Board of Supervisors 2/22/10 Meeting . . . St. Davids Golf Club Motion

BOS Meeting 2–22-10 Part I: St. Davids Golf Club Motion.  Here is the YouTube video clip of Monday’s St. Davids motion made by Lamina, seconded by Olson.

Below is the motion made at Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors’ meeting, February 22, 2010 in regards to the St. Davids Golf Club escrow and the development of the subcommittee.  The exact wording of the St. Davids motion was taken from the Tredyffrin Township website, www.tredyffrin.org; the motion is as follows:

I hereby move that the Board’s motion of January 25 regarding St. David’s be reversed and rescinded; and do hereby further resolve that the Board of Supervisor’s form a joint Subcommittee with the Planning Commission and the STAP to begin a process to reexamine where the community wants and needs sidewalks, with a goal that this Board may adopt more formal policies and procedures to provide additional guidelines relative to design, development and construction of the sidewalks and paths in the Township atlarge. At a minimum, this re-assessment should address both the timing, prioritization, funding sources, the conditions upon which the planning commission may from time-totime grant relief from our land development ordinance, and recommend any other changes the prospective new policy might require. While the subcommittee process take place, neither the Board or the Township will be formally moving to compel St. David’s to build the path, until the new policies are adopted or the Township has put in place designs and funding for sidewalks or paths that would connect to the proposed St. David’s pathway. The Subcommittee in carrying out its re-assessment will seek input and participation from the Public and the Committee’s involved which necessarily will include the Planning Commission and the STAP.

Motion made by Lamina; Second by Olson

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37 Responses

  1. Pattye, thanks for making the motion transparent.

    Pattye, having put a lot of thought and concern into her commentary, asked some important questions about this motion in her earlier post.

    Having the exact wording before us should help us consider her questions.

    Pattye: What kind of motion was this?

    Confusing, clever, obtuse,… you can pick your words, but even the careful listeners in the audience that evening were saying “huh?”

    It was sad, with all this talk of transparency in government, that citizens were forced to the microphone to BEG the chairman to please at least re-read the whole motion before it was voted. Which he did not do.

    Was there only one copy of the motion among 7 supervisors?

    Why do we have an elaborate audiovisual system sitting idle when the text could easily have been available to the community? (Contrast with the professionalism of the later Great Valley Assn. survey report where a summary was projected for all to see.)

    In my mind, the motion was artful bait and switch.

    Pattye: Was this just another way to protect St. Davids Golf Club from honoring their land development contract?

    Without a doubt. The “subcommittee” process is supposed to wrap up “within the year.” M e a n w h i l e, the township will not be “formally moving to compel St. David’s to build the path until the new policies are adopted….”

    Pattye: What about the rights of the Planning Commission who had consistently voted to enforce St. Davids land development commitment?

    Those responsibilities are clearly under siege. They are being “re-examined” and “reassessed.”

    Pattye: What would this motion do for the precedent for developer/contractors not to comply with their contractual commitments?

    I think this is an interesting question for attorneys, and may likely depend on the financial resources available to a developer/contractor.

    My guess it that “Joe’s Hogie Shop” will likely have to put in his planned sidewalk.

    But if you are a bigger developer with the legal wherewithal, it would seem the field has opened up for you. Why not take on the township? …Or just be like St. Davids and simply not comply.

    Pattye: Would this ‘sidewalk’ committee be part of the existing approved Comprehensive Plan?

    To quote the chairman, the Comprehensive Plan was a “visionary document.”

    It was just a beautiful balloon which we will slowly deflate. Our township now has some Patrons ready to impose their own vision of a more conscripted future for our community.

    What is the point of creating a new “sub-committee,” cherry-picked from members of existing committees? I call that a “meeting.” Which is a meeting I presume has already taken place behind closed doors.

  2. I was glad to see the BOS rescinded their motion of 1/25/10 to release $25,000 from the certificate of credit.

    What I don’t understand is why (?) the 2nd portion of the motion needed to be there. When I read the minutes from the 1/25/10 mtg it seems that the issue of sidewalks in this area has already been studied.

