STAP

Dry Weather Forecast for Open Land Conservancy’s Vine Day Tomorrow, Saturday 2 . . . Last Vine Day of the Season, Can you Spare a Couple of Hours?

 Has this winter left you suffering from cabin fever and a need to get outside for some fresh air?  There’s a perfect opportunity tomorrow, Saturday, April 2 to help the community and celebrate the end of winter!

The Open Land Conservancy of Chester County will be holding its last Vine Day of the season on Saturday at George Lorimer Preserve, 9 AM – 12 Noon.  Vines will be cut back so you will need to wear appropriate gloves and protective clothing.  Volunteers are asked to bring tools if they have them — prunners, saws, clippers.  But not to worry, the volunteers from Open Land Conservancy will have extra tools.

Lorimer Preserve is 88 acres of meadows, woods, ponds, stream, and extensive trail system are managed to provide a variety of habitats for wildlife in a beautiful rural setting. 

Directions:  head north on North Valley Road across Valley Creek, to entrance and parking lot on right.  For further information on Vine Day and Open Land Conservancy, click here.  Any questions, contact Ray Clarke at 610-578-0358. 

Looking at this photo from the last Vine Day of Harold Sheinbach and Mac Wilson, it is obvious that these vines could use some attention! You can make a difference with a couple of hours of your time tomorrow. . . it’s the last Vine Day of the season. 

 

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What do these things have in common . . . St. Davids Golf Club, Planning Commission, BAWG, Sidewalk Subcommittee, land development authority, STAP, Board of Supervisors?

What do these things have in common . . . St. Davids Golf Club, Planning Commission, BAWG, Sidewalk Subcommittee, land development authority,  STAP, Board of Supervisors?

In looking at Tredyffrin’s Planning Commission agenda for tonight’s meeting, I discovered an interesting item listed under ‘new’ business — “Draft Amendment to the Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance”. 

To understand the Planning Commission agenda item, you will need to recall a Board of Supervisors motion from this past December.  At that meeting, Supervisor Bob Lamina questioned whether the Planning Commission should continue to have land development authority in the township . . . he thought that authority over land development should revert to the supervisors (as was the case many years ago).  However, to make an ordinance change requires a public hearing, which is scheduled for February 28.

Here’s the significance of the Planning Commission agenda item . . .  the Planning Commissioners are expected to draft the amendment that will relieve them of their land development authority and give that authority to the Board of Supervisors.

There are more connections. How many of you remember the community discontent and hostility over St. Davids Golf Club and the recommendation contained in the BAWG report suggesting the township accept $50K in lieu of building sidewalks.  Even though there was a signed contract between the township and St. Davids requiring the sidewalks, the Board of Supervisors pushed through a motion to return the $25K escrow money to the country club; removing the sidewalk requirement.  After much media publicity, many letters to the editor, accusations of Home Rule Charter violations, claims of deal-making and resident outrage, the Board of Supervisors reversed their earlier decision.

The reversal of the Board of Supervisors decision to return the escrow money had an interesting caveat attached.  St. Davids escrow money and the decision to require the construction of sidewalks was put ‘on hold’ pending the outcome of the Sidewalks Subcommittee recommendations.  At the same time the supervisors reversed their decision, they created a Sidewalks Subcommittee whose goal was to adopt a formal sidewalk policy to recommend to the Board of Supervisors.  Members appointed to the joint subcommittee were supervisors (Phil Donahue, EJ Richter, Michele Kichline), Planning Commissioners (Tory Snyder, Bob Whalen, Trip Lukens) and representatives from Sidewalks, Trails and Paths ‘STAP’ (Sean Moir, Beth Brake, Jim Donegan).

If you are interested in the St. Davids Golf Club-BAWG report background, go to the top right of Community Matters and enter the words, St. Davids in search.  Or for a particularly passionate post, read St. Davids Golf Club Decision Reversed but, . . . Was There Full Disclosure, Transparency, Deal-Making and the corresponding 68 comments. (click here for that specific post).

