The views expressed in this section are the uncensored comments of Sadsbury Township residents.
We have updated the "Message Board" to a more automated format. "blog.sadsburyville.com"
The surface of my road, Frederick Rd., is a disgrace. It has at least three colors of asphalt with grass growing through the cracks.
I take pride in my home, but when I drive into my development my stomach sinks and I feel disgusted with what I see.
What does it take for a township to keep up on their roads. Shouldn't that be on their top 10 list of priorities. I have called and left messages at the township building but never get a response.
Distrustful of Supervisors
I have never seen a more felonious group then Garris, Doratt, Hensel, Lowry and Pompo.
These individuals should be criminally investigated by the D.A.s' office.
Their cozy relationship with the developers; along with the other unethical actions these corrupt officials have participated in; is more than deserving of some type of investigation.
My New Years' wish is that these five officials wind up in the slam.
--- Concerned Resident
Worried About High Density Housing Development (8/18/04)
I am a fairly recent resident of Sadsburyville. We built a new house in Quarry Ridge in late 2002. I have recently begun following the proposed Arcadia land development, and am concerned myself.
I have been unemployed for several months and job opportunities are very scarce now. I would rather have seen businesses and the opportunity to get a job than more tightly packed-in housing.
I notice quite a few houses for sale in Quarry Ridge right now. Some turn over is to be expected, I guess, but there have been and still are many houses for sale. Could be that people are afraid of this. We're now considering selling, too.
At the township meeting last night, 8/17, I heard that the Township Supervisors approved all of Arcadia's proposals, including building within 50 feet of the large gas main, building directly in the airport's flight plan, counting drainage areas as "open space", and making the zoning changes Arcadia wants. This is a shame.
But this should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been following this. I've seen this in other areas, too. Township meetings are held, they appear to listen to you, and sometimes they even act concerned. Then they vote for what they were going to all along.
This happened to a close friend of mine in Lancaster County years ago. She had a nice big house on 2 acres. There was a huge corn field directly across the road from her. A huge developer came and bought the corn field and built a refrigerated warehouse and distribution center for Acme markets on the land. Totally devalued her property. Same situation, too, many meeting were held. The township officials appeared to listen. Then they voted to allow the building. Then they voted to raise her taxes. Then they voted to let Acme take 6 feet off the front of her property to widen the road so Acme's trucks could get down the road. Then they billed her for new street lights installed at Acme's request. She had many other issues. Trucks in and out all the time. The construction crews who were working on the new warehouse even harassed her and damaged and vandalized her house because she continued to complain and threaten lawsuit.
It's a shame people can't just leave a few damn acres of undeveloped land alone. If I wanted high density housing and to live with someone's house right up against mine, listening to my neighbor's toilets flush and listening to the neighbor's stereos and yelling at their kids, then I'd have stayed in Philadelphia. I moved out of Philadelphia to get away from all that, and it seems they're going to insist on bringing it out here, now.
--- Anxious Resident
No Apartments in Sadsbury (8/17/04)
Come out of the darkness of anonymity and into the light of wisdom and knowlege. We pay the highest school taxes in Chester County with the latest increase putting us out of range with even the wealthiest school districts. What do we have to show for it? One of the lowest rated, poorest school districts in the County, dare I even say State! Anyone that wants their child to have a proper education, sends their child to a private institution where there is no fear of the violence that prevails in Coatesville's school district.
Apartments allow for lower income residents to feed off of and utilize our already strained school district while they do NOT contribute to the tax base. Lower income residents further tax our resources by adding to the crime levels, increasing the vehicular volume on local roads and increase our insurance premiums by not carrying any or sufficient coverages for their own vehicles. Don't let Sadsburyville become an extension of Coatesville or Philadelphia by allowing your closed mindedness sway this vote.
I live in Sadsburyville, utilize local merchants and pay my taxes. I don't appreciate an organization that operates like subversive terrorists to force their single minded views on those of us who make positive impacts on our community.
--- Fearful of repercussions
Sadsbury Needs Industrial Development, Not High Density Residential (8/5/04)
Taxpayers in and around the Coatesville School District are beginning to understand where the money comes from to educate our children. A recent letter from the Coatesville School District plainly stated that when there are "not enough commercial/industrial taxpayers - the tax burden falls on individual property owners". OK, I get it!!!
