Search Results for – "richter"

Removal of Wawa and Apartment Building from Richter Development Plans

Still in the early stages of discussion, we do not know where the proposed Trout Creek Overlay District zoning ordinance change and the development of the Richter property will ultimately end.  My last post contained details from the long public hearing and as part the follow-up, the potential developer Joe Duckworth met with a small group of nine local Glenhardie community members.  To assure transparency and to allow maximum community input, other interested residents were invited to attend the meeting held at the township building.

Many of the resident comments at the public hearing focused specifically on the ongoing township stormwater issues. The Trout Creek Watershed Overlay District ordinance would permit additional redevelopment usages on large properties in the Trout Creek Watershed in exchange for much-needed stormwater facilities help.   As follow-up to the public hearing, there is a community meeting Thursday, March 8, 7 PM to discuss stormwater and flooding problems along Trout Creek – Township Engineer Steve Burgo will present the township’s 2010 study of the watershed and recommendations for improvement. The public hearing for the proposed zoning ordinance amendment continues at the next Board of Supervisors Meeting, Monday, March 19 at 7:30 PM.

Beyond stormwater issues, there was much discussion about the possibility of a Wawa or a large apartment complex that the proposed zoning ordinance would permit.  Some of the residents asked specifically that ‘retail with accessory gas’ and ‘apartment house’ usage be removed from the zoning ordinance amendment language of the Trout Creek Watershed Overlay District.

For those opposing a Wawa or apartment building on the Richter property, there is good news to report!  

The proposed developer for the project, Joe Duckworth, contacted me for an update. As I said in my last post on Community Matters, “I have found Duckworth to be very community-minded and responsive to all questions and concerns related to the development of the Richter tract” and this continues to be the case.  Duckworth explained, that based on the community input at the public hearing, he immediately reached out to the Board of Supervisors to suggest that the gas station and apartment building usage be removed from the proposed zoning ordinance amendment for the Trout Creek Watershed Overlay District. Those usages will be removed in the revised amendment and Duckworth presented this new information to the residents at the follow-up community meeting.  For the record, Duckworth says that a Wawa was not a consideration by Arcadia Land Company for the Richter property.

With Wawa and apartment building out of the proposed zoning ordinance change, the majority of the 30-35 Glenhardie residents who attended the community meeting, are OK with the Richter development plans for carriage houses and townhouses.  But what’s the saying about not being able to please all the people?  Duckworth explained there remain a couple of residents who are opposed to development project regardless of the removal of the Wawa and apartment building.

We discussed Duckworth’s plans for the Richter site; carriage houses and townhomes sound like they could provide a great option for Tredyffrin residents, particularly for those wishing to downsize for their large single-family homes but remain in the community.  The carriage house concept with the master bedroom on the first floor has become a popular feature sought among the retiring baby boom generation.  I have heard of several local residents who are already planning a move when the carriage homes are built.

According to Duckworth, the total number of carriage houses and townhomes in the proposed development will be around 120, although the breakout between the design types is not known at this time. Pricing for the carriage houses will probably be mid-$500K and townhouses in the $400K range.  Duckworth confirmed that the entrance to the project would be Old Eagle School Road not Walker Road.  With entrance to the proposed development off Old Eagle School, I voiced concern for the Valley Friends Meeting cemetery, which could be close to the new driveway.  Duckworth reassured me that he was very aware of the situation and appropriate buffering and landscaping would be included in the plan to protect the cemetery.

The Richter property was one of 10 locations named in the 2010 Trout Creek Watershed Study and Stormwater Management Practice Analysis for stormwater best management practice in the township.  The study suggested a 6-8 acre stormwater basin and Duckworth confirmed that his Richter plan sets aside 8 acres for the basin.  According to Duckworth, the cost for the township to construct this large stormwater basis would be approximately $1 million plus the additional cost of land acquisition.  Were the township to purchase the property and construct the stormwater basin, the costs would be several million dollars.  As part of the Richter land development project, Arcadia Land Company rather than the taxpayers absorb these stormwater costs.

Without a Wawa or an apartment building in the Trout Creek Watershed Overlay District zoning ordinance amendment, the continued public hearing on March 19 will probably be less contentious.  Although the Richter land development project is only in the early stages of the planning process,  it looks like a community-minded developer may be the key to its success.

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Breaking News — Lawsuit Set to be Filed Against Tredyffrin Township and Supervisors Lamina, Olson, Kampf & Richter

Breaking News

The decision by Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter to return St. Davds Golf Club escrow is now headed down the legal road to the court of law. 