    Robert Whalen, 265 Upper Gulph Road, and Chairman of the Planning Commission said
    he was opposed to the motion. He said people do use the road, including his family, and his neighbors at 239, 265, 253, 295, 223 and 282 Upper Gulph are in favor of a 4’ wide walking trail on the north side of Upper Gulph. He said it may take many years, but with proper vision, people may be able to walk to schools and parks in the area. He said other heavily traveled roads such as Chesterbrook Boulevard have 4’ sidewalks. He said the Planning Commission had voted three times on this issue and the Board is coming back tonight and overruling them. Six properties with plan approval may be affected by this decision, as well as future developers. He asked the Board to give the Planning Commission an opportunity to come back with similar ordinances regarding sidewalks from other townships in an attempt to find an alternative course.

    As I looked over minutes from prior BOS meetings, I began to see a pattern emerge regarding releasing St. Davids, sidewalks & Mr. Olson.

    12/21/09 BOS minutes:

    Mrs. DiFilippo gave an update on the sub-committee meeting regarding the BAWG’s
    recommendation on the St. Davids issue. The offer of $50,000 from St. Davids to go into the General Fund cannot be accepted. Mr. Hogan cited legal reasons. The subcommittee considered the idea of permitting applicants to set aside funds in a separate sidewalk fund, in lieu of construction in certain circumstances, which is permissible. The Planning Commission reviewed the idea and agreed they would discuss the further possibility of sidewalk funding from future applicants where sidewalks may be required, but voted 9-0 against applying that retroactively.

    12/7/09 BOS minutes:

    Mrs. DiFilippo said another suggestion by the BAWG was to accept the $50,000 offer
    from St. David’s Golf Club in lieu of putting in sidewalks. She said to the best of her
    knowledge, there was no written offer by St. David’s. Instead it was a verbal offer
    communicated by Paul Olson, and she couldn’t support such an offer. There is a Land
    Development Agreement which obligates St. David’s to make the improvements. The decision lies with the Planning Commission, not the Board of Supervisors. The sub-committee of Supervisors and Planning Commission members will meet with Ms. Gleason and Mr. Hogan to discuss the topic further

    As a P.S.
    I found it interesting that Mr. Olson did not publicly & personally apologize for his actions in the St. Davids Golf Club motion. A bit odd, given he was the architect of the motion.

    ~ Disillusioned in Tredyffrin

  3. This blog seems to have an undercurrent tone of taking back the government from the elected politicians.

    Let’s start by scrapping all the planned sidewalk, paths, and trails by all these committees because there is no doubt that the majority of township residents do not want to pay the cost and shoulder the liability of them UNLESS someone else pays and takes the liability.

    Everyone supports them but no one wants to pay for them directly.

    Why does the Mount Pleasant neighborhood need additional sidewalks? Where is anyone walking to? If you are not familiar with the area, you can get a street level view of the entire area at the following website – http://www.vpike.com/ Just type in 845 Radnor Road, Wayne, PA, 19087. There is one small sidewalk on the north side of Upper Gulph east of Radnor Road and ending at Mt. Pleasant Avenue with no other sidewalks anywhere within a large radius! I see from a map on the Tredyffrin.org website that shows sidewalk priorities. Why is it a priority to have a sidewalk that goes to Cabrini College?

    The ordinance that requires the new construction to include sidewalk construction is crazy. Only if there is an existing sidewalk should this be required.

    The most disturbing thing from the last BOS meeting was a comment by a resident (paraphrased here) who said ‘the township allowed St. David’s to renovate their clubhouse’ – the permit process is good in a sense that it requires construction to be in code but it has morphed into a pay to play system where the township is holding up its own residents.

    • Dave:

      You say, “there is no doubt that the majority of township residents do not want to pay the cost and shoulder the liability of them UNLESS someone else pays and takes the liability.” I absolutely agree and raised this point earlier. For example, looking at the Patriots Path map, the Cedar Hollow trail serves an isolated sparsely populated section in the extreme northwest of the Township, that has open space – should all of the taxpayers pay for that neighborhood’s “personal exercise path”?

      As for the sidewalks surrounding the schools, that is one of the very few areas of Tredyffrin where one could make a strong case for sidewalks due to the heavy, existing pedestrian traffic, especially students. In fact, I think a reasonable number of residents would have been willing to pay for them with Township tax dollars, The Federal grant will pay for them. For all projects, in my view, the Township should evaluate these projects as if we have to pay for them, i.e., if a sidewalk project does not provide enough value to the residents that we’re willing to pay for it, then it should not be built, regardless of Federal/state/county money.

