This article was recently forwarded to me.


It is about the upcoming purchase of the former West Vincent Township Schoolhouse property by West Vincent Township, which used to be owned by West Vincent Township. To be fair, the entire property is not being acquired, only the least valuable part of the property. It is more like a BUYBACK, rather than just a purchase.

A short description of the property would be as follows:

Approximately 2 acres of ground. The smallest percentage of the site is level, probably 30%, has rudimentary buildings that were required to be torn down by the township before it's sale in 2004, but the township was able to sell the property and not fulfill the obligation. Now the taxpayer will potentially be on the hook for the removal expense. The balance of the property resembles a mountainside, having an incline that would make some ski slopes jealous. If zoning permits, it may be a nice place to raise mountain goats. This section of the property contains an easement for sewage seepage location to be accessed by the Schoolhouse property. Please don't take my word on it. Drive over to the corner of Schoolhouse Lane and Flowing Springs Road and make your own determination of the property inclines.

What is cost the taxpayers of West Vincent to once again own this property? As I wrote on 6 December 2013, the County of Chester places the value in about the $100,000 range, without knowledge of the new sewage easement that has been placed on it. As for it's use, the property will become a park of little viable use. It should be known that until the sale is consummated, the actual purchase price remains undisclosed to the taxpaying public.

The real cost for this debacle is far greater than that of just the purchase price that we do not know. Total expenses would be the property's mystery purchase price


The money that was spent by the township consultants(lawyers, engineers, etc) during attempt to build out the property.


The money spent on legal and engineering fees by the owners of the property that were rightfully trying to develop the property.


The huge legal fees etc paid by residents of Birchrunville (
total defense expenses $42634 ) to prevent the most current development plan from being granted since is was not within the current zoning standard BUT some of the ordinances could be waived or modified by the Supervisors.

I suspect the actual expenditures by all parties since 2004 are likely closer to $300-$400,000 of private and taxpayer monies spent on this folly. The agreement to purchase this property was cemented last year by Supervisors Ken Miller, exiting Supervisor Clare Quinn and David Brown The original sale in 2004 from the Township to the developer was executed by Ken Miller, Clare Quinn and Zoe Perkins. As I have shown before in my emails, none of this had to happen if the Supervisors (two of the three Board members participated in the 2004 sale and the 2013 buyback decision) had either deed restricted or zoned the property properly prior to the sale. The township created the problem and now act like they are heroes that saved the property. In reality, thanks to poor planning, now the taxpayers will pay to maintain this property for all eternity when the same result could have been achieved in private hands at no cost to the taxpayer. 

Also, attached is a letter of interest from the Historic Birchrunville Neighborhood Association. Please consider helping them with a donation. They did the best thing possible to protect a property nearly doomed by the poor planning of past Township administrations.

Best wishes


To see my previous mailings please click on http://tinyurl.com/westvincentinfos  As usual, if you want to be on or off my list, or have some comments or suggestions, or know someone who would like to be on the list, please let me know.  Just  write to chestercountynews@gmail.com  Feel free to forward this email on to anyone you think might be interested.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Historic Birchrunville <info@historicbirchrunville.org>
Subject: HBNA Spring Fundraising Drive
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The beginning of this month has brought some welcome news to supporters of the historic Birchrunville Schoolhouse. The land development plan for the property was withdrawn and West Vincent Township completed a purchase of a portion of the property for use as a passive park. Together, these events will preserve the Schoolhouse for future generations.
This outcome would not have been possible without your past support of the HBNA. In a recent story from the Daily Local News, a township supervisor “credited the residents for the developer’s decision to sell the property." This no doubt is a reference to the strong case prepared by our legal and land use experts for the Conditional Use Hearing. Many hours of meetings went into the preparation of the case and the team was ready with an extensive cross-examination should the opportunity arise. Our attorney Steven Yusem is a top practicing attorney in municipal law and he really made us dig in and do research; we really learned a great deal about our laws and ordinances.
At a recent township meeting, it was suggested that lawyers will tell you anything you want to hear if you are paying them. Well, our lawyer told us to get involved. Land use experts told us to get involved. Officials from Harrisburg told us to get involved. Federal preservation officials told us to get involved. They all told us that we were right-- and on the right track-- but everything at State and Federal levels are pretty much guidelines. The ultimate lesson we learned is that preservation happens on a local level - with the local government, and in the end, with us.
The schoolhouse battle was won. But more importantly, we feel that we won our community back. It’s often said in preservation circles that “preservation is about more than saving a building.” Rather, it’s about saving the spirit of the community. We did that… and now we have the means to protect what we hold dear.
During our fundraising campaigns, we are frequently asked just how much this effort cost us. People are often taken aback at the answer. Here is a breakdown of our expenses:
Association Incorporation fee            $442
Environmental Engineer                    $7467
Land Planner                                      $3250
Attorney                                              $31475
Total expenditures                              $42634
Note that this is just the outside costs and doesn’t even count the thousands of dollars in materials and time that have been donated to assist our fundraising events. In addition, a predecessor group “Save Birchrunville” spent tens of thousands of dollars in 2006 to oppose an earlier development plan for the Schoolhouse.
On April 15, our final payment of $10,700 to our attorney is due. It is our only remaining liability and we would love to clear the slate and have the association be debt free. We would love to have our future events to not be fundraisers, but simply celebrations of our village and township.
Please consider supporting the Historic Birchrunville Neighborhood Association by making a contribution.  Send donations to:
c/o John Eldridge, Treasurer
P.O. Box 202
Birchrunville, PA 19421
And, finally, thank you all for making this the hub of the universe (Thomas B. Dewees, 1844-1919).
The Historic Birchrunville Neighborhood Association