Pattye Benson

Community Matters

No Need for Written Request to St. Davids Golf Club to Build Sidewalks . . . Just a phone call! What happens if you get the answering machine!

I attended the Board of Supervisors meeting last night; primarily to see if the chapter on sidewalks (St. Davids) would finally be closed. Each time I think that we have turned that corner; there is a new twist that slows the process.

Whether in the audience or watching from home, the ‘Resolution to adopt the Green Routes Pedestrian Network map’ was not without debate. Chairman Bob Lamina stated that they would divide the township into 3 parts for discussion – essentially the east, middle and the western areas. A torturous process, discussion began with a ‘street by street’ review of the map, starting with the middle section and moving next to the western areas of the township.

The idea behind this resolution was to add a map to the new sidewalk ordinance passed at last month’s BOS meeting. However, the difficulty and confusion among the supervisors was whether the map was to ‘only’ include roads that would be affected by the newly passed sidewalk ordinance, which in essence were areas of the township where possible commercial development could occur. Or was the map to contain all suggested sidewalks, trails, etc. that were part of the green routes network as recommended by the special sidewalk subcommittee.

The debate on which sidewalks to include on the map heightened as the discussion moved to the eastern part of the township, specifically Conestoga and Upper Gulph Roads. Supervisor (Supervisor Olson suggested that sidewalks on Conestoga and Upper Gulph Roads be totally removed from the map.) By the time the supervisors were at the point of voting on the resolution, I am certain many of us were confused as to what exactly was to be included on this ‘Green Routes Pedestrian Network’ map. I believe that in the end, the supervisors voted 4-3 in favor of the map as presented by the sidewalk subcommittee. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong). With much fanfare, Supervisors Richter, Olson and Lamina voted against the resolution. Richter used ‘storm water issues’ and ‘empty storefronts’ to explain her vote of opposition.

At this point in the meeting, with the map issue resolved, I expected that we would finally move past the sidewalk topic. However, no, much to the surprise of audience members (and some of the supervisors) Lamina made a new motion — for broader notification to the public when sidewalks were contained in future land development plans. There was concern from some audience members that this discussion was not on the agenda and needed further discussion. Supervisor John DiBuonaventuro questioned Lamina about the timing of the motion, suggesting that because the motion was formally written, that Lamina had sought legal counsel from the township solicitor in advance of the BOS meeting. Lamina explained that the idea had come to him at lunch, while “eating his bologna sandwich”! Supervisors DiBuonaventuro and Donahue voted against this motion, both believing further discussion was required. However, the motion did pass 5-2.

Surely, there could be nothing further to say on the topic of sidewalks in Tredyffrin Township. Not so fast. Stating that there was some ‘housecleaning’ needed, DiBuonaventuro offered a motion to remove the moratorium on the building of sidewalks at St. Davids Golf Club. The ‘hold’ dated back to the February 22, 2010 supervisors meeting. Now at this point, I was completely confused.

If you have been following Community Matters, you will note that after last month’s supervisors meeting, I sent a couple of emails to Mimi Gleason, our township manager (copied the BOS and Tom Hogan, township solicitor). I wanted to understand the next step in the St. Davids sidewalk saga and assumed that since the sidewalk ordinance had passed, the township staff now had the green light to move on enforcement of the sidewalks contained in any open land development agreements (including St. Davids). I had received the following response from Gleason, which I posted last week on Community Matters,

Before sending letters, the Township now will contact any of the property owners with approved plans that inquired about the need to install sidewalks. They will be informed that they no changes were made to the ordinance that changes anything for their plans. Enforcement proceedings will commence only if they refuse to install the sidewalks.

Based on Gleason’s email response to me, I was completely confused as to why DiBuonaventuro’s motion was necessary but OK; let’s tie up any loose ends.

However, the vote to move St. Davids Gold Club sidewalks along in the process did not come easily. Again, much discussion, primarily from Olson, who claimed that the township should take the $50,000 that St. Davids Golf Club, had offered not to build the sidewalks . . . further suggesting that St. Davids would instead give the $50K to the fire companies.

