Weer says there’s opposition to Unionville bike path

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E. Marlborough supervisor argues that a majority of residents don’t support Rt. 82 plan

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times
EAST MARLBOROUGH — While the township is in line to get some $1.4 million in state and federal funding to build a bike path — and has spent more than $200,000 of township money on the project — at least one Township Supervisor is arguing that a majority of township residents oppose the project.

The subject came up during Monday night’s Board of Supervisors meeting, as the supervisors discussed hiring an acquisition consultant to assist in the process of getting easements along Route 82 near the middle and high school complex.

Supervisor Robert Weer reiterated his opposition to the project even while acknowledging that a majority of his colleagues disagreed with him.

“Out there, in talking to the community, there’s a lot of opposition to this project,” he said.

Township manager Jane Laslo said she disagreed with that assessment and in her experience, there’s support in the community for the one-mile bike path, expected to be the first link that would run eventually from Unionville to Kennett Square. She compared it with the sidewalk project in Unionville Village.

“It took us 12 years to complete the project,” she said. “But now it’s a wonderful, cohesive part of the community.”

Another point she made: the remaining funding of the project comes from federal state sources. If the township were to bail out, the money would be spent elsewhere and the $200,000 plus spent on plans by the township would be completely wasted.

“At this point, we’re only talking about using the dollars from the federal government,” Supervisors chair Cuyler Walker said. “The only question is whether we’re improving or degrading the township. For better or worse, the money is going to be spent somewhere else if we don’t use it.”

Still, Walker agreed that the board should hold off adopting a resolution on the project, wanting township solicitor Frone Crawford to review it and offer comments — particularly concerning any future financial commitments for the township. Crawford was on vacation and could not attend this month’s supervisors meeting.

In other news, the supervisors voted to replace the retiring Susan Beech on the township planning commission with Charles Streitweiser by a 3-2 vote. Walker and colleague Richard Hicks argued for Streitweiser, noting that he had completed Chester County’s Master Planner program.

While agreeing that all of the other candidates were qualified, both said the extra training made Streitweiser especially valuable to the planning commission. Walker said he hoped that the other applicants could be found another role to volunteer for the township and thanked them for expressing interest in the post.

The supervisors also approved hiring a consultant to review the land-use ordinance of the township as part of a process to standardize language between the township and neighboring West Marlborough and Newlin, all slated to share a regional comprehensive plan.

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