Opposition heard for Ugly Ducklings sign in Pocopson

By Karen Cresta, Staff Writer, The Times

POCOPSON – The Ducklings Early Learning Center, located in the Riverside at Chadds Ford community on Winston Lane, has been open for the new school year but without a sign on the front of the newly constructed building. The registered trade-marked yellow ducks with orange lettering invoked some opposition from the board.

The owner, Jody Thompson, sat next to Esq. Neil Land while he presented to the board the plan and circulated pictures of the proposed sign over the front doors.  He explained that approval was required, even though the building was deemed commercial, because it is in a residential area and requires a variance as a technicality to the current ordinance.

Land mentioned that the color of the sign was very important to the brand and Thompson’s efforts to franchise the business. The other buildings all have the same sign and the township’s Planning Commission already recommended approval.

Supervisor Alice Balsama expressed her opinion. “The building looks so nice… then you come up with yellow and orange and it’s popping out.  I understand the branding and infringements and all that but I still want to make the comment that I prefer another color scheme for it.”

Supevisor Elaine DiMonte agreed with Balsama, “I understand the reasoning for it but the building is so beautiful and it blends in…It looks really pretty there and I just wish there was another way to put the sign without the pop of color.”

A resident who lives next door to the building said, “I don’t have any problems with the sign. I’m glad it’s not lit.”

DiMonte asked if there was any way the colors could be changed to blend in with the building and the residential surroundings and Land answered that there was not.

Chairwoman Ricki Stumpo added, “I have no problem with the colors.  I think it’s wonderful for little kids.”

A motion was approved by a 2-1 vote – with DiMonte in opposition – to accept the recommendation of the Planning Commission to permit the variance for the sign.  Land requested a letter from the township supervisors with their opinions be sent to the zoning board who will make the final decision next week.

In other news, the board provided an update for the feasibility study of the historical Barnard House’s and township building’s potential occupancy recommendations.  Stumpo and DiMonte met on Oct. 6 with the architects (GKO) who were chosen by the board to review some ideas for both locations and initial concepts were presented.

The board did not go into detail about the concepts presented but mentioned some ideas will be restricted by the covenant.

“It’s pretty exciting…Some of the ideas they had for this building were really cool but some ideas for the Barnard House were very, very cool and bring us into the 21st century.  Unfortunately, our hands are tied with the covenant,” DiMonte said.

DiMonte is waiting to hear back and is hopeful the commissioners will attend a meeting the first week in November and all will be able to “collaborate.”  More details will be given by the township supervisors after the meeting with the county commissioners.

DiMonte informed a member of the commission asking about the agenda for the next meeting that, “We have some ideas but we are restricted by the covenant and it needs further discussion on potentially what we can do with the building.”

The supervisors approved the rate increase of .10 for the Chester County Tax Collection Agreement with the county’s treasurer office.  They are responsible for collecting Pocopson Township’s real estate tax and sending invoices, past due notices, issuing refunds, and tracking transfers, reassessments and liens on properties.

The current rate is $1.65 per initial tax invoice and the supervisors approved the .10 increase that would impact the yearly budget by only $140.

Stumpo added, “They are very effective and have done a very good job.”

More information regarding the public hearing that took place to amend the township code chapters 190 and 250 regarding timber harvesting and the keeping of animals and the deletion of chapters 12 and 27 regarding alarms and number of buildings can be found on the township’s website at www.pocopson.org.

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