The Sidewalks Subcommittee began meeting last spring.  I attended most of the meetings and was impressed by their efforts. The committee engaged community members through public meetings and accepted input from interested citizens.  They created maps and conducted a township-wide survey to get a consensus on sidewalks, bike trails and paths needs throughout the township.  Their analysis was thorough and thoughtful.

At their last meeting (which I attended), the Sidewalk Subcommittee summarized their findings in preparation for a presentation at the upcoming Monday, January 24 Board of Supervisors meeting.  Chair of the Sidewalk Subcommittee and a Planning Commissioner, Tory Synder will make the presentation and deliver the committee’s recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.

Are the supervisors going to take the recommendations of the Sidewalk Subcommittee or will their efforts be ignored?  Will the St. Davids sidewalk requirement currently ‘on hold’ affect the supervisor’s decision to accept the Sidewalk Subcommittee recommendations?  Will the signed contract between the country club and the township remain intact?

Supervisor Michele Kichline is an attorney and served on the Sidewalks Subcommittee . . . Michele knows contract law; how will she guide her fellow supervisors?

Here’s the million-dollar question – Does the proposed ordinance change to remove land development authority from the Planning Commission to the Board of Supervisors have any relationship with the St. Davids sidewalk issue? Remember, the Planning Commissioners required the sidewalks as part of country club’s land development project.

Do some of the supervisors think that if they take back land development authority, they can override the Planning Commissioners decision to require St. Davids to build the sidewalk?

Why change the land development ordinance now? Just coincidental timing or is the ultimate goal to release the country club from their contractual agreement with the township.

The St. Davids Golf Club sidewalk business was a very hostile time in our local government’s history. When elected officials go behind a closed-door and make decisions, the perception can be as bad as the fact.  Let’s keep the door open!  Here is one resident who does not want to see another similar watershed moment . . . the citizens of Tredyffrin deserve better.

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Important Dates:

  • Planning Commission Meeting, Thursday, January 20, 7 PM
  • Board of Supervisors Meeting, Monday, January 24, 7:30 PM
  • Land Development Ordinance, Public Hearing, Monday, February 28, 7:30 PM
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Will Radnor Commissioners Support Residents Vision to Improve Walking and Biking in their Community . . . And Will Tredyffrin’s Walkers and Bicyclists Enjoy the Same Support?

Over the last 6 months in Tredyffrin Township, there has been much public commentary about sidewalks and trails in Tredyffrin  — St. Davids sidewalk issue, Patriot’s Path, the Sidewalks Trails and Paths (STAP) committee and the newly formed subcommittee that will review sidewalks throughout the township’s communities.  We can see that the sidewalks are nearing completion along Conestoga and Old Lancaster Roads in Berwyn and I noticed that storm water materials have arrived for the Irish Road section of the sidewalks below the high school. 

Sidewalks and trails have become a much discussed topic among many in the community.  There are those residents that support and believe in making the township more walkable and bikeable; others that do not want an increase in taxes to provide for sidewalks, trails, etc. at any cost; and still others who simply believe that in today’s era, people are not going to use the walkways and therefore don’t think that they should be considered.  Depending on who you ask, you may be apt to receive several different opinions. Reaching a consensus on the subject of sidewalks and trails, . . . is that actually possible in Tredyffrin?

With sidewalks and trails such a ‘hot’ topic in Tredyffrin, it was interesting to read the following article by John Boyle, of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.  With the popularity of the Radnor Trail, there is a proposal to link that trail to the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, which I believe is down by the Philadelphia Airport.  Connecting Radnor’s Trail would allow for a connected 18 mi. bike ride.  Coming up in front of Radnor’s Board of Supervisors tomorrow night, I will be curious to see if their commissioners support the vision of many bike riders of creating interconnecting safe trails in the Southeastern section of Pennsylvania.  With so many differing opinions on the ‘value’ of trails in our community, do you think Tredyffrin bicyclists would ever the necessary support that’s required for such a vision as Radnor bicyclists are seeking?

