Last week's Kennett Square Borough Council meeting started out with high hopes for implementing the vision plan offered by consultant Peter Simone at a previous meeting. But very soon after the first crack of the gavel, it turned into a free for all that brought up images of William Golding's "Lord of the Flies."
We hope this kind of behavior doesn't continue, and that the boys at the table will have learned a little civility by the next meeting.
Right away, Council members launched into a carping session, attacking President Jeff Darman's agenda, and he, in return, let them continue in their wild ways. By the time the evening was over, the only thing that had been accomplished was preliminary approval of the plan for the new building to replace the old bank at Broad and State streets -- and that was marred by irrelevant comments.
Mr. Darman began the meeting by asking for suggestions and reactions to the Mr. Simone's plan for altering the zoning in several sections of town.
Apparently expecting thoughtful and intelligent comments, he asked for opinions about the height limits for buildings in the middle of town. Then, he said, they would discuss distances apart for high buildings.
Immediately, Council member John Thomas barked out an objection, saying he wanted to talk about distances first. Council member Steve Kelly joined him, turning the topic to his fear of favoritism for the high building owners.
Mr. Darman led the board into the future uses of the NVF property, now on the sale block. But resident Charla Watson threw in her two cents, arguing about her right to speak from the audience outside the citizen comment time.
When the agenda turned to preliminary approval of the Key Realty plan for the building on Broad Street, Mr. Thomas launched into another fight about the order in which papers should be signed.
Then, out of the blue, Mr. Kelly wondered aloud if the new building could be turned into an apartment.
Not to be outdone, Jerome Rhodes, who was absent for the traffic engineer report on the effect of the planned building, said he wanted a new traffic study because it takes him a long time to drive from the YMCA to the middle of town.
That's just a few of the nonsensical incidents that dragged down the three-and-a-half hour debacle on March 6.
Here are three possible routes toward improvement:
1. The Council members should do their homework and read their packets ahead of time. Mr. Rhodes should have read the minutes and the traffic report. And Mr. Kelly should have been familiar with the uptown zoning regulations.
2. Members should make an effort to act like civilized adults. If Mr. Thomas in particular and the other members in general continue to pick fights during their tenure on the board, nothing will ever get accomplished.
3. Mr. Darman must not allow the agenda to drift astray. In the light of his bumptious and antagonistic board, he must make his questions simple and one-dimensional. Unfortunately, he must treat his board like naughty children until they learn some manners. And he must use his gavel often.
Last week's meeting was a disappointment. We hope that future meetings show some improvement and that the board acquires some semblance of teamwork. Otherwise, they can look forward to years of stagnation in the borough.