      As for Upper Gulph, you raise excellent points. Last night, I drove past the area that has sidewalks now, in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. The area from Henry Ave to Radnor Road has not been shoveled from two weeks ago – the area from Henry to the First Baptist Church has largely been shoveled, although I saw at least one home, for sale, that had not cleared the snow. I guarantee you nobody wants a sidewalk in front of their house this winter! Also, you raise the issue of Cabrini students walking on Upper Gulph. My understanding is that the Mt. Pleasant community is not exactly trying to encourage more student renters and I’m not sure the students would walk if there was a sidewalk.

    • Hi Dave,

      I’ll help you out here…

      We walk to Acme, K-Mart, CVS, Rite Aid, Game Stop the shops and movie theatre in Wayne, the Library is a big one for me. You will also see kids who’ve missed the school bus walking down Upper Gulph towards Conestoga.

      Sometimes I’ll take the kids at walk over to the McKaig Nature Center off of Croton Road and let them play in the creek and the woods.

      Sometimes I walk around the block to visit with neighbors and friends.

      Sometimes I walk over to the track at VFMA&C.

      Sometimes I just walk because I’m stressed out and I need the exercise.

      Sometimes I just walk for the fun of it!

      As for Cabrini, we currently have about 20 houses in Mt. Pleasant that are rented to college students. Many of these students attend Cabrini. They walk back and forth to classes daily. They also have friends who live on campus and who walk over to hang out.

      We also have the potential for many more housing units and by the look of things, many of these houses are going to be rented out to college students resulting in even more pedestrian traffic. It’s a well known fact that nearby colleges and universities do not have enough on-campus housing and it’s areas like Mt. Pleasant that are filling this need.

      • “You will also see kids who’ve missed the school bus walking down Upper Gulph towards Conestoga.”

        you cant be serious about this. conestoga is 4 miles away from mt. pleasant!

        if someone wants to attract cabrini students to rent from them, then maybe they should pay the majority of the expense for the sidewalks as they are the ones who will benefit from that situation.

        “Sometimes I walk over to the track at VFMA&C.”
        im sorry, but isnt there already a sidewalk that runs along upper gulph in front of mt pleasant up to radnor street road?

  4. I find it embarrassing that Tredyffrin was granted $2.8 million in Federal Stimulus money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to build sidewalks near schools and libraries. And here we are still discussing whether or not we want them.

    BTW – I’d like to take a look at the project application. I’m sure we stated that we really need and want sidewalks in this document. I bet it refers to that visionary document, our comprehensive plan.

    http://www.recovery.pa.gov

    *****Pennsylvanians deserve to know that their Recovery Act tax dollars are being spent responsibly. You can report to the Office of Inspector General any suspected fraud, waste, and abuse involving individuals, agencies or businesses receiving stimulus funds. *****

    Click here to file an online complaint.

    Call toll-free:
    877-888-7927 (In central PA: 717-772-2644)

    Mail to:
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    Executive House, 3rd Floor
    101 South Second Street
    Harrisburg, PA 17101-2524

    • Christine:

      Interesting comment – are you embarrassed that Tredyffrin got the grant or that “we are still discussing whether or not we want them”?

  5. Are you guys really that close minded? Or, and honestly, no offense intended here as it is just an observation, but are you just that old? Do you not see the value that having the sidewalks and Patriots path would add to your properties? One of this things that this Township sorely lacks is the ability, or even motivation, for younger professional families to live here. You need to have this generational turnover or risk becoming stagnant and incestuous. One way to encourage younger families is by having things like bike paths and sidewalks that allow people to do something as simple as walk outside without fear of getting hit by a car or truck.

    It seems that the majority of people that truly fight these actions are the elderly, whom a majority of (MIND YOU NOT ALL) would not use. They’re like Olson and would rather just sit in his house and drive to the Country Club.

    Look at the nice residential areas popping up in Montgomery County along the Schuykill River Trail. You think that they don’t use that as a selling point? I can tell you for a fact that they do. And I can tell you it works too, just by looking at all the younger families and couples you see living in them.