The Vision for a Trail from Radnor to John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
By John Boyle, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia

Imagine a resident in Wayne, biking a few blocks to the amazingly popular Radnor Trail, but instead of the short out and back ride that is possible today, that person would be able to travel 18 miles and visit the Egrets and Bald Eagles at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

Such is the vision for a trail tentatively named Radnor – Tinicum Trail The trail would extend the existing Radnor Trail under I-476 via a deer tunnel and then follow the right of way of the Norristown High Speed Line (Rt. 100) just south of the Main Line across Haverford Township. The width of the right of way for the most part is wide enough for 4 tracks but since only 2 tracks were built there is in theory enough space for a rail with trail.

The trail would then follow Cobbs Creek on the unbuilt portion of the Cobbs Creek Trail which was blocked by NIMBY’s in the Overbrook Farms neighborhood in 1990’s. The trail will straddle the creek near Upper Darby and Millbourne before taking the existing Cobbs Creek Trail and the planned extension to Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and the East Coast Greenway. The TIGER funded 58th Street Connector Trail will provide access from Cobbs Creek to the Schuylkill River Trail via Bartram’s Garden and the South Street Bridge.

The trail alignment offers multitude of transit connections and will improve local walk and bike to transit access along Route 100 line including a long awaited direct pedestrian connection between Radnor’s Route 100 and R5 rail stations.

On Monday night the Radnor Township Commissioners Meeting will vote on a resolution to support the concept of a trail along the Rt 100 line. You can show your support by attending the meeting and voicing your support during the public comment period.

Radnor Township Board of Commissioners
June 21, 2010
7:00 PM
Radnor Township Municipal Building
301 Iven Avenue
Wayne , PA 19087

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Tredyffrin’s Sidewalk Project Underway — How are the homeowners on the sidewalk route effected by the project?

The sidewalk project is now in full swing on Conestoga Road and Old Lancaster Ave by Conestoga HS and T-E Middle School.  The series of pedestrian sidewalks were made possible by various grant funds, including $2.8 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus funds). To read further about the sidewalk plan, budget, and updates on the township website, click here.

It is true that change and progress sometimes comes with a personal price.  In the case of the sidewalks, some would suggest that there has been a very real economic and personal price tag paid for by the homeowners whose property has been effected by the sidewalk project.  As I drove down Conestoga Road last week, I stopped to take photos of examples of tree removal.  One of the beautiful historic houses that lost its front coverage was on Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 1st Annual Historic House Tour, 6 years ago.  The house has lost trees, shrubs and plantings.  Here is a photo of the way the homeowner’s front yard currently looks:

Before anyone jumps in and suggests that I don’t care about the safety of the children who walk along Conestoga Road to school — that simply isn’t true; I care about everyone’s safety.  But it still saddens me to see the neighborhood along the north side of Conestoga Road so dramatically changed by this construction project.  I feel for the homeowners whose property has been forever altered.  Although the homeowners will not be compensated financially; it is my understanding that the sidewalk plan calls for replanting of all trees and landscaping that have been removed for the sidewalk project. 

Everyone should know that the upkeep of the sidewalks will becomes the responsibility of the individual homeowners.  I wondered what would happen if there was an elderly homeowner or an owner who wintered in Florida and was gone during one of our Pennsylvania snowstorms?   Who would be responsible for clearing their sidewalk?  I was told that the clearing and upkeep remains the responsibility of the homeowner . . . guess he/she better make those arrangements before heading south for the winter!  As wonderful as it may be to make our community more walkable . . . for some there is an additional personal price tag that goes along with progress and change.

Erica, a homeowner on Old Lancaster Ave. has provided her personal experience with the tree and landscaping removal as a result of the sidewalk project.  Erica created a power point presentation which passionately details the specifics, click here to review the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos taken of her property on Old Lancaster Avenue.  Erica provides her personal remarks below on the sidewalk project from her vantage point as a homeowner on Old Lancaster.