In the August 2nd DLN, John Newton of Meetinghouse Properties described how the industrial development being attracted to Western Chester County is helping to generate tax relief for over-burdened property owners. It appears we are headed in the right direction to enjoy the tax benefits realized by the Great Valley and West Chester school districts. We need to realize, however, that while these gains are helpful, they are not enough to provide tax relief in our district. We must continue to attract more businesses to the Coatesville School District.
On August 17th, 2004, Sadsbury Township will hold a Zoning Hearing to discuss a developer's request to change the zoning on a large lot of land from light industrial to allow a Traditional Neighborhood Development, or TND (a high density housing development). The property is located in very close proximity to the Chester County Airport. In looking and understanding the lay of the land, it becomes clear why the property was zoned light industrial.
1) The takeoff flight path/route (westbound) of the airport air traffic flies directly over the property.
2) Three large 30”& 36”dia. Transco natural gas pipelines dissect the property in two.
From a land planning and safety perspective, this obviously is not an ideal location for high-density housing. I cannot imagine why anyone would consider a request that may put residents in harm's way.
If developed responsibly and in tune with the rural characteristics of this area, this property as currently zoned, along with other adjoining light industrial tracts could be a real jewel for the township. It would provide a financial plus for the school district and generate jobs for Western Chester County.
The business parks built today can and do look and feel like state parks. There is no reason the residents of Sadsbury twp. should settle for anything less. We deserve fiscally sound responsible development, not just another overbuilt piece of land.
Our supervisors need to come clean and explain why they feel we need to increase the twp. population by 40% in one shot, as that is what this zoning change/development will mean. It took us two hundred plus years to reach the level of population we are today. Is it prudent to grow that much in just a handful of years? Will the services we have today handle this much growth? Can our infrastructure handle the increase in traffic? Where will the money come from to cover these increases in costs for services required by residential development?
With this zoning change and two others the supervisors already approved this year, we will be left with many more houses per acre than the zoning originally allowed. What was wrong with old number of units per acre? Will our quality of life get better or worse? Since 96% of the 475 residents surveyed were against the zoning changes, one wonders why the supervisors have such a different "vision" from the residents.
Many of us have been trying to get answers to these and many other questions over the last year, but unfortunately the supervisors either don’t know or will not say. My only hope is that some back room deal has not all ready been hatched and our fate has been decided before there is truly a thorough, honest and open discussion about our future.
--- Robert Silvernail
The Constant Traditional Rape of Sadsbury Township by the Supervisors (7/1/04)
As a concerned resident of Sadsbury Township for the past 26 years, I have witnessed many tax increases, not only the Coatesville Area School District, but also the township taxes, along with the county taxes. I have seen supervisors come and go. I have voted responsibly over the years, and I will continue to vote. I only hope that someday my vote, along with many other voters who have voted for the good of the township will begin to change what has been progressing to the fall of the township.
I have seen developers come and go. Hopefully, but I doubt it, the current board of supervisors will check into reality and realize that it doesn't take an accounting mind to figure out that more residences require more services, along with more schools...ALONG WITH HIGHER SCHOOL TAXES. Has anyone read the newspaper lately as to the ramification of the school taxes in the Coatesville Area School District? Granted--the mismanagement of the entire budget of the school district is a disgrace, but where is there to develop in the Coatesville School District, where the township supervisors can be BOUGHT, PAID FOR, and DELIVERED.
I recently received a mailing from JFI Partners in reference to the unethical actions of one of our supervisors, Joe Garris. I have no clue as to what the fines were that were assessed by the ethics committee, to Joe Garris, but I'm sure that from a financial standpoint if anyone could see the salary increases his daughter received over the last several years, his family's personal financial gain well outweighs the financial output of the fines incurred. Included in this mailing are also violations of Joe Garris for awarding township contracts for repair service to township vehicles by his son's garage, which I assume were not sent out for bid. What a way to keep it in the family!!!!
Let's go back a couple of months....What about Doug Doratt voting on the rezoning issue back in December...Shouldn't he have abstained from voting, since he owns property that would have been governed under that zoning change and would receive a personal financial gain with the passing of the change? When will the ethics committee fine him for his actions?