In regards to the St. Davids Golf Club escrow return, I am in receipt of a draft complaint naming John Petersen as the ‘Plaintiff’.  This complaint will be filed by noon tomorrow in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, West Chester. 

Listed as ‘Defendants’ in the complaint is Tredyffrin Township and Robert Lamina, Chairman Board of Supervisors, Paul Olson, Vice Chairman Board of Supervisors, Warren Kampf Member Board of Supervisors and Evelyn Richter, Member Board of Supervisors, Individually and as members of the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors.

The complaint seeks Declaratory Judgment and Equitable Relief for the following violations:

COUNT ONE – Sunshine Act

COUNT TWO – Home Rule Charter and Administrative Code

COUNT THREE –Arbitrary and Capricious Action

John provided me with a copy of the draft complaint and asked me to make his intention to file public on Community Matters.  The complaint seeks no monetary damages but seeks to turn the clock back to before the Board of Supervisors vote of January 25.  In other words, the basis of the complaint is to return the St. Davids Golf Club escrow to the township (as if the vote never took place). Once the complaint is filed at the court house, John has given me permission to make the document public on Community Matters. 

Like so many of us in this community, John was disappointed and frustrated by the actions of Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter with their January 25 decision to return escrow to St. Davids Golf Club.  When given the opportunity at the February 8 meeting to correct their mistake, these supervisors instead offered an apology and the suggestion that they would try to ‘do better’ in the future. Rather than continuing to hope that these elected officials would at some point ‘see the light’ and correct their mistake, John is taking the matter to the court of law with an official complaint.  I support John’s decision to take legal action and applaud his courage to take it to the next level! 

The next Board of Supervisors Meeting on Monday, February 22 just got more interesting!  This is an important meeting for all Tredyffrin residents to attend. 

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Supervisor Lamina, Kampf, Olson, Richter Vote to Return St. Davids Escrow Continues to Provide Commentary From Residents

Looking at the viewership statistics from yesterday, I am pleased that many residents have watched the February 8 Board of Supervisors meeting YouTube video clips and have continued to weigh in with personal comments. I would encourage you to email the Community Matters link to your neighbors, co-workers, friends in the township; failure to follow policy and procedure by our elected officials is an important issue and one that we need to keep in community discussion.  A comment from Township Reader, ” . . . Is there anyone out there who is a lawyer who can tell us if there is any basis whatsoever to do a recall of 1)the vote or 2)the supervisors?” has sparked comments from others, including a couple of attorneys.

JudgeNJury and John Petersen, offer their legal opinions and case studies that speak to the specific problem of recalling both the vote and supervisor(s).  Reading through the following commentary, it is obvious that legal recourse would not be a simple, inexpensive road to take.  However, I am one of those who believes that justice will win and that the wrong will be righted as it pertains to the vote to return St. Davids escrow.  Public scrutiny of the situation, compelling commentary from residents, and continued light on our elected officials will hopefully encourage the supervisors to ‘right the wrong’ at the February 22 Board of Supervisors meeting.

Please read through the following commentary from local attorneys:

JudgeNJury, on February 15th, 2010 at 10:48 PM Said:
As I see it, there are two options for “undoing” the vote: (1) a majority of the Board votes to undo it, or (2) a court orders the Township to undo the vote. Given what we’ve seen so far, option 1 does not seem terribly likely. Therefore, you’d have to pursue option 2. But a court will not do anything unless and until someone brings and prevails upon a suit (which, as a general rule, can take months or years to resolve). This previous thread discussed the legal precedent: http://pattyebenson.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/home-rule-charter-violations-legal-cases-from-philadelphia-and-erie-county/. In short, where a municipality takes an action that violates its Home Rule Charter, the proper course of action for those who want to challenge the decision appears to be a declaratory judgment action to declare the municipality’s action null and void (or “void ab initio,” as they say) and/or an injunction action to prohibit the municipality from enforcing its decision. There are two main problems with bringing suit, one legal and one practical.

First the legal problem: Only a person with “standing” may bring this kind of suit. In Cohen v. Rendell, 684 A.2d 1102 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1996), the Philadelphia City Council passed 28 ordinances in one “block vote” (i.e., it passed all 28 ordinances in one vote). Philadelphia’s Home Rule Charter, however, provided that ordinances had to be voted on individually, not in a block (I am oversimplifying a bit, but that’s all you really need to know for purposes of this discussion). Therefore, arguing that the vote violated the City’s Home Rule Charter, three private citizens and Philadelphia City Councilman David Cohen brought an action against the City for a declaratory judgment that the ordinances were invalid and for an injunction to prohibit the City from enforcing the ordinances. The Commonwealth Court (one of Pennsylvania’s appellate courts) held that, although Councilman Cohen had standing to challenge the ordinances, the private citizens did not. Here is a quote from the opinion (I cannot find a copy of this opinion on any of the free legal reference sites, so I cannot provide a link to it):

