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By EDWARD HAYES , Staff Writer

May 12, 2003


Open space and potential developments are some of the main issues that have come to the forefront of some of the primaries in some of Chester County’s more rural communities.

From Franklin and Thornbury in the south to West Pikeland in the north and Sadsbury and West Caln in the west, primary candidates for both parties are talking about how to retain their municipality’s character.

In Franklin, two Republicans are vying for their party’s candidacy for a six-year term on the board of supervisors.

Harold T. Walls, 53, has served on the board for one term, most recently as vice chairman, and he wants to continue his job. He said one of his goals would be to maintain the rural feel of Franklin, located in southern Chester County along the border with Maryland.

"There are very few farms left here," he said. "I’d like to see the people be able to retain them." Before serving on the board of supervisors, Walls spent five years on the planning commission and said that experience will benefit him if there is any future developments.

Vaughn Charlton is opposing Walls for the Republican nomination, saying his experience as a contractor would give him a different perspective on the issue.

"There really needs to be another supervisor who knows how to read engineering drawings and can really tell what a plan will look like when built," Charlton said in a released statement.

In Thornbury, two men want to be the Republican Party’s nomination for a six-year seat on the board of supervisors.

Brian M. Smith, 29, has been on the board for almost two years and has served as the township treasurer.

He believes that some major issues are coming down the pike for Thornbury, including the Route 202 expansion project and paying for the police department.

Smith said he wants to continue to serve on the board and do what he has been doing for the past year or so: talking with the residents.

"The highlight has been to be able to listen to the constituents and hear what the issues are," he said. "And then make a decision as best as possible to fit their needs."

His opponent, Louis J. Gagliardi, 38, agrees that several important issues will be coming and he believes township residents need new blood on the board.

"I just feel that better representation was needed at some critical times," he said. "I don’t think that we got it." Gagliardi never held office in Thornbury, but was on the borough council for five years in Chester Heights in Delaware County.

He also said that he would listen to the residents and be their voice on the board as many of these upcoming issues come to the table.

West Caln is also a township that will have to deal with development and preserving open space. The two Republican candidates who want the six-year supervisor seat feel they each know what the township needs to get through it.

Paul E. Pfitzenmeyer, 64, is just finishing up his second term on the board of supervisors and he feels the township will benefit from his leadership for another six years.

During his two previous terms, Pfitzenmeyer points out that the board has purchased open space for the township and last July they dedicated a new park.

"I want to keep improving the township," he said. "And try and manage development and make (West Caln) a better place to live."

Pfitzenmeyer is a retired manager of Acme Markets and former West Caln police officer and firefighter.

Robert Stewart Sr., wants to try to unseat the almost 12-year incumbent and feels his experience as owner of an excavation/construction company will come in handy in helping the residents of the township.

He said he wants to bring the township into the 21st century and update many of its antiquated policies like its inspection system.

Stewart, who has never held political office, said he wants to also try and increase communication between the government and the people.

"I want to have the people of the township have more of a say in what’s going on in the township," he said.

Likewise, open space and recreation are two topics that have been discussed a lot in West Pikeland, where two Republicans want a crack at the six-year supervisor seat that will be up in November.

John K. Fiorillo, 38, was appointed to the board in March and he said he has had a very positive experience on the board and feels his work has only begun. He said that he has had the opportunity to talk with residents and get their input on upcoming issues.

Fiorillo, an attorney in West Chester, said that he believes that the availability of active recreation will be one of the major issues of the election.

"We need to look at adding additional playgrounds for our children in the township," he said. "There’s certainly a demand for fields."

Ernest E. Holling, 62, is a telecommunications consultant and has spent about 20 years in the township.

He believes that open space is going to be something that many residents will want to protect and he wants them to have that say on how much they want to protect it. Holling said that West Pikeland is one of few townships that does not have a tax rate increase to fund the purchase of open space.

"I want to see that discussed and see it put on the ballot," he said. "It’s too wide-ranging for just the supervisors to make that decision."

Over in Sadsbury, two Democratic newcomers are both hoping to win their party’s nomination for a six-year term on the board of supervisors.

Claire T. Audette, is a homemaker whose experience in the party has included a member of the Democratic Committee and membership chairwoman of the Chester County Democratic Women’s Club.

Audette said that she believes the major issue of the upcoming election, will be sprawl.

"We need an intense evaluation and careful planning and concern for the needs of the citizens of Sadsbury Township," she said. "As well as protect the environment and natural beauty of our community.

Audette said that she wants to unify the community in maintaining the integrity of Sadsbury Township.

Her opponent is Edward Pawling, 42, who has been a member of the planning commission for about six years.

He said that as a newcomer to the board he would be able to bring some new perspective to the scene.

"The township needs a change," he said. "(They need) new ideas and new though processes and new responsibilities for the township."

Pawling said he has lived in the township for more than 20 years and he likes the rural aspect of it. He also said Sadsbury Township could remain that way with responsible development.

Over on the Republican side in Sadsbury, two other members of the planning commission are fighting for the party’s nomination.

Stephanie J. Silvernail, 49, has been on the planning commission for eight years, and has chaired the commission for five of those years.

As chair, she has seen the growing problem of development and said that she knows how to handle it the best way.

"We need to look at it from the standpoint that we want responsible development," she said. "We didn’t want a situation that creates a burden for our residents."

Silvernail said that she feels her experience and leadership skills make her the better choice for the nomination.

Dale L Hensel, 44, has been on the planning commission for four years and said he has enjoyed how the commission has come together to re-write the township’s new zoning ordinances.

He said that he believes that the commission has helped put the building blocks in place that will help keep the rural charm of the township.

"The zoning is pretty much in place," he said. "We just need to hold to that zoning."

Hensel said he wants to see Sadsbury live on as a relaxing community where open space still exists.

İDaily Local News 2003


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