Pattye Benson

Community Matters

St. Davids Golf Club Sidewalks . . . Is it to Nowhere?

It seems that the discussion of St. Davids Golf Club sidewalks has stirred some ‘old wounds’. Not understanding why the BAWG report contained an offer of $50,000 from St. Davids Golf Club re the installation of sidewalks, I did some background research. Based on meeting minutes from the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission, I think I have been able to piece together a timeline for the St. Davids project. It is important to understand the history of the project to see where we are.

St. Davids Golf Club Timeline:

  • 11/04: St. Davids GC presents Planning Commission with sketch plan for their proposed new country club addition. Following the initial meeting, the Planning Commission discusses the the land development plan at many meetings and on-site visits.
  • 8/05: Sidewalks, Trails & Path Board (STAP) established by Board of Supervisors to review sideswalks, trails, etc.
  • 8/05: Planning Commission approves the final plan for St. Davids project with 8 conditions (including sidewalks). $25,000 was put in to escrow for the sidewalks. STAP would review the sidewalk requirement for the St. Davids project and offer their opinion on materials, size, etc, understanding that the Planning Commission had the final decision.
  • 7/06: STAP makes recommendation re sidewalks at St. Davids – 4-ft wide asphalt path. (As a concession to St. Davids GC, using asphalt would not require curbing and stormwater management. The cost of construction would be far less using asphalt.)
  • 7/06: Planning Commission accepts STAP’s recommendation and St. Davids GC is given 2-year construction timeline, which by my calculations expired in 7/08.
  • 10/08: St. Davids GC comes to Planning Commission and requests reconsideration of ordinance and plan requirements for the sidewalks previously approved in their 2004 application to rebuild the clubhouse. Request denied.

The October 16, 2008 meeting minutes of the Planning Commission are extremely useful to this discussion, here is the link. There was much discussion at this particular meeting from representatives of St. Daivds, Planning Commissioners, neighbors, etc. The final vote was 6-2 against St. Davids GC request.

Now 13-months goes by with no further discussion between St. Davids GC and the Planning Commission. Fastforward and we now have an offer (?) in the BAWG report of $50,000 from St. Davids Golf Club in lieu of building sidewalks? Am I missing something? First off, where did the $50,000 number come from? Was this offer made directly to the BAWG committee; was the offer in writing? I found no reference to this offer anywhere in the Planning Commission or Board of Supervisor meeting minutes.

Aside from not understanding why this sidewalk issue found its way in to the BAWG report, I am troubled by the precedent that can be set by this kind of situation. What does this say to the authority of the Planning Commission? What about future developers working in the township — everyone will want to work in Tredyffrin because each time a land development requirement comes up that they think is ‘too expensive’ and don’t want to do they can just offer the precedent set by St. Davids Golf Club (should the sidewalks decision somehow be changed).

Another question – it appears to me that St. Davids Golf Club has been in default since 7/08 to build the sidewalk. The Planning Commission approved the country club’s project with certain requirements, including the construction of sideswalks. Does St. Davids just get a ‘pass’ . . . and why is the country club not expected to be in compliance as any other developer or contractor? Why should the rules be different for the country club? Again, am I missing something?

I know that I stated that I didn’t want my blog to be political but rather community based, however I’m guessing that there is some behind the scene politics involved with St. Davids and the $50,000 showing up in the BAWG report. Wonder how the Planning Commissioners are feeling about this item in the report, particularly the 6 members who voted against St. David’s request over a year ago? I would hope that the Board of Supervisors supports the decision made by the Planning Commission.

Is this indeed going to be the ‘sidewalk to nowhere’ because St. Davids Golf Club doesn’t have to build it?

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    1. Going door-knocking in Mt. Pleasant during the campaign, I had an opportunity to meet many of the Mt. Pleasant folks and and there certainly is a sense that they don’t feel a part of the larger Tredyffrin community. I appreciate some of their specific issues re the colllege kids, development, etc. Good topic for today – thank you.

    1. Got anybody in mind? I would love to hear from members of the BAWG group as to how the St. Davids sidewalk issue found its way into their report. Who proposed its inclusion? Where did the St. Davids $50K offer come from? Who made the offer – was it verbal? This is a ‘black hole’ and I’m coming up empty. If you know someone who served on BAWG and could offer some answers, please let me know.

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