Newlin supervisors work to solve address problem

Inconsistent numbering on Brandywine Drive has been an issue for emergency responders

By Catherine Britt, Staff Writer,

This fire, last month on Brandywine Drive in Newlin, was one of a couple recent instances where some emergency services units had trouble finding the proper address because of inconsisent numbering of addresses on the road. Photo courtesy Modena Fire Co.

NEWLIN — With address numbers that go up and down, and no seeming rhyme or reason, Brandywine Drive has long been a headache both for township officials and emergency first responders.

At Monday night’s Board of Supervisors meeting, local officials, experts from Chester County and residents of the area worked to find a solution to the problem.  The primary topic of the meeting was the resolution of emergency service response to certain portions of Brandywine Drive.  During the past several months residents have reported two fires near the 400-500 blocks of Brandywine Drive and emergency services were delayed while trying to locate those addresses.

No one really knows exactly how or why, but the numbering on Brandywine Drive is inconsistent and goes up and down on a small length of the street.  Louise Wennberg of Chester County Geographical Information Services (GIS), who was at the meeting, told the supervisors that this is a problem her department has faced in several parts of rural Chester County.  She said GIS had been working for some time to resolve these issues one by one.  She noted, however, that because of Pennsylvania’s structure as a Commonwealth, the final resolution of such issues needed to be made at the municipal level.

In an attempt to assist the Township in resolving the issue and avoiding an additional interruption in emergency service to those residences, GIS proposed two possible options.  First, the addresses which are out of order with the rest of that part of Brandywine Drive could be changed to be in numerical order.  The second option was to name the drive that leads to these addresses, enabling residents to keep their same numerical address.

Supervisor Janie Baird read a letter from two residents not in attendance who were opposed to either of these solutions and suggested getting together a working group to address the situation and offer a resolution.  She noted that this was not possible due to the state’s Sunshine Act.

After discussing the issue at length and hearing from a resident who was in attendance, the Board decided to renumber those addresses that were inconsistent with the rest of the numbering on that street.  The township will be notifying those residents of the changes.

On a related topic, the Board heard an update from the Township Emergency Coordinator John O’Neal.  O’Neal informed the Board that hazardous waste was being transported through the township and that the annual review of emergency services included amendments recognizing the presence of these substances traveling through the township.

Specifically,  O’Neal informed the board that East Penn Railroad is currently transporting ethanol and propane in its trains that run through the township.  He noted that the Federal Railroad Agency hasn’t put any warnings out regarding this transport and that the community didn’t need to be concerned.  He told the supervisors that the tanks in which these materials were transported were very difficult to puncture and that if there was a derailment, it would present a minimal hazard.  In that instance, first responders would determine if an evacuation was warranted and, if so, the extent of the evacuation.  If an evacuation order was called, the reverse 911 system would be used to inform residents as would other communication methods used by the township.

O’Neal then read the amendment and the supervisors determined it would wait until May when they had the complete emergency plan to review to take any action.

In other news:

Supervisors said that the township was recently informed that the filter plant facility at Embreeville is being abandoned.  Currently, Aqua is supplying water at that site until the township can drill a well to supply water.  The Board of Supervisors had requested four different bids to drill the needed well.  After reviewing and comparing each of the bids, supervisors voted to accept the bid from Petersheim Brothers, Inc.

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