    Think about the big picture people and not just how little of an outdoors person you are. Because guess what, we’ll be paying for it one way or another. whether its up front for the sidewalks and paths. Or on the back end, for the escalating insurance costs for pedestrians being struck by cars on unsafe roads, and general increase in unhealthy lifestyles because of the lack of access to things like paths for jogging and bike-riding. One way or another, we’re gonna pay for it.

    • hey bill,
      lack of access to paths and bike riding paths? there are dozens of existing bike trails in the area already. if someone wants to bike, walk, or jog, cant they just go to valley forge park? or what about wilson park? i mean, isn’t that what it was made for?

      do you currently have a sidewalk on your property? if a sidewalk adds so much to your property value, why don’t people just install them themselves?

      do you really think that in this economy, we should be building a bridge over swedesford road? sure, when the economy is kicking full steam and receipts are high, i’m all for it. but right now?

      it would probably be cheaper to run a township shuttle bus to the various parks then to blanket the township with sidewalks.

      what about the insurance costs for homeowners? not to mention upkeep and maintenance. who pays for that?

    • I don’t know Bill, I moved here 25 years ago and we didn’t have too many bike paths then. I moved here to start a family in a great place, with Wayne as a safe place to walk, eat, shop. Paths galore in Valley Forge Park that we made plenty of use of when our kids were small. Moved here for the schools, and the sanity of local government, a peaceful coexistance among all factions who seemingly got along.
      As Radnor’s problems recently rose to the surface, I was even more pleased with being in Tredyffrin. Now it seems the acrimony is just like there, with the the candidates/party that lost the election screeming and hollering and just making a whole new Radnor out of Tred. Frankly I think they, our republican officials and the petulant democrats all stink.
      maybe the angry loudmouths should just watch and listen, and see what happens. You know, I am not necessarily a fan of some on the board, and I am disappointed in their actions. But I can help but be relieved to not have to hear Diflicieantonio(sp) ‘s voice, feel his arrogance and watch him in action. I have an uncle like him. So there you have it. That’s the nature of politics, and change comes with the ballot.

      Seems difficult to put sidewalks in communities after the communities are built. maybe we should sue our forefathers for lack of foresightedness? We have gotten along without them til now. Maybe it is a green conspiracy to take the cars off the street, after all, as global warming is a big important problem. Social engineering in the name of increasing property values.. now isn’t that ingenious of our egalitarian liberal friends. Bah humbug. Let’s all get back to work, if you can find a job that is.
      thanks for the ramble.

      • As a Republican, I find your subtle/and not so partisan buffoonery embarassing. Way to address the politics and not the issue.

        You’re right sue our forefathers for not having the foresight to anticipate high traffic volumes and population increase conditions and anticipating sidewalks. So since they weren’t included in the original layout of the township and neighborhoods, we shouldn’t improve the safety of the citizenry??? Is that your logic?

        You bring up DeFliciantonio (who was most definitely a horse’s ass), yet you would vote for Lamina over Drucker in the State race. Your blindness to logic in favor of politics is pathetic.

      • Oh, and just because it’s always been that way is the grasping excuse of those who don’t know how to re-think situations.

        Here’s a good motto for Tredyffrin going with your logic:

        “Tredyffrin Township, over 300 years of history, unimpeded by progress.”

        • Bill L,
          In one of your posts you actually mentioned how hard it was to add sidewalks after the fact. But too your eloquent point, sometimes it is good to be impeded by progress.

          Go put a sidewalk in front of your house.
          Who started all this sidewalk stuff? Is this all we have to talk about?
          Now, I am going to posthumously sue our antecedents. Shame on them. Bet I can get a multitude of lawyers to take this one on contingency?

        • subtle/and not so partisan buffonery embarrassing? Way to address the politics and not the issue? Well, which did I do? Address politics or not be partisan. Do you proofread what you write? I still don’t believe you are a Republican. I just think the sidewalk issue is dumb. I must be in the anti safety block.
          Boofenery indeed, neighbor.

          • I apologize. It was meant to say subtle and not so subtle. Your constant name calling of Democrats. You put many read-between-the-line digs in your posts as well.

            You can believe I’m a Republican or not. I don’t really care either way, but I’ve been a registered Republican for the past 29 years. Just because you can’t believe I’m not as blindly biased as you doesn’t make me any less Conservative.

            • Hi Bill, ok peace. First its buffoonery, now blindly biased. Can’t you see how I would think you were a Democrat? You don’t know me and have all these opinions about me.

