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East Vincent Township Board of Supervisors Approves New Zoning

After almost two hours of deliberation, the board made its final decision on the zoning of the Jones Motor property, much to the distaste of the citizens in attendance.

After nearly two hours of deliberating and hearing every angle of a story that East Vincent Township residents, business owners and government officials all had a vested interest in, the EVT Board of Supervisors voted to approve the ordinance at hand for the Jones Motor property, changing it from an Industrial/Professional Office-General Industrial zoned property, to a Commercial Oriented Mixed Use zoned property.

As the meeting closed, chairman John Funk asked the other two supervisors, vice chairman Mark Dunphy and Christine McNeil if they had heard anything from the public or presenting officials to change their opinions. Dunphy said he did not, while McNeil emphatically shared her lack of faith in the option of changing the zoning.

“I feel the size of this type of development is beyond the capacity of the township. It’s too big and this type of development is not ready for the township,” McNeil said to a roaring round of applause from the close to 100 citizens in attendance at the meeting.

However, in response to hearing that, Funk made his motion to approve the overlay and a booming outburst occurred from the crowd. Screams from the crowd badgered Funk and Dunphy, concluding with one audience member saying, “You’re not getting elected next time!” Still, Dunphy stood by his decision.

“From my perspective, I understand the emotion,” Dunphy said. “It’s an emotional event. There’s no question. It’s what goes into people’s back yards and that’s a fact. If you look at it, this has been in the works for a very long time over the course of many years. Our zoning, we have introduced in our township with the preservation of open space in our town, has dictated that the growth area that has been designated by the planners, is right where that area is going.”

In response to the approval, McNeil gave a booming “NAY!” Her outrage continued after the meeting.

“I think this is a travesty, what happened here tonight,” said McNeil. “East Vincent is going to be changed forever. And these other two supervisors are destroying our township and they don’t care. I wonder why they don’t care when they all lied about why they wanted to be elected to this township. I have a deep love for this entire township. We could have had a development that was in scale, appropriate to us, brought a mix and would be great, instead of an overbuilt environment that will destroy what people have come to live here for.”

Many townspeople shared McNeil’s opinion, saying they came to live in East Vincent for the “rural atmosphere.” A few from the audience even said they moved out of areas like Ardmore and Phoenixville because these places went into a development stage similar to what is anticipated with the approval.

Funk did not wish to comment, citing illness.

The Jones Motor property, owned by James Koegel, is located on Route 724 and Bridge Street. The permit is said to now allow Koegel to sell to a developer, who can build retail, service and office space, along with an average of 373 homes and a town center component. Essentially, presenters compared this type of development with downtown Exton and Phoenixville.

In the public comment portion of the meeting, many residents included their favor for the rural atmosphere as a reason for opposition to the overlay, but also expressed dissatisfaction with the potential traffic that would be created on roads like Route 724 and Route 23, the safety of existing children in the community due to the heightened traffic, a lack of a “natural community,” and an increase in minimum wage jobs that could potentially cause an elimination of skilled labor jobs.

Overall, citizens were happy with the attendance at the meeting, despite its outcome.

“It was quite upsetting to hear Funk ask Dumphy, ‘Did you hear anything this evening that would change your mind?’” said Saul Rivkin of Spring City, who plans to run for the board in November. “This means their minds were clearly made up prior to the meeting. The audacity and disrespect that Funk displayed was inexcusable. The message by the residents indicating that they demanded their township was to remain rural was clear, consistent and it was ignored.”

Limerick Patch will continue coverage of the meeting throughout the day. Stay tuned for a fact sheet, more quotes and the affect this may have on Spring City later on.

PrinceOfPrussia July 14, 2011 at 10:06 AM
A grocery store like a Wegman's or Giant would be great at that location.
Local Yocal July 14, 2011 at 10:39 AM
The infrastructure is just not here for this type of development. The borough of SC can't even handle traffic from a haunted house. The sewage plants both need work. At least when they take the SC Rofo bridge out, we might have a place to shop/work.
Todd Palmer July 15, 2011 at 01:30 AM
There is a Wegmans ten minutes Northeast in the half-vacant Providence Town Center and a Giant five minutes to the East and West. How lazy have we become? A smart developer could come out a hero in this by engaging residents and providing community resources that actually are needed.
PrinceOfPrussia July 15, 2011 at 10:13 AM
The Wegmans isn't half empty. Its packed most days. Its not lazy to not want to drive far to shop. Its a savings of gas and time. Perhaps a Super Walmart would fill the areas nedds.
Todd Palmer July 15, 2011 at 12:17 PM
The Providence Town Center is at least 50% vacant and five miles is not far. Let's be conservative with this land that, once developed, can not be undeveloped. I will ask the only Ned in the area that I know what he thinks about the issue but he never did care for Walmart.
PrinceOfPrussia July 15, 2011 at 12:46 PM
This land isn't pristine wilderness. Its crappy fields and an abandoned truck terminal. Providence Town Center is still construction and more things are opening there like the Movie Tavern. Besides no one saying that a full mall is going in there for sure. Fact is Wegmans is super busy and I think another store like it could do well in E Vincent.
Todd Palmer July 15, 2011 at 02:06 PM
The Wegmans that you are referencing is 5.5 miles from the site in question. There are things that the community needs, no doubt, but big box retail is not one of them.
Stephen Eickhoff July 15, 2011 at 05:59 PM
PrinceofPrussia, that "crappy field" is currently used to grow corn and soybeans. If you like to use products from the crops, you can see it's not "crappy". It's useful. Regardless, said field is across the road from me, and as I am paying 0.335% percent of my income solely to support open space-- and I live in the low-density residential zone-- I feel a bit disenfranchised. It won't just be a Wegmans-- there will be apartments and townhouses, with high-intensity lights, noise, and traffic at all times.
jackaroe July 18, 2011 at 03:15 PM
this is going to be a failure. as stated above... SC can't handle much more traffic... and a super walmart will run this town down. so who's going to move into it? we have the outlets, KOP Mall, The Providence shopping center. Almost any kind of supermarket within range. this is just foolish. my only hope is that it will bring people closer to the town of spring city and perhaps rezoning and new store fronts down town could help our area begin to thrive.
Patrick June 28, 2012 at 11:40 AM
I am new here - has anyhting or is anything happening with this?
Stephen Eickhoff June 28, 2012 at 01:48 PM
There is a hearing on changing the zoning for the Jones motor tract to the new CMU zone type on July 24. I recommend everyone attend, although I wouldn't expect Mark Dunphy to actually consider anyone's comments. http://www.eastvincent.org/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={0CCE7244-C6F4-484A-B2B5-40E11E9289F2}

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