There was no way that I was going to let his remarks stand as anywhere close to accurate. For the public record last night, I stated that (1) St. Davids Golf Club had not offered to give $50K to the fire company and (2) there was never any written offer from St. Davids. The $50K ‘offer’ from St. Davids Golf Club not to build the sidewalks was contained in the 2009 BAWG report but was never substantiated! To perpetuate misinformation is simply wrong – bringing up the $50K offer from St. Davids was as if the township clock was turned back 20 months! Eventually DiBuonaventuro’s motion passed 6-1 (Olson the sole dissenting vote).

I then asked Gleason about the staff notification process to St. Davids re the sidewalks. Based on her earlier email to me, I was concerned and was of the opinion, that such a request to St. Davids Golf Club should be ‘in writing’. No, she explained, the staff would call St. Davids Golf Club and ask them to build the sidewalks. I said should not there be a paper trail of the notification – how does one track a phone call? Although she insisted that this was township procedure, I asked how was the public to know if the call was made. I suggested that no one could ever make a ‘right to know’ request over a telephone call. Bottom line . . . short of asking the question, “Did you phone St. Davids?” at every supervisors meeting, the public will not know. I asked what the timeline was for the phone call – I believe her response was, in the next 30 days.

It strikes me odd that after 20 months of St. Davids Golf Club sidewalk debate, the request for St. Davids to complete their 6-year-old land development agreement is not done in writing but with a phone call.

Wonder what happens if the township person calling St. Davids gets their answering machine . . . leave a message and assume that the right person gets it? Wow . . . is this really how local government works?

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  1. Unbelievable. What a crock! Could the BOS possibly contort itself further to prevent ‘poor’ St. Davids from honoring its land development contract? It’s beyond Keystone Cops and Kangaroo Court at this point. Such an embarrassment.

    1. Drive around St. Davids GC and try to tell us exactly what “land development” they did to become eligible for this treatment. And it’s not a true contract when only one side — the PC — had all the power and authority. This wasn’t someone coming into the township and acquiring or developing land. The land was acquired by St. Davids in 1925. Additional acreage (former St. Lukes School) adjoining the property was added in 1927. This became the site where VFMA is located, and when the original VFMA in Devon burned in 1929, St. Davids subdivided and sold the school portion to Milton Baker and the Academy.

      Ironically, St. Davids was originally on land leased on both sides of Rt. 30, and had an option for land that ultimately became Gulph Mills CC, but members rejected relocating there because it generally required automobiles to access.

      If you have any interest in the history, and understanding perhaps where the “thrifty” mentality of the club leadership comes from, search for it online.

      You will see that things happened in this community prior to the notion that “country clubs” are wealthy entities. It’s a good read. It’s an embarrassment that we have so little respect for history and roots.

      1. Very enlightening history lesson. Thank you for the interesting read! Sadly it has absolutely nothing to do with the matter at hand. In 2005, St. David’s signed a contract with Tredyffrin Township that allowed them to renovate, expand their facility and raze dozens of mature trees on Upper Gulph Road. Said contract stipulated that St. David’s would do certain things, one of them being putting in a path or walkway. If they’re so thrifty, why didn’t they negotiate with the PC at the time the sidewalk/walkway provision was put in their contract rather than just pretending that obligation didn’t exist? A contract is a contract, and as a homeowner I know I wouldn’t get away with that type of behavior. I renovated on an existing footprint and the Township’s inspector was diligent in making sure my contractor followed the letter of the law of the plans that were submitted. I have no problem with that.

        1. I am not aware of major tree removal. Do you have pictures from before? The fence has been there forever. Thanks.

        2. Sarah, I don’t have photos but remember it vividly as I always notice mature trees being taken down without a visually obvious reason. I bet some neighbors have “before” photos. I’m on the EAC and remember a Twp employee commenting at one of our meetings that St. David’s took down more trees than was spelled out in their development plan but the Twp “let it slide.”

