Long-time Planning Commission member leaving board, moving out of town
By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times
EAST MARLBOROUGH — When Susan Beach first joined the township’s Planning Commission in 1972, things were a bit different.
Richard Nixon was president, the war in VietNam was still raging and maybe most importantly for a newly minted member of the Planning Commission, the township didn’t have much in the way of a zoning ordinance.
The township’s Board of Supervisors honored Beach Monday night for her 40 years of service to the township — and reluctantly accepted her resignation, as she is moving to neighboring Pennsbury.
“We want to thank her for 40 years of service,” Board of Supervisors chair Cuyler Walker said. “Susan joined the Planning Commission before we had a zoning ordinance.”
Walker presented Beach with a certificate thanking her for her service.
Beach thanked the board and noted with a laugh, “I came from Pennsbury Township, and now, I’m going back to Pennsbury Township.”
The township will need to fill her position on the Planning Commission, Walker said. Any township resident interested should contact the township, he said.
In other township news, Tammy Whiteman of the Longwood EMS made a presentation detailing the new ambulance subscription plan, as detailed in The Times last month.
In short, for one yearly fee ($50 for one person, $100 for a family), Longwood will cover the difference in cost between what health insurance pays and normal billing for ambulance calls. Should any subscriber not use the ambulance during the year, it can be considered a tax-deductible donation to the fire company. It can used an unlimited number of times in one year, Whiteman said.
Mailings for the proposed subscription service should start arriving in local residents mail boxes this week.
There was little discussion about the settlement last month with the owners of The Inn at Whitewing Farm — although when prompted on the subject by residents during the public comment session, township officials said that only the four weddings would be held on the property until further rulings are made, first by the township Zoning Hearing Board and then — presumably — by the courts, in the appeal process.
Whitewing will be allowed to hold four weddings on his Valley Road property after the township and the bed and breakfast’s owner, Lance Shortt, reached an agreement after a Chester County Common Pleas judge broadly suggested he would not grant the temporary restraining order the township was seeking, to prevent the events on the property.
Judge William P. Mahon approved a settlement agreement between the township allowing four weddings: July 14, Aug. 18, Sept. 15 and Sept. 22 — essentially what his attorney, Ron Agulnick, asked the township to grant in April but was rebuffed by supervisors
“All other events on the property have been enjoined by the judge,” Walker said.
But, and potentially both having long-term implications for the township as well as financial impact, the question of whether the events qualify as an accessory use of the property will now go before the township’s Zoning Hearing Board.
Had township supervisors accepted Agulnick’s offer, the Shortts would have held a total of seven events on the property, paid some $3,500 in fines and permanently ceased holding such events. Three of the weddings have already taken place.
Now, in addition to the increasing legal costs of the fight, the township could see the ZHB and the courts approve further weddings on the site on a permanent basis. The accessory use ruling, potentially, could also have implications for other properties in the township as well.