Zoning Hearing: At the Aug. 17th, 2004 zoning hearing, the Supervisors approved a developers request to change 80 acres of land zoned light industrial to allow high density housing. WHY? The following statements will clarify some misconceptions regarding this decision:
MYTH: Only two options existed for this property. Option one would keep the property zoned Light Industrial. Option two would allow this property to be rezoned to allow construction of a Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND), a planned community of high density housing.
MYTH: The supervisors were between a rock and a hard place when considering Arcadia Lands requested zoning change to allow a TND instead of a large apartment complex.
MYTH: The supervisors spent a lot of time investigating their options, holding over 28 public meetings to discuss Arcadia Land Companys proposal.
Sadsburyville Village Enhancement Plan: On Oct. 30, 2003 Arcadia Land facilitated an application on behalf of Sadsbury Township for a federal grant to implement a Village Enhancement Plan along business Rt. 30 and South on Old Wilmington Road. This Plan is available for review at the township building and/or Sadsburyville.com. It includes the following:
MYTH: The primary purpose of the Sadsburyville Village Enhancement Plan is simply to improve pedestrian safety and to beautify Linc. Hwy. in Sadsburyville through the introduction of sidewalks, crosswalks, street trees and traffic calming elements.
MYTH: Sadsbury residents strongly support the Enhancement Plan.
MYTH: The grant awarded will pay for all the proposed enhancements (sidewalks, traffic calming, planting strips, crosswalks, etc).
FACT #2: The affected homeowners will be responsible for normal maintenance of the sidewalks (snow and ice removal) and planting strips (mowing and general landscape maintenance) and will bear any additional liability that sidewalks impose. But all of us will pay for maintenance of the remainder, which is estimated in the grant application to be approximately $10,000 per year.
S.O.S. Whats Our Purpose?: It seems some residents have the idea that S.O.S. opposes all development. That is not the case. S.O.S. supports responsible development that preserves the rural landscape and maintains the quality of life we all have come to enjoy. S.O.S. supports the zoning ordinance adopted in 2001 and opposes all the recent changes because they have led to high density development, which does not uphold the rural character of Sadsburys neighborhoods, nor do they comply with the current Comprehensive Plan. The main focus of S.O.S. is to get the facts out to you, the resident, so you can make your own judgments and voice your own opinions. S.O.S. has no financial interest in the outcome of the zoning decisions. We donate our time, talents and money to benefit you, our neighbors.
S.O.S. Are We Credible?: Some of you have contacted the supervisors regarding previous S.O.S. publications and were told that our statements were false. As a matter of fact, Chairman Garris even publicly accused Tammy Pawling of being dishonest at the Aug. zoning hearing when she summarized the results of the survey S.O.S. conducted regarding zoning changes. Mr. Garris was quickly corrected and shown that his accusation was incorrect and unfounded. This is just one of many examples of the disrespectful way concerned residents are treated at public meetings by the supervisors. Here are just a few additional items that prove our ethics are intact:
FACT: S.O.S. claimed that changing Light Industrial zoning to allow high density housing would be less beneficial to the Coatesville School District tax base and drastically add to the number of children attending area schools, thereby increasing the tax burden on area residents. S.O.S. also claimed this zoning change would eliminate the creation of new jobs, create more traffic and be an irresponsible economic trade-off. We urged the supervisors to consult area experts to examine the consequences of this zoning change. The Supervisors (Mr. Doratt, Mr. Garris and Mr. Hensel) ignored our comments and did not even take the time to investigate whether our claims were true. They chose to approve the zoning change at the Aug. meeting. Less than 1 week after that meeting, Gary Smith, President of the Chester County Economic Development Council was interviewed for an Aug. 22nd article in the Daily Local News. Here are some excerpts from that article:
Mr. Smith was then quoted in the article as saying:
S.O.S. Note: The full Aug. 22nd article entitled Area could rue lost land for business is available for your information at Sadsburyville.com. Gary Smith is one of the leading experts on economic development in Chester County; his statements are nearly identical to those that S.O.S. had independently raised previously, proving again that our concerns were well founded.