“As to the standing issue, Private Citizens contend that each have standing to maintain the action since each has an interest in Council following the Charter’s procedure for adopting ordinances. In order for Private Citizens to have standing as ‘aggrieved’ citizens, they must assert more than the common interest of all citizens in procuring obedience to the law. See William Penn Parking Garage, Inc. v. City of Pittsburgh, 464 Pa. 168, 346 A.2d 269 (1975). ‘Standing is the requirement that the person bringing the action be adversely affected by the matter they seek to challenge to assure that they are an appropriate party to bring the matter to a judicial resolution.’ Drummond v. University of Pennsylvania, 651 A.2d 572, 577 (Pa.Cmwlth.1994). A person who is not adversely affected in any way by the matter he seeks to challenge cannot be ‘aggrieved’ and, thus, has no standing to seek judicial resolution of his case. William Penn, supra. Rather, he or she must allege a ‘direct’ interest by which he or she demonstrates the causation of harm to his or her interest by the matter of which he or she complains. Id. Private Citizens clearly do not possess the type of interest in the result of the ordinances necessary to obtain standing because they have not asserted anything more than an interest common to all citizens. Though they contend that Cronin and Haver [two of the private citizens] represent citizens of the City of Philadelphia who ‘would be affected by the various passed Ordinances’, they have failed to specifically allege that any interest of either Cronin or Haver has been directly affected here. And, though they contend that Shigaki [the third private citizen] was directly affected because one of the 28 ordinances affected ‘streets in the area in which Shigaki lived and encompassed by members of his civic group’, Private Citizens have not pled any facts that would show that he is specifically aggrieved.”

What this means, I think, is that a generic Tredyffrin resident would not have standing to sue the Township to undo the St. David’s vote. Rather, the plaintiff would have to be an individual (or a group of people) who can allege that he or she will be directly and negatively impacted if the Board’s vote is left to stand. And since the vote did not actually kill the sidewalk (although that may be the practical effect, all the vote actually did was release a letter of credit), finding someone who can say they are “aggrieved” by the vote may be difficult.

The second problem – the practical problem – is money. Unless you can find a lawyer to do this for free (not terribly likely, I’d think) you would need to pay for a lawyer to bring this suit, which would not be cheap. This is not the type of case that a lawyer will take on contingency, as there is little chance the court will award monetary damages and, even if it did, they won’t amount to much.

  • Ray Clarke, on February 16th, 2010 at 9:37 AM Said:

    So, if councilman Cohen had the standing to challenge the ordinances in the case cited, would we have to look to one or more of the Supervisors in our situation?

    • JudgeNJury, on February 16th, 2010 at 9:57 AM Said:

    • Yes. This analysis from the Cohen case seems to suggest that one of the Supervisors would have standing to mount a legal challenge:

      “Councilman Cohen, however, as a Council member, possesses the requisite standing to bring the complaint against the City. In Morris v. Goode, 107 Pa.Cmwlth. 529, 529 A.2d 50 (1987), we considered whether individual members of a city council have standing to seek injunctive relief based on council’s failure to comply with the voting procedures mandated by the Charter. In Morris, we held that the plaintiffs, as council members, possessed a legal interest granted by the Charter in having a quorum present to vote on council resolutions. Id. 529 A.2d at 53. In other words, council members individually possess a legal interest in enforcing the voting procedures established by the Charter, and have standing to seek declaratory relief when such procedures are violated.

      And, in an analogous situation, in Zemprelli v. Thornburg, 47 Pa.Cmwlth. 43, 407 A.2d 102 (1979), we held that a Pennsylvania State Senator’s right to have Governor’s nominations to vacant appointed offices submitted within the constitutional period conferred a legal interest upon him by which he possessed standing to seek a judicial remedy against the Governor when he failed to submit such nominations. Because Cohen, as an elected, voting member of Council, has a legal and direct interest in ensuring that Council follows the procedures set forth by the Charter, we hold that he does possess standing to bring his case against the City.”

