Pocopson supervisors question timber cut

New access road may mean other approvals required

By John GondolCorrespondent, The Times


Jeff Stover explains the alternate access route for a proposed timber cut to the Pocopson Board of Supervisors, Monday.

POCOPSON – The township’s Board of Supervisors is awaiting an amended application regarding the a timber harvest plan after the owner of the Marlborough Road tract challenges the board’s own ordinances, during the board’s meeting Monday night.

Jeff Stover, a forester contracted to survey the tract has determined that a timber harvest of 178 marked trees is in the best interests of the owner to have removed. Stover had said removing the old and “undesirable trees” would promote the growth of a stronger patch of timber over the 10 acre plot of land.

Previous concerns regarding the access route for the harvest were addressed in Stover’s presentation including the use of a new access route off Wawaset Road avoiding the use of township roads and driveways to facilitate road damage.

The revision of the access route for the logging trail left Stover unsure whether the Chester County Conservation District, who had already accepted the existing plan, would require a new submission or just an amendment to the original.

In light of meeting all the township’s concerns, the board remained hesitant to approve the timber harvest until Strover’s paperwork had been filed with the Chester County Conservation District to possibly amend the existing plan to the township for review.

Tom Struble, owner of the 10 acres of timber, spoke up as soon as the board declined to approve the plan as it was submitted.

“According to your ordinances, after he submits this plan which he did in November, you got 30 days to vote on it-you are out of compliance with your own ordinance,“ he said.

Supervisor Barney Leonard said it was important for the board to do due diligence in acting on behalf of the township.

“We want to have a complete application,” Leonard said. “It’s the right thing to do, it’s the correct thing to do for the residents of Pocopson who [know] its our job to make sure they are protected and their safety and welfare considered.”

After an open discussion on the matter, the township supervisors appointed Code Enforcement Officer Richard Jensen to approve the harvest upon the finalization of the remaining paperwork.

In other matters, earlier in the meeting Lieutenant Richard D’Ambrosio who serves as the Avondale station commander for the State Police made his regular report documenting a total 91 calls the station reported to, 12 of which were criminal acts.

In his report, Lt. D’Ambrosio also recommended to the township to look into installing guardrails on Denton Hallow Road after reading a traffic report that was conducted for the winding road.  The supervisors discussed the possibility of getting an estimate done to see how much the project would cost the township. The roadway was widely used as a shortcut to Route 926 from Route 52 during construction of the roundabout. There are concerns it would be used in much the same way when the bridge over the Brandywine Creek on Route 926 is replaced later this year.

Residents’ concerns about the station’s 9-1-1 response times, brought up by Leonard were addressed by Lt. D’Ambrosio citing the 23 total townships covered by five trooper’s at a time. Lt. D’Ambrosio noted that the township is a very safe community, citing the station average one call a day for the municipality.

One of the last few items on the agenda the township discussed was a grant by the Keystone Historic Preservation that would match whatever dollar amount the township’s board would agree to that would go to the renovation of the 1800s era residence, the Barnard House, a historic stop along the Underground Railroad.

The Barnard House was given to the township and township officials have hoped to renovate the historic building and make it into a new municipal building and the future home of the Underground Railroad Museum. That process has stalled in recent years due to lack of funding.

Larissa McNemar, a former supervisor who drafted the $50,000 grant assured all the funding would be toward restoring the doors and windows of the Barnard House in order to keep weather out and enable the weather to no longer damage the inside of the house.

The project has been a work in progress since the township acquired the building in 2008. A few residents did express concerns about the amount of money associated with the project and what lies ahead financially. Leonard said a special meeting about the Barnard House is being scheduled for the spring to discuss things further.


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