Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Eight Candidates for Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors and Ten Candidates for T/E School Board – Where do they stand on important community issues? Know before you VOTE – Responses to Community Matters questions

In two weeks, local voters we will go to the polls to select four supervisors for Tredyffrin Township and five T/E School Board directors. People bring different backgrounds and qualifications to the job of supervisor and school board director and as voters; we need to make the right choices on Election Day.

To assist voters in the decision-making process, it is important for the public to know the candidates and where they stand on important community issues. To aid in the process, last Thursday I sent four questions to the eight supervisor candidates and four questions to the ten school board candidates. The questions were not shared in advance and all candidates received the questions at the same time. Completely voluntary, the eighteen candidates were given the following direction when responding:

Questions were chosen based on what I believe are important issues and included zoning/ordinance changes, fire and EMS funding, public accountability, fiscal responsibility and resident involvement. Candidates were invited to respond to the four questions with the following directions:

Your responses should NOT be a political campaign plug and no campaign websites are to be included. Your response (word doc format) should NOT exceed 150 words per questions and is due no later than Sunday, October 20. Your responses will not be edited and will be provided to the public via Community Matters.

Candidate participation was completely voluntary and all responses will appear on Community Matters in alphabetical order (by last name) beginning the week of October 21. I sincerely appreciate the candidates taking the time from their busy campaign schedules to respond; it looks like all supervisor and school board candidates are participating. On a personal note, I admit that the management of eighteen candidates and their individual responses to four questions has been challenging but believe that this is an important exercise!

The process for the candidate questions and their responses is as follows – starting tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 22) with the supervisor candidates, I will post one question daily on Community Matters with the eight candidate responses. Once the four supervisor questions and responses are posted in four days, I will post one question daily with responses from the ten school board candidates.

In preparation of the supervisor questions (starting on Tuesday, Oct. 22), here is a list of the candidates running for Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors (listed in alphabetical order).

Julie Gosse (D) *
Raffi Terzian (R)

Mark Freed (D) *
Sharon Humble (D)
Gina Mazzulla (R)
Liz Mercogliano (R)

K. S. Bhaskar (D)
Peter DiLullo (R)

* Currently serving on the Board of Supervisors, Mark Freed is an incumbent seeking re-election. Julie Gosse was appointed as interim supervisor in August to fill the unexpired term of Paul Olson and is seeking election to a regular 4-year term.

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    1. Thank you — hoping that the Q&A from supervisor and school board candidates will help voters in the selection process of their elected officials.

  1. I would have liked to see someone say that the biggest zoning issue is the impact on school enrollment and overcrowding. Some referenced it. Projects are getting green lighted with variances with impact statements that incredulously forecast 15-20 kids enrolling in schools when an extra zero is needed. The burden on the schools far exceeds the $$ from the development. These variances should not be granted.