       

    JudgeNJury, on February 16th, 2010 at 10:28 AM Said:By the way, I was curious to see what the ultimate resolution was in the Cohen case so I pulled the docket from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas:

    “30-SEP-1999
    03:44 PM WSFFD – FINDING FOR DEFENDANT GLAZER, GARY S 30-SEP-1999
    03:47 PM
    Docket Entry: IT IS ORDERED THAT THIS COURT, IN THE EXERCISE OF ITS EQUITABLE POWERS, FINDS THAT ALTHOUGH THE HOME RULE CHARTER WAS VIOLATED BY THE USE OF THE CONSENT AGENDA, THE NULLIFICATION OF THE 28 ORDINANCES, PASSED BY CONSENT AGENDA BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF PHILA ON 6/22/95, WOULD IMPOSE GREAT HARDSHIP ON ALL INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES AFFECTED. THEREFORE, THE RELIEF REQUESTED BY THE PLTF IS DENIED, AND A FINDING IS ENTERED ON BEHALF OF THE DEFTS IN THE ABOVE CAPTIONED MATTER. BY THE COURT ….GLAZER,J 9/30/99″

    So even if you can prove a violation of the HRC, that is no guaranty that the Court will award relief.

  • John Petersen, on February 15th, 2010 at 11:04 PM Said:

    This link may help..

    http://www.lgc.state.pa.us/deskbook06/Issues_Governance_08_Removal_from_Office.pdf

  • Not good news… In PA, we simply cannot recall an elected official. There must be a crime of some sort. Is there underlying criminal activity re: the St. David’s vote? As outrageous as many of my comments appear to be, even I wouldn’t go that far as to allege a crime was committed here. Bad judgment and bad political calculations. Put it this way, if there was a cognizable crime here, I would be shocked. And for the record, not much shocks me…

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    Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors Meeting, 2-8-10 . . . YouTube Video Part 1: The Apology of Lamina, Kampf & Richter

    The Board of Supervisors Meeting on February 8 was important for many reasons. I wrote about the meeting in my post, United in their Resolve, Residents Speak Out.  Many residents attended that Board of Supervisors meeting and I know that many watched at home.  But I thought it was important to capture some of the important commentary of that evening, so my husband Jeff has kindly put together sections of the supervisors and citizens comments from that meeting and is in the process of uploading them to YouTube.  As they are uploaded I will post them on Community Matters.  I added a new page to the front-page of Community Matters,  If you look across the top, you will see a tab for YouTube Videos.  Going forward, you will be able to locate all relative videos by clicking on that tab.  Hopefully, this will make it easier for residents to review.

    YouTube Part 1: Tredyffrin Township Supervisors Apologize . . . Lamina, Kampf & Richter   Supervisors Lamina, Kampf and Richter make their apologies for the vote of January 25.  Their apology is followed by citizen comment.  First to speak is Dariel Jamieson, newly elected chair of the Tredyffrin Township Democrats.  Ms. Jamieson speaks to the issue of Supervisors Olson and Lamina speaking disparagingly of Democrats in the newspaper, in emails and also at the January 25 board meeting.  Supervisor Lamina had little response for Ms. Jamieson in regards to his actions.

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    United in their Resolve, Tredyffrin Residents Speak Out Against Actions of Supervisors Lamina, Olson, Kampf & Richter

    Last night’s Board of Supervisor meeting represented a victory for the people. 

    ‘New Matters from Board members’ of the meeting kicked off with Supervisors Lamina, Kampf and Richter making apologies to the community in regards to the St. Davids Golf Club motion and vote to return escrow which occurred at the last Board of Supervisors meeting. They took responsibility for their actions, admitted that procedure had not been followed and stated that they would try to ‘do better’ in the future. Mention was made that everyone makes mistakes and that they had learned from theirs.

    As I listened to the apologies, I thought to myself . . . OK, they made a mistake, admitted their mistake and now they will just ‘fix it’.  But no, there was no offer of correction, no suggestion to ‘reverse the decision’, nothing.  Were they thinking that the community would just accept their apology, move on and act like the ‘mistake’ never happened?  I don’t think that they were prepared for what was to come next . . . it was the residents turn to speak.

    I cannot remember the last time I was so proud of this community.  Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of democratic life.  And one after another, residents took to the floor.  People came from all over the township . . . Chesterbrook, Malvern, Berwyn, Strafford, Mt. Pleasant, Wayne.  It did not matter if the speakers were Democrats, Republicans or Independents, there was no political party agenda.  They were firefighters, lawyers, retired citizens, members of township boards, one after another, each passionately saying the same thing over and over.  Separately, the residents spoke, but united their message. Each person in his or her own way sought justice from the Board of Supervisors, appealing for the ‘wrong’ to be made ‘right’.

    The ‘sidewalk’ became a symbol for something much larger . . . it represented how four individuals (Lamina, Olson, Kampf, Richter) thought they could be allowed to just make the rules and break the rules, without consequence or intervention for their actions.  What I heard loud and clear  was the powerful voice in this community of intolerance to their actions; residents are standing together.  Were the supervisors listening?

