Pattye Benson

Community Matters

What Does the EIT Tax Study Group and Sidewalks at St. Davids Have in Common?

Tredyffrin Township’s Board of Supervisors meeting is tonight, 7:30 PM at the township building. The T/E School Board’s Finance Committee meeting is also tonight, 7:30 PM at the school administration building. Looking at the agendas for both meetings, there are topics of interest.

According to the agenda for the Finance Committee meeting, the nine members of the EIT Tax Study Group are to be named at tonight’s meeting. There were at least 150 applications received from residents by the June 15 deadline. The selection criteria for members of the tax study group was agreed upon by school board members attending last week’s Public Information committee meeting. It is the intention of the school board that those residents chosen to serve on the tax study group will represent a cross-section of Easttown and Tredyffrin residents.

In addition to the EIT Tax Study Group on tonight’s agenda, I noted with interested that the Finance Committee will present the custodial outsourcing bid results. It is understood that the recently passed 2011-12 school budget includes continued custodial service provided by the non-instructional union, TENIG. For public information, it is important that the school district release the results of the custodial outsourcing bid process. Going forward, it may not be economically possible for TESD to continue to retain TENIG for custodial services and the bid results will offer a starting point for future contract considerations. I am glad that the school board decided to release the outsourcing bid results.

The long-awaited public hearing on the proposed sidewalk amendment and sidewalk fund ordinance was scheduled for tonight’s Board of Supervisors meeting. The homepage of the township’s website still lists the sidewalk public hearing; however, the public hearing is off tonight’s agenda and has been postponed until July 18. I am not sure why the public hearing has been postponed . . . the 2010 sidewalk subcommittee presented their results to the supervisors several months ago, the planning commissioners have completed their proposed sidewalk ordinance, and the supervisors have received the Planning Commission’s sidewalk ordinance recommendations. So why postpone the public hearing?

Any discussion of sidewalks in Tredyffrin brings up the elephant in the room . . . and that would be the sidewalks at St. Davids Golf Club (actually it’s not a sidewalk, but a walkway!). How many years ago was the original land development agreement signed between Tredyffrin Township and St. Davids signed? Answer: 6 years; the agreement was signed in 2005. How many times did St. Davids Golf Club go the Planning Commission seeking relief from building the sidewalks and how many times was their request denied? I think the answer is 4 requests and 4 times denied.

In December 2009, the Board of Supervisors voted to name a yearlong sidewalk subcommittee to review the sidewalks, trails and paths throughout the township and to make recommendations for where they should be in the township. After a year of meetings, the subcommittee presented their report earlier this year; and the sidewalk at St. Davids Golf Club was included on their list. Next, the supervisors instructed the planning commissioners to review the sidewalk ordinance and make a recommendation for an amendment to include a ‘Sidewalk Fund.’ The Planning Commission complied – the work is now completed and their recommended ordinance amendment now rests with the supervisors.

This takes us down ‘Memory Lane’ but brings us back to the starting point, which is where do we stand on the sidewalk at St. Davids Golf Club? To be clear, the existing land development agreement between the township and St. Davids is separate and apart from any proposed township sidewalk amendment ordinance. For the last eighteen months, the St. Davids sidewalk has remained an open issue and I believe that the time has come for the township to enforce their land development agreement with St. Davids.

Here’s hoping that the Board of Supervisors agree and that the St. Davids sidewalk issue can be put to rest, once and for all . . . at tonight’s meeting. The township’s elected officials need to enforce the 6-year old land development agreement with St. Davids and require the construction of the walkway.

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  1. Why do we need to have a sidewalk on that portion of Upper Gulph Road?

    It does not connect any residential area with any commercial district or public place.

    It will only cover a small portion of the road. So even if one wanted to use it to walk from the East side of the Golf Course to the West side, that person would still have to walk about a mile on non-sidedwalked road before even reaching the public library.

    I have driven by that portion of Upper Gulph Road hundreds of times in the last 15 years and have never once seen a single person walking along it. So again, why do we need it?

