reject the mariner 2 east pipeline

reject

Reject the Mariner East 2 pipeline! (click on hyperlink to go to Sierra Club initiative)

Normally I do not pass these things on. But I hate Sunoco (and am not enthralled by the other gas line companies either, but they are more polite to deal with if you have to call and ask questions like I did today). Out here we are on wells and they put us, our families, our pets, our neighbors, our wildlife, our environment, our drinking water and more at risk.

Sunoco thus far seems to bully, lie, and intimidate their way through Chester County and elsewhere, raping the landscape as they go.

21784458790_3b3b49f6a6_oNone of use should  want them stealing any more land belonging to anymore individuals thru their B.S. Eminent Domain practices because they are not doing any of this for us….ever. With big oil and big gas, it is always and always will be….about them.

They put toxic, highly flammable, and highly combustible products too close to homes, and they are NOT protecting water sources or wildlife, let alone people.

This is NOT about us and our energy supply. They are just stealing it for other people. They don’t even adequately compensate people for what they do if you want to make it solely about money and it is so much more than that. And thus far the majority of local officials just bend over and give it up without much of a fight.

In the past two days I have had conversations with people from East Goshen and West Goshen Townships who both do not know each other and their experiences as related to me were virtually identical.

They were threatened with eminent domain and they felt they had no choice but to give them an easement; and both hired attorneys that cost many thousands of dollars!

21349816844_28eba2ef09_oThey feel the worst is yet to come as they haven’t started the pipeline invasion yet. They have heard that townships may give them rights to work 24 hours a day, which if true is insane!

So much for East Goshen and West Goshen townships… These folks both tell tales of strange men and women with Texas and Louisiana car plates on their properties TRESPASSING before they even had legal easements.

It just isn’t right and the elected officials are of no help at all.

One said to me (and I quote):

What many don’t know is how in the end our property values will be affected and it is my belief that my property value ( and all on the pipeline path) will go down because of the easement… But the same monies will be needed to support the town budget so everyone else’s taxes will go up to provide the same tax base . We are all losers.

 

We are all losers.  Yup.  I received a pamphlet recently from Spectra Energy about pipeline sapipelinefety.  I have not previously received any pipeline info before where we currently live.  So I called.  I spoke with a very nice man named Don in Gas Control.  And wow, we do not have a gas line on our property or in our immediate neighborhood, but wow, pretty darn close.
Another election year issue on a national scale.  Please sign the above petition and add your voice.  And for those of you tired of trespassers, call Andy Dinniman’s office in West Chester .  There should be rules as to when they can access easements and they should provide advance notice.

Anyway, that’s it. I hate pipelines and I hate what they are doing to our area.  And for what?

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EMINENT DOMAIN ALERT CHESTER COUNTY: SUNOCO

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UPDATEyou can check out all the Sunoco filings with the Public Utility Commission by going to the PUC website and plunking in the case number which is P-2014-2411966

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I said I wasn’t going to write any longer about Sunoco and their insidious infiltration of Chester County due to certain personalities behaving counter-intuitively, but screw it, this is important.

I might be a relative newcomer to Chester County, but I am not a stranger to fighting eminent domain. I fought eminent domain all the way to Washington DC . I was one of many people who joined the Institute for Justice and their Castle Coalition arm and fought eminent domain a few years ago. This was all when a lovely woman named Suzette Kelo was fighting to save her little pink house. Suzette Kelo took her case all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

The case was Kelo vs. New London. This case captured the attention of the nation and took nasty eminent domain out of the shadows and into the full glare of public scrutiny.

Yesterday two articles came out and I thought about my original hypothesis. First an article came out I saw that said Sunoco was withdrawing their zoning thing in West Goshen.. Then an article appears about how Sunoco was just going to appeal to the Public Utility Commission.

So I sat there last night and read the articles and came back full circle to my original thought: EMINENT DOMAIN FOR PRIVATE GAIN cloaked as EMINENT DOMAIN FOR PUBLIC PURPOSE.

You see, if Sunoco can get public utility status from the Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) they can ride over the heads of any homeowner and municipality can’t they? With their public utility status comes the power of eminent domain, doesn’t it? They say power corrupts, and can we agree in this case it will indeed?

And then there is that other interesting Sunoco bit of news: a makeover in progress for the Marcus Hook refinery.

