I read local municipality agendas. It’s a very easy way to learn what’s going on around you. and when I read the most recent one for East Goshen Township warning bells went off in my head.
So….let’s get to it. Has anyone looked at East Goshen Township’s upcoming BOS Agenda? There is some special and interestingly worded language about a potential “right of way land acquisition” for the Paoli Pike Trail and the Hicks Farm. (Item 11 “New Business”)
When you read that after reading item 5B which refers to “Executive session” and “legal matter pertaining to the Paoli Pike trail”, if you have ever followed eminent domain cases it makes you wonder what East Goshen Township is up to precisely doesn’t it?
East Goshen are you playing at eminent domain???
Read the agenda and ask those supervisors some questions….at the meeting.
At what cost do trails get built? And is this where they were talking development a while back?
Eminent Domain is something I despise. I helped find it successfully many years ago in Ardmore thanks to our groups help from the Institute for Justice in Washington DC. I learned about both kinds of eminent domain, private gain and public purpose. And municipalities love to say public purpose is for the public good but is it always for the public good?
Since I saw these items on the agenda I have been asking around. And I was told that indeed residents did receive an eminent domain letter from East Goshen Township. And then I saw this:
I went through the public meeting packet for East Goshen Township for their upcoming meeting. And there is nothing like taking letter included in the packet and that should be publicly posted. Because if they’re doing it for the public good, don’t hide it in executive session agenda items which I have to ask is that what they’re trying to do?
Here is this Op-Ed I saw in Patch and Delaware Valley Journal:
📌‼️Chester County’s Eminent Problem
Posted to Politics June 11, 2021 by Stephen Wahrhaftig
Imagine a knock on your door, and somebody announces that they intend to purchase your home, and that you will need to vacate it shortly. Imagine, also, that you are told that the value of your home will be established by the purchaser, and that you must accept the offer without objection. Sounds like a nightmare scenario.
This nightmare has played out time and again here in Chester County. It occurs when a local government decides that they want to take someone’s property for public use that is deemed more important than the rights of the property owner. It does not matter how long the property may have been owned, or how the owner feels about being forced to give up their land. If the locality wants it, they can take it at a price they feel they should pay. The process is called Eminent Domain, a somewhat gray area of law that has been in constant dispute for decades.
In the recent past, there have been examples of localities using Eminent Domain to seize private property for values that owners have felt unjust, and for reasons the community has sometimes found inappropriate….The latest threat of Eminent Domain use is happening in East Goshen Township. The victim in this case is Goshen View Farm, owned by the Hicks family. The ancestors of this family settled in Chester County back in 1769. According to a family member, this farm was purchased by William Huey Hicks in 1909. William was interested in the land because of the new system of electrification along Paoli Pike. Hicks bought the farm from the Sharpless family the old-fashioned way, by offering the owner a fair price and having the seller agree to the transaction in a free and agreeable sale….You may ask what the critical need is for taking a strip of land from a farm along Paoli Pike? Is there a hospital being built? Perhaps some emergency access is needed for a fire department? In fact, this property is being seized for a possible walking trail no more than two miles long, according to some local residents.
Sometimes referred to as “The Trail to Nowhere,” this strip of property is supposed to meet up with other township trails that may or may not ever exist, or even meet with this section of the trail. Perhaps the prospect of millions in government grant money is affecting the decision to invoke Eminent Domain. By some estimates, the township is spending about $5 million per mile to build the trail, $10 million in total.
The family that owns the property is not only unhappy with the threat of Eminent Domain but is also concerned about how visitors may impact their valuable horse stabling business, and about liabilities that may ensue when bikers and hikers cross the vehicle traffic on the farm lane exiting to Paoli Pike.‼️📌
Ok East Goshen there is building a walkable community and then there is bullsheit. This,East Goshen, is bullsheit .
I am all for walking trails. And I love the trails that East Goshen has in their park down the road. But this this is crap. I mean what are they going to do connect their trail with West Chester Borough? I mean do they want to connect their trail to 202 or something?
I have not seen the eminent domain taking letter, only told by a few sources that it exists. If the owners want to make it public I am happy to publish it because Imms always going to have a problem with eminent domain. And I don’t think this has anything to do with public purpose I think this has to do with legacy building on the part of some of these supervisors and that is WRONG.
And when I saw this editorial, it did make me realize that Chester county does have an eminent domain problem from time to time and this is one of those times.
East Goshen should learn from the mistakes of others. We will start with Coatesville when they tried to take the Sahas’ Farm for a golf course. Then will move right along to West Vincent Township when they tried to take the Ludwigs Corner Horse Show via eminent domain. In both cases this ended quite badly for these municipalities and at quite an expense.
And East Goshen? Time to be public about this. And stop the madness. Why is it farms especially farms with horses have to be subjected to eminent domain takings? Aren’t enough things like overdevelopment threatening the equine and agricultural history and traditions of this county as it is???
Other things East Goshen is NOT considering is the impact this would have on a working farm or how this not might but would affect their liability and liability coverage.
Trails are like a shiny new bauble for municipalities but they have to be done and created for the right reasons. If East Goshen wants to use eminent domain it’s the wrong reason.
Farmers and equestrians I am asking you to stand with concerned East Goshen residents and the Hicks family Tuesday , June 15th at this IN PERSON meeting at EAST GOSHEN TOWNSHIP located at 1580 Paoli Pike West Chester, PA 19380. The meeting starts at 7 PM. If my friend the late Dick Saha was still on this earthly plane I know for sure he would be there with his farmer friends.
Also, I encourage people and media to FLOOD East Goshen with emails and calls:
Eeast Goshen Township Building
East Goshen Township
1580 Paoli Pike
West Chester, PA 19380-6199
Phone: (610) 692-7171
Fax: (610) 692-8950
Office hours 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Please note that you must wear a mask when entering the building.
Interim Township Manager: email@example.com
Outgoing Township Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Giddy up folks. This farm needs our support. And East Goshen? While I respect a lot of what you do, I don’t respect this and I am entitled to my opinion.
Thanks for stopping by.