    In the words of Martin Luther King, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”  Speaking out, many in the audience eloquently spoke of their distrust in our elected officials.  We elect these people because we believe that they will serve our best interests.  We entrust them to govern according to the rules . . . to follow the policies and procedures as set forth by the Home Rule Charter.  We rely on them to make the best decisions in our interests.

    In the end, there was no resolution to ‘righting the wrong’ of the vote to return the escrow to St. Davids.  Not last night, but I believe that this matter is far from over.  I believe that between now and the next Board of Supervisors meeting, a way must be found to resolve this matter.

    Trust in our elected officials must be restored.

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    Local Attorney Weighs in on the Recent Actions of Tredyffrin Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter . . . and Will Bring it to the Supervisors Meeting Tonight!

    Paoli Attorney John Petersen sent the following email this morning to Supervisors Lamina, Olson, Kampf, Richter, Donohue, Kichline and DiBuonaventuro, Township Solicitor Tom Hogan and Township Manager Mimi Gleason. Although I was copied on the email, I assumed that this was priveleged information and not intended for  public consumption.  However, I have received a call from John Petersen stating that he intended the email as public record and asked that I post it on Community Matters.  The following is an unedited email that details some of John’s thoughts on the recent actions of some of our elected officials; he plans to deliver his message at tonight’s meeting. 

    I am hopeful that at the meeting tonight we will see recent Board decisions examined (and corrected) and that we can look forward to our elected officials steering the township under the rules of the Home Rule Charter and the Administrative Code of Pennsylvania.  Tonight’s meeting is important to all residents, please come to the meeting at 7:30 PM at the Township Building or watch it from home.

    John Petersen’s email from 2-08-10:

    http://www.celdf.org/HomeRule/PennsylvaniaandHomeRule/tabid/116/Default.aspx

    Pretty simple… Authority in the HRC (Home Rule Charter) derives from the voters.

    “The basic concept of home rule is relatively simple. The authority to act in municipal affairs is transferred from state law, as set forth by the General Assembly, to a local charter, adopted and amended by the voters.”

    This is why changes to the home rule charter have to be a placed on the ballot.

    Home rule is pretty broad:

    “Municipalities shall have the right and power to frame and adopt home rule charters… A municipality which has a home rule charter may exercise any power to perform any function not denied by this Constitution, by its home rule charter or by the General Assembly at any time.”

    We pretty much knew this. The key of course, is if it is stated in the home rule, they MUST follow it.

    OK then..How do we get from the Home Rule Charter to the Administrative Code:

    The HRC is like our constitution – and is ratified by the voters. In Section 212 B and C, the HRC state:

    B. Adopt an Administrative Code defining the organization and assignment of duties and responsibilities of
    Township officers and employees.

    Before going further, the oath that each supervisor took pledged to uphold the terms and conditions of the US Constitution, the PA Constitution and the laws of the township – which includes both the HRC and the Administrative Code.

    Now… if you go to the Administrative Code, the first section, Section C – references the HRC.  In very real terms, the HRC specifies the what. The Administrative Code specifies the How. In any case, the Code specifies the parameters upon which something in the HRC can be carried out. So with that, let’s go to relevant section in the Code re: escrows (Section 181-34 G)

    As the work of installing the required improvements proceeds, the party posting the financial security may request the Board of Supervisors to release or authorize to be released, from time to time, such portions of the financial security necessary for payment to the contractor or contractors performing the work. Any such requests shall be in writing addressed to the Board of Supervisors, and the Board shall have 45 days from receipt of such request within which to allow the Township Engineer to certify, in writing, that such portion of the work upon the improvements has been completed in accordance with the approved plans. Upon such certification, the Board shall authorize release by the bonding company or lending institution of an amount as estimated by the Township Engineer fairly representing the value of the improvements completed. The Township Engineer, in certifying the completion of work for a partial release, shall not be bound to the amount requested by the applicant, but shall certify to the Board his independent evaluation of the proper amount of partial releases. The Board may, prior to final release at the time of completion and certification by the Township Engineer, require retention of 10% of the estimated cost of the aforesaid improvements as per § 181-34D of this chapter.

    ———————–

    Just looking at the first sentence, sure enough, the word [may] appears. However, it is followed by an [or]. In this case, we know the club did not request. The club didn’t authorize the release either. Therefore, you never get to the second sentence. But, even if we did get to the second sentence, it states:

    Any SUCH requests shall be in writing….The problem here is a bit of in-artful drafting of the Home Rule Charter. Most definitely, the word [may] has the connotation that something may not be required. The word [may] should probably be replace with [shall either]. However, in this context, the focus on the word [may] alone is to ignore the context of the first and second sentences. Even if we were to concede the requirements set forth in the first sentence which go to initiating the process, once the process has been initiated, there must be a writing. And as we now know, there was no writing.