As per The Philadelphia Inquirer:

It is out with the old and in with the new at the 500-acre waterfront facility formerly known as the Sunoco Marcus Hook Refinery, now the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex.

Workers last week ripped down aging petroleum-processing equipment, part of a labyrinth of machinery that has produced gasoline, diesel, and kerosene for more than a century. Other crews built cryogenic storage tanks more than 130 feet tall with three-foot-thick walls that will hold the future: new fuels from the prolific Marcellus Shale region.

Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P., a pipeline company that bought the property for $60 million last year from its sister company, Sunoco Inc., is converting the site into a major center for processing and shipping natural gas liquids.
It In August, Sunoco Logistics won PUC approval setting the stage to convert its cross-state pipeline for ethane. PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson endorsed the move.

“Mariner East not only links producers with new markets, but it also represents a link between the commonwealth’s citizens, well-paying jobs, and a more independent domestic energy future,” he said.

Now Powelson may be asked to play a role in a key vote on whether Sunoco’s plans can move forward. in a key vote on whether Sunoco’s plans can move forward.

So Sunoco was previously just shipping this stuff out of Pennsylvania, right? So if they start peddling the product to residents of Pennsylvania instead of just sucking it out of people’s back yards and corn fields and forests it looks better before the the PUC, right?

Even Moveon.org has gotten involved this is getting so bad. If you live in Chester County or in Pennsylvania, have you signed their petition ? (HINT: you can find it at the bottom of this post.)

The Inquirer has also published an article speaking about environmental groups intervening in Sunoco pipeline case. (And see this thing Sunoco filed the other day.)

As per the Inquirer environmental groups responding thus far are the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the Clean Air Council, the Pipeline Safety Coalition and the Mountain Watershed Association.

Now if I were Sunoco, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network alone would make me nervous. Which brings me to something I heard. Is it true that Sunoco has retained the former Philadelphia head of the D.E.P or something like that? Some guy named Michael Krancer now with Blank Rome?

A man I know and respect, the former head of the Lower Merion Conservancy Mike Weilbacher wrote about this guy last year in Main Line Media News:

Mike Weilbacher: Michael Krancer’s life after DEP Published: Wednesday, July 03, 2013
By Mike Weilbacher
Columnist

For two years, Bryn Mawr’s Michael Krancer sat on arguably the hottest seat in Harrisburg during one of its hottest times. Until April 15, he was secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, charged with, among other things, pushing forward with Governor Corbett’s election promise of full-speed-ahead fracking.

And he has been unabashedly pro-fracking, writing in a November op-ed piece that the “Marcellus shale formation is the global superstar of natural gas formations and… a key driver in true American energy independence.”

The fifth high-level Corbett official to leave office at the time—another, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources chief Richard Allan was asked to leave only two weeks ago—Krancer often clashed with the state’s environmental interests, the word “controversial” attached to his name in many headlines over the last two years.

I caught up with the former secretary, looking decidedly relaxed, last week in Saxby’s, hoping to probe the last two years with him—after all, it’s not too often a neighbor gets appointed to DEP chief. My goal was to let him tell his story in his words — not argue the merits of his policies, not debate fracking, not ask him the same questions he’s been asked by thousands of other reporters, but instead to find out his current and future plans, including a possible run for Pennsylvania Governor in 2016….On fracking, the core of the controversy, I observed that few Lower Merion residents likely support the practice, Southeastern Pennsylvania being a hotbed of anti-fracking fervor. “Once people go out and see it (fracking),” he replied, “it becomes de-mystified. The drilling rig is only there temporarily, and before, during and after the process you don’t even see the rig. And when it’s done, all that’s left is a piping mechanism.

“I maintain now,” he continued, that it can and has been done safely and carefully—that’s what regulation is about. We have to be careful. Like any operation, the environmental impact has to be managed—and people who do it spend a lot of time managing the environmental impact.”

This is a big article and I found it fascinating. And if this is Sunoco’s new white knight, how does that happen? Or is the DEP not so environmentally sensitive any longer? In just 2008 the PA DEP was filing suit against Sunoco and now this to contemplate? And do you remember what that suit was about? Wasn’t it a crazy 12000-gallon gasoline spill from a ruptured pipeline in Westmoreland County, PA?

