Pattye Benson

Community Matters

According to Dan Kristie of the Daily Local, Supervisors Olson and Lamina Think Only Democrats Care About the St. Davids 'Deal'

The following article by Dan Kristie in today’s Daily Local is an absolute must-read for the residents of Tredyffrin Township. Apparently in addition to Supervisor Olson’s stance that St. Davids sideswalks go to nowhere (tell that to the Mt. Pleasant residents), he and Chair Lamina believe that the only people that care about the St. Davids issue are the Democrats! I don’t know about you but I am outraged at the notion that some of our supervisors make decisions based on their political party affiliation and then proudly broadcast that to the media. It is obvious that 3 of our supervisors (DiBuonaventuro, Kichline and Donohue) do not feel similarly, however I assume that Supervisors Kampf and Richter share the sentiments of Supervisors Olson and Lamina. Remember, this is not about sidewalks, it is about policy and procedures and our local government. Even their fellow Supervisor DiBuonaventuro claims, “The biggest problem I have is that this was done in the dark.”

I think everyone needs to understand this situation . . . the Kings of the kingdom (Lamina, Kampf, Olson, Richter) have laid down the law. I hate party politics and I believe that it has no business in the running of our local government. Dan’s article says it all, not only do we have 4 rulers in this township (Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter), they will rule with complete disregard to those who are not Republicans. I don’t care if you are an Independent, Democrat, Republican, or ‘party of purple’ – you should be outraged at this behavior. Is this how you want your community ‘governed’ (sorry ‘ruled’)? These 4 people and the unprecedented decision they made over St. Davids is just the beginning . . . ! Read the following article, and you come to your own conclusions.

Reminder that the the next Board of Supervisor Meeting is this Monday, February 8, 7:30 PM at the Township Building. I have checked the agenda and there is not much on it — which, if you recall is where the ‘Kings’ do their best work. Don’t put the issue on the agenda, hope for a low turnout and then take your majority vote and break the rules, change the rules or throw out the rules, all in the name of ‘government’!

Return of funds raising eyebrows in Tredyffrin

Published: Friday, February 5, 2010
By DAN KRISTIE, Staff Writer
TREDYFFRIN — The supervisors on Jan. 25 passed a resolution that, according to some township officials, directly conflicts with township policy. The supervisors voted 4-3 to release to the St. David’s Golf Club from a $25,000 escrow agreement. St. David’s, however, had not formally requested the return of this money. The township has always required developers and landowners to formally request the release of escrow funds, officials said. This, they said, marks the first time the township has released a land owner from an escrow agreement without having received a formal request from the landowner to do so.The $25,000 was supposed to cover the cost of installing a sidewalk along the north side of Upper Gulph Road, in the area between Strafford Avenue and Old Eagle School Road. Several years ago, St. David’s agreed to build the sidewalk in exchange for permission from the township to expand its clubhouse. St. David’s was supposed to have completed the sidewalk in 2008 but never began work on it.

Supervisors Vice Chairman Paul Olson made the motion on Jan. 25 to free St. David’s from the $25,000 obligation. Olson said that the residents along Upper Gulph Road had told him they didn’t want a sidewalk along their street. In light of this, he said, he believed there was no reason to require the golf club to build a sidewalk. “The sidewalk was projected to cost $50,000,” Olson said. “It’s just ridiculous to throw $50,000 along the side of the road for a sidewalk that starts nowhere and ends nowhere.” Some officials have estimated that the sidewalk could cost $80,000.

Mark Rhodes, the president of St. David’s, said that the golf club members have long been opposed to the club building sidewalks along Upper Gulph Road. He added that the golf club had made no formal request to the township to be relieved from the $25,000 obligation. Rhodes also said that he had “no knowledge that Paul Olson made any motion.” “We had no agreement with Paul Olson in any regard,” Rhodes said.

Tredyffrin requires all land holders that undertake new construction to build sidewalks along the roads that line their projects, and it has long been township policy to increase the amount of sidewalks and bike paths in the township. But Olson and several other supervisors are opposed to covering Tredyffrin with sidewalks. Olson said he believes sidewalks belong around schools. But, he said, installing them throughout the township would then require the township to expend additional taxpayer dollars for sidewalk mantainence.

Supervisor John DiBuonaventuro, who voted against Olson’s motion, said that the supervisors who voted in favor have effectively suspended the township’s procedure regarding escrow money. “This was not an issue of sidewalks — this was an issue of good procedure, and we circumvented that,” DiBuonaventuro said. “There was no procedure followed. None.”

Unlike some Chester County municipalities, Tredyffrin traditionally puts all escrow releases on its public meeting agenda. But the St. David’s release was not on the agenda. Rather, it came as the result of a motion that Olson made.

“The biggest problem I have is that this was done in the dark,” DiBuonaventuro said. He said that if St. David’s wanted the money back, it should have formally come before the supervisors and asked for the money. DiBuonaventuro added that he believes there is now nothing to stop developers from ignoring their escrow agreements with the township — or, from expecting the township to release them from land development obligations.