              So here is a question that brings us back to the issue.. do you know if Paul Olsen is a member of SDGC? Or at least, what is his relationship to SDCG. It seems awful clumsy of these board members to try such obvious chicanery here. I’m just trying to sort out why this is happening. I’m as old as you, so I think I’m not naive, but just want info. thanks.

              • Mr. Bruce Parkinson, who spoke in support of St. Davids Golf Club at the Feb. 22 supervisors’ meeting, is a Republican committeeman for the precinct voting at the Tredyffrin Library. Mr. Parkinson has held various positions on the St. Davids board, including vice-president. Mr. Parkinson is also a member of the township Sidewalk, Trails and Paths advisory committee.

  6. Bill L.:

    I guess I must be “that old”, at 52. You see, I hold dear such quaint ideas as property rights, fiscal responsibility/sanity, and limited government. I would like our community to establish priorities that consider all of the Township’s residents and taxpayers, including an evaluation of costs/benefits, rather than write blank checks for trails and sidewalks. Also, I suggest we consider those who will have to shovel those sidewalks in front of their homes or whose privacy will be lost by those trails.

    To your point about the appeal of other communities, I can’t speak for what others, including “young professional families” desire. In fact, one of the beauties/curses of this community is our limited turnover and development, which limits in-migration. This Township is, and hopefully will remain, valued for its exceptional schools, involved and educated (although maybe not as physically active as you desire) citizenry, strong community values, and reasonable taxes. If that makes us “stagnant and incestuous” then guilty as charged!

  7. Bill L
    Any community wants a balance of residents — driving out the “elderly” with taxes is a good way to increase your taxes even further — as the “elderly” actually PAY taxes. Young families use taxes, as regardless of what you pay, you use the services (schools for example — it takes about 30 years of taxes on your phone to pay for one child going K-12 through the system). In other words, people that move here only to use the services (schools, parks, trails) don’t begin to pay for the cost of those services. It’s sticking around — and maybe even wanting to preserve the reasons you moved here (which in the case of the people whose children are finished school was to move out from the city — those “elderly” people built all the schools you are now attending.)

    A few years ago there was a group of parents calling themselves Kids Count. They wanted the community to build smaller schools in neighborhoods, wanted more than one high school. Post-Coumbine, they were seeking a smaller town feel.

    Well — this community is already built. The notion that we could build smaller schools when we already had full enrollment in “our schools” was hardly worth considering apparently. We can change Tredyffrin, but not dramatically and not overnight. As houses are sold, the transfer taxes will return and those funds will allow for the largesse of funding a newer kind of community. But those houses should sell when people are ready to move — not because they cannot afford to live in the community they built. Driving out taxpayers in favor of tax users is not good public policy.

  8. Correction please :) 30 years of taxes ON YOUR HOME (i wrote on your phone???)

  9. Question to all posting here: does “limited government” mean all the power in the hands of fewer people? And doing away with important checks and balances….like the Planning Commission for example? or the STAP? Because it seems that’s what it means to our BOS.

    Let’s remember three other things:
    1. Re: St. David’s, those sidewalks would not cost the taxpayers a dime. They were part of SDGC’s development agreement. And they may not link directly to anything yet, but you have to start somewhere.

    2. Re: Patriot’s Path, I understand neighbor’s privacy concerns. But the trails will run through former railbeds – NOT THEIR LAND. IT IS PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY which belongs to us all. Said neighbors currently have access to it, the rest of us do not. It’s the same argument as the private beach battles that have been going on in some exclusive NJ shore towns. The ocean belongs to us all.

    3. In allowing the Patriot’s Path to be included in the Comprehensive Plan, we did not COMMIT TO SPEND A DIME. It simply means this project has a name and preliminary plans so as to be “shovel ready” when and if, at some unknown time in the future, public or private funding becomes available. Our economy will not be in the dumps forever, and WHY would we want to miss a chance to be poised to connect a trail, on an existing right-of-way, with our east/west neighboring townships? That would be short-sighted indeed.

  10. Kathie:

    That is not what “limited government” means. It means that the government is not there to provide for citizens’ every need AND want, paid for by the taxpayers.