        3. St. Davids has only taken down trees that are either diseased or related to the maintenance of the golf course. No health trees on the perimiter of the course have been removed unless they are ill. Certianly a golf course can remove trees to maintain the quality of the play.

          Mature hardwood trees will be taken down to accomodate the path on Upper Gulph Rd.

  2. Knowing TT, this does not surprise me at all. It’s oh so much easier to lie their way out of things. And then there is Olson…sounds to me like he has quite a VESTED interest in this

  3. A Supervisors Meeting is not a trial with rules of evidence where both sides need to cross examine people. The Township should follow normal procedures and allow resaonable time for all eight developers to build their sideswalks/paths. If normal procedures involve telephonic communications so be it.

    Each of the developers will need time to solict then evaluate bids. The township will also need to approve the plans before construction begins. Don’t expect sidewalks next week.

    If the sidewalks aren’t built and the property owners/developers aren’t cooperative the Township should take approprate enforcement action at this time.

    1. Unless we want the entire meeting scripted, I think we need to be a tad more relaxed about people thinking out loud. When it all goes too smoothly, you can bet all the decisions were made in Ex. Sessions or over the phone one person at a time.
      As for Paul O — I believe he simply thinks the township would be better off with $50K than with a paved surface adjoining St. Davids. What he was proposing has already been ruled against in a law suit in a nearby county — so his vested interest is that he hates to see money wasted. I think the money offer always was something that St. Davids was proposing — and a “thrifty” person like Olson is likely to always go for the money. WHY would anyone assume his interest is vested? Do you think someone would pay him off? This is a municipal government….no need to try to sniff out conspiracy.

  4. kathie jackson what are these vested interests you speak about? Throwing accusations around doesn’t mean they are true. I still go back to the origins of this.. How did ST davids come to agreeing to put these sidewalks in? Why were they in the agreement? I still don’t know. Maybe someone here can bring me up to speed

    1. In August 2005 the township pasted the master development plan which included sidewalks with all new developments in the township. In Sept 2005 St. Davids received permission from the Planning Commission to build their new clubhouse on the south side of Upper Gulph Rd if they included a sidewalk on the north side of the road. (St. Davids owns separate parcels on both sides of Upper Gulph) (Since the club was replacing the existing, similar clubhouse and not actually “developing” one could argue that that it should have been a zoning issue and not a matter for the Planning Commission, but I digress)

      The approval for the side walk on the north side of Upper Gulph was agreed to in part because there is an existing sidewalk through Mt. Pleasant about a ¼ mile away on the north side of the road. Since then the club has appealed to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors to amend the development agreement but was unsuccessful due to previously well documented reasons.

      After the club’s appeals were denied, the Board of Supervisors “suspended” any enforcement action to compel the club to build the sidewalk/path until the conclusion of the sub committee’s work which is now complete.

      The sidewalk in front of St. Davids truly is a “sidewalk to nowhere”, but I expect the club will proceed with building the sidewalk to put the issue to rest.

      It is a shame this is the end result. The Township could use the money offered by St. Davids to build sidewalks where they are really needed. But that ability was not included in the ordinance passed two weeks ago.

  5. Accusations of vested interest without a shred of proof.

    The guy isn’t even a member of St. Davids for god’s sake.

    If anyone were actually watching this with a clear eye instead of their own political agendas, they would figure it out pretty easily…Olson doesn’t think the twp should force sidewalks to be built. He made it pretty clear in his letter to the paper that he supports sidewalks in common sense areas, but not everywhere in a suburban township that was NEVER designed to be a walk from place-to-place community.

    If people wanted to live in walkable communities, they should have bought in those areas…instead, they push for a retro-fit that is incredibly difficult to make work in some places.