So I have to ask was Michael Krancer ever really one of the good guys? And sadly what I heard is indeed true and has been verified by the Philadelphia Inquirer which said in an article today April 30:

Sunoco also filed notice Monday with the PUC that it had retained the Blank Rome L.L.P. law firm to represent it before the PUC. The Blank Rome team is headed by Michael L. Krancer, Gov. Corbett’s former secretary of environmental protection.

(So in case you wanted another reason why no one should vote for Tom Corbett ever again, here is yet another reason, right?)

Everyone should indeed sign the MoveOn.org petition linked below. But people in general need to raise hell with Harrisburg. Our state government is a cesspool of toxic waste water and no matter what our political beliefs, we need to act now. Remember all the horrors we have heard over the years about strip mining? Can it be contemplated that will be a walk in the park if Sunoco gets their way with the PUC? After all if they are changing up lawyers and changing strategy they are hunkering down to fight by any means possible aren’t they?

Eminent domain for private gain is heinous. And eminent domain for private gain cloaked in fake public purpose is even more evil.

Sunoco is digging in Chester County. Time to bring it.

Check out websites like The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, the Institute for Justice (and they have a form you can fill out about eminent domain abuse), and locally the hot eastbootroad website, and Just The Facts Please on Facebook.

And if you want to contact the PUC they have this convoluted website, but here is the equivalent of the “office directory“:

Chairman & Commissioners

Chairman Robert F. Powelson Phone: 717-787-4301
Fax: 717-783-8698
Vice Chairman John F. Coleman Phone: 717-772-0692
Fax: 717-787-5620
Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer Phone: 717-783-1763
Fax: 717-783-7986
Commissioner Gladys M. Brown Phone: 717-787-1031
Fax: 717-783-0698
Commissioner James H. Cawley Phone: 717-783-1197
Fax: 717-783-9845

The Executive Offices

Jan H. Freeman, Executive Director Phone: 717-787-1035
Director of Regulatory Affairs Phone: 717-783-8156
Lou Ann Hess, Administrative Officer Phone: 717-783-8156
Fax: 717-787-3417

Office of Communications

Bureau Director’s Office

Tom Charles, Director Phone: 717-787-9504
Lori Shumberger, Executive Secretary Phone: 717-783-9998
Jennifer Kocher, Press Secretary Phone: 717-787-5722
Community Relations Phone: 717-787-5722
Fax: 717-787-4193

Office of Administrative Law Judge

Bureau Director’s Office

Charles E. Rainey Jr., Chief Administrative Law Judge Phone: 717-787-1191
Pokim Park, Executive Secretary Phone: 717-783-9959
Fax: 717-787-0481
Legal Division

Kim Hafner, Legal Division Supervisor Phone: 717-705-3822
Herbert R. Nurick, Mediation Coordinator Phone: 717-783-5428
Cindy Lehman, ADR Mediator Phone: 717-783-5413
Susan Hoffner, Case Control Officer Phone: 717-787-4497

I would also say people like Duane Milne, Dan Truitt, and Andy Dinniman need to be contacted. And if no one calls you back from their offices, contact them again. Elected officials work for us, not the other way around. And again, sign the MoveOn Petition.

If you have media contacts or contacts with any other property rights or environmental groups, contact them. Use social media. Don’t be shy. This affects all of us in Pennsylvania if Sunoco has their way with the PUC, not just Chester County.

CLICK HERE for MoveOn.org Sunoco Petition 

 

will it be eminent domain and pipelines, sunoco?

20140331-190842.jpgSimple Shots Photos photo

A group in West Goshen is fighting mad and battling Sunoco Logistics and its plan for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project.

W. Goshen residents upset with gas pump station proposal By Jeremy Gerrard, Daily Local News POSTED: 03/30/14, 7:47 PM EDT |

WEST GOSHEN — Township residents are organizing against the construction of a proposed natural gas pump station, voicing outrage over possible health and safety issues from the facility.

“This doesn’t just affect West Goshen, but every community from here to Marcus Hook,” resident Tom Casey said.

Sunoco is requesting a variance from West Goshen at an April 3, 2014 zoning meeting to build a pipeline pump station with 34 foot ‘flare stack’ in a neighborhood at Boot Road and Route 202. Sunoco has similar requests in 31 municipalities across Pa as it transitions a cross-state petroleum pipeline to ethane, butane, propane liquid gas use.