    As for the Patriots Path, look at the map that’s on the Tredyffrin website. There are parks, open space, school fields, and trails throughout the Township, particularly in the section north of 202 and west of Valley Forge Road. The residents in that area have abundant options for biking, hiking, etc. In my view, the proposed trails are a “nice-to-have” and all of the taxpayers of the Township should not be expected to pay for them . To your suggestion that planning the Patriots Path won’t cost a dime (3.), you might look at the numbers for the sidewalks surrounding CHS and TEMS (which by the way, I think make good sense). The planning and permitting for that project cost $642,000+.

    • Mike – I am fully aware of what limited government is supposed to mean. I was pointing out that the phrase is being perverted…what we’re witnessing is a power grab.

      I did not say the Patriot’s Path won’t cost a dime. I said adding it to the Comprehensive Plan at this time did not cost us a dime, and we have not yet committed to spend a dime on it. It is a plan, that is all. It will take years, probably a decade, for any of it to move forward, if it ever does. For now it is only a plan.

      • My question is (and I don’t know the answer), after looking at the $642k for the TEMS?CHS sidewalks planning, when does the meter start running, i.e. when does the Patriots Path 2planning start to cost money?

    • So, I guess kids only walk around schools and not in our neighborhoods? Using your logic of supporting sidewalks in schools neighborhoods but not the rest of the neighborhoods, one would think that is the case.

      • Not exactly, Bill. In my view the BENEFIT to many residents, including students that walk to school because they are close and they justifiably don’t have bus service, justify the COST. The area surrounding these schools is probably the “most walked” area of the Township and it does not currently have sidewalks. On the other extreme, not sure we can justify or afford sidewalks in every neighborhood, so we have to make choices.

  11. Kathie,

    Your comments led me to research again. May sound like I am picking on you, but that is not my intention.

    While the Chester Valley Trail is going to be on former rail beds, the Patriot Path is going to be on a mix of former rail beds (now owned by the township), private land, and homeowner association land.

    The thing that caught my eye the most during the research was the estimated cost to maintain the path, should it be built, even if built for “free”. The current published estimate of the YEARLY maintenance cost for the Valley Forge section of the Path (CVT to VFNP) is $12,600 and for the Cedar Hollow section (CVT to EWT) is $19,600. Even when times are better, this is a significant budget commitment.

    Finally, there is already cost to the Patriots Path, even though we haven’t committed to spending a dime. There was the cost to develop the plan to date, the cost of the public meetings (notification, court reporter, etc.), and the staff time put in to updating the Comprehensive Plan.

    Ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!

    I have not decided if I like the Patriots Path or not. Right now I think I like the Valley Forge section, but not the Cedar Hollow section. That could change.

    • TBO, I don’t feel picked on, I appreciate your thorough research! I agree that the maintenance – and any additional police patrols required – are important budget considerations should the path ever see the light of day. And yes, as you mentioned, in better times we did spend the money for the development to date, etc. Like you, I am leaning toward putting the Cedar Hollow section on ice indefinitely if public resistance to it threatens to halt the whole project. Cheers!

  12. There are 2 pieces to the proposed Patriots Path. Although offered as one potential project, and I believe they should be considered and analyzed separately.

    The Valley Forge segment runs from Valley Forge Park through Chesterbrook and connects with the Chester Valley Trail, the main east-west trail running through the Great Valley.

    Much of Valley Forge/Chesterbrook route runs through existing wide roadways and easy right-of-ways.

    The other Tredyffrin portion, the Cedar Hollow segment, runs through the upper northwest quadrant of the township, and is supposed to link to a section in East Whiteland Twp.

    Of the Tredyffrin segments, the Cedar Hollow section is more difficult because it would have to provide for crossing busy Swedesford Rd. and would have to negotiate through a private road. However, as Kathie Jackson pointed out above much of that segment would be constructed on old rail beds, on public-owned land.

    The Cedar Hollow section is projected to cost twice as much as the Valley Forge segment.

    I find many folks who are cold to public rails-to-trails using the projected higher cost of the 1.8 mile Cedar Hollow section to denigrate the whole plan. Some even extrapolate to say ALL paths are fluff.

    Secondly, note that these trails connect to the main trail running through Great Valley. Many of our office parks are strung along that old rail line, and the Chester Valley Trail give workers the option of a bike commute to their offices. These add-on segments like Patriots Path give bike commuters (and recreational riders) safe access to the long east-west route through the valley.