    Using the language within the four corners of the Home Rule Charter and the Code, there is no question that a violation has occurred. And therefore, the vote was void ab initio.By analogy, consider when Bill DeHaven resigned and the work that had to be expended to try to stay within the framework of the HRC. Technically, that didn’t happen. BUT – a compromise that facilitated due process and notice was achieved. Nothing of the kind occurred here.

    Then there is the agenda – Section C-16 – which is the HRC section in the Admin Code:

    The Board shall cause to be prepared for each regular meeting an agenda of matters to be considered by the Board at such meeting, including pertinent background information, which agenda, along with a copy of financial and other activity reports, shall be distributed to the public at the start of the meeting. The agenda shall be available at least eight hours prior to the start of the meeting.

    We now know that the Supervisor Lamina was deliberately indifferent to placing the matter on the agenda. Then of course, there are the cases that are posted on Pattye’s blog.

    —————————-

    You see, I don’t even need to get to Bob’s email or any of the comments that target Democrats as a political group under color of local law. I can reference that email, comments and newspaper qjuotes. That however, ratchets things up into the federal arena. Seems like we may very well have Section 1983 violations here – in addition to some First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause issues.

    ——————————

    Bottom line, at the very least, Bob and Paul need to step down from their leadership positions. Ideally, they would simply resign altogether from the board. Warren and EJ should follow suit. But – at the end of the day, the leadership is responsible. That however, does not remove the culpability that Warren and EJ have.

    Otherwise, I can almost guarantee the Kampf, Lamina, Olson and Richter – along with the township – will be sued under the aforementioned grounds.

    I would rather not see tonight turn into a circus.

    Regards,

    John V. Petersen, Esq.
     

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    Tredyffrin's Lamina, Olson, Kampf & Richter . . . Another 'Legal Loophole'? . . . Maybe not!

    I had an interesting comment that arrived overnight in regards to the St. Davids escrow vote from the Board of Supervisors meeting.  I’m thinking that the person who sent in this comment (posted below) is probably an attorney (and quite possibly a municipal attorney).  Give this a read and see what you think.  It appears that based on the Home Rule Charter, the St. Davids escrow vote was indeed null and void because it was not listed on the agenda. 

    When the supervisors take their oath of office, they pledge to uphold the Home Rule Charter and the Administrative Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is obvious that this information is not known (or if known, not followed) by Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter.  In this week’s Main Line Surburban Life, Chair Lamina defends the St. Davids Golf Club motion not appearing on the agenda.  “Under our current rules, any supervisor is free to offer any motion he chooses at any time,” said Lamina. “It is not unusual at all for board members to offer unpublished motions during discussions at our meetings and I believe it’s reasonable and appropriate for our board to have this flexibility where needed in its proceedings. . . ” 

    So the residents are left wondering, when the supervisors take their oath of office to uphold Tredyffrin’s Home Rule Charter, doesn’t that oath matter?  Don’t they ever read what it is they have agreed to uphold?  If they don’t have a personal copy of the Home Rule Charter, it is on the www.tredyffrin.org website.  Apparently based on his comments in the newspaper, Lamina has been working under this misconception for some time.  How long has he served as supervisor?  Do I want to believe that Olson who has served as supervisor for 30 years still doesn’t know what the Home Rule Charter says? And let’s not forget Supervisor Kampf (remembering he is also an attorney) didn’t he feel compelled to read the Home Rule Charter that he took an oath to uphold?  And Ms. Richter, newly elected supervisor . . . does she take an oath of office to uphold the Home Rule Charter without a peek at its contents? 

    I do not attest to being a legal authority, but my guess is that the residents of Tredyffrin Township have real grounds to ask that this latest motion be thrown out on procedural error.  But I am betting that when the ‘spin doctors’ read this post, they will try to wrangle a legal loophole! (Here’s hoping that it may not be possible). 

    I know that we had a ‘substitute’ township solicitor from Lamb McErlane serving at the last meeting, and I also understand that the solicitor serves at the pleasure of the board but wouldn’t it be the responsibility of the solicitor to point out the procedural error of Olson’s motion (and the 4-3 vote to approve)?  Perhaps Township Solicitor Tom Hogan could have a look at the Home Rule Charter before Monday night’s meeting and offer his opinion to the supervisors. 