No Gravatar, on March 26th, 2010 at 1:37 PM Said: Comment

Five years ago, I was going through a bad time. One day, I drove down Old Lancaster and saw that a house that I had admired for years was on the market. I was so excited that I put an offer in that day. Being English, I did the customary thing and named my house. Without hesitation, it became “HoHi” (after the “Hall of Intense Happiness – a building in I toured on a visit to China.)

My portion of Old Lancaster has old houses (most were build in the 20’s), no garages (converted years ago to extra living space), short driveways, and mature vegetation. We (had) a wide shoulder which left ample room for parking, walking & biking. My row of brick Tudors was “the” development of the time, I’m sure!

Anyway, long story short. Soon after moving in, I learned about the sidewalk project. Because the section of Old Lancaster is state owned, there is a 50’ easement — meaning , from the center of the road, the State controls 25 feet in each direction. I learned that Tredyffrin decided to go take all 25’ from the South side of the road – the side with no garages, no parking and mature vegetation. Because it’s a state road, extra ‘safety’ precautions were required i.e. EXTRA wide sidewalk plus “bump outs” to create a buffer between the pedestrians and the cars.

Residents banned together and formed a “Yard for a Yard” petition earning nearly every signature in the area. We contacted the TE historical society, the TE BoS, anyone that we thought might actually care, and we simply asked that the project be shifted 3 feet (a yard) towards the north side hence 3 feet of our yard would be saved. This would have translated into a saving of most if not all of the trees. We would still take the burden of owning the 5 foot (yes, 5 not 3) sidewalk but we would maintain our trees. Currently (pre-sidewalk) the paving encompasses 10’ in either direction (north and south – south being where the sidewalk will be built). With our proposal, the project would have gone from 10’ to 22’ instead of 25’ of the south side. The north side resident’s would be impacted by 3’(no trees and very, very few shrubs).

We were shot down so fast we didn’t know what hit us. It wasn’t until the sidewalk project became personal to the board did it gain attention. I have so much hurt and anger that it has been making me physically ill. Of course I share concern for the safety of children. Yet (knock on wood), I researched and was not able to uncover any accidents on record.

My HoHi is not a HoHi anymore. And thanks to rotten economy and eye-sore of a yard, I’m trapped here for at least a few years. Am I bitter? Clearly! While it’s too little too late, I truly do appreciate that people have taken the time to share sympathy. It means more than you can imagine that someone finally cares.

Tonight, I’m going to add a link to “before and after” photos simply to provide people a reminder of the importance of supporting neighbors because you never know when your home will be on the radar.

The appearance of established neighborhoods and historic buildings are now altered by the removal of trees and landscaping.

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Board of Supervisors Meeting on Monday, March 15 to Include Announcement of Sidewalk Subcommittee Members

The February 22 Board of Supervisors motion to reverse the St. Davids Golf Club decision included the creation of a  joint sidewalk subcommittee; members to come from the Board, Planning Commission and Sidewalks, Trails and Paths (STAP) Committee.  This subcommittee is to re-examine where the residents want sidewalks in the township and then create a formal process and procedure to design, develop and construct sidewalks and paths in Tredyffrin.  The agenda for the Monday, March 15 Board of Supervisors meeting includes an announcement of the sidewalk subcommittee members.  I am curious which members of the 3 organizations will be on the sidewalk subcommittee.  Personally, I would have liked the sidewalk subcommittee to include a couple of  residents (non-Tredyffrin board/committee members) to bring a different perspective.  Just a thought.

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Semi-Automatic Weapons in Valley Forge National Historical Park . . . Do You Feel Safer?

This past week brought much discussion on Community Matters about sidewalks, trails and paths.  Several people suggested that if you want to walk or bicycle, why not just use the paths at Valley Forge National Historical Park.  With that in mind, I wrote the following post with the hope of engaging some lively discussion.

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The next time you decide to visit Valley Forge Park to enjoy a bicycle ride or an afternoon of sledding with the kids, are you going to feel safer? 

Did you know that as of this week, fellow visitors with proper gun permits can legally pack heat inside our national parks, including Valley Forge National Historical Park?

