Talk at EM Supervisors meeting centers on zoning, erosion and basins

Walker declines to address his status following meeting

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times


East Marlborough’s zoning map. Changes to the township’s R-B residential zone were the center of the conversation at Monday night’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — It was business as usual for the township Board of Supervisors Monday night, as the most intense topics of conversation were related to proposed new clustering provisions in the township’s R-B Residential zone, stream erosion and the infiltration rates of storm water runoff basins.

Not a subject of discussion or even public comment, however, was the status of board chair Cuyler Walker, who ran the meeting as normal. Walker withdrew from the race for State Representative in the 158th District last month. Walker’s decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights — the right not to offer testimony that might incriminate himself — in a motion to quash a subpoena that sought to have him testify at a hearing last month to remove him from the ballot in Commonwealth Court has sparked public debate as to his exact legal status.

At this point, no law enforcement agency has confirmed that the long-time supervisor is the subject of an investigation, despite some published reports suggesting otherwise. Walker appears also to no longer be a partner at Pepper, Hamilton, the prestigious Philadelphia law firm. All references to him disappeared on the firm’s Web site last week.

For his part, Walker politely declined to shed any further light on the situation, saying he would have no comment on the matter, following Monday night’s meeting.

With that, much of the evening’s discussion revolved around a proposal to change the township’s zoning ordinance that would allow a bit more flexibility for those interested in building more clustered developments — placing the homes closely together to allow for larger uninterrupted areas of open space.

The changes were sparked by suggestions related to the possible future development of the Platt property in Willowdale. While the current roughly 25-acre property houses a greenhouse and nursery as well as various other buildings, the current property owner is looking into the possibility of subdividing the property and building 13 or 14 single-family homes on the larger parcel. The greenhouse/nursery operation would continue to operate on a 5.2 acre parcel.

A neighbor of the potential development, Jim Sinclair, expressed concerns that the smaller parcel would ultimately be developed — as is currently allowed by zoning — as the site of two more residences — potentially worsening a stormwater runoff problem in the area.

In the same area, township engineer Jim Hatfield discussed concerns about stream erosion on the Ross property on Street Road in Willowdale. The property owners say that there is a worsening stream bed erosion problem on the west side of the property — and suggested that development in the Willowdale corridor over the last 20 years may be at least some of the problem.

Hatfield agreed that situation needed more study and he agreed to review a study the family commissioned, but cautioned that some of the issue may have been caused by an unusually wet weather pattern seen in the area during the last decade.

Also, the home owners association from Belrose at Longwood asked the supervisors not to release performance bonds to developer Woodstone Homes, expressing concerns that the storm water basins on the property are not functioning as designed — and may have been improperly installed. Hatfield said that further study – and checking to make sure the developer has met all requirements is standard procedure prior to performance bonds being released and that it would happen in this case as well.

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One Comment

  1. Robert Daniels says:

    The East Marlborough engineer might want to look upstream from the Ross property for the problem. The reason the Ross property has increased erosion is the complete lack of vegetative cover along the channelized stream corridor on the Laffey property across Street Rd. I’m not sure more study is required.

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