    If you’ve ever biked on Swedesford Rd. you’d likely be happy to ride an extra mile or two just to have a better chance of arriving safely.

    Third, I find it strange to hear some of the long-term residents acknowledge they or their kids used to ride bikes to the Library, or here-or-there. Then they acknowledge that kids can’t do it today. “We have more cars now, more traffic.” But they never make it to the next step. What would allow your children or your grandchildren to do it today? Hmmm, …maybe sidewalks and trails?

    Why are they denying kids the opportunity of that independent mobility? Why aren’t they concerned about safety? Why not make a safe route for the kids?

    We can’t afford sidewalks and trails? Again, I think what Ms. Jackson wrote above is right. Why are the denigrators so negative about our economic future? Are we going to be in economic recession for the next generation? As Vice President Spiro Agnew said, too many “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

    I prefer planning for a better future.

  13. Why not put it to voter referendum in the fall? It’s definitely a big issue with significant costs……I personally see both sides of this issue- it’s not clear cut. Can’t we let the voters decide? Anyone? Thoughts?

    • I agree there should be a voter referendum in the fall to gauge support for sidewalks, trails, and paths.

    • Jim,

      I am all for putting it on the ballot. But, you need to put it on in a way that provides context, not just “Do you support the Patriots Path?” It should be something like “Are you in favor of building the Patriots Path for a total cost of $2M with estimated ongoing yearly maintenance costs of $32k?” Or better yet, list a bunch of things like a menu:

      Captial:

      1. Replace the aging Police vehicle fleet

      OR

      2. Put in the Patriots Path

      OR …

      Operating:

      1. Fund the Fire Companies

      OR

      2. Maintain the Patriots Path

      OR …

      As I write this, I can see the mess it could cause. Seems like it is something we elect the Supervisors to do and while there may be a lack of trust right now, we have shown that we can push our desires on them.

      Elections matter! Community Involvement matters!

    • Jim Bailey said: “Why not put it to voter referendum in the fall?”

      An interesting idea, Jim.

      The difficulty, as you know, is how to have an honest presentation of the question. Is it possible to avoid, to use Bruce Parkinson’s words, making it a “political football?”

      Can anyone stop Paul Olson from saying things like “only Democrats care about sidewalks?” :-)

      I remember all the yellow signs at the time of the Act 1 ballot question. Like 90% of Tredyffrin, I voted against the Act 1 question. However, at the time, I felt there wasn’t a fact-based consideration of the demographics and income levels of the township, or what moving away funding totally real-estate-based funding might mean for senior citizens living on fixed incomes. The school district officials actually had interesting data on that, but it was never part of the study group reporting, nor part of the public dialog.

      It’s too easy to find weaknesses and create hysteria around an issue for political gain, instead of finding solutions.

      Looking at the Patriots Path decision, there were some obvious weaknesses in the plan, particularly in the Cedar Hollow section. Some overblown engineering. Is a 12 ft. paved asphalt path required? I certainly doubt that width is needed through a natural area, and there are other “paving” options. An expensive bridge over Swedesford? Wouldn’t a crosswalk and a blinking warning light be sufficient?–like where St. Davids’ golf carts cross Upper Gulph. Why not come up with reasonable solutions instead of simply trying to kill a plan?

      There _might_ be hope for avoiding demagoguery around a sidewalks and trails question. I have to think that not only Democrats walk dogs, jog or ride bikes!

      It is difficult, though, to sort _priority_ decisions through a ballot question. Off the top of my head, I think sidewalks should help make safe (and dry) transit to schools, libraries, train stations, and shopping. Sort of in that order. Then there are some major roadways with no shoulders in the township where a sidewalk could improve safety, but each must be considered on a feasibility, cost and benefit basis. Even the “visionary” Comprehensive Plan says all these projects would take years.

      By the way, the demagogues paint sidewalk “proponents” as wanting to build sidewalks up and down neighborhoods all over, which is absolutely ridiculous.

      I don’t believe the recreational paths are purely fluff. I think when young families decide whether to move to the area they look at schools, the libraries, and the social/recreational character of a community. Plus, when people come in and pay high dollar for their houses, they expect amenities. The recreational paths can help support our real estate values.

      Finally, ballot questions seem to work best around the specifics of things like bond issues: “Would you, voter, support funding for _X_ dollars to do _Y_ thing?”

