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
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
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
To see my previous mailings please
click on http://tinyurl.com/westvincentinfos
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Feel free to forward this email on to
anyone you think might be interested.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Historic Birchrunville <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: HBNA Spring Fundraising Drive
Friends and Neighbors,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Incorporation fee $442
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
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.
consider supporting the Historic Birchrunville Neighborhood
Association by making a contribution. Send donations to:
John Eldridge, Treasurer
finally, thank you all for making this the hub of the
universe (Thomas B. Dewees, 1844-1919).
Historic Birchrunville Neighborhood Association