Apparently one of the big fat sticking points per my sources is the flare stack proposal. I learned about the Just The Facts Please group from my friend Tim at Panewz:

Panewz.com: Gas pipeline wants fast track on expansion, pump station, flare stack approval in Pa

….Many pipelines across Pa were established with easements to carry petroleum when much of the Pa landscape was farmland. Today these pipelines pass through suburbanized communities.

Additionally, many residents are concerned about the conversion of the former petroleum pipelines to highly pressurized liquid gas and its combustibility. In some cases, residents aren’t aware that a pipeline, installed many years ago, runs through their neighborhood….One concern for residents is the pump or compressor stations that must be built along the gas pipelines to push the gas through. Some of these stations can be quite large, depending upon terrain and distance from the next station… Sunoco Pipeline is also applying for status as a Public Utility in Pennsylvania. See the application and a list of all Pa Townships involved in the Mariner East 2 pipeline expansion by clicking here.

If approved, the pump and valve control station buildings, above, that Sunoco says it would install on the sites, would be ‘exempt from any local zoning, subdivision and land development regulations’.

The company is also requesting that the applications be expedited because ‘full potential of Pennsylvania shale gas remains hampered by limited pipeline infrastructure’. The company has requested approval of this legal designation prior to the Public Utility Commission’s meeting of June 19, 2014.

The company’s application says the buildings and expedited service are needed for the ‘convenience and welfare of the public’. It also does not want one township’s denial of construction to hold up the entire pipeline.

A judge has already ruled in York County on Sunoco’s Motion for Survey Rights and efforts to condemn property in Eminent Domain. Read about it by clicking here.

Pa eminent domain blogger and Harrisburg attorney Michael Faherty has written ten reasons why, he believes, Sunoco will not succeed with the PUC in gaining Public Utility status and the power of eminent domain.

Alrighty then. The other meat of it? Sunoco apparently has a request before the PUC to be classified as a ‘Public Utility’ so the company can bypass all local zoning regulations and use eminent domain to take additional lands along the existing pipeline route? Apparently they are not a public utility when it comes to gas or something? So does that mean then they want carte blanche eminent domain powers? Sounds like it right?

The Facebook Page, Just The Facts Please, is trying to get more people to the meeting.

I think that eminent domain for private gain shrouded in a cloak of eminent domain for public purpose is what will occur if eminent domain for properties is attempted. I was told but have no proof that some are already are having to deal with whispers of eminent domain and to them I say FIGHT. I am somewhat astounded to hear how reluctant property owners are being bullied and isn’t that awful?

Look, our homes are our castles and our personal American dreams and personally I wouldn’t want big oil or the government to have a piece of my dream. (And I hope homeowners facing eminent domain know about groups like the Institute for Justice
in Washington, DC. They are a tremendous resource and much more.)

I used to be somewhat ambivalent towards this whole pipeline issue. But now, because of what I have heard happening in West Goshen and my former community of East Goshen I’m not so sure. And if big oil came knocking on my door I don’t think I could say yes. I am not going to judge anyone who has said yes, and I know some who have in the past, but I don’t think this is for me either.

Do we as Chester County residents get benefits of allowing drilling as we live in a state whose governor doesn’t have a tax (or much of a tax?) on the big oil companies having to do with what they drill? Ironically most of us don’t even have access to natural gas for heating because there aren’t a heck of a lot of those kinds of gas lines, yet they have been running an insane amount of pipelines. We are also on wells out here, so what happens to our drinking supply if they screw up?

I know you can’t take on everything but this is something at the very minimum worth going to a meeting to learn. After all a good portion of municipal meetings in Chester County are not televised.

I guess where I am on this is I hate government bullying. I hate eminent domain. I hate businesses attempting what Sunoco is attempting. I think I might even buy gasoline for my car elsewhere now. Wawa has better prices anyway. And most of all I hate that residents can’t just say “no thank you” if they don’t want a pipeline in their yard.

So if you have concerns, please don’t wait, go to this meeting this week. April 3, 7 pm, West Goshen Township Building. 1025 Paoli Pike, West Chester.