Yes, a law that took effect Monday lifted the long-standing ban on bringing guns into our national parks.  In Valley Forge National Historical Park, as we walk the trails and enjoy family picnics, tourists will be allowed to carry guns – handguns, rifles, shotguns and AK-47s. Now, as long as guns are allowed by state law, licensed gun owners can bring firearms on park property.  Guns will be allowed in all but about 20 of the park service’s 392 locations, including some of its most iconic parks: Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Yosemite and Rocky Mountain National Park, as well as historic parks, including our own Valley Forge National Historical Park. Guns will not be allowed in visitor centers or rangers’ offices, because firearms are banned in federal buildings, but they could be carried into private lodges or concession stands, depending on state laws.

The new rule allows people to carry firearms, including semi-automatic weapons, in most national parks and wildlife refuges, so long as they follow the gun laws of the state. (That could get a little complicated, as more than 30 parks occupy land in multiple states.) The rule means people can now carry concealed weapons while camping in places like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.

I admit up front that I am one of the people with issues concerning the availability of guns in this country.  My stance on stricter gun control rules will certainly strike a chord among some of the readers. I know the argument that strict gun control does not reduce crime because it does not keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. Criminals do not abide by waiting periods or registration requirements. The only people affected by these so-called “gun control” measures are law-abiding citizens, who are rendered less able to resist crime. However almost daily, our world is filled with news of gun violence in this country . . . in shopping malls, on college campuses, office buildings.

Gun crimes in any setting are horrific. However, crimes committed on the grounds of an academic institution take on an almost macabre air because of the serene atmosphere associated with such places. Gun violence on school campuses is a stark reminder that guns cannot discriminate amongst their victims, nor can they discern the intentions of those who wield them. This is repeated so often that it may as well be a cliché. If events over the past decade are any indicator, no positive response seems forthcoming. Though it is a human who pulls the trigger, there is no violent crime without the proverbial smoking gun. National parks [Valley Forge National Historical Park] like our educational institutions, are places that enshrine the ideals of knowledge and tranquility . . . should we not feel beholden to preserve these places as a utopian ideal for the future?  Do we want to be remembered as the generation that put guns into paradise?

The way I see it there are two camps on this.  First, there are the people who will feel safer knowing that they can be armed in our national parks, just in case they run into troublesome people or dangerous wildlife.  The second group will feel more unsafe.  You willl never know who is armed, and anytime there is a confrontation, firearms bring a whole new sense of alarm into the equation.  Once you pull that trigger, there’s no taking it back.  From my vantage point, toting firearms into our national parks poses a serious threat to the public.  There, I said it. Personally, the next time I am walking in Valley Forge National Historical Park, I am not going to feel safer knowing that fellow visitors on the path may be legally packing a weapon.

The new law permitting licensed gun owners to bring firearms into national parks has come over the objections of gun-control advocates who fear it will lead to increased violence in national parks.  Responding to the new law, John Waterman, President, US Park Rangers Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police offered the following statement:

The Ranger Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police has opposed this ill-considered law from the beginning. The new law goes beyond concealed carry to include all guns anytime.  The chances of an inexperienced visitor who has not seen a bear or buffalo wandering through a campground, gets frightened and takes out the now readily available firearm and shoots blindly at an animal or a person in a misguided effort to “protect themselves” from a perceived threat is now increased.  Allowing untrained and unlicensed people carrying guns in National Parks is an invitation to disaster. It puts the safety of the public and rangers at increased risk and virtually invites the desecration of our natural and historic treasures. 

Pennsylvania has fairly loose restrictions on carrying guns.  As long as a person is legally entitled to own a firearm – for instance they must have no past felony convictions, mental-health commitments or protection-from-abuse order restrictions – there is little stop a person from carrying a gun in public. I am sure that there will be readers who completely disagree with my position on the danger of guns in Valley Forge National Historical Park.  In fact, I am certain that some people will suggest that their ‘right’ to carry a gun should not stop at the park entrance.   

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Township Lawsuit . . . Where Does it Stand?

