The road to building the Pennsbury Village has been fraught with more political and legal potholes than real potholes on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.There have been more than a handful of court actions filed since supervisors approved the plan, and more were brought up during last week's board of supervisors' meeting.
Supervisor Karen Wood mentioned one that names the township and Supervisor's Chairman Wendell Fenton as defendants in an action brought by the Pennsbury Village Associates, the developer for the village project and Fenton brought up another one.
Fenton said that a Writ of Prohibition has been filed preventing him and newly elected supervisor Charles "Scotty" Scottoline from casting any votes on the village development.
He said a March 3 hearing is scheduled to resolve that matter.
If Fenton and Scottoline can't vote, a master would have to be appointed to hear matters on the issue, he said.
Scottoline said in a telephone interview after the meeting that it might be possible to resolve the situation before March 3. He said that all depends on talks with the PVA in resolving lawsuits.
Fenton said the writ was filed because the developer believes the board is "conflicted and can't decide fairly."
The case Wood mentioned, number 08-00809, was filed this year by Pennsbury Village Associates and charges breach of contract, interfering with contractual relations, interference with contractual relations and conspiracy to interfere with existing and prospective contractual relations.
No date has been set for that matter to be heard.
Fenton said that township solicitor Lawrence Wood would represent both the township and Fenton.
Wood was unavailable for comment by press time.
Wood was also a party in a 2004 civil court against township property being used as part of the village plan (as approved by the board of supervisors at the time,) but he reportedly withdraw from future proceedings in 2006.
A series of civil actions have been filed over the years to block township parkland from being used for sewage drainage beds and for a roadway connecting the parcels of land used as part of the village development.
oPennsbury Township Planning Commission will grow to nine members. Supervisors voted the change in a 2-1 decision.
Scottoline said the commission was comprised of nine members when he was appointed to that body in 2003, but then it was reduced to seven.
He said that increasing the number of members would offset frequent absenteeism and would "broaden the perspective" of the commission.
Fenton voted with Scottoline for the change, noting that there were no candidates yet for the newly created positions, but anyone interested should submit his or her name to the township.
He added that the supervisors would work with the township solicitor to come up with an attendance policy.
In minority opinion, Supervisor Karen Wood said that nine members was, "unwieldy" and that, "Nine opinions became difficult to coordinate. That's why we went back to seven."
oThere's a historical survey going on in the township. Township manager Kathy Howley last week that the project to photograph and catalogue historic sites began in early February.
She said there would be people photographing properties from the rights of way, not going onto private property. However, she said, that if they need to get onto private property, they would have proper identification including a letter from the township.
Howley said the survey is made possible by a matching grant received from the Chester County Planning Commission's Vision Partnership Program.
The township Historical Commission will be assisting township consultant "Wise Preservation Planning" to photograph and document all known historical resources and investigate resources that have not been formerly recognized.
Susan Hauser, who chairs the Historical Commission, said in a telephone interview that it's important for the township to know its historic resources, especially when it comes to development and subdivisions because of "archeological potential."
Hauser said the photography should be finished before the spring bloom.
The cost to the township is $12,500, Hauser said.
o Township manager Kathy Howley announced that the township has filed for a grant to replace traffic lights in the township with an LED system. Pennsbury is partnering with New Garden Township and with Avondale. Replacement cost would be $30,000 to $33,000 with Pennsbury being responsible for about $16,000, Howley said.
o Township engineer Matt Houtman reviewed several options for improving a drainage problem at Chadds Ford Knolls. Costs for improvement were estimated to be as high as $260,000, according to Houtman. Fenton said the board would discuss the matter at a future meeting. Houtman said he would review the numbers again before that meeting.
o The annual Townwatch meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., March 12 at the Chaddsford Winery.
The annual meeting of the Pennsbury Land Trust is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., April 2, at the township building.
The next meeting for the board of supervisors is scheduled for 7 p.m., April 17, at Crosslands.