Hi

First, West Vincent Infos is now starting the 4th year of publication. Please help me get back to dozing on the porch and avoid starting year five by remembering at the next elections that John Jacobs stands for honesty. Thank you to all my readers, supporters and contributors. Keep the information coming.

The meeting of July 8, 2013 had an Agenda published on the West Vincent Township website that did NOT announce the subject of a 3/4 of a million dollar ($750,000) discussion to purchase TDRs.  A copy of the internet version is attached. The link to that document is here:  http://www.westvincenttwp.org/images/docs/070813%20Agenda.pdf

West Vincent has been strong on it's Open Space program. Buying Transferrable Development Rights (TDR's) from private landholders is an exchange of $$$ for removing the ability to develop that land. It is a deed restriction. One of the more famous TDR purchases made is from resident Pam Brown's property, where she then built another house (in violation of the deed restriction) 2 times larger than allowed by the township zoning at that time. Don't worry, the Supervisor's changed the zoning after I exposed the Township for allowing the violation. 19 December, 2010; 20 January, 2011; 28 February, 2011; 28 February, 2011(again), 27 April, 2011; 31 October, 2011; and many more, some with videos! Stop by my website http://tinyurl.com/westvincentinfos and check them out. Somehow there is still some Open Space funds that keep carrying over in the Township budget even though it looked like all of them were spent after the Dunn acquisition (read it on my website 31 March, 2012).  The Administration is ready to take action after a long hiatus and supposedly still some cash in the bank.

A history of the potential TDR property.
There is a property at the east end of St Matthews Road that was going to be developed and is called the Burch Property. Incidentally, the owner of this property, Burch, is the person that sued and was granted a court order to shut down DL Fleck (now D& L Construction) from operating a commercial business in a residential area, which West Vincent Township never enforced. This property borders the now foreclosed Fleck Property. The company that had an agreement with Burch for this property was refused additional extensions while working on the details to comply with the Township to construct a housing development development. As a quick aside note, I find it amusing that the township discontinued issuing extensions for the the Burch Property builder (Woodstone Homes) while at the EXACT same time allowing the developer of Birchrunville Schoolhouse property (Wilkinson) to continue after years of the same non-action. Extension after extension have been granted for Birchrun Village Property. Back to the issue at hand the Township is now attempting to purchase the TDR's from the Burch Property.

Where is the money coming from?

You may think that the township will be using Open Space Funds, listed as $1,000,000 in the 2013 budget, (I notice there is no contribution to the Ludwig's Corner Horse Show. Hmmmmmm.)

in order to protect this ground. You would be wrong. No, they want to use approximately $750,000 from the General Fund, the finances used for standard and regular operations of the township. General Fund money is not Open Space money. Clare Quinn stated that there is money from the Hankin Settlement in order to acquire Open Space, but that money has never been put in the Open Space Fund. As I remember, the amount in reserve from the Hankin Settlement in 2007 was $1.1 million (copy of Settlement page attached). By 12/5/2011, the total cash reserve had dropped to $950,000 according to Jim Wendelgass (Township Manager), or $150,000 less than the settlement amount. In fact, here is a screenshot of the minutes from December 5, 2011:

Strangely, by June 25, 2012, there is no reserve according to the Township Manager. Here is the screenshot:

Yet at the July 8 meeting, now it sounds like the amount is at $750,000, or $350,000 less than the original settlement amount, yet no Open Space has been acquired with this money. It is really impossible to tell how much "carryover" money really that is not earmarked to other commitments (spent or held money that has not been disbursed) exists because the Administration lists any non-budgeted monies as "carryover" from the one year to the next. That money can be all sorts of things including builder escrows, which can be substantial amounts of funds for building roads and other improvements. That money is disbursed or returned when the stated obligation is satisfied.  It really isn't township money or funds.  Think of it as a security deposit. Look at the second to the last line of this year's budget. http://www.westvincenttwp.org/images/docs/2013%20Approved%20Budget.pdf

When this issue was being discussed at the meeting, the Supervisors claimed that the General Fund monies had to be used because of the expediency required to acquire these TDR's. They alluded to being able to reimburse the General Funds money with the Opens Space reserves, only to reject the transfer of those funds later in the questioning. The West Vincent Supervisors managed both alluding and eluding in the same meeting AND subject. Budgets are written for a reason and required to be followed. This discussion is well worth watching to see how the Supervisors perform the "West Vincent Supervisor Shim-Sham". 

Here is the TOWNSHIP produced video on the township website: http://www.westvincenttwp.org/images/all-videos/BOS%20Video%20070813.wmv

Here is the version of the meeting with only the TDR discussion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTatNovXFFc&feature=youtu.be

Supervisors are the people that are supposed to be properly running the township and properly spending the money you are sending to them every year. In West Vincent, those rules needn't apply.

Best wishes

Chickenman


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