  6. Olson does not want sidewalks at St. Davids that is clear. But just because you don’t want something doesn’t mean that you get to break the law to get your way. Michele Kickline told Olson at more than one board meeting that it was ‘illegal’ to transfer money from sidewalks to the fire company. Kickline is an attorney so I would think she knows what she is talking about. But it’s as if he doesn’t listen or doesn’t like what he hears because he keeps saying the same thing. Even if you dont want sidewalks at St. Davids you cannot take money and move it somewhere else. And we know there was never any offer of the money so why does Olson keep acting like there was. From the West, you may be right that Olson is not a St. Davids member but he sure is fighting hard for them??

    1. I don’t disagree with the point about a proposed contribution of the money for other uses and that the Solicitor (leaving Kichline out) told him that is not allowed.

      I think, however, that St. Davids has become the touchstone for the bigger issue — which is why it keeps coming up.

      Olson uses it as an example of his not wanting sidewalks/opposing making residents (any resident) build them when they don’t make sense; others use it as an example of wanting sidewalks. That’s why it seems Olson is fighting so hard for SDGC and, on the flip side, others against SDGC. But it really isn’t about SDGC.

      Unfortunately, the broader issue has been hi-jacked by the smaller example and it has clouded the entire debate.

      1. Thanks for the clear response FTW. I am appalled that people try to assess nefarious motive here where the only obvious motive is someone who has been involved in township government for 30 years or so who has seen litigation and threats of ligitation co-opt almost anything.

        We need to stop pretending about the $50K, or whatever it is. The St. Davids offer HAS been made, whether or not there is any official reference. The board at St. Davids researched options and made the offer — but it’s clearly not “official” because there was no way to make it legal. Clearly why it was referenced in the BAWG report. So I don’t think Olson is trying to break the law folks — he’s trying not to let “rules” substitute for judgment. It’s the way it used to work — and while some call that “lack of vision” — I sadly call it “what made Tredyffrin special.”
        As to the land development — let’s face it. St. Davids was forced to agree because they needed approvals to build a new clubhouse. Not develop a new parcel. Not acquire new land. Just replace an old clubhouse. THAT’s the agenda we all have to understand. The hot new effort is being green — walkable communities. Wander out to Glen Mills — fabulous walkable communities in the West Chester school district. Lots of houses for sale. Community pools. Good schools. Maybe even an EIT?

        1. To be very clear — there was NO $50K offer from St. Davids Golf Club to Tredyffrin Township. No one has publically come forward from St. Davids Golf Club to say that any such offer ever existed.

          Although the BAWG report stated that there was a $50K offer, I specifically asked Mimi Gleason, members of the Board of Supervisors & Tom Colman who chaired the BAWG committee in December 2009 — where was this ‘offer’ which was contained in the BAWG report. And there was no offer to be found. Period. If there had been an offer, perhaps the discussion could have advanced but again no offer from St. Davids. It is possible, and fairly likely, given the fact that Paul Olson brings the offer up continuosly, that he personally received some kind of personal offer but it never surfaced with the other supervisors, the township manager, or anyone else to my knowledge. St. Davids signed the contract with the township for the clubhouse which included the path (yes it is asphalt not concrete). They came back to the Planning Commission 4 or 5 times asking to be relieved of the obligation and were turned down. Then it December 2009, this mysterious offer for $50K appeared in the BAWG report but no one could find any paperwork, emails, phone calls, etc. and 20 months later here we are.

          I attend every BOS meeting and as the ‘Panhandle Resident’ says, Michelle Kichline has told Paul Olson several times that it is not legal to take $50K from St. Davids (whether there was an offer or not) and give it to the fire company. So…even if you want to say that Olson’s offer from St. Davids was ‘real’ you can’t take it from a land development agreement and just move the money to the fire company. I reponded to Mr. Olson at this week’s BOS meeting re his remarks about St. Davids, I stated that there was ” (1) no offer from St. Davids and that (2) you can’t take money from a land development agreement for sidewalks and give it to the fire company”. Mr. Olson did not dispute or disagree with my statement.

          You are right — this is bigger than sidewalks at St. Davids.