  2. Dear Parent–Thank you for taking the time to read the responses carefully. I agree with you completely that not just construction projects, but also what I refer to as “oversized” construction projects–those that are so big for the parcel upon which they are to be built that they need waivers from the Planning Commission (an unelected volunteer board appointed by Supervisors for 4 year terms, unaccountable to the actual residents who are the voters) so they can forego planting trees, build thinner sidewalks, be taller, and take other actions that would otherwise render them non-compliant–are getting the green light. The focus on the impact of these oversized developments on school enrollment and overcrowding has been repeatedly been stated at Planning Commission (PC) meetings by Tredyffrin residents. From my own experience helping lead my neighborhood’s opposition to ECHO Realty and Bozzuto Development’s construction of a 250-unit apartment building just north of the Contention Lane Bridge, in the shopping center where the HHGregg store and Golf Galaxy used to be located (next to McKenzie Brew House), I can tell you this: the PC is not consistent with its regard for what impact a development will have on the school district. For example, at the PC’s June 21, 2018 meeting, one of the agenda matters was the ECHO/Bozzuto Development. Bozzuta’s spokesman, Peter Sikora, presented that the units are targeted toward millennials, young professionals, and empty nesters. At that time, they planned on building 60% (150 units) of 1-bedroom units; and 40% (100 units) of 2-bedroom units). Yet, he said their analysis showed that this 250-unit building would add only fifteen (15) school-aged children to the Township population. I think it’s more realistic to consider each extra bedroom will house one (1) child; thus, the 100 2-bedroom units will actually add at least 100 school-aged children to Township population. Several residents voiced concerns about this project’s impact on the school district, but PC member Rich Parker commented to the residents that the applicant has every right to build a development if the applicant’s project is approved, without regard to impact on T/ESD–that’s the school district’s issue. However, regarding other developments, such as Assisted Living Facilities (ALF’s) projects that go before the PC, it is considered a “plus” for the project that it would be producing additional school tax revenues without adding more children to T/ESD. At the PC meeting on 05/16/2019 regarding the ECHO/Bozzuto development, the distribution of types of apartments was modified: now 57% (143 units) would be 1-bedroom units; 37% (93 units) would be 2-bedroom units; and 6% (14 units) would be 3-bedroom units. Again, counting each extra bedroom in addition to the first one as representing one child’s room, now there will be 93 + 28 = 121 children added to Tredyffrin’s population, and likely T/ESD’s population as well. Residents again spoke in opposition to the development, and one of the big issues was impact on T/ESD. But in this case, the PC is declining to consider this oversized development project’s impact on T/ESD. This example is just one of many where Tredyffrin’s residents are frustrated that their concerns expressed to the PC seem to fall on deaf ears and make no difference on how the PC will rule. Indeed, last Thursday I waited 5 hours at the PC’s meeting–from 7:00 pm until 11:58 pm until I got my turn at the microphone as the third resident to express opposition to the ECHO/Bozzuto project in its present form. But the Tredyffrin staff started turning out lights and retracted the projector screen with the map that I was referencing while I was speaking, with the PC Chairman just nodding, saying “thank you,” “thank you,” as in, “our minds are already made up.” And then the PC summarily approved the waivers requested. I’ve also spoken with many Tredyffrin residents facing oversized developments in their neighborhoods, and no one is happy. I think there is widespread, prevailing sentiment that we can’t even get to the impacts of these residential developments on our school systems, stormwater infrastructure, police & fire company resources, etc. until we first get a Planning Commission that places residents’ concerns and other impacts at a higher priority level. That is the reason that revocation of the PC’s power over such matters, and return of final decision-making authority to the Board of Supervisors, who *are* accountable to the resident voters of Tredyffrin, is my top priority.

  3. Hi Pattye,

    Thank-you so much for doing this. I know it’s a lot of time consuming hard work and a lot of people like me appreciate it very much.

    I know you just came off the house tour and have many other projects that you are involved with and I understand that adding Easttown Township Board of Supervisor Candidates to the mix here involves more time and energy but I was wondering if our Candidates could be included in this process.

    We have some VERY crucial, important issues going on here that will not only impact Easttown but will havre huge impact on Tredyffrin residents as well; from the proposed Devereaux Migrant children issue to commercial, residential and business developments throughout the township.


    1. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your request but as I said at the onset, it has been challenging to manage the emails/responses of 18 candidates (8 Tredyffrin Twp supervisor candidates and 10 T/E School Board candidates). It is really impossible for me to take on any more with 2 weeks until Election Day. Because I attend Tredyffrin Supervisor meetings, Planning Commission meetings and Zoning Hearing Board meeting, I have first hand knowledge on the issues here but do not have nearly has much background for Easttown Twp. The good news is that the questions and responses from T/E School Board candidates includes Easttown and Tredyffrin. Easttown resident Kate Murphy is seeking re-election and her responses to the questions will be included in upcoming blog posts.

      Today’s question to the supervisor candidates is about fire & emergency medical funding — and impacts Easttown residents as well as Tredyffrin residents. It would be great to have Easttown supervisor candidates weigh in on the question!

  4. Dear Easttowner-

    I want to make sure that you are aware of all the School Board Candidates, in addition to my School Board colleague, Kate Murphy, who are running for School Board for Region III.
    Region III includes all of Easttown and E-1 of Tredyffrin whose residents vote at Our Lady of Assumption. Kate Murphy is running against Sue Tiedi for a 4 year term. I, Mary Garrett Itin, was appointed to the School Board in July to fill a temporary appointment left by a vacancy through Dec 2nd, 2019. I am running for the remainder of that 2 year term, and I am running against Nick Lee.
    You will have the opportunity to read all of our responses when they are posted.

    1. Yes, all ten T/E School Board candidates and eight Tredyffrin Township supervisor candidates are participating in the Q&A. The school board candidate responses will begin when the supervisor candidate questions/responses are completed. The school board candidate process will be identical to the supervisor candidate with one question a day.

    2. Mary,

      Yes I am aware of all of the School Board Candidates. If you reread my comment, my inquiry was about the Easttown Board of Supervisor Candidates.

      I know who you are and I know who all the School Board Candidates are except for Nick Lee.

      I attend committee meetings and understand very well how things work. I was very surprised and disappointed at the last Policy Committee meeting when all School Board Directors except Ed Sweeney and Kate Murphy
      voted against creating a Literacy Committee for a very smart, educated, and involved group of parents who have been patiently asking for one for two years.