Judge Rules that Sunoco Pipeline Does Not Have Eminent Domain Power by Michael Faherty on February 28, 2014 in Pipeline Construction

The Top Ten Reasons Sunoco Pipeline Does Not Have the Power of Eminent Domain by Michael Faherty on January 22, 2014 in Pipeline Construction

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MORE media is covering barn-gate in upper uwchlan! save picking in rural chester county!

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I have been horribly sick all week so I completely missed the fact that The Daily Local has also picked up on The Smithfield Barn!

I am thrilled. The article is fair and unfortunately (once again) Upper Uwchlan doesn’t really sound so nice, do they?

Upper Uwchlan, farmer at odds over barn sales Daily Local By Kendal Gapinski, Daily Local News POSTED: 01/09/14, 5:49 PM EST |

UPPER UWCHLAN – The Smithfield Barn, a spot where residents can pick through antiques, toys, furniture and collectibles at barn sales, has been asked by the township to stop the sales.

According to Phil Smith, owner of the Smithfield Barn at 425 Little Conestoga Road, the township made the request at the end of November because it said he was running a business on a property zoned residential.

Smith said the barn sales are held occasionally, once or twice a month in the spring and fall, and should not be considered a business.

“There’s no heating or air conditioning, it’s a barn,” said Smith.

However, the township disputes the claim that sales are held only “occasionally.”

Township Manager Cary Vargo said it had become apparent the sales were happening more frequently.

In October, Vargo said, the township’s zoning officer spoke with Smith and advised him “it was a retail establishment.”

“It was clearly a successful business,” said Vargo, who added the township believed sales were held nearly every weekend.

The meeting was followed up with an official letter in November telling Smith to stop the sales or be fined $500 a day, Smith said.

Smith said the barn sales, which he said are similar to garage sales, have been going on for nearly five years without objection from the township.

I have only posted an excerpt. Read the whole article and comments.

All of the people leaving comments on this have been IN support of the barn except for a poster named “Elizabeth McGill”. Her comment profile on the Daily Local shows a photo of an older lady who looks like a cookie baking, scarf knitting grandma. Her profile description says she became a widow in July after being married fifty years. Her comments, however, are negative and also untrue. She says (and I quote):


I was there last summer looking for unique antique treasures. All I found was junk obviously obtained through “dumpster diving.” His garage sale/store is open to the public every day in fair weather….What if your next door neighbor turned his house into a strip club, gas station, or retail store? This man is operating a store in a residential area. If anything goes, and everyone is allowed to do this, fine. But don’t blame the township for ‘sticking their nose’ into THEIR business which is enforcing the rules

Since when are their rules for yard sales, garage sales, and barn sales? And wow has this lady every been to the super fabulous and super popular Clover Market? You go there and you will see sometimes priced at hundreds of dollars things like the ones you might find at the barn for literally pennies.

How can you compare a barn sale or garage sale to a strip club? Unless of course designer stripper poles are developer add on options in these “communities” gobbling up farm land in Chester County LOL? And how can this woman outright fib and say the barn is open “every day in Fair weather”? The Smith family lives on that property and just because a barn door is open, it doesn’t make it a barn sale day does it?

It’s like the rumor that was heard when this barn-gate issue first surfaced that a complaint was supposedly made from Green Valley Road. At first I could not figure out what road this was. Then I looked at the map. It is the little spit of road that is in front of the barn, but isn’t Little Conestoga Road. It sort of dead ends a bit past the edge of the Smithfield Farm property. It looks like it runs to the Frame property. But the thing is this, those are the most immediate neighbors of the barn, aren’t they? And these are the people who are supportive of the Smith family so who would start such a rumor?

But back to this whole negative comment thing.

When I asked Kristin at the barn if she knew who this woman might be, do you know what she said? Not what you might think for someone who is in a sense under siege from the township she calls home. What she said to me was (and I quote):

We live in a world filled with hatred and poverty and crime, but someone attacks the barn for in essence recycling. That makes me feel bad because I feel sad for her.

You see, that is a prime example of the kind of people the Smiths are. They are good people who even now when someone is literally casting stones at them would turn the other cheek and feel badly and feel concern for this person leaving comments like this.

Good people like the Smiths deserve better than they are getting. The residents of Upper Uwchlan deserve better.