I did not vote for Dale Hensel, but I must at least commend him for abstaining on the vote for the commercial overlay which would have included his property.
As to the mentality of the supervisors of Sadsbury Township...Just because many of us do not attend township meetings does not mean that we do not care. "WE DO CARE." The real question is: Do The Supervisors Care? Some of us work. Some of us cannot make your early morning meetings when we have to work. How many residents of the township have families in which both people work? How convenient. Some of us have personal problems. Some of us have physical problems. The real question is DO YOU CARE? Many of us have DONATED our personal time. Can you actually say that you have DONATED your time? Your are paid township official!
PLEASE SHOW THE LONG TIME RESIDENTS OF SADSBURY TOWNSHIP---THE ONES THAT HAVE SUSTAINED THE TOWNSHIP FOR YEARS, CARE ABOUT THE COMMUNITY WE LIVE IN, AND LOOK TOWARD THE FUTURE OF A PROSPEROUS AND RESPONSIBLY GROWING COMMUNITY JUST A LITTLE RESPECT AS TO OUR INSIGHT FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR TOWNSHIP.
--- A VERY CONCERNED RESIDENT
Sadsbury Board of Supervisors Should Resign (6/18/04)
I strongly urge this ethically challenged Board to resign. It is obvious this group has too cozy a relationship with the Developers and Builders.
The Supervisors are looking out for the best interests of the Developers, Builders and ultimately themselves.
These Supervisors are treating Sadsbury Twp. as their personal fiefdom, and ignoring the best interests of the residents of the Twp.
To all SOS members and Township residents (3/26/04)
If I acted that harshly at the December 3 meeting, I apologize – I certainly didn’t mean to come off that way. It was a highly charged meeting and I guess I got carried away. I still find it curious that residents of this township feel the need for anonymity behind the guise of SOS.
I don’t agree with SOS’s methods. They do not present all the facts in a rational manner to the residents. They try to incite the residents as well as inform them of only their viewpoint.
I refuse to be pulled into a hissing contest in this forum. I could continue debating the points SOS presents, but they’re just not worth the effort. Their studies they found on the internet are nice, but we don’t live in a perfect world. We disagree, and that’s fine.
--- Nick Crugnale
S.O.S. Responds to Accusations (3/25/04)
S.O.S. would like the opportunity to address the comments made in “Resident Distrusts S.O.S.” (below). Our responses are as follows:
· You are correct when you state that enrollment at Coatesville Schools has declined. However, Rainbow Elementary school has an average of 26 to 32 children per classroom. Optimum numbers dictate no more than 22-25 per classroom. Rainbow Elementary is considered "overcrowded". And, even though enrollment has been decreasing, our taxes have not. If you increase the number of children attending CASD, our taxes will go up (check with the school district business office, they will concur).
· You are again correct that the volunteer surveying your street deliberately passed by your house. This was not because your opinion differs from ours, but rather because of your outburst at the Dec. 3rd zoning hearing when you angrily demanded to know who was responsible for sending you the SOS newsletter. Numerous residents attending the meeting, both SOS members and nonmembers alike were taken aback by your harsh tone. If we misjudged your character in any way, our apologies. But, as volunteers, we are not obligated to visit anyone who we feel may be verbally abusive.
· Copies of surveys have been given to each of the supervisors. They can certainly contact any of the individuals who completed the survey to verify the authenticity. It would be exceedingly difficult to "cherry-pick" over 475 households. I don't think any of us know that many people or their political views. Or, better yet, rather than fault our volunteer efforts, ask the supervisors to conduct a survey. They should have done this months ago.
· You are correct that we recently opposed the zoning change to allow 10 units per acre on land zoned R2. Unfortunately that change was passed by the supervisors. This was a change asked for by one developer so he could build 125 apartments instead of 72 townhomes on his 12 acres. But the change impacted 6 properties throughout the township, which is why the Planning Commission denied the request. Sadsbury Twp. was not required to make that change by the County or anyone else. And, frankly, that change is what has gotten us into the debacle we're in today with Arcadia who is now threatening to build 450 apartments if they don't get the zoning change they want.