I received the following from John Petersen this morning in regards to the township lawsuit.  There has been much discussion and debate concerning the lawsuit; I think it is important that the facts be presented in John’s own words.

Just so everyone is clear about the [law]suit – I did speak with Tom Hogan at length on Tuesday. I have decided, for the time being, to stand down on the suit so that the subcommittee can go forward.

However….

I have made it clear that the new subcommittee cannot suffer the same fate as the BAWG. I, along with many of the people here, will pay close attention to happens with that process. I note with interest, the stimulus funds that have been received on behalf of sidewalks. I do wonder what this new process means for those funds….

I want to leave you with Bruce Parkinson’s comments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8aILCXIcLQ

When he looked to his left, he was looking at me: re his comments about this matter being a “political football”. If there is a political football, it is because Kampf, Lamina, and especially Olson, have made it so. My issue is about following the rules. Parkinson on the the other hand, apparently believes that as a member of the club and the club itself, is subject to a different set of rules. And to that end, the government can break its own rules for the benefit of the club and its members. At least, I think that is what he was saying. When it comes to political footballs, I take Parkinson’s comments to be nothing short of a political threat.

in other words, they were instrumental in getting people like Olson back on the board…they could be instrumental in getting people removed. In other words, Parkinson was telling the BOS to “play ball.” There is simply no other way to take his comments.

For the record, Parkinson is a local committee for the GOP and is also a member of the county GOP executive committee. Further, he was chairman of the building committee in 2005 when the development was approved.

Parkinson was the one, along with the club president, to agree to the sidewalks. You didn’t hear him talk about that on Monday….did you????

I simply do not have any more time to waste on folks that are so intellectually weak that they could be placed in a position to break the rules (Kampf, Lamina, Olson and Richter). And for sure, I don’t have any more time and patience to deal with the country club set and that faction of the GOP that believes it is OK to corrupt the government so long as it suits their needs.

I believe that if I went to court, I would prevail. However, that victory would not result in a thorough review of the sidewalks, trails and paths. That is what the subcommittee is supposed to do.

If it turns out to be a ruse, there will a stiff price to pay for that.

Political committee seats folks..that is where the path to taking our government and community back begins. That is what I’ll be concentrating on now.

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Main Line Suburban Life Weighs in on Board of Supervisors Meeting and St. Davids Golf Club Motion

Today’s Main Line Suburban Life newspaper offered the following article by Blair Meadowcroft concerning the recent Board of Supervisors Meeting and the St. Davids Golf Club Motion.  I decided to post this article because it quotes John Petersen as saying that he intends to move forward with the lawsuit against the township.  As of today, John has changed his mind and will not file the lawsuit.  Rather than people reading this article and misunderstanding, I thought it best to clarify the situation.  John has left on a business trip otherwise I would let him explain . . . perhaps he will offer an explanation for his decision once he gets to Austin. 

    Tredyffrin board votes to look at St. Davids Golf Club controversy

By Blair Meadowcroft

The St. Davids Golf Club issue, which has been a heated debate for weeks in Tredyffrin Township, has taken yet another turn.

First the Board of Supervisors voted 4-3 to approve a motion to release $25,000 from an escrow account to the golf club on Jan. 25. Then on Feb. 8 three of the four supervisors who approved the motion publicly apologized, saying their actions were not perfect. Two weeks later, after getting requests from numerous residents to reverse the vote, Chairman Bob Lamina offered a new motion that he hoped would serve as a “solution.”

Specifically the motion stated that the vote made on Jan. 25 “be reversed and rescinded.” While this on its own made residents happy, more conditions were added to the motion that quickly changed their opinion. According to the motion, the BOS, Planning Commission and Sidewalks, Trails and Paths Committee (STAP) will form a subcommittee to “begin a process to re-examine where the community wants and needs sidewalks.” Under this motion the committee will look at the “conditions upon which the Planning Commission may from time to time grant relief from our land-development ordinance” among other specific assessments including prioritization and funding sources.

According to Lamina the subcommittee will be initiated in March and the process of re-evaluating should be done by the end of the year.