Barn sales and yard sales are part of Chester County life and a lot of fun. Picking is as American as Apple pie and fireworks on the 4th of July! They should be allowed to continue. And this is a very nice family that I feel is being victimized by local government most unfairly.

Please help Save The Barn! Barn Picking hurts no one. And again I say there are a lot of very poor people in parts of Chester County who need places like the Smithfield Barn so they can just get stuff for their homes – you know the basics like a kitchen table and chairs that aren’t over priced?

Save picking in rural Pennsylvania. It is as American as Apple Pie. Contact Upper Uwchlan or your favorite TV station or heck even American Pickers or the Institute for Justice and tell them the Smithfield Barn and their OCCASIONAL barn sales should live on just the way they are until the Smith family doesn’t want to do it any more.

The Smithfield Barn is not a retail store and if you suddenly need a zoning variance for yard sales, garage sales, and barn sales wow so Big Brother and how is that even American?

Upper Uwchlan

Guy A. Donatelli Chairperson 78 Stonehedge Drive Glenmoore, PA 19343

GDonatelli@upperuwchlan-pa.gov

Catherine A. Tomlinson Vice-Chairperson 788 North Reeds Road Downingtown, PA 19335

CTomlinson@upperuwchlan-pa.gov

Kevin C. Kerr Supervisor 16 Heron Hill Drive Downingtown, PA 19335

KKerr@upperuwchlan-pa.gov

140 Pottstown Pike Chester Springs, PA 19425 Phone: (610) 458-9400 Fax: (610) 458-0307
Cary Vargo Township Manager (610) 646-7008
cvargo@upperuwchlan-pa.gov

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chester county at risk: historic birchrunville

I love being in Chester County.  Before I was a resident, anytime anyone wanted to take a leisurely drive and explore, I was all for it.

Birchrunville was one of those places.  Quiet and charming, consisting of small country roads.  Farms. Horses, as you can actually still ride your horse on the road which you won’t be doing if this development happens. Great old country architecture and some incredible old houses.  The real deal of charm.

It is NOT a place where developers should come in with their Emperor’s New Clothes grand plans for supersizing a small hamlet.  The residents should not allow it, and quite frankly, any elected or appointed official who likes a plan like this should be voted out as soon as possible.

We are, after all, talking about West Vincent Township.  And for West Vincent Township to go from needing/wanting eminent domain for private gain at Christmastime 2011 to this plan now, well it is so very Lower Merion Township that I can’t stand it.  And I can tell you how the story turns out: it doesn’t.

Once upon a time Lower Merion made a bid for eminent domain for private gain.  Then they put people through the pain of grand redevelopment plans.  All people wanted was a train station.  What they got was heartache, headaches, and nothing. Well nothing except a lot of money spent on plans, plans, and more plans.  A lot of the money spent was part of $6 million dollars that your Congressman Jim Gerlach got so Ardmore could have a new train station/transit center.  So much of that money has been squandered that I just don’t get why Jim Gerlach hasn’t pulled the money back yet.  But maybe he will and it will serve Lower Merion right.

And don’t let Supervisor David Brown tell you he had no idea of what went on in Lower Merion.  He was too entrenched in the politics for too many years not to know.  Via his own online political resume you can see: Republican Committee of Lower Merion & Narberth Committeeman 1976 – 1990, Counsel to Committee 1990 – 2004, Member Executive Committee 1990 – 2004, Former Solicitor to Montgomery County Controller,Gladwyne Civic Association, Former Director, Former Vice President.

See this synopsis from The Castle Coalition in Washington DC where I will highlight some dates in particular (although I encourage you to read it all):

….a letter in February 2004 informing him that Lower Merion Township had targeted his property and those of his neighbors for eminent domain acquisitions, he was devastated and uncertain about how to proceed….

In September 2004, the Township hired an independent consulting firm to study Ardmore and assess the extent to which economic redevelopment really required condemning their properties, as local officials contended. The Urban Land Institute, an outside organization that specializes in land use and has no financial connection to the business owners or the Township, conducted a comprehensive study of the downtown business district slated for demolition, and strongly urged against the plans proposed by the Planning Commission. Instead, the Institute submitted a number of alternative approaches to the Township, all of which protect property rights and promise the same benefits the municipality sought without condemning the Ardmore properties.[3]

“We kept coming up with alternative plans, but the Township kept ignoring us,” Mahan said.

