Municipal Report: East Nantmeal officially leaves Northern Federation

At the Oct. 9 meeting, East Nantmeal officials voted to remove the township from a binding agreement it had made with the Federation of Northern Chester County Municipalities.

The Federation of Northern Chester County Communities, known as the Northern Federation, was founded around 1977 to encourage, establish and protect parks, open spaces and hiking trails. The original members of the network were East and West Vincent Townships, North, South and East Coventry Townships, East and West Pikeland, Warwick, and East Nantmeal Township. Other members are the French and Pickering Conservation Trust, the Green Valleys Association and the Downingtown, Phoenixville and O.J. Roberts School Districts.

The concept was that several municipalities could cooperate in solving issues that were common to all of them. The committee had worked on such things as cultural and historical resources.

Chairman Jim Jenkins said the regional plan was not in the best interest of East Nantmeal Township. The decision takes effect immediately. It started out small and unique – there were studies that showed riparian buffers along streams would be beneficial in preventing flooding and erosion. A study of traffic problems along the section of Route 100 crossing through the area contributed to improvements in traffic flow and safety.

Township Attorney Tom Oeste said, “You don’t have to have a reason to do it.”

“It might come back at us,” said Supervisor Tyler Wren. A large sports complex would benefit townships with a larger population. “Our future is open space and the preservation of un- developed areas.”

In the last couple of years there was an endeavor to have the member municipalities support a project to enable a large emphasis on athletics. East Nantmeal Township, with a small rural population, is better suited to passive recreation such as walking and hiking. The costs of a sports complex would be spread upon the member municipalities. Local residents did not want the burden.

The Northern Federation is a collective idea, said resident Ann Bedrick.

“We could join together to bargain for grants and funding,” she said. “Now we don’t have any say.”

“Yes we do,” said Jenkins. “We can get help with our intentions from other townships that also do not want it.”

“If the local school district decides it wants an expensive sports complex, we will have to pay for it in higher taxes,” said Allison Malamo. “But a township in another school district should not put pressure on us to pay for a project that benefits them.”

The motion was approved two to one.

“Over and done,” said Jenkins. “We are completely out of the Northern Federation.”

Residents living along the Horseshoe Trail are concerned about places that freeze in winter. Ice is hard to detect and slow to melt.

Mark Dzuban has created the mold for the marker that will be placed along Bulltown Road to commemorate the area, said Wren. The marker will be completed and dedicated at a ceremony in the spring of 2014. The plaque will have the logo E.N.H.C. (East Nantmeal Township Historical Commission) over the geographical shape of the township.

The East Nantmeal Historical Commission will have guest Noah Lewis at the Nov. 20 meeting.

A public hearing had been held at the August meeting to amend the zoning ordinance on institutional use by adding a clause for ceremonies and receptions to be authorized by conditional use. Standards would be set for the new accessory use. This would pertain to certain uses at places such as Welkinweir, but Oeste said churches would not be affected in their general ceremonies and receptions.

Conservation easements have been purchased on 162 acres owned by the McAfee Limited Partnership. The property spans Route 401 and Fairview Road.

East Nantmeal will participate in the purchase of an agricultural conservation easement on 91 acres owned by the Heilner and Nestorick Families. The land is on the south side of Route 401 and east of Fairview Road.

Malamo said the 2014 budget for Chester County has actually gone down.

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