  7. I do not dispute the legal conclusions — but the solicitor ruled on the “offer” — it was never formally tendered because there is no legal provision under which it could be. And the “giving it to the fire company” is simply a way someone suggested they could divert the “donation” since you clearly cannot give money TO the township in exchange for relief. Talk to the Pres. of St. Davids. Or anyone in charge there during this time period. They are all aware of the efforts to find an alternative to paving the road. Again — this is not money from a land development agreement. This is trying to use judgement and not blind adherence to a “land development” agreement when no land was ever re-developed. St. Davids has been around since 1897 I believe. They had their CENTENNIAL in 1997. No new land. No development. They simply tore down a club house, built a new one, and added a maintenance shed. This is where government’s reach (especially the Planning Commission) may be a bit extensive. But I agree — there is no provision in the law or the rule of law that allows relief to be granted because for whatever reason, the PC never saw fit to grant the relief that SDGC requested. I don’t pretend to understand the logic, but I think it’s fair to say that the insistence this asphalt path be built is rather over the top for a section of road that connects very little. And if it was an important section, WHY is’t it a sidewalk?

    1. You really don’t get it! For a supervisor to suggest ‘diverting’ money from a land development project to the fire company is WRONG & ILLEGAL.

      Olson didn’t say it once, he has said it repeatedly at BOS meetings. We all GET IT that Olson doesn’t want sidewalks but that doesn’t mean you can take money from St. Davids and transfer it to the fire company. Sure we all make mistakes — maybe Olson didn’t initially know that you couldn’t divert money but when he was told ‘no’ the first time months ago, that should have been the end of it. But no, over and over he repeats the same thing.

      As for why its an asphalt path — the PC was trying to make it less invasive (less trees to come down) for St. Davids.

      This was 20 months of wasted energy to arrive at the same result that was there in December 2009. A contract is a contract – St. Davids signed the contract years ago & now is time to complete the project.

      1. “You really don’t get it! For a supervisor to suggest ‘diverting’ money from a land development project to the fire company is WRONG & ILLEGAL. ” Ouch.

        Again, I believe Mr. Olson is thinking out loud, and bemoaning the reality of a litigious and restrictive world. He’s only one vote. He cannot by law control the agenda without others agreeing with him. If this should have been passed and moved long ago, he didn’t stop it alone.

        A supervisor doesn’t exist to make suggestions. Formal motions and votes are all that are of record. I get it. I get it all. I have said I recognize there is no legal provision for them to pay a fee instead of build the sidewalk. I recognize that Paul Olson is stubborn — but certainly not illegal. The St. Davids plan was approved in 2005 – 7, right? Haven’t there been a few elections since then?

        Not sure why in recognizing that this is NOT just about SDGC that we are so focused on this one project. “The Citizens” have spoken? Really. The appointed PC spoke, and the citizens have not in my understanding had a single referendum on any of this. Now — this upcoming election will be sort of a referendum, if you can learn anything real from the campaigns and not just empty promises with constituent pieces. They say it at the national level — this is class warfare — but I think people are SO angry nowadays that it’s class and age warfare everywhere.

        If we have arrived at the same place, then the system worked, right? (Though where the decision originated is still a big quesiton to me) And absent litigation, is a land development agreement really a “contract”? I’m asking — I don’t know.

        1. Yes, the citizens have spoken. As a result of St. Davids/BAWG report, a special sidewalk subcommittee was appointed by the BOS to review all sidewalks, bike trails, etc. in the township. The sidewalk committee was made of 9 members, 3 supervisors (Kichline, Richter & Donahue) and 3 members of the Planning Commission and 3 members of the Sidewalks, Trails & Paths committee. This committee held monthly meetings (which I attended), conducted public meetings to gather resident input and had a survey (which over 1,000 people responded to). People throughout the township weighed in and the overwhelming majority of the people wanted sidewalks (including the panhandle/St. Davids area residents). So Yes, I would say that the citizens have spoken.

