sidewalk ordinance

Tredyffrin Twp Sidewalk Saga Continues Tonight . . . Are we moving one step closer to sidewalks at St. Davids Golf Club (or not)?

Tonight is Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors meeting and a public hearing on sidewalks will follow the meeting. Continuing from July’s public hearing, the discussion continues the review of the proposed sidewalk amendment change to the township’s land development ordinance.

Supervisors John DiBuonaventuro, Michelle Kichline and Mike Heaberg agreed at last month’s public hearing that the proposed ordinance change should only affect prospective land development agreements, not pre-existing land development agreements. The sidewalks at St. Davids Golf Club are in the ‘pre-existing land development agreement’ category and therefore would be exempt from the proposed amendment change, at least according to DiBuonaventuro, Kichline and Heaberg. Supervisors Paul Olson and EJ Richter appear to be committed to the notion that sidewalks are not needed (or desired) at the St. Davids location. Supervisors Bob Lamina and Phil Donahue were absent at the last meeting, so I look forward to learning whether they support excluding pre-existing land development agreements from the proposed sidewalk ordinance change.

Regardless of the determination on the proposed sidewalk ordinance change, here’s hoping that we can look forward to resolution on all eight outstanding land development agreements which contain sidewalks (including St. Davids!).

On August 2, I wrote “Tredyffrin Township Needs an Economic ‘Call for Action’ from its Elected Officials”. The post discussed the township’s economic climate, closing of local businesses and empty storefronts. As follow-up to the post, I emailed the Board of Supervisors requesting an official public update on the Paoli Transportation Center and also on the Economic Development Committee which was approved at the April 4th Board of Supervisors meeting. I can report that I received a response from township manager Mimi Gleason – and we can look forward to a status report on these two important topics at tonight’s BOS meeting.

In reviewing the agenda for the BOS meeting, I’m curious about a couple of items:

Approval for Transportation and Community Development Initiative grant for zoning ordinance update

Review and comments for Willistown Township’s official map

I wonder if both of these items are related to the Paoli Transportation Center — I’m not sure why Tredyffrin Twp should be reviewing Willistown Twp’s map?  Unless there is some confusion as to township lines as it relates to the Paoli Transportation Center? 

One other township note – next Monday, August 22 the Board will begin the 2012 budget process with a public workshop, 7 PM in Keene Hall.

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What’s the meaning of ‘Good Government’? Does it Mean Something Different in Tredyffrin?

“The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the only legitimate object of good government.”

                        ~ Thomas Jefferson to Maryland Republicans, 1809

According to Wikipedia, “Good Government is a normative description of how government is supposed to be constituted.” Last night’s Board of Supervisors meeting left me shaking my head and wondering about ‘good government’ in Tredyffrin.  Wanting to believe in our elected officials and hoping that their decisions are in the best interest of our community, there were times during the meeting that I questioned the supervisors intentions.

The Board of Supervisors decided to delay the public hearing on the sidewalk ordinance for another month.  Why?  Eighteen months ago, dark clouds hung over this township as the St. Davids Golf Club land development agreement with Tredyffrin was put ‘on hold’ pending the results of a special sidewalk subcommittee.  Township officials came under public scrutiny . . . with the newspaper headlines questioning the intentions of the BAWG report and the motives of some supervisors. It was a particularly dark time in our local history.

The land development contract between St. Davids Golf Club and the township is 6 years old.  Four times representatives from the country club appeared before the township’s Planning Commission seeking relief from constructing the required walkway – and each time the planning commissioners choose to deny their request and uphold the terms of the land development contract.

After a yearlong special sidewalk subcommittee process, their report included sidewalks at St. Davids Golf Club.  The supervisors voted to accept the sidewalk subcommittee report and instructed the planning commissioners to draft an amendment to the sidewalk ordinance which included an ‘in lieu of’ sidewalk fund.  The Planning Commission members complied with the request and presented the draft ordinance, which was scheduled for public hearing last night.  The supervisors decided to cancel that public hearing on the sidewalk ordinance and move it to the July meeting.  Why?

We learned last night at the Board of Supervisors meeting that rather than honoring their vote of a few months ago to leave the land development authority in the hands of the Planning Commission, a new township land development process was presented.  As discussed last night, the supervisors will now review the multiple phases of a land development plan, rather than simply the end product.  Although it was suggested that the supervisors would only review the ‘larger’ projects or plans that required legislative authority, aside from the additional time and cost to developers for an additional review process, I could not help but think that this was just another way to once again delay the St. Davids walkway discussion.

Why is every decision related to the sidewalk ordinance amendment predicated on the best interests of this private country club? 

A June township public hearing for the sidewalk ordinance is scheduled and advertised at a cost to taxpayers and then that hearing is cancelled, and rescheduled at additional cost.  Why?

The supervisors state that they need more time to review the sidewalk ordinance. Why?  So as to have more time to come up with additional ways not to uphold the contract with St. Davids Golf Club.  Why don’t the supervisors just state that they have no intention of enforcing the land development contract with St. Davids?  Wouldn’t that be more honest?

I have said repeatedly, this issue is not about sidewalks at St. Davids Golf Club.  This is about a signed land development contract with the township; and the reasons why a wealthy country club isn’t required to comply with the conditions of the contract.  I would bet if the township land development contract was with a private individual or another developer – they would be forced to comply with the conditions of the contract.  Six years – and the country club continues to get a pass . . . why?

Is this ‘Good Government’ in Tredyffrin Township?

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