EAST MARLBOROUGH—As the pace of development increases in the Kennett Square area, so do concerns about traffic in East Marlborough Township.
That was evident in two separate discussions Monday night during the public comment section of the township supervisors’ monthly meeting.
In one case, citizens were reacting to the board’s decision last month to allow the Tri-M Group to expand their Gale Lane facility without going through a new conditional-use hearing. Tri-M’s lawyer argued that the expansion was not really a new use for the property, so a new hearing was not necessary.
Three of the supervisors agreed, while two others, Robert McKinstry and Julia Lacy, voted against the proposal, saying the conditional-use hearing process would give the supervisors more opportunities to scrutinize the project and impose conditions on it if needed.
The other three supervisors said the normal land-development process required multiple examinations and approvals by various township bodies and allowed for public input.
Area residents said last night that a conditional-use hearing would have been preferable, because developments in the area were already increasing the potential for traffic problems, which warranted the greater scrutiny involved.
John Sarro, chairman of the supervisors, said he voted not to require a new conditional-use hearing because the proposed expansion was mainly to be used as a training facility. In electrical contracting, training was essential to safety, and having once been in that business he was personally aware of the urgent need to emphasize it.
Other supervisors, McKinstry among them, said no matter how they had voted last month, the process allowed multiple opportunities to examine the potential effects of the expansion and see what solutions, if any, were needed.
The supervisors also discussed the traffic on West Locust Lane with residents there, led by Ruthie Kranz-Carl, who along with others has engaged with the township over time in an effort to slow the rate cars travel on the narrow, winding, shoulderless road.
Kranz-Carl said she had asked for traffic calming measures about a year ago, and since then the township has done speed studies, met with groups of residents, stepped up enforcement and put out radar speed signs.
But according to Kranz-Carl the situation remains problematic. “We don’t believe we’ve really calmed the traffic,” she said.
Residents said they were concerned that proposed development at the western end of Kennett Square could mean more traffic would flow north on Mill Road and then up West Locust toward Route 82.
But Township Manager Laurie Prysock said the planned reconfiguration of the Route 82, Cedarbrook Road, and Route 1 bypass intersection might help improve traffic flow in that area enough to take some pressure off West Locust.
In the end the supervisors approved spending up to $7,000 to have a traffic study done to identify possible new measures to slow traffic on the road.
The supervisors approved a doubling of impact fees for emergency services for certain types of developments with increases for inflation every year. The current impact fee of $200 for every 1,000 square feet of commercial space and every unit in conditional-use residential developments would go to $400.
The supervisors said updating the fees was a way to help support the services afforded by the volunteer fire companies and associated ambulance services in the area.