    The way I read it is the motion to return escrow to St. Davids Golf Club  (and vote to approve the motion) don’t count . . . and the supervisors cannot make a new motion on Monday night because it would have to be placed on the agenda.  The St. Davids vote should simply be thrown out. If after further discussion with the township solicitor, a supervisor decides at some future meeting to make a similar motion, it needs to be placed on the agenda at least 8 hours in advance.  Comments?

    JudgeNJury, on February 5th, 2010 wrote,

    Tredyffrin’s Home Rule Charter requires the Board of Supervisors to list all matters to be considered at a Board meeting on the agenda for the meeting: “The Board shall cause to be prepared for each regular meeting an agenda of matters to be considered by the Board at such meeting, including pertinent background, which agenda, along with a copy of financial and other activity reports, shall be distributed to the public at the start of the meeting. The agenda shall be available at least eight hours prior to the start of the meeting.”

    Township of Tredyffrin Home Rule Charter § 211(C) (http://www.tredyffrin.org/pdf/ordinances/home-rule-charter.pdf).

    It seems to me that there is a good argument to be made that introducing and voting on the escrow issue without including it in the agenda violated the Home Rule Charter and, therefore, the vote is null and void.

    All we’d need is a plaintiff with standing (a Township resident who would benefit from construction of the sidewalk might be the best bet) to file a lawsuit against the Board. The plaintiff could request (i) a declaration from the court (“declaratory judgment”) that the vote is null and void and (ii) an injunction prohibiting the Board from raising or voting on non-emergency matters that are not specifically included in the agenda for a meeting. Who’s game?

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    Save Ardmore Coalition's Readers are Now Following Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson & Richter!

    Save Ardmore Coalition is following Tredyffrin’s Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter.  Yes, our own YouTube stars are playing to a larger audience — the Board of Supervisors meeting clips are now on Save Ardmore Coalition’s website.  www.saveardmorecoalition.org   I thank Carla for presenting our local stars with greater play time.   And remember, Warren Kampf, one of the infamous ‘4’ is now in the race for State House 157.  To go directly to the YouTube post on Save Ardmore Coalition site, click on this link:

    http://www.saveardmorecoalition.org/node/4114

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    Christmas in January for St. Davids Golf Club . . . Thank you Supervisors Lamina, Olson, Kampf & Richter

    The community’s outrage over Monday night Board of Supervisors decision to return $25,000 escrow money to St. Davids Golf Club continues . . . Tredyffrin resident Dariel Jamieson provides the following Letter to the Editor in today’s Main Line Suburban Life.

    Supervisors’ gift to country club

    To the Editor:

    What happened at Monday’s Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors meeting gives new meaning to the term “country-club Republicans.” In a stealth move that set a new standard for chutzpah, four members of the Board of Supervisors – Kampf, Lamina, Olson and Richter – voted to return $25,000 in escrow funds to St. Davids Country Club. There had been no public notice, the item was not on the agenda, and Mr. Olson, who made the motion, admitted the township had received no formal request from St. Davids to return the escrow funds.

    After all the hoopla associated with St. Davids’ 18-month breach of contract, Monday night’s decision by four supervisors effectively absolves the golf club of its obligation to build a sidewalk along its property on Upper Gulph Road – an agreement reached with the Planning Commission in 2005 as part of an approval to expand its clubhouse.

    But this is not about sidewalks. It is about the supervisors’ total lack of transparency, the appearance of impropriety, the complete disregard for the Planning Commission’s decisions, and the setting of bad precedent.

    It became obvious during public comment that some members of the community had advance notice of the topic – some referring to typed notes as they spoke. That advance notice begs the question of why the item was not on the agenda. One supervisor said after the meeting that she “had been phoning people the whole latter half of the week.” People who clearly had not been made aware of the topic were residents of the Mount Pleasant neighborhood and members of the Sidewalks, Trails and Paths Committee.

    I was also told after the meeting that the supervisors had asked for legal advice before the meeting and a representative of the township solicitor had assured them they were within their rights to take such a vote. Clearly there was time to get a legal opinion but no time to add the topic to the agenda. The stealth move was also scheduled on the same night as the Board of Education budget meeting, which was expected to have a “standing room only” crowd since it was covering the possibility of a significant tax increase.

    Supervisor Michelle Kichline tried to initiate discussion opposing the motion but was silenced by Chairman Bob Lamina, who had announced that he would hear comments from the public before board members could speak. Ms. Kichline moved to table the motion in favor of St. Davids until serious legal and procedural questions could be answered but Mr. Lamina did not allow her motion to come to a vote.