“I hope this motion can get us back to where we should have been all along,” said Lamina. “We need to get back into a dialogue process for paths and sidewalks in the township. My hope is that we can move forward together and not look backward.”

According to Township Manager Mimi Gleason, the idea of discussing and defining the greenworks network, which is a part of the Comprehensive Plan, had been considered, and such an assessment, if done, would hopefully gain resident input on what is wanted or needed in the township.

However, in response to Lamina’s motion, residents questioned why there wasn’t a simple reversal without added conditions. Many suggested the board divide the motion into two separate parts, and requested to see it in writing and be given time to consider it before taking a vote. The underlying feeling from those who spoke at the meeting was that the residents no longer trust the board and therefore question its actions.

“I wrote the motion with the idea that this was a comprehensive response to the discussions and comments that have been made, and that it would put us to where we were before,” said Lamina. “There is no deal, no reasoning behind the second part of the motion. This is just trying to move forward.”

According to Lamina, St. Davids officials confirmed their continued obligation to put in sidewalks, and that everyone he had spoken to regarding the proposed motion was on board.

As one of the supervisors who originally voted against the motion Jan. 25, John DiBuonaventuro stated that he supported the new motion on the table because “if anything less than a genuine evaluation comes out of this, I will speak up against it and so will you, and for now we have to get past this.”

After hearing varied comments from residents, most of whom were against the motion, as well as comments from board members in favor of it, Lamina held a vote. The board unanimously passed the motion.

As a result of the conditions placed on the motion, Tredyffrin resident and one-time supervisor John Petersen has decided to sue the township. Before the meeting Monday night, Petersen had written up a complaint against the township and specifically the four supervisors who originally voted in favor of the motion. His intention was to wait to see how the meeting played out and then decide whether or not to serve the township the papers.

“They did not do what I requested, which was to formally reverse, in pure form, what happened on Jan. 25,” said Petersen. “I asked for declaratory judgment stating that what happened was wrong, but Monday night there was no admission or recognition that what happened was against the Home Rule Charter, Paul Olson never apologized and the board didn’t simply reverse the vote; they added new conditions.”

According to Petersen, his plan is to review the lawsuit and make a few changes, and will go forward with this within the week.

“I am going to remove the individual names from the lawsuit because the focus of this now is about the township and the board as a collective whole and wanting them to do the right thing,” said Petersen. “With the unanimous action from the board, there is no reason to distinguish the members.”

He went on to say that no such lawsuit should have to be filed, and that his filing will be subject to the board “doing the right thing.”

“All I am asking is that the court declares what happened as illegal, and that the vote made last night was null and void,” said Petersen. “I want everything to go back to exactly the way it was before Jan. 25.”

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Board of Supervisors 2/22/10 Meeting . . . St. Davids Golf Club Motion

BOS Meeting 2–22-10 Part I: St. Davids Golf Club Motion.  Here is the YouTube video clip of Monday’s St. Davids motion made by Lamina, seconded by Olson.

Below is the motion made at Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors’ meeting, February 22, 2010 in regards to the St. Davids Golf Club escrow and the development of the subcommittee.  The exact wording of the St. Davids motion was taken from the Tredyffrin Township website, www.tredyffrin.org; the motion is as follows:

I hereby move that the Board’s motion of January 25 regarding St. David’s be reversed and rescinded; and do hereby further resolve that the Board of Supervisor’s form a joint Subcommittee with the Planning Commission and the STAP to begin a process to reexamine where the community wants and needs sidewalks, with a goal that this Board may adopt more formal policies and procedures to provide additional guidelines relative to design, development and construction of the sidewalks and paths in the Township atlarge. At a minimum, this re-assessment should address both the timing, prioritization, funding sources, the conditions upon which the planning commission may from time-totime grant relief from our land development ordinance, and recommend any other changes the prospective new policy might require. While the subcommittee process take place, neither the Board or the Township will be formally moving to compel St. David’s to build the path, until the new policies are adopted or the Township has put in place designs and funding for sidewalks or paths that would connect to the proposed St. David’s pathway. The Subcommittee in carrying out its re-assessment will seek input and participation from the Public and the Committee’s involved which necessarily will include the Planning Commission and the STAP.

