Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Chester County Court of Common Pleas

Catalyst Loses Appeal at Chester County Court of Common Pleas – Says NO to Digital Billboards in Tredyffrin Township!

Community Matters!

In a huge win for its residents, Chester County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark Tunnell upheld the decision of Tredyffrin Township Zoning Hearing Board and denied Catalyst Outdoor (Tredyffrin Outdoor LLC) its appeal for digital billboards.

Catalyst had sought to install a digital billboard at the intersection of Lancaster Avenue and Rt. 252 in Paoli (Clockworks building). After its application received a denial decision by Tredyffrin Township Zoning Hearing Board, Catalyst filed an appeal nearly two years ago in November 2019.

And then yesterday, we received great news from Chester County Court of Common Pleas, upholding the ZHB decision and denying Catalyst its appeal.  Judge Tunnell’s decision reads in part,

“ … Appellant Tredyffrin Outdoor, LLC filed this appeal from the Decision of the Zoning Hearing Board (“Board” or “Appellee”) of Tredyffrin Township (“Township”), which affirmed the denial of Appellant’s permit application for an advertising sign and rejected its validity challenge to the” Township’s zoning ordinance. Upon review of the record, and for the reasons set forth herein, the court finds no error in the Board’s Decision. Consequently, Appellant’s present appeal is denied….”

I know that Catalyst has the right to appeal Judge Tunnell’s decision but (she says with fingers-crossed), here’s hoping that this latest decision sends a sufficiently loud anti-digital billboard message! In addition, the Common Pleas decision should encourage and give hope to other municipalities doing battle with Catalyst over digital billboards!

A great day in Tredyffrin Township! The “Ban Digital Billboards” campaign in Tredyffrin Township united residents like no other issue in recent years … the Chester County Court of Common Pleas decision is a testament that community matters!

Thank you to Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors and Zoning Hearing Board, for hearing our voices!

TE School District Business Manager Pleads Guilty to DUI, Sentencing Set for January

The Tredyffrin Easttown School District business manager has pled guilty to driving under the influence.

Chester County court documents say 51-year-old Arthur McDonnell of Chester Springs was charged with a DUI and other traffic violations, including careless driving, failure to notify police of accident, injury or death, failure to notify police of accident or damage to vehicle and high alcohol level stemming from an incident on July 13, 2014 in West Vincent Township, Chester County.

Arthur McDonnell is the current business manager for Tredyffrin Easttown School District.

On September 25, two of the charges against McDonnell – failure to notify police of accident, injury or death and failure to notify police of accident or damage to vehicle were withdrawn; the case was waived for Lower Court and moved to Chester County Court of Common Pleas. According to court documents, Chester County Deputy District Attorney Carlos Alberto Barraza and Assistant District Attorney Andrew Davis are representing the Commonwealth in the case.

McDonnell was formally arraigned on October 16 before Chester County Court of Pleas Judge Jacqueline Cody. He was scheduled to appear in Court of Common Pleas in West Chester at 9:30 AM on December 15.

On December 15, with Judge Cody presiding, McDonnell entered a guilty plea to the most serious charge, PA statute 75§ 3802 (b) DUI High Rate Alcohol (BAC .10 to .16) and the careless driving charge was withdrawn.

Sentencing (IPP consideration*) in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v Arthur McDonnell is scheduled for January 22, 2015, 1:30 PM at the Chester County Court of Common Pleas, Courtroom 7, with Judge Jacqueline Cody presiding.

As a concerned taxpayer, I have followed McDonnell’s case for five months, since his arrest in July. Because of McDonnell’s important financial position with the TE School District, I sent an email to each of the TE School Board directors on December 1 to voice my concerns. To date, there has been no response to my email or public statement from the School Board regarding McDonnell’s arrest, subsequent guilty plea or upcoming sentencing.

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*IPP Intermediate Punishment Program

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