· You included information about the "credible" Concerned Citizens who defeated an unfair sewer system some time ago in Sadsbury Township. It may interest you to know that the core SOS group was formed by core members of the Concerned Citizens. You may also want to remember that two of the supervisors we fought against then were Doug Doratt and Joe Garris (history has truly repeated itself). We were called "renegades" by some then and accused of spreading "misinformation". Of course that was until we proved them wrong and provided real solutions to make the sewer installation cost less. We were proud to have served on that committee and are equally proud to serve with S.O.S.
· Your comment indicating that the "current developers contributed to the cost of the sewer project" is untrue. Arcadia in no way contributed to the sewer system. Arcadia wasn't in our township then and a development of that magnitude was never even suggested at the time the sewer system was designed.
In summary, SOS is a group of dedicated people made up of housewives, parents, area business owners and professionals. We are a large group and growing larger as new volunteers join our cause. We take great care to make sure that every item listed in our newsletters and handouts are correct. If our only error is in stating that newsletters were previously distributed quarterly, when in fact it was more likely twice per year, that doesn't seem like a heinous mistake. The fact remains that no newsletters were sent out since Mr. Doratt took office, even though development has been a major topic of concern.
The difference between the Concerned Citizens' sewer system battle and this one is that there was a finite cost assigned to installation of the sewer, which alarmed everyone. The cost of development is a much murkier area and less easily defined. Take the time to investigate outside our township. SOS members have talked to people at the school district, the Brandywine Conservancy, Senators and area representatives and candidates, as well as people in other communities. They all agree . . . high density development brings a burden to the existing residents in the form of community costs, as well as school taxes. We have not located anyone, other than our supervisors and the developers, who feel this would be a good thing for our township. There was also an interesting editorial in Sunday's DLN that spoke to that fact and the need for impact fees. I urge you not to form your opinion based on our newsletters or based on what you hear from our township officials You obviously have access to the internet. If you take a little time and investigate further, you'll find that we are correct in our statements that this will adversely affect taxes. We're not just yelling fire in a crowded theater. I am attaching four links that will take you to fiscal impact studies that show residential development costs more in services than the revenue it generates, while industry brings in revenue with very little cost. I hope you take the time to review these. The first three were compiled by the Brandywine Conservancy, the fourth was a study conducted by Penn State.
http://www.cax.aers.psu.edu/localgovernment/Landuse.htm (Needs account and password)
You may also want to consider why Arcadia feels they need to build this high density housing to make their profit. Arcadia is also building Octorara Glen, right next door to their proposed PRD development. Octorara Glen is 44 single family homes that sit on 44 acres (1 house per acre). Arcadia has also recently gotten approval for a development in Lower Moreland Township. Again, only single family homes, no townhomes or apartments. Their previously built development in Lower Moreland, called Inverness has only manor sized homes, no apartments or townhouses. They've also been recently approved for a development in Daleville (Londonderry Township). Again, only single family homes. Why then do they need to dump such high density in our township? SOS isn't against development, we support responsible development. We do not support dumping high density housing on a rural township with no infrastructure just so a developer can make money. This is a quality of life issue for our residents. It's also of note that Mr. Duckworth, the founder of Arcadia Land Company lives in a house on 5 acres. Doesn't that seem ironic.It is our belief that if we all stuck together we could wind up with development on that property that benefits all residents without creating an eyesore or tax burden.
--- S.O.S. members
When the article "Sadsbury residents oppose development" was published in the DLN Saturday, March 13, 2004, I felt compelled to respond. I feel the group “Stop Overdevelopment in Sadsbury” (SOS) uses misinformation mixed with actual facts to incite the residents.
The first mailer from SOS stated the increase in housing would burden an already overcrowded school system and raise taxes (This was like shouting fire in a crowded theatre). Coatesville school taxes have already been increasing despite a declining enrollment. Their second mailer claims quarterly Township newsletters were discontinued after a current commissioner took office. We’ve never received Township newsletters on a quarterly basis. Why attack the integrity of an elected official with misinformation?
My neighbor was approached for the three question survey referred to in the article. The survey-taker told him she was not going to survey me because I disagreed with their viewpoint. This kind of “cherry-picking” invalidates any survey. If they excluded me, who else did they intentionally exclude?
An alternative to Arcadia’s planned community is an apartment complex. Residents recently fought a zoning change preventing that kind of development elsewhere in the Township. Now they want to halt one developer so another can come in and build apartments? The logic of this defies me. I’m not naïve. I know the developers stand to make a ton of money. But sometimes it’s better to do business with the devil you know rather than the one you don’t. Let’s remember that the current developers have contributed to the cost of the sewer project.
