Honey Brook Township promotes progress, preserves agricultural land

For 21st Century Media

Honey Brook Township Supervisors promotes business progress and encourages agricultural land preservation.

“We want people in the township to prosper,” Honey Brook Township Supervisor Joe Fenstermacher said during a Feb. 12 Supervisors meeting.

The large equipment repair business managed by Jonas, Levi and Ivan Stoltzfus at Swampy Hollow along Maple Road started out small. Now the rural occupation needs space to expand with a warehouse. The Stoltzfus Family has gone to the Zoning Hearing Board to ask for a variance.

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“With growth, the Stoltzfus’s have ventured into additional work to satisfy clients,” said Ivan Stoltzfus at a previous meeting.

“I have no problem with the expansion,” said Fenstermacher. “There were some good reasons why the first application was turned down. Most of the things that the Zoning Hearing Board was concerned about were fixed. We would like the parking area to be moved from the front to the side of the building. The buffers are good.”

“You were here 6 to 8 months ago,” said Township Supervisors Chairman John McHugh. “You have asked to expand the warehouse by 6,000 square feet. The three variances have been considered by the Z.H.B. An accessory building of 3,000 square feet is in on the plan. There has been a request for a variance in the setback for the rural occupation.” Storage will be to the back of the warehouse.

Regarding land preservation, there were three speakers at the Farmers Breakfast on Jan. 21, said Chip Jones, Chairman of the Land Preservation Committee. “There was a discussion on the availability of funds for land preservation. There have not been any recent applications into the program.”

The next meeting will be on March 16 at 6:30 p.m.

“We supervisors wish to state our goals for 2014 at the March meeting,” said McHugh. “We want the opinions of residents on whether we do what we intended.”

The Pennsbury Land Trust offers encouragement to preserve open space for economic reasons. Kristine Kern, Bucks County open space coordinator and Green Space Alliance coordinator, said, “It is estimated that the township’s 55 dairy farms and 2145 cows generate $29.5 million in economic activity each year. A study states 2/3 of Honey Brook’s 25 square miles are actively farmed.”

“In 2005 Honey Brook Township residents approved a referendum to increase the township’s earned income tax to fund the preservation of farmland and open space. Since then the township has allocated $4.5 million to protect agricultural land.”

“The Hopewell Big Woods is an area that covers 73,000 acres of unbroken forests and provides $47 million in environmental benefits. Trees in protected areas are estimated to provide $17 million in annual air pollution removal,” said Kern.

In other news, The Chester County Food Bank will have a truck available at Zooks Molasses along Horse Shoe Pike on the last Wednesday of each month from 12 to 6:30 p.m., said Ally Antonini from the Chester County Food Bank.

“Food, which is donated by local businesses and community groups, farmers and growers of summer vegetables, is available to all who are in need. For those getting food supplied by the federal government, there is a requirement to fill out a form with statements of income and a declaration of needs.”

More information is available on how residents can help the local food bank is available in the lobby in the Municipal Building. There is also information on building a raised bed garden. Also, there is a survey available for residents to provide suggestions for activities provided by the Parks and Rec Committee or by Honey Brook Township. Volunteers are needed.

The number for the Chester County Food Bank is 610-873-6000. “Volunteers are needed,” said Antonini. “They may call Ken Ross at 610-291-0067.”

In other news, McHugh said at the Town Hall meeting on Feb. 11, there was a discussion about medical services provided locally. He thanked the personnel from Emergency Services who volunteered their time for the benefit of residents.

In other news, Road Master Don Johnson said they have about 80 tons of road salt left and they cannot order any more. McHugh thanked Johnson and members of the Road Crew.

West Caln, West Brandywine and Honey Brook Township were in coordination with FEMA. A state of emergency was declared. State aid is provided at cost. During heavy snow storms all vehicles must be removed from the road sides or they will be towed. Fenstermacher said “if power fails and residents need shelter they can go to the West Brandywine Township Building. When that gets full they can come here. We have water, heat and a small kitchen and a generator. The EMC will direct emergency actions.”

Regarding recreation programs, the Parks and Recreation Committee needs information from adults and older teens on programs in which they would be interested said Therese Mauchine, Chairperson of Parks and Rec. There will be a summer camp for middle school students, pickle ball teams, opportunities to help plan for the township anniversary celebration for Honey Brook Township. In March planting begins in the raised bed garden.

Also, an Eagle Scout is looking to do a project with veterans in mind at the township park along Supple Road.