Editor’s Note: The following letter was addressed to Kennett Square Borough Council and was received for publication:
Borough Council: Are any of you concerned that the Creamery is operating on a temporary zoning permit? What is the status of the zoning for that use?
Are any of you concerned that the street and pedestrian safety on Birch Street in Kennett Square Borough, is overcrowded and insufficient for their crowd size? I can’t imagine a fire truck or ambulance being able to get through the crowd easily.
How can someone operating on a temporary zoning permit, initially promising to demolish the lower-level building in the front of the older Creamery building, to make way for adequate parking, then renege on that promise and now....the neighborhood has been overtaken. It is a safety nightmare. It is totally unfair to the residents of that neighborhood, and to taxpayers who rely on Birch Street as a regular route to and from home/work/recreation. Many people have to avoid Birch Street now, whenever the Creamery is open for business. It is untenable. The street is not wide enough for two-sided parking and two-sided traffic.
I guess people won’t care until a small child is struck by a car in the dangerous mix of pedestrians competing for walkable space on a two-way road that is not wide enough for cars, let alone pedestrians - some with kids in strollers! I pray that does not happen, but the potential is strong.
Borough Council needs to write the zoning for this use. Borough Council needs to put sensible parking, pedestrian, and traffic standards in place for this use. We taxpayers are forced to find alternative routes to travel when the Creamery is operating, as Birch Street becomes unpassable. It is not fair that one business gets to overtake an entire borough block (or two). What other business would get away with this?
I am not against the Creamery per se, but feel they have been allowed to bypass respect for borough residents, respect for their own patron’s safety, and the normal course of borough traffic, for the sake of someone’s profit. Borough taxpayers are suffering so someone who is already wealthy can have even more wealth. How is that fair? Is Borough Council playing favorites with the rich? I would hope we have a level playing field for business operations in the borough.
To make matters worse, I believe that liability is a serious issue that the Borough is not considering. I have been told that the owner has shifted liability to the alcohol vendors. Does the owner have skin in the game? Imagine some pedestrian is seriously hurt on Birch Street, and alcohol is involved. It would be very easy to document negligence and perhaps even intentional disregard for pedestrian safety with the lack of sidewalks, and lack of two-way car space, on that block. This puts the borough at risk for being sued. Please wake up! You are putting taxpayers in jeopardy! Your job is to be stewards of taxpayer resources. Since this is a new alcohol-delivery zoning use, we need to get the zoning on the books, and we need to enforce public safety measures.