As reported in this week's issue of the Chadds Ford Post, Deborah Love D'Elia, the newly elected chairman of the Chadds Ford Board of Supervisors wants to hold to the township's 10-day rule.
The rule requires that all documents the supervisors need to review before a meeting be submitted 10 days in advance of that meeting. It is especially important for developers whose plans need to be first reviewed by consultants, such as the township solicitor or engineer.
Adhering to the 10-day rule is one way to help assure that supervisors actually have the time to review documents and plans properly so they can render an informed decision without wasting time trying to be brought up to speed on fundamentals the night of a meeting.
There was a short period, maybe a month or two after the rule was adopted, during which the 10-day rule was enforced, but it seemed to shrink into oblivion since then.
Ms. D'Elia's desire to again enforce the rule is good. But in order for that rule to be effective, it needs more than just having applicants submit paperwork in time. It also needs the supervisors, all three of them, to take the opportunity provided to prepare themselves, to review the documents and come to the meeting understanding the agenda points they will face. It also affords them time to come up with the words to explain possible objections to plans so they don't ramble.
Being unprepared is a disservice to the community and to the applicant. On the other hand, coming to meetings well prepared reflects a sense of professionalism. It also conveys a sense of respect for the applicant and members of the audience. And it's a way to make the meeting time more efficient.
Another point to consider is that the supervisors should not try to redesign or reengineer plans that have already received Planning Commission approval. If the supervisors don't like the plan they should remand it to the planning Commission with their reasons and recommendations.
Supervisors have attempted to redesign plans during their last several meetings. It doesn't work.