Pattye Benson

Community Matters

BAWG

Understanding Township Planning Commission Authority

So that everyone is on the same page, here is the description of the township’s Planning Commission and its authority. It seems fairly clear that the Planning Commission is the last word on land development in the township.

From the Tredyffrin Township website:

“Tredyffrin’s Planning Commission is a volunteer group of nine residents appointed by the Board of Supervisors. Each member is appointed to a four-year term. The Board of Supervisors has authorized the Planning Commission to prepare, update and oversee implementation of the Comprehensive Plan, Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance and Zoning Ordinance and to review land development and subdivision applications. Land development decisions by the Planning Commission are final, while the Board of Supervisors has final approval authority on all subdivision applications.”

Did the BAWG committee consult the Planning Commissioners before including the St. Davids Golf Club’s $50K sidewalk offer in their report?

The Plot Thickens . . .

I continue to focus on the mystery $50K offer from St. Davids Golf Club which appears in the recently released BAWG report. Details and bio information concerning one of the BAWG members has surfaced which could begin to answer some of my questions. John Petersen speaks directly to this subject in his recent posting on Tredyffrin Township Political Notebook.

I understand that the budget suggestions made by the BAWG committee to the Board of Supervisors are just that suggestions. However, by making the BAWG report public on the township website, its contents are then available as public record (and public scrutiny). If the mission of the BAWG was to look at all available revenue resources, than one might assume that the $50K offer from St. Davids Golf Club is an available revenue resource. But in my way of thinking, the St. Davids Golf Club sidewalk offer is not an available revenue resource. The Planning Commission’s decision to include the sidewalk requirement was part of the contractual agreement between the township and St. Davids Golf Club for their building project. Although previous attempts were made by St. Davids representatives for ‘relief’ of this land development requirement, as of now the requirement for the sidewalks still stands. This is not negotiable and therefore can not be represented by the BAWG report as an ‘available revenue resource’.

Countdown to Board of Supervisor Meeting. . . Looking for Answers

Full Disclosure Request

Where are you going to be Monday night at 7:30 PM? I suggest that you either attend Tredyffrin Twp’s Board of Supervisors meeting or tune in from home.

There are questions swirling in regards to the recently released BAWG report and the suggestion of a $50K offer from St. Davids Golf Club in regards to the sidewalk construction. St. Davids Golf Club has been in default since July 2008 to build the sidewalks and now mysteriously this $50K offer from the country club appears in the BAWG report. Since BAWG released its report, I have been trying to get the following questions answered, but to date I have come up short.

  • Where did the $50K St. Davids Golf Club offer come from?
  • Was this a written offer from St. Davids Golf Club Board of Directors and was it made directly to the BAWG committee?
  • Was the Township Solicitor, Township Manager and members of the Board of Supervisors advised of the St. Davids Golf Club offer (prior to BAWG’s publication of its report)?
  • If this is a written offer, what are the conditions and timeline for its acceptance? Who has the authority to accept the offer?
  • Was this offer and the details discussed with the Planning Commission or Sidewalks, Trail & Paths (STAP) Committee prior to appearing in the BAWG report?
  • Are any of the members of the BAWG committee also members of St. Davids Golf Club?
  • Are any of the members of the Board of Supervisor also members of St. Davids Golf Club?

Prior to Monday night’s Board of Supervisor meeting (and BAWG presentation), I suggest that you review the timeline (and Planning Commission minutes) that I put together for an earlier blog entry. Click here for St. Davids Golf Club Sidewalks – Is it to Nowhere?

It is my understanding the Tom Colman, Chairman of the BAWG committee will make a public presentation on the report and here’s hoping that there will be time for the public’s questions and answers. This is one taxpayer with questions, and so far . . . no answers.

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?

St. Davids Sidewalk Required or Not?

Whatever happened to the sidewalks that St. Davids Golf Club was required to install with their land development project? Tredyffrin’s Planning Commission told St. Davids that they must install the sidewalks as initially required with the land development plans. I believe that the Township is still holding escrow money not be released until the sidewalks are installed. Wonder how many years ago the St. Davids plan passed? Today I read in the BAWG report that instead of installing the sidewalks there is the suggestion that we accept $50,000 from St. Davids and waive the requirement. It is one thing to make suggestions about revenue sources and future budgets, but are we now allowing the BAWG to change past township decisions? Why the offer of $50,000 – is that St. Davids cost for the sidewalks? Does this decision not impact the Planning Commission’s ability to have their decisions upheld? If the Board of Supervisors agree to this BAWG suggestion, what does that say about future Planning Commission decisions?

Community Matters © 2021 Frontier Theme