Concerned citizens defeated an unfair sewer proposal years ago. We are now installing sewers at a reasonable price due to those efforts. The difference between those efforts and SOS is credibility. I stood up at a Township meeting and asked who authored the first mailer from SOS. Nobody claimed responsibility. Why? Do they have something to hide? Yet outside the meeting, one of the members approached me and indicated that she was part of SOS, complete with an excuse of why she did not publicly answer my question.
I don’t bear any ill will to SOS members as they feel they are protecting the local community. I just can’t support an organization when their methods are not credible. I’ll be the first person to tell you that I’m inexperienced with Township politics, but I’m getting an education. Trust no one.
--- Nick Crugnale
Trading the Township for a New Municipal Building? (3/15/04)
So, now the ducky plan omits the ball fields and calls them pocket parks, as well threatens a by-right apartment complex of 450-plus if Sadsbury Township doesn't let him manhandle our zoning laws. So let’s replace the words “By-Right” with “THREATENS”. Does this sound like the kind of neighbor you want? And he won't be your neighbor for long. He'll be out of here and back to his 5-acre secluded estate LAUGHING AT THE FARM BOYS HE CONTROLLED.
The supervisors have said that absolutely no decisions are made out of the stated meetings. That’s an absolute fabrication. Fire company members are telling people at the Post Office of the planned borough building and new firehouse arrangements. This is called legal extortion on the developers, performed by the supervisors. If this was done on any other level, someone would go to jail, and it shouldn't be done. It's been done for a long while, and they are dancing meetings around in the mornings to make sure it gets done their way, and not the way the people want it.
If this was a level playing field, there would be no developers sponsoring web sites, or donating at picnics and benefits. The future of Sadsbury Township is being sold down the river for a hot dog, chump change, and an office with a lean-back chair for the supervisors. Duckworth has not been allowed to pack housing in this tight anywhere else he has been. He feels the poor people won't fight in Sadsbury Township, and he can steamroller them with threats of a (by right) development. The (by right) THREATENED development is conditional and not a guaranteed threat unless the supervisors continue to run the planning commission and zoning board themselves.
Why are the supervisors acting so much like developers? Supervisors everywhere else are looking for loopholes to keep development out, not loopholes found by a land consultant (at the township's expense) to expedite the developers’ wishes. Of course, the consultant would be guaranteed more consulting work with the added development, and wouldn't be out of a job.
What evil lurks in these minds? What is the dangling carrot? What are they thinking? Ruining hundreds of long-term township members’ lives for A STINKING BUILDING????
THE ATTEMPT TO COMBINE WISDOM AND POWER HAS ONLY RARELY BEEN SUCCESSFUL, AND THEN ONLY FOR A SHORT TIME. And a better quote that sums it up is attributed to CHARLES GORDON:
--- From a furious township resident who just found out what's really happening, and only found out due to the new Sadsburyville.com web site. The sanctioned website was 6 months behind and never explained anything. Thank you new website.
Developers Assault Chester County (2/22/04)
How many articles a week does the Local publish that are relative in some way to the
negative effects of development from environmental issues to car crashes that occur all too frequently on our already overburdened road system ? 10 or 12 a week perhaps ?
After reading the "A Blueprint For The 'Burbs" article of February 22nd It must be noted in the interest of fairness that The Chester County Planning Commission has many ties to the developers of Chester County. They most certainly cannot be considered neutral or unbiased in their reports and assessments of our area. In one instance of manipulating ethical gray areas an erstwhile member who also has a relationship with one of the larger builders in this area used this agency in its official capacity to recommend undesirable zoning changes here in Sadsbury knowing he would be back to develop it shortly after he left the commission.
There is no more responsible development available in Chester County despite what 'consultants', commissions and expensive coffee table books might suggest. One suffers the effects of this over- development every day in some form . Any further development of Chester County is no more than an exercise in gratuitous and shameless profiteering for developers.
If the Chester County Planning Commission were truly interested in Chester Counties residents and not its developers they would have put the same time and effort into a book that would have had pictures of what a reinvigorated Coatesville business district might be, or what could be done with the dilapidated mill buildings along the Brandywine tributaries in Modena not an expensive, tax payer funded infomercial for developers to use as a tool to further assault our little remaining rural areas and open space.