          “If we have arrived at the same place, then the system worked, right?” It is so interesting that other people who have land development agreements with the township, residents, developers, etc. don’t have this specialized treatment for 20 months to do something that that was contracted to do!? St. Davids Golf Club should not have been treated any differently than Mr. Smith or ABC Contracting — there was a signed agreement, just complete the work. I know that when I had a conservatory added to my house 10 years ago, I could not have a certificate of occupancy until ALL the required work was completed. I certainly didn’t think that I had an option to just ignore the inspector — what if everyone did that?

          John Petersen’s lawsuit from early 2010 had to do with this matter and was not filed because he was led to believe by the township solicitor that St. Davids would complete the work.

          And yes, once again it is ILLEGAL to divert funds from a land development project to the fire company. As for elections — Mr. Olson is up for re-election in a few weeks. The start of his current term predates the BAWG report & the mysterious $50K offer.

  8. I agree completely, Pattye – the last year and a half has been about Mr. Lamina and Mr. Olson creating every obstacle they could think of to circumvent a binding contract. Thank goodness we have four supervisors who respect the law and the wishes of Tredyffrin citizens.

  9. Pattye,

    Just out of curiosity: what aspect of the St. David renovation plan required it to go before the Planning Commission?


    Your Favorite Robot

  10. For goodness sakes, not only is what Mr. Olson keeps pushing illegal, and against the wishes of two thirds of the residents who took the time to respond to the survey and public meetings conducted by the sidewalk subcommittee, but it smacks of obsession.

    He keeps calling the proposed St. Davids sidewalk a “sidewalk to nowhere” when it could be one of many connecting sections, that, when ultimately filled in, will allow residents to walk to his favorite project – the library! And to the center of Wayne, or Cabrini College.

    On the topic of the library – Mr. Olson was happy to spend $6 million a few years back – $3 million of township funds and $3 million raised – to build a large addition. The township is now in the midst of a $1.5 million project because the $ 6 million neglected to fix the roof and HVAC system in the old part of the library.

    So Mr. Olson is happy to have the Township pay $4.5 million to enhance the physical plant of the library, but he refuses to allow paths or sidewalks to be built to allow people to safely walk to it. And he voted for the budget that cut funds so the library is no longer open seven days a week and hours have been cut. Why is his allegiance to St. Davids so much more important than patrons of the library he claims to value?

    In the two years the Board of Supervisors has been rehashing the effort to spare St. David’s, not much else has gotten done in this Township. Sitting through the last three public hearings, all the while listening to the meter run on the cost of the court stenographer, made it obvious how misguided and dysfunctional the whole Board has become under the leadership of Lamina and Olson.

    As for St. David’s, beyond the illegality of Olson’s moves, where is any sense of honor? St. David’s agreed to a deal in 2005. No one forced them to agree to the terms, but agree they did. And they did what the deal allowed them to do – build their buildings.

    So if they have any sense of honor, they will KEEP THEIR WORD and fulfill the contract they willingly and knowingly entered into. You can read all you want about the noble history of St. David’s, but they made a deal – it is time for them to keep it and spare this whole township another minute of all this obfuscation.

    As for Olson – he is simply out of touch. He’s been in office so long that he totally misses the growth in population and the increase in the volume of traffic that creates safety problems. And the desire of families to live healthier lifestyles including safe walking, biking and the sense of community that walking to places like schools, stores, libraries engender. He has exceeded the term limit of relevance.

    1. I don’t put a lot of credence in these studies — either the one you quote or the one Mr. Olson has quoted.

      Surveys that are not performed by scientific firms are pretty worthless AND you can make the results of any survey be what you wish depending on how you write it.

  11. So thrifty Mr. Olson was trying to save St. Davids the difference between the cost of a paved path (approximately $125,000) and a $50,000 “donation” to whatever cause would gain public support. Just because he hates to see money wasted anywhere at any time by anyone. At least as he defines waste.
    I would consider even 500 feet of safe passage on a busy road to be worthwhile. And i predict that sometime in the future, a majority of residents will insist on sidewalks or paths along high-traffic main roads as a basic amenity. Or they will choose to live in other communities that provide these amenities. And Tredyffrin will lose some of its luster as an attractive place to live and work.