      Sorry to go on for so long. A ballot question is an interesting thought. Thanks for taking the discussion in that direction. We’ll also have to see how this Lamina subcommittee-of-the-committees works out.

  14. TBO, I agree referenda can create all sorts of problems. Ideal democracy, right? One problem would be educating the masses so these same masses can make an informed choice.

    I watch the meetings on TV and I became suspicious of this board when they voted to fund fireworks and not fund the fire departments. Just seemed so obviously insane.

    personally I don’t care if we get sidewalks at all. I certainly don’t think it would work in my neighborhood, and I am ambivalent about it for the township. who cares and who started this all? Was it an acquiescence to the green faction, years ago when money was plentiful? Was it a safety issue for schools? I mean if this issue wasn’t around, what would we talk about? Well let’s talk about these issues!

  15. Other matters kept me from focusing on the February 22 vote before, but now that I have looked at it (and at the risk of beating a dead horse), I wanted to add my two cents. In short, it seems to me that the BOS once again failed to follow appropriate procedures when it passed the second part of the February 22 motion.

    Pennsylvania’s Municipalities Planning Code (“MPC”) authorizes townships to establish planning commissions. Tredyffrin Township did so, and Section 43-6 of the Township Code specifically states that the Planning Commission “shall have all other powers and duties provided by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.” (http://www.ecode360.com/?custId=TR1485).

    Section 303(a) of the MPC states that:

    “Whenever the governing body, pursuant to the procedures provided in section 302, has adopted a comprehensive plan or any part thereof, any subsequent proposed action of the governing body, its departments, agencies and appointed authorities shall be submitted to the planning agency for its recommendations when the proposed action relates to . . . the location, opening, vacation, extension, widening, narrowing or enlargement of any street, public ground, pierhead or watercourse.” (http://mpc.landuselawinpa.com/MPCode.pdf).

    Section 107(a) of the MPC contains the following definitions:

    1) “Governing body” includes “the board of supervisors in townships of the second class.” Tredyffrin Township is a township of the second class, and it has adopted a comprehensive plan (http://www.tredyffrin.org/departments/community/comprehensive.aspx).

    2) “Planning agency” includes planning commissions.

    3) “Public ground” includes “parks, playgrounds, trails, paths and other recreational areas and other public areas.” Under this definition, it seems clear that sidewalks qualify as a “public ground.”

    The second half of the February 22 motion did two things: it (1) “form[ed] a Subcommittee . . . to begin a process to reexamine where the community wants and needs sidewalks;” and (2) relieved St. David’s from its obligation “to build the path, until the new policies are adopted or the Township has put in place designs and funding for sidewalks or paths that would connect to the proposed St. David’s pathway.” It seems to me, then, that the motion was a “proposed action of the governing body [the BOS]” that “relates to . . . the location [and] opening . . . of any . . . public ground.”

    Therefore, the BOS was required to submit the motion “to the Planning Commission for its recommendations” before it could vote on the motion. The Planning Commission then would have had 45 days to make a recommendation. See MPC Section 303(b). As far as I know, the BOS did not submit its proposal to the Planning Commission before it voted on it.

    As a practical matter, compliance with these procedures probably would not have made much difference. The BOS could have submitted the proposal to the Planning Commission for a recommendation and then, regardless of what the Planning Commission recommended, voted to approve the motion. That reality does not, however, change the fact that the BOS appears to have ignored procedures once again.

  16. Our family moved to Tredyffrin in the mid ‘90s. We carefully researched the township because we wanted to be located within easy walking distance from schools, library, train stations and businesses. Paoli fit all our requirements except for the school. Walking is a great exercise, saves energy.

    An earlier writer noted that there are lots of trails and paths in Tredyffrin. Unfortunately they are mostly, if not all, north of Rt. 202. Tell me, how does one walk, safely, from the south side of 202 to the north side? I only know of one sidewalk over 202, the Chesterbrook Blvd bridge but there aren’t sidewalks leading to it. Why can only residents north of 202 walk to The Wilson Farm Park? Why wasn’t a protected sidewalk created under 202 at 252?

    We can’t afford to fund additional sidewalks right now but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be planning for when we can. Residents need and want to able to travel Tredyffrin on foot and by bicycle.

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