Incumbent, challenger square off in Lancaster Twp. supervisor race

May 15, 2019 Cranberry Local News

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LANCASTER TWP — Supervisors have the potential to see a new face for the first time in a while after the May 21 primary election.

Only one seat is open for a six-year term. Supervisor Dennis Kerr, hoping to extend his 35-year tenure, faces challenger Tim Zinkham.

The issue on both candidates' minds is growth.

Lancaster Township has faced rapid growth, particularly in residential units, for the past few years. Current board members have been working to find a middle ground between potential development and what existing residents and business owners want to see.

Some of the biggest complaints facing the board include constant construction, a need for infrastructure improvements and increased traffic and population.

Many residents have spoken about the need to maintain the “tight-knit community” feeling that brought so many people to the area in the first place, and the board recently enlisted the help of a planning committee of 11 community members to work on the comprehensive plan for the township that will determine its goals for the next 10 years.

The comprehensive planning committee will hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. May 22 at the Lancaster Township Community Center to hear more opinions from the community before beginning work on the comprehensive plan. The committee's plan will then be presented to Lancaster Township's planning commission before it is sent for approval to the board of supervisors later in the year.

At a town hall event hosted by the Scenic Ridge Community at 7 p.m. Thursday, Kerr and Zinkham discussed their ideas for the future of the township and answered questions from about 50 people.

A common theme was the desire from residents not to see the community “turn into Cranberry.” Simultaneously, people said they wanted to see more services offered.

Issues brought up included a public need for “vision” among the future supervisor's characteristics and the further development of commercial properties — such as a grocery store — as well as traffic alleviation, safety precautions and “keeping it rural” in the community.

Dennis Kerr

Dennis Kerr

Education: High school diploma from Seneca Valley High School

Occupation: Self-employed in farm equipment sales and mechanics

Family: Married with two children

Issue: “Growth. This little community popped up overnight, it seems. It's the board's job to handle it as much as possible, and the comprehensive plan will help.”

Tim Zinkham

Tim Zinkham

Education: Bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics from Penn State University

Occupation: Cranberry Township manager of engineering services

Family: Married

Issue: “Managing and mitigating growth is the biggest thing facing the township. I think community involvement in the comprehensive plan will be vital.”

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Alexandria Mansfield

Alexandria Mansfield

Alexandria Mansfield is a community reporter at the Cranberry Eagle. She worked as a freelance reporter before joining the Eagle staff in July 2018. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania's journalism and public relations department in 2018 and from Wellsboro Area High School in 2015. While at IUP, she served as a reporter and editor at The Penn, the university's student-run, twice-weekly newspaper, and earned first place awards from Pennsylvania News Media Association and Pittsburgh Black Media Federation in 2017 and 2018, respectively, for her news coverage and investigative reporting.