Question over conflict on Poplar Tree home in E. Marlborough

Board of Supervisors approves new paving, commercial signs

By Karen Cresta, Staff Writer, The Times

eastMarlboroughLogoEAST MARLBOROUGH – The township’s Board of Supervisors’ held a short meeting on Monday night at the East Marlborough Township building. It did not break the record of the shortest meeting but it lasted about a half an hour with most of that time spent on the controversial property at 101 Poplar Tree Road.

During public comment, a resident of Wollaston Road, Lewis Kinter, expressed his dissatisfaction with a conflict of interest regarding the nearby historical home located on the southern edge of the Unionville Historic District.

Kinter was concerned with the conflict of interest with the property owners’ preference to use the architectural firm of John Rosencrans, who is also the chairman for the township’s Historical and Architectural Commission Board (HARB).  This property has been a topic of controversy for the last several township meetings.

Previously, in April, the board voted against the demolition of the existing home. One of the investors, Brian Harlan, stated his wishes to pursue a new single-family home on the property as it was subdivided to do so. HARB held a special meeting on May 5, to consider the proposal of Next Home, LP, for recommendation of appropriateness on the architectural exterior of the proposed new single-family home.

Kinter read a portion of a letter dated a month earlier (March 2), that was signed by Rosencrans and he quoted the letter by reading, “The Historic Commission unanimously approved the request of the demolition of this historic resource.”

“It was a unanimous decision which suggests strongly to me that Mr. Rosencrans voted with the others on that action. In summary, Mr. Rosencrans, who has a business relationship with the owners, presents the appearance, or worse, of a conflict of interest and a potential abuse of his position as he executes his duties as chairman of the East Marlborough Township Historic Commission in matters regarding the 101 Poplar property and I personally am very concerned that this casts a pall on the integrity of East Marlborough governance and I would like to urge you as supervisors to take immediate action to remove this stain and restore confidence in our residents that we have an honest township and an honest governance.”

Frone Crawford, township solicitor, commented on some procedural components that Kinter raised by stating, “Whether there was any business relationship at the time that Mr. Rosencrans participated apparently in the proceeding, that was overruled by HARB….and then the board of supervisors then confirmed the decision of HARB [not to demolish the existing historical home].”

At the time we didn’t know there was a business relationship. It wasn’t disclosed. If there was one, he should have disclosed it. But let me say that the board of supervisors followed the recommendation of HARB to reject this and going forward, you’re absolutely right that Mr. Rosencrans should be recused from participating in any further proceedings.

Supervisor chairman Richard Hannum added, “Mr. Kinter, in a follow-up of what Mr. Crawford said, I was unaware of this incident until after the April meeting as well and I have spoken to Mr. Rosencrans and have full confidence in his ability to participate with the historic commission as our chairman he has provided a service for a numerous amount of years and feel comfortable moving forward. “

The board approved new and more colorful signage for the Shoppes at Longwood in anticipation of possibly sub-dividing the old Super Fresh building by adding additional spaces. They also approved a new sign at Catherine’s Restaurant in Unionville Village.

In addition, road contracts in the amount of an estimated $36,000 for paving and surface treatment such as on Mill Road were approved.

All meeting minutes and the meeting schedules can be found on the township website at

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