Township Manager Mimi Gleason said at the Jan. 25 meeting that returning the money to St. David’s would be precedent-setting. Olson, in an interview conducted this week, said he does not agree with this interpretation. “Just because you do it for someone doesn’t mean you have to do it for everyone,” he said.

Olson added that he believes only Democrats are concerned with the St. David’s deal. Supervisors Chairman Bob Lamina, who also voted in favor of the deal, concurred. All of the Tredyffrin Supervisors are Republicans. DiBuonaventuro said he believes the St. David’s deal has nothing to do with party affiliation. “Three Republicans on the board made the right decision,” DiBuonaventuro said. “This isn’t about being a Republican. This is about sound judgment.” Voting yes with Lamina and Olson were supervisors Warren Kampf and Evelyn Richter. Voting no with DiBuonaventuro were supervisors Michelle Kichline and Phil Donahue.

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  1. I thought Paul Olson was in Hawaii? Did this reporter call him there? (Maybe he’s just in a tanning booth?) Mr. Olson lives on School House Lane — down the street from the Woodlynde School… is he afraid of sidewalks in his neighborhood?
    Can someone please explain to these one-dimensional thinkers that the St. Davids vote is the problem — the process/procedure/arrogance/indifference….. I think the 3 supervisors that voted against it clearly articulated that they were voting NO because they believed the motion was out of order. Two of the supervisors who voted FOR it didn’t articulate anything but “Aye Aye Sir” to Mr. Olson.
    Does the township have any rules of procedure? Do they have bylaws or anything relevant for parliamentary procedure? The rights of the majority rule, but the rights of the minority need to be protected. Roberts Rules require 2/3 vote for certain types of motions — which would be quite helpful when dealing with this board of 7 that has a Block of 4. Are citizens powerless here?

  2. “Just because you do it for someone doesn’t mean you have to do it for everyone,” he said.

    Exactly, Mr. Olson, selective enforcement or unenforcement for that matter. As long as it supports your agenda.

    1. This is the exact reason the TESD was sued in the “olden days” for selective enforcement of tax collections by the Music Fair. It’s wreckless policy. In the school board suit, it was about doing favors for local small businesses who would have paid very little in the amusement tax, but the Music Fair, the primary payer who added it to the ticket price was able to win a million dollar judgment….where is Tredyffrin’s exposure on this?

  3. Of the nine listed members of the Planning Commission, two are are registered Democrats:

    J. Thomas Cooper and Victoria Snyder

    Chair, Robert Whalen, Vice-Cair Trip Lukens, and members Libby Brinton, Mike Broadhurst, Sean McCauley. Ed Sweeney and Bob O’Leary are all Republicans.

    Mike Broadhurst and Ed Sweeney happen to be active members of the TTRC and I’d be interested to know if these two voted in favor of St. David’s when the Planning Commission rejected St. David’s request to be relieved of building the sidewalk several months ago. …..

    The 7-2 split on the PC is more reflective of the long-standing bias in the apointment process than with individual members’ voting once on the PC.

    But given the fact that each “serves at the pleasure of the Board of Supervisors,” as Bob Lamina likes to say, reappointments during the next two years will be subject to the whims of the Gang of Four.

    Another area to keep a close eye on……because If the chair and vice-chair of the BOS are comfortable stating publicly that “only Democrats care about sidewalks” , imagine how out of touch they are on residents’ views of other important issues?

  4. If the BOS Gang of 4 think only Ds care about sidewalks; they ought to take a look at the postings to Patty’s blog. I bet dollars to donuts that the majority or maybe it’s 50/50 are Rs or independents.

    It’s too bad we have to be P.C. when writing on this matter; it makes my blood boil, and I want to call each of the 4 some very unflattering names.

  5. Moderate Girl
    Paul Olson very clearly told Bob O’Leary in his November lecture that any person in this township has the right to pick up the phone and call any supervisor any time. Perhpas we should take him up on the offer and call him — often.

  6. 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) ( 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?

    1. Thank you JudgeNJury. Just when I thought I had figured out all ways to approach the situation, we have something new. I’d love to to see this violation stick. I wonder if it’s possible if someone stood up the upcoming Board of Supervisor meeting and simply read the pertinent section of the Home Rule Charter (and asked for the escrow vote to be declared null and void) if it would be supported by Tom Hogan, Township solicitor. (Tom was MIA at the last Supervisor meeting and there had be a substitute from Lamb McErlane law firm). I’m thinking that maybe……………?? do we think that this might work as a first step, without taking it to the lawsuit level? Any thoughts?

  7. Quote: “Olson said he believes sidewalks belong around schools. But, he said, installing them throughout the township would then require the township to expend additional taxpayer dollars for sidewalk mantainence.”

    Ha! Maybe they should have thought of that when they put in how many millions of dollars in parks. How much additional maintenance cost did that add annually? — But parks & pretty sound barriers are top priority!!! Sidewalks are about safety while walking… who cares about safety?

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