    What’s more, it’s perfectly reasonable to say that surveys responded to by people with the strongest opinions are of no value…. if you don’t agree with the results!

    I remember that “informal” survey Mr. Olson took almost two years ago. He asked an undetermined number of people living along Upper Gulph Rd. if they wanted a sidewalk on their property – with the added liability and responsibility to keep it clear of ice and snow, and “people” walking very close to their homes, in some cases. As I recall, that result carried a lot of weight with Mr. Olson and his cronies.

    Some of you believe the addition of a major structure costing over $8 million, I believe – should not be subject to a land development ordinance?

    For those who consider proportionality, consider the years of resistance and the number of trips SDGC has made to the Planning Commission for a waiver on a $100k-125k improvement on an $8 million 7,000 square foot deal. Pathetic, really.

    Waivers are reasonable, aren’t they….except when one objects to a particular development plan (say a mosque….) and wants that same ordinance enforced to discourage the plan.

    Hypocrisy. Ideological blinders. The usual talking points
    from the faithful.

    1. Kate —

      you say “What’s more, it’s perfectly reasonable to say that surveys responded to by people with the strongest opinions are of no value…. if you don’t agree with the results!”

      If you read what I wrote, I said I don’t believe either of the studies. You even put in your response proof of my point that the studies can be made to come out however you want when you denigrate Mr. Olson’s.

      You also go on to surmise that your position will be the one that the people want in the future.

      The only one here with ideological blinders is you.

  12. This community is an angry and growingly partisan place. And it’s not about opinion — it’s about talking points.
    Keep it up. What made Tredyffrin attractive is dependent on sidewalks?….when all kinds of “new developments” are filled with them. If people moving here wanted to move to places with sidewalks and all the walk-to amenities you want, they would have plenty of choices. People move here for the schools. End of debate. And with all this acrimony and crap in our lives, the “no spend” people are attacking schools next. We only seem to want to spend money on things that have grants associated with it. WHere does that money come from?
    So mock Paul Olson for suggesting it’s a waste of money to put an asphalt path along a road….but likewise demand more accountability for the millage for schools. Totally opposite mentality coming to a head. And it’s ALL ideology. Othewise, homeowners would not be exempted from having to put sidewalks in their neighborhoods. Kids don’t even ride bikes anymore because Mommy and Daddy helicopter in their lives. This is a 2011 verison of Kids Count….where they wanted “smaller, neighborhood schools” and a second high school. Move to a new community and design what you want. Stop asking me to pay to retrofit my community.

  13. Sarah, the whole point is that no one is asking YOU to pay for anything. That is why the cost is born by developers, or through grants that would go to some other community if we didn’t apply for them here.

    And if it is so important to you to live in an area with no sidewalks, even on dangerous, busy streets, maybe you are the one who should move to someplace more rural.

    Tredyffrin is no longer the semi-rural place it was when Olson was elected – we now have gobs of traffic! And office parks, and 202, 422, 30, 276 all intersecting here. Our population is much larger.

    People move here for the good schools, but if kids can’t get to schools and libraries safely, parents will begin to move to places where they can. Then you can complain about how houses don’t sell or only sell for much lower prices.

    It isn’t all ideology – it is about getting funding without raising taxes to pay for amenities that make this a place that businesses and families want to move to. thus keeping our taxes low and our property values high.

  14. And yet our population grows despite our “semi rural” amenities.
    I appreciate your thoughts Nona. I believe email does not convey tone very well, and sometimes these discussions escalate into debates where no winner ever need be declared. The point I want you to remember is that upwards of 70% of our population does not have children in schools, and we are nickel and diming the schools in anticipation of a big showdown over taxes. Meanwhile regardless of your belief that grants would go someplace else if we didn’t apply for them, those grants are tax dollars coming from your pocket, whether or not they go through a federal filter. And since we are not universally planning to require sidewalks, but only on the occasional development (I still do not believe the work at St. Davids should have triggered any common area improvements), the local municipality will end up with substantial responsibility to build if not fund them, and the residents will have to shovel/maintain them. I appreciate the changes in Tredyffrin, but I believe that wehn you move to a fully developed community, the interest in retrofitting it is not visionary, but in fact somewhat selfish. I’m willing to risk the market influence of no sidewalks way more than I am willing to watch the bare knuckled fighting people are gearing up for in the next school board negotiation. That will change our community forever as long as people keep complaining that our tax rate — exceptionally low compared to the cost of the house — is a burden. That’s negative retrofitting and it troubles me.

