After an extensive search for a good location, and months of working out the sale agreement with two local governments, could Kennett School District's new playing fields be affected by zoning changes in Kennett Township?

The district has only recently settled on an agreement of sale for the Yeatman tract, which stretches through both Kennett Township and Kennett Borough.

For the district, this means jumping through the necessary hoops at least twice, and that's without any changes to the existing plans.

In Kennett township, however, there has been a vast project in the works, where entire sections of the township would be rezoned.

"It's taken the past two-and-a-half years for the Planning Commission to review the existing zoning ordinance, to make them current and to translate the objectives set forth in our comprehensive plan," said Mike Elling, chairman of the township's board of supervisors. "It sounds more onerous than it really is."

The township sent out 400-plus letters to residents who may be affected by the changes, attracting 45 of them to last Monday evening's regular business meeting.

But at the KCSD meeting the previous week, there were uncomfortable rumblings about the proposed changes and whether or not it would affect the development of the new fields in the township.

So far, the district has only informally been before the supervisors with a preliminary plan, ostensibly to determine if there was anything in particular that would not sit well with the planning commission.

"We went to a meeting on an informal basis just to help them understand the pans we were working on," said district superintendent Rudy Karkosak. "We wanted to make sure that they we were aware of what we were looking for. We did some legwork ahead of time, but we couldn't even apply until we had the agreement of sale."

According to Karkosak, the district will formally approach both the borough and the township in June.

Monday's meeting was more a question and answer session between concerned residents, the planning commission and the supervisors, Elling said, and nothing has been formally adopted yet.

"We knew we weren't going to adopt it last night," Elling said. "We're taking the input from last night -- and we know we're going to input some changes -- but this is going to be adopted with all due consideration."

Elling said that he was reasonably sure that there are no zoning changes scheduled for the Yeatman tract that runs along the township/borough border and that the proposed athletic fields should go unaffected.

"I don't think there should be a problem," Elling said. "There's no fear of that."

In the meantime, KCSD and Vollmer -- the engineering firm hired for the project development -- are getting their ducks in a row, so to speak. Stormwater management issues and other small details still remain to be worked out. But Karkosak seemed confident that the June timetable for plan submission was still on track.

"There are still all these legal and engineering things to be addressed," Karkosak said. "But I don't think it's a major problem. But like everything else, you need all these things to be approved before anything happens."

Elling added that the attendance at Monday's meeting was, in his opinion, a positive reaction to the proposed changes. And while the changes may be numerous, they don't appear to have caused much dissention among residents.

I don't think it'll be particularly contentious," Elling said. "Nobody's ox is going to get gored."

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