    No one who lives within the vicinity of the Golf Course seems to want the sidewalk. In fact, the only advocates of the sidewalk appear to be people who live all the way over in Paoli, and their only motivation for consistently revisiting the issue seems to be to use it as a political issue against the Supervisors.

    So yeah I got it, the Planning Commission thought a sidewalk would be nice and they shook down the country club into agreeing to put one in exchange for the right to make improvements to their own property. But apart from that fact, why do we need a sidewalk at that location?

    BTW: I don’t play golf and do not belong to St. Davids, and thus have no dog in the fight. I just want to know why a sidewalk is needed in a place where it will almost never be used.

    1. So I can see that you have absolutely no idea why a sidewalk is needed on that section of Upper Gulf Road either.

      All you can do is say is that because other organizations placed sidewalks along their property lines one should be placed by the Golf Course. Hmmmm, doesn’t sound like much of a justification.

      I know for a fact that the Planning Commission never conducted a study to determine the necessity of a sidewalk at that location. I also know for a fact that local residents never requested for one to be placed there.

      So why don’t you, who lives 5 miles from that portion of Upper Gulf Road, stop clamoring for a sidewalk that is not needed.

      This is definitely a case of the Emperor not wearing clothes.

      1. After the war when residential building started to boom in Tredyffrin, sidewalks were not considered necessary – also there was no true zoning. We were still an agricultural community. Through the years, demographics have changed and with that residents want walkable communities. The STAP committee was formed to put the survey results into a workable form. [The Comp Plan (2009) & SALDO (2006) both contain the resulting ordinance provisions & requirements for sidewalks & paths.] Per the Comp Plan timetable, the current ordinance has been under review. The revised ordinance was on Monday night’s BoS meeting. Guess the BoS members neglected to read both the old & new versions of the ordinance to see the changes recommended by the PC & staff. The PC does not take its responsibilities lightly; it is governed by the Municipalities Planning Code.

        As far as current sidewalks/paths in existence, take a look at the paths in Wilson Park linking with C’brook’s path system. Now the UP facility links to the hotel & the C’brook path system including the business park. If you look at the sidewalk map, I think you would be surprised. All this is part of the Greenworks Network & eventually will link with other municipalities throughout the county.

  2. Mr. Roboto – Respectfully, you got it wrong. To answer your post:
    1. Why do we need to have a sidewalk on that portion of Upper Gulph Road?
    A. Because it was part of St. David’s development agreement and in not providing it, they are violating that agreement
    B. It was put in the development agreement becase a survey of residents showed a large majority wanted a more walkable community.
    C. To have a more walkable community, you have to start somewhere. Sometimes it starts with small sidewalks and walkways that later connect to a larger network of walkways. A great way to start this process is for our Planning Commission to include it as a provision of new development, especially in a case like St. Davids where a bunch of mature trees were ripped out, for the sidewalk/walkway that never happened.

    2. No one who lives within the vicinity of the Golf Course seems to want the sidewalk.
    A: Actually, not true. A BOS meeting over the last year where this issue was discussed showed that lots of Mt. Pleasant neighborhood residents would LOVE more ways to walk to the library, shopping, etc.

    3. I have driven by that portion of Upper Gulph Road hundreds of times in the last 15 years and have never once seen a single person walking along it.
    A: Maybe that’s because without a sidewalk or walkway, it is currently unsafe. I’ve noticed a large increase in the number of walkers and joggers on the new sidewalks on Conestoga Road, which before the “Safe Routes to Schools,” was not a particularly safe pedestrian area. If you build it, people (especially kids) will get off their duffs and ride their bikes and walk more!

  3. I think the Greening of Paoli is dominating too much policy. I said it elsewhere — why is the goal to make Paoli look like Ardmore, when in fact Ardmore is decaying in favor of Suburban Square.

    The reason this sidewalk issue won’t go away is because it’s political now. NO one cares about who would use the sidewalk — only that the sidewalk was a condition of land development approval for St. Davids. I think the reason no one walks there, however, is because without a sidewalk, it’s not safe.

    So the bottom line for me is whether the sidewalk makes good public policy. If the supervisors in the majority truly do not believe there should be a sidewalk there, I agree with Pattye. Just stand up and say so. Stop deferring and passing the buck.

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