  15. sarah, your parenthetical comments trigger my questions

    Why was there a deal in the first place to put a sidewalk in, in exchange for improvements to the club.. Why did ST davids agree, ( did they have to to get the deal done, and if so this seems very heavy handed) and since they did, why don’t they just do it?

    1. Land development plans include improvements such as sidewalks, curbing, street lighting, etc. The walkway at St. Davids Golf Club was a component of the land development agreement that they signed with the township 6 years ago.

    2. I believe the new clubhouse at St. Davids represented an increase in square footage, and likewise an increase in impervious coverage. Based on that, it probably required land development discussions. I absolutely think it was heavy handed to require typical developer requirements for approval to move forward. As I said above, St. Davids has owned the land for 75+ years. If we ignore homeowner improvements as to land development requirements (how many housing lots have you seen clear cut of all trees without any ramifications to the builder? — certainly not requiring planting new trees elsewhere, or putting in sidewalks), then it was just opportunitistic to get it done. Having said that, I too agree that the bell has rung — time to go to class. St. Davids should just get it done and behind them. And maybe 5 years from now when there is something to connect it to, we’ll have a network to the library for all those rental properties and college students in the area as well as taxpayers.

      1. Wow – Sarah, are you implying that renters/college students (all of whom spend lots of money in our township) shouldn’t make use of our libraries? And aren’t their landlords paying property taxes – doesn’t that entitle anyone who leases a rental property full access to township facilities?

        1. This response officially validates the inane discourse that blogs have become. Where did I imply that renters are not entitled (that word scares me too)? DO you know anyone that lives in that part of the township that does not drive? Spend lots of money in our township? Full access?

          Wow. That’s the right word. Wow.

          To Pattye B — the sandbox is too crowded for me. I will take my leave. Thanks for ALL your efforts.

    1. Aren’t people who pay taxes “entitled” to the services supported by the money – that is the basis of the social contract to which we all subscribe, isn’t it?

  16. If Olson had children walking to and from schools and libraries on heavily trafficked Upper Gulph and Conestoga Roads, he wouldn’t be so opposed to sidewalks. This guy has to GO. He’s raised his kids already and apparently has no concerns about the safety of our township’s children. He’s more concerned about his cronies at the expensive golf club most Tredyffrin working families can’t afford.

  17. now now Amy, I don’t know paul but I really think you saying he doesnt care about the safety of the children is a bit over the top. Opinions may differ, of course. about the need for sidewalks, etc.. By the way, I am not sure the class envy thing works about St davids. Not one of the more expensive clubs around. Still my hope is that you and your family have enough resources to at least have the choice to join or not, this or other clubs.

  18. Now Amy — there is class warfare. Before you suggest that Mr. Olson wants kids to walk on dangerous roads, why don’t you drive to Mt. Pleasant and note where the infamous path will start and stop. It’s MILES before the library….MILES. And there are no schools anywhere in sight, The only sidewalk approaching the library stops short of the library and you can cut through the field. The sidewalks there on that corner are a presumably left over from the day when the Strafford School was a TE school and the Tredyffrin Library was on that property in an old building. There was also a convenience store on the land that is across the street from the gas station. So somehow during Mr. Olson’s tenure, the township has somehow grown and progressed.
    I don’t think he is concerned at all about cronies at a golf club. In fact, I think he’s concerned about where the money is possibly going to come from to construct the miles of sidewalk (and drive the route — where the easements are going to modify the entire route) reqquired for the St. Davids path to connect to. …growth for its own sake is hardly strategic.

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