    Planning Commission Chair Bob Whelan stepped forward to rebut Mr. Olson’s claim that all immediate neighbors were opposed to the sidewalks and questioned why the board would want to completely negate the decision made by the Planning Commission. Later in the meeting Mr. Lamina suggested Tredyffrin should re-examine the role of the Planning Commission because the “Board of Supervisors are the ones elected directly by the voters and hence the ones accountable.”

    One has to wonder why these four board members thought it was imperative to slip through a sweet deal for St. Davids. When the Board of Supervisors is willing to cut funding to the fire companies, libraries, public works and services to seniors, why was such effort expended to effectively make a gift to a country club?

    Dariel Jamieson, Tredyffrin

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    Questions Continue Regarding the St. Davids Golf Club Decision by Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson & Richter

    In discussion of the gray area surrounding the St. Davids decision by the Board of Supervisors (Lamina, Kampf, Olson, Richter), several residents inquired about our township solicitor, and how does his judgment weigh in on the legalities of this decision.  Tom Hogan of Lamb McErlane PC, (township’s contracted law firm) was absent on Monday night (due to knee surgery, not vacation as earlier suggested).  Another attorney from his firm attended the meeting in his absence. 

    Tredyffrin has a contractual agreement with Lamb McErlane but I was not clear on the duties of the township solicitor. In review of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors website, I was able to locate the township solicitor’s job description (which I have included below). On one hand, in Section 1101 it is clear that the ‘township solicitor serves at the pleasure of the board of supervisors’ but then on the other hand, in Section 1102, it states that the township solicitor is to have control of all legal matters. Section 1103 does state ‘The township solicitor shall furnish the board of supervisors, upon request, with an opinion in writing upon any question of law.’  Do you suppose that Supervisor DiBuonaventuro, Kichline or Donohue could individually ask for a written opinion from Mr. Hogan? 

     If we consider the St. Davids Golf Club decision, is it possible for the township solicitor to serve at the pleasure of the board of supervisors if those same supervisors may (or may not) act in a legal manner?  A township solicitor may advise the board of supervisors on legal matters but the supervisors have the right to make the final decision for the township (apparently, even if the decision is questionable).  So as far as the St. Davids decision is concerned,  the township solicitor is responsible only to the supervisors. Further, I am not clear what counsel was given to the supervisors in Executive Session on the St. Davids GC escrow matter, prior to the supervisors meeting.  In the end, I guess it does not matter, the supervisors remain the final word.   Bottom line, if we want this latest Board of Supervisor decision to be challenged . . . it is not the job of the township solicitor. 

    I am not satisfied with the St. Davids Golf Club decision on many levels but I need help as to where we go from here . . . just think that if this decision is allowed to stand, what will be next?  The Board of Supervisors meeting which was scheduled for Monday, February 1 has now been changed to Monday, February 8.  Coincidentally (?), the February 8 is the  important TE School District Finance Committee Meeting (2010-11 budget discussion).  Remember what happened this week . . . many residents attended the TESD meeting and not the Supervisor Meeting (because if you reviewed the BOS agenda, there was no mention of St. Davids Golf Club) and we saw what happened!  One can only wonder  what the ‘Block of 4’ (Lamina, Kampf, Olson, Richter) have  planned for the February 8 meeting of the Board of Supervisors (that won’t appear on the agenda) .

    ARTICLE XI TOWNSHIP SOLICITOR

    Section 1101. Township Solicitor.–The board of supervisors may appoint and determine the compensation of a township solicitor. The township solicitor shall be licensed to practice law in this Commonwealth and may be one person or a law firm, partnership, association or professional corporation. The township solicitor serves at the pleasure of the board of supervisors.

    Section 1102. Solicitor to Have Control of Legal Matters-The township solicitor shall direct and control the legal matters of the township, and no official or official body of the township, except as otherwise provided under law, shall employ an additional attorney without the assent or ratification of the board of supervisors.

    Section 1103. Duties of Solicitor.–The township solicitor, when directed or requested so to do, shall prepare or approve any bonds, obligations, contracts, leases, conveyances, ordinances and assurances to which the township may be a party. The township solicitor shall commence and prosecute all actions brought by the township for or on account of any of the estates, rights, trusts, privileges, claims or demands, as well as defend the township or any township officer against all actions or suits brought against the township or township officer in which any of the estates, rights, privileges, trusts, ordinances or accounts of the township may be brought in question before any court in this Commonwealth and do every professional act incident to the office which the township solicitor may be authorized or required to do by the board of supervisors or by any resolution. The township solicitor shall furnish the board of supervisors, upon request, with an opinion in writing upon any question of law.

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