FACT: S.O.S. stated in our Feb. 2004 update that the supervisors were being vindictive when they required Stephanie Silvernail and Terry Franciscus to submit resumes to keep their positions on the Planning Commission after their terms expired in Dec. 2003. After submitting resumes and indicating they were willing to continue serving, the supervisors eliminated their positions rather than reappoint two of the members who had consistently questioned their plans for high density development. The supervisors claim this charge was not true, and noted instead that the positions were eliminated in order to reduce the Planning Commission size from 9 to 7 members. When a Planning Commission position was recently vacated by a member moving out of the Township, neither Stephanie nor Terry (each with at least 8 years experience) was contacted to fill this vacancy. Instead, another resident with no previous Planning Commission or zoning experience was appointed. The supervisors themselves have proven what S.O.S. already said: that Stephanie and Terry were eliminated because they consistently questioned the wisdom of the zoning changes sought by the supervisors.
The supervisors are quick to say our statements are false, yet they do not dispute our comments with any facts of their own. Why do you think that is? The supervisors have repeatedly been asked in public meetings to justify their decisions and explain to the residents why they feel these zoning changes are warranted and they repeatedly choose to be silent. The Aug. zoning decision was made with virtually no deliberation or explanation. Based on the information in this newsletter and the previous behavior of our supervisors, residents can decide for themselves who is the credible source of information.
Is This The Way You Expect Your Elected Officials to Represent Your Township?
Supervisors challenge loyal 20+ year employee in court and youre paying for it! Road crew foreman, Doug McGuigan was dismissed from his employment in August. Many of you know Doug he was the go to guy for any and all problems in the township and worked tirelessly to help the residents. A driving member of the Pomeroy Fire Co for 40 years and a lifelong resident of Sadsbury Township, Doug filed for unemployment compensation after being dismissed, but his request was denied based on the Townships allegation that he was dismissed for insubordination surrounding a supposed safety violation (Doug has had yearly safety training as a volunteer fireman). Mr. McGuigan appealed the decision, which was overturned, because the Township could not produce sufficient evidence to justify such a charge. Now the Township has filed an appeal, and Sadsbury taxpayers are footing the bill of the legal costs since our tax dollars are paying the Township attorneys fees. Why are the Township Supervisors so intent on denying unemployment compensation to a 20+ year employee with an excellent record, both a resident and public servant of the Township?
Supervisors publicly reprimand volunteer fire company: At the October 5, 2004 meeting, the Supervisors publicly berated Jeff Sellers, Chief of the Pomeroy Volunteer Fire Company, for his teams failure to appear at this years Community Day Event. In response to a letter previously sent by the Supervisors, Mr. Sellers read a prepared statement outlining the reasons that the Pomeroy Fire Company was not represented that day. Mr. Sellers pointed out that, in fact, the Township had never extended an actual invitation to the fire Company; more importantly, he reminded the Supervisors that the Fire Company is staffed by volunteers who donate their time to the community all year. Adding insult to injury, the supervisors proceeded to reprimand the Fire Chief, reminding him repeatedly of all the money that the Township donates annually to their Company.
The future of Sadsbury Township is being sold off bit by bit: A vehicle donated by one developer, $35,000 from another developer, a supposed new municipal building and for what? Once the rural character of our Township disappears, it can NEVER be brought back it will be gone forever. What is that worth to us? Our survey indicated that 97% of the 475 residents polled opposed this development, which Arcadia Land estimates will increase Sadsbury Townships population by approximately 1,300 (nearly 50%). Are we willing to trade our quality of life for a new police car, a supposed new municipal building and $35,000? Instead of managing development in our township intelligently and responsibly, the supervisors pit developers and residents against each other in a power game that puts the townships long term interests last. This makes one wonder, if its not the residents, whose interests are being served?
Contact your Township Officials: If youre as disturbed by the information included in this newsletter as we are, please take the time to call the supervisors and let them know of your displeasure. The phone number for the Sadsbury Township office is 610-857-9503.
S.O.S. wishes you and your family a happy holiday
and a safe and joyous New Year!
God Bless our Troops!!!
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