--- Lem Mason
Township Supervisors Avoid Facing Public Opinion (1/31/04)
This year, because there is so much happening in the township these days, the Sadsbury Township Supervisors added a second regular monthly meeting to their schedules. Yet, at the same time, they reduced the number of Planning Commission members from nine to seven, after increasing that number from seven to nine in 2001 because of increased activity in the township. Apparently, they don’t need that many people on the Planning Commission any longer, even though recent and upcoming development will double the township’s 2000 population.
I think the real issue is that they don’t need Commission members they already know would challenge the plans the Board has for the township, plans that have not been aired at public meetings (including the fabled new “municipal complex”). The Supervisors needed to exclude two of the most qualified people in the township, whose terms on the Commission expired on December 31, 2003. One of those people was the Chairperson and an 8-year member of the Planning Commission, and the other was a former Township Supervisor and an 18-year member of the Commission. The current Supervisors already knew there would be a public outcry if these two people were not permitted to remain on the Commission for another term. So, instead of facing the public, they eliminated the positions entirely at a meeting that took place at 9 a.m.
That reminds me – aren’t a lot of people at work at 9:00 a.m.? Do you think the Supervisors scheduled meetings at that time so most residents would be unable to attend the meetings, and the Board could make decisions with little public discussion or debate? Then they could publish the minutes on the Township website 6 months later, as was typical in 2003. I’ve checked, and the vast majority of townships in Chester County conduct all of their Supervisors meetings in the evening when most people are NOT at work. I guess those would be the townships that welcome public debate and value the opinions of township residents.
--- An Annoyed Resident of Sadsburyville
The Rape of Sadsbury Township (1/22/04)
Dear Fellow Residents of Sadsbury Township:
Are you aware that your and your children's futures are being toyed with by our self-absorbed and self-aggrandizing supervisors? Are you aware that 10 years from now our township will be one big, incongruent developmental mess with strip malls, cookie cutter houses and lots and lots of apartments, where real estate taxes are sky-high and where no one in their right mind wants to live? I would imagine you are not because if you were you would show your outrage by coming to the township meetings (next one is Feb. 18, 7 p.m.) and by no longer mindlessly re-electing Joe Garris & Co.. Those three supervisors bathe in the glory of being courted (like blushing young girls) by developers and farmers who want zoning changes. Do they even stop and wonder what these same developers and farmers really think of them or are they too delusional and ignorant to do so? I would imagine the developers and farmers chuckle all the way to the bank while whispering into other farmers' and developers' ears: If no other township wants your apartments and other high density cheap construction, I got a hot tip for you. No, it is not stocks, not bonds, it is not oil or plastic, no, it's Sadsbury Township!!! Do you really think they care what becomes of Sadsbury Township after they have made their quick millions??? Why should they? And, I am sure they have not reserved 3 guest suites in their mansions, built with the proceeds from raping our township, for Joe Garris & Co.. No, you see, Dear Supervisors, after the developers have gotten from you what they want, you become to them again what you were all along: 2 auto mechanics and a lawnmower repair guy and you will not be invited to their lavish parties (although you may very well be the butt of their jokes there) and you will be lucky if they give you the time of day. And, no, you are not the 3 Wise Men but, rather, you remind me of Manny, Moe and Jack (must be the auto mechanic thing) or the 3 Stooges. But, sadly, Dear Residents, those are the ones deciding the future of our township, the ones you elected. Hope you can sleep tonight. And, Dear Supervisors, it might serve you well to look up the meaning of the following words: ethics (good), morals (good), nepotism (very bad).
--- A very concerned resident of Sadsbury Township
Supervisors - Conflicts of Interest (1/3/04)
At a contentious December 2003 township meeting, residents were told by the township solicitor that the Supervisors are not required to disclose conflicts of interest, and that owning property in an area affected by zoning changes under consideration by the Supervisors is not a conflict of interest.
Here's what the Pennsylvania Township Supervisors Handbook (page 8) says about the subject:
Doesn't it seem pretty clear that it IS a conflict of interest for a Supervisor to vote on zoning issues that affect his or her properties?
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