge’s replacement after a lengthy litigation. The township plans to build a barrel bridge at the site. <br /> <br /> It was announced that the Penn Township zoning hearing board granted the variances needed for the fourth and final Luther House building. The project has the full support of the Penn Township Board of Supervisors. <br /> <br /> The Penn Township Fall Festival is tentatively scheduled for September 29 (raindate September 30) at Penn Park. <br /> <br /> The supervisors are waiting to set the final date until it verifies the date for Avon Grove High School’s Homecoming, so that there is no conflict. <br /> <br /> Mantegna announced that the township received $18,742 as its share of the funds from the Route 896 Task Force Study grant. To date, Penn Township’s costs for the four-township consortium were not quite $9,000. <br /> <br /> The extra funds will be used for future consultant fees and other costs related to the continuing work of the task force. <br /> <br /> A passing comment by Mason during discussions with a developer’s representative that Penn’s sewer system was at capacity was explained in an interview after the meeting. <br /> <br /> The state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant was designed to treat 600,000 gallons of effluent a day. Currently, about 350,000 gallons of treated effluent can be disposed of through infiltration and the treated water Conard-Pyle uses. The system treats the water with ultra violet light, not chlorine, and the treated water has extremely low nitrate levels. <br /> <br /> “We do not approve a new project unless the sewage is provided for in full build-out. <br /> <br /> Currently, all 350,000 gallons of disposal are allocated. We are cautious and do not want what has happened in Oxford to happen here,” said Mason. <br /> <br /> “Our public sewage was built by the developers, not built with public funds. The developers that need more disposal capacity will have to get together and come up with another way of disposing the treated effluent, with either spray or drip, our preferred method, of irrigation. <br /> <br /> It will take about 100 acres of good land to give the developers another 250,000 gallons of disposal capacity.” The township’s sewer district runs from the Villages of Penn Ridge (east), the bottom of the hill past Oxford Village (west), Kelton’s Bridge (south), and the Route 1 By-pass (north). This is the only area where public sewer is available. With cluster ordinances eliminated for future projects, lots south of Route 1 are one-acre minimum and lots north of Route 1 are two-acre minimum and both require onsite septic systems. <br /> <br /> The proposed Big Elk Creek development (west of the Jennersville Regional Hospital), for 270 age-restricted houses, has capacity reserved in the public sewer system. Most of the other new projects such as the proposed WaWa, the Beiler-Campbell commercial development, and the Bartel farm proposed age-restricted development, do not have capacity in the sewer plant. <br /> <br /> “The developers will have to get together, if they choose to,” said Mason, and find the land for effluent disposal.

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