      Why doesn’t the Administration want Parents to have a Literacy Committee? Why did you vote against parents and in favor of the Administration in the parents quest for a Literacy Committee?

      I note that you cried pretty long and hard right before voting no, telling parents how you support them and understand them because of your work and background. If that is true, why did you vote against them? Why did you cry before voting against them? If you were confident in your decision, why did you cry?

      How can parents and tax payers know you have their best interests in mind? Do you trust that the Administration has our best interests in mind and will you go along with them on everything they ask for?

      1. One of the questions that I posed to all school board candidates actually has to do with participation from members of the community. I think residents will find the candidate responses on this topic very interesting.

      2. Mary,

        I think it’s important to note that you’re silent now and not answering my questions.

        I’ve been going to meetings and paying attention for a very long time. I have never seen you attend one meeting. All of a sudden, you’re on the Board, filling in for Heather Ward who resigned for other opportunities.

        Just like there’s no crying in baseball, there’s no crying on the School Board. There is nothing wrong with having strong feelings. I have strong feelings too but I try to match my strong feelings with appropriate words that express my opinion without letting my emotions get in the way.

        Emotional outbursts, especially tears make people feel uncomfortable, so the display shifts attention away from the issue at hand and onto the feelings of the person experiencing and emoting the strong feelings. I don’t know you but I choose to believe that you weren’t intentionally trying to manipulate citizens into feeling sorry for you because you were voting against them. I don’t feel sorry for you because you voted against your constituency, but emotions have influence and can confuse people and influence processes.

        When a Director votes no, especially on Parent driven initiatives, I believe they should explain the reason for their no vote with their words that explain the no vote, rather than by expressing themselves with their emotions along with words that describe the opposite on why they voted no. Through tears, your words said you voted no because you support parents. Makes no sense.

        Vote yes on parent driven initiatives and feel good! Vote no, explain why and accept the backlash. You can’t have your cake and eat it too when on the School Board.

  5. Pattye,

    I saw this on the latest edition of SAVVYMAINLINE.

    Meet – and question – T/E School Board candidates at Tredyffrin Public Library, Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. Sponsored by BUILD T/E, the forum is open to all Tredyffrin/Easttown voters.

    Do you know anything about it? Thanks

  6. Ms. Humble’s “analysis” and 121 more students is based on a ridiculous assumption – that every two or three bedroom apartment will yield one District student for any second or third bedroom. In fact there are many uses for more than one bedroom that would not add students to the TESD – a den, a home office, an exercise room, a guest bedroom, storage, a child who is younger than kindergarten, a child that attends private school, a child older than high school.

    Scary thinking for a potential Supervisor …

    1. Objective,

      True, but let’s look at reality. Chesterbrook. How many new townhomes were built in the old parking lot? The word spread around town was that the 2 and 3 bedroom units were being built for empty nesters… kids. OK, maybe a room for exercise, maybe a room for guests.

      As they went up, clear they were selling to young parents with 2+ kids. Wilson Park is teeming with kids ages 10 and under all walking to and from the new townhouses. Can’t imagine what it did to near by Schools.

      The Richter tract has a model home with 5 bedrooms priced at $960,000. What retiree is going to buy a $960,000 home with 5 bedrooms?

      Multi family units are built for whoever will buy them and that includes parents with young kids who don’t want to bother with maintaining yards and like to walk to town.

  7. I may not agree with Mrs. Humble’s policies, but her recent post makes sense to me.

    First, look back at Parkview Townhouses and how many students the developer said it would add to our school district….
    Take a look at the article in Savvy Mainline this summer regarding the Picket Post developer…said only 26 students would be added…where did he get that number?….no analysis. Just relying on TE being gullible.
    Let’s not forget the 91 carriage homes being squeezed in by the Friends/Reitcher tract.

    From our view point, it’s apparent the politicians (real estate lawyers, and others) and the developers just want to “shoe horn” as many houses they can get away with, with no concern regarding our kids being over crowed in our schools. The greed is palpable! (Analyze that)

  8. There are legitimate concerns about development and its impact on the TESD. However, the Planning Commission’s and Board of Supervisor’s decisions must be done based on facts and reasonable projections, not Ms. Humble’s unsupported assertions.

    As for other residential developments, they will admittedly add students to the schools. Using the Parkview townhouses as an example, the idea that every student is additional is unsupported – I would guess some of those families either already lived in the District or if they moved into the District, many would have bought or rented elsewhere. Also, bear in mind the considerable School tax revenue – I’ve heard those townhouses average about $8000/year. Times 125 townhouses is about $1mm annually to the TESD.

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