Motion made by Lamina; Second by Olson

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Another Angle on St. Davids Escrow Desision . . . STAP (Sidewalks, Trails & Paths) Committee Member Weighs In

Molly Duffy, member of the STAP (Sidewalks, Trails & Path) Committee looks at the recent Board of Supervisor decision in a different light.  What does this decision say to its residents about the future walkability of our community?  The STAP Committee thought that the supervisors shared their vision for a walking, biking landscape, but do they? Below is Molly’s letter to the editor that appears in this weeks edition the Main Line Suburban Life newspaper.

Tredyffrin supervisors missing the big picture

To the Editor:

Five years ago a handful of concerned Tredyffrin residents got together to talk about how we could make the township more walkable and bikable. The township agreed that this was a worthy goal. After all, 78.5 percent of residents who responded to the 2004 Parks Recreation and Open Space survey stated that they would be likely to use an interconnected townshipwide trail system in Tredyffrin designed for pedestrian, runners, skaters and bikers.

Later in 2005 the Board of Supervisors formally created the STAP (Sidewalks Trails and Paths) Committee and charged it with the mission of identifying priority trail and sidewalk areas, determining appropriate trail and sidewalk types, and researching funding options. This very committed and energized group of volunteers did just that. The township’s Green Routes Network can be viewed at www.tredyffrin.org. As a member of STAP I’m proud to say that our highest-priority sidewalk project will be under construction within a few months. New sidewalks will connect T/E Middle School, Conestoga High School, Daylesford Train Station, the YMCA, the Easttown Library and the village of Berwyn. Residents will no longer have to walk on the road and risk their lives to get to any of these locations, and the school district may be able to eliminate the cost of operating a few buses. Because of the dedication of STAP and the township’s very talented and effective staff, the township received a $2.8-million grant that will pay for this project. If STAP and the Board of Supervisors had not had the vision and patience to move ahead with this project, it would not have been shovel-ready and consequently it would not have received ARRA grant funds.

The Board of Supervisors’ Jan. 25, 2010 vote to forgive St. Davids Golf Club’s obligation to build a path along Upper Gulph Road, which is part of the Green Routes Network, makes me wonder if the township still cares about its future.

Transforming Tredyffrin, largely developed in the car-centric 1950s and 1960s, into a walkable, bikable community is no small task. A best-case scenario estimate would put completion of the Green Routes Network at 15 years. Nevertheless it is a task we must complete if we want Tredyffrin to be a place where people want to live and work in the future. Yes, it will cost something. Perhaps it will be grant-funded. Perhaps it will not. Regardless, it is a wise investment in our future.

It is standard practice for new developments in Tredyffrin and elsewhere to include sidewalks in their plans. For many reasons people don’t want to rely on their cars to take them every place they need to go. People of all ages call Tredyffrin home. Many are too young to drive, some are unable to drive, and many more just want another option for getting from here to there. The ability to walk to school, church, work, the library, the dentist’s office or shopping gives us all, young and old, a sense of independence and some decent exercise.

The Green Routes Network will never include every street in the township. Instead it strives to connect residents to popular destinations. In the next few years, the Chester Valley Trail will cross our township on its way from Downingtown to Valley Forge. If we plan proper linkages, many Tredyffrin residents will be able to safely walk or bike to the trail from their front doors.

Recently the national news has focused on studies showing that while real-estate values have dropped, homes with a high walkability score have dropped much less. It is becoming standard for real-estate listings to show a home’s “walk score” because many homebuyers want to be able to walk or bike to a destination. You can find your home’s walk score at www.walkscore.com.

If we don’t begin to implement the Green Routes Network that the board of supervisors recently approved in the updated Comprehensive Plan and reaffirmed in the Green Tredyffrin Resolution, we’re taking a step backwards and depriving our children and grandchildren of a livable, desirable community.

Sincerely,

Molly Duffy, Paoli

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