In December 2004, the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners overwhelmingly approved the most destructive redevelopment option of all the plans submitted for its consideration. The proposal submitted by Hillier Architects called for the demolition of Ardmore’s entire historic district—even though Hillier simultaneously concluded that all of the buildings were in restorable condition…….the Save Ardmore Coalition continued fighting, attending all civic meetings, speaking against the proposal and especially against the abuse of eminent domain, and pursuing practically every grassroots avenue available.

“We’d march to the meetings, carrying signs and making statements. We’d have 300 people on our side, and 100 of them spoke out against the Hillier plan,” he said. “We just kept gaining momentum and the SAC kept growing and growing.”

 

These plans fermented for years prior to 2004 being the year eminent domain came full out in the public eye.  And during that time there were commissioners on the board in favor of this, including one Ken Davis and there is no way David Brown did not know him. Ken Davis represented parts of Gladwyne and was a fellow Republican and member of Gladwyne Civic.  Trust me, not that big of a sphere.

And if David Brown is for this development of Brichrunville, then he should go as soon as his term is up, but if Ken Miller and Clare Quinn are up first, vote them out.  If you do not change the face of who governs you in West Vincent, you will not achieve what you need to achieve.  I know because because I was part of a group who did it.   We flipped five of the seven commissioner seats up in elections, and the people who came in had adopted our group’s mission to defeat eminent domain for private gain.  You see, we endorsed no one.  We had a position: no eminent domain.

But after we defeated eminent domain and the fractured community came together once again, we were faced with re-development plans.  We should have said no.

And if you don’t believe how the land can be raped and pillaged by development that is not truly necessary, take a ride down King and check out the mega mess in Malvern.  They got sold a New Urbanism Fairy Tale and they will rue the day when all is said and done is my prediction.  I am not anti-progress, but I am anti-supersizing it on the theory of build it and they will come because it is not true.  All this hoo ha over transit oriented development.  It’s suburbia, people will always drive, always have cars. Duh.

Malvern got themselves a nice new train station, and if this current development being built was much smaller and in a scale actually in keeping with a very small town?  Well we might be having a different conversation.  Instead, West Vincent, you are being presented with cautionary tales.

But residents, I and others can talk about it, offer opinions from the sidelines and write articles, but you have to pull a real We The People and rise up with pitch forks if necessary.  You have to not just talk about it but actually fight.  Accept it will get nasty and dirty tricks will abound.  To me, it should all be important enough to preserve your way of life. As well as your property values.  (C’mon you think you are going to find it easy to sell a property if West Vincent keeps up indefinately with the West Vincent of it all?)

Rise up, support folks like BirchrunvillePeople who are trying to do good.  And if you feel your government is not quite right and not quite ethical, hello it is a MAJOR election year.  Your congressman needs more than checks from fat cats to survive, he needs votes.  Get him to come around an you show him what you are trying to preserve.   Go to the state.  Surely the Attorney General’s office and ethics board are there for a reason?

But you have to do it for yourselves.    This video like the one up top is awesome.  Kudos to whomever did that.  It literally shows people what you are talking about.

None of this will be easy, but you defeated eminent domain for the time being, so keep on keeping on and save Birchrunville too.  After all, you may or may not realize that developers as much as they love to destroy small towns, also love to recreate them.  You have the real deal.  Preserve your way of life.

And don’t be swayed by “oh but look we can improve our roads.”  Beg to differ.  If your roadmaster actually took the proper care of the roads you would be fine.  But what will happen with road improvements if development occurs?  It will look good for a while because it is new and then it will be back to mainteance business as usual so what is the difference?

This historic school house could be easily sold and preserved from what the video says.  It is YOUR community.  Make that happen.  YOU are the taxpayers.  YOU are the voters.

Once a way of life is destroyed, it is gone.

Lecture over.

 

 

stop eminent domain abuse NOW! urge support and passage of H.R. 1433, the Private Property Rights Protection Act

I cut my activism teeth on fighting eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore, PA as part of  The Save Ardmore Coalition and with the help of the utterly fabulous Institute for Justice in Washington, DC.

My fellow Save Ardmore Coalition members and myself went to Washington and other places to fight side by side with people like Susette Kelo for legislation against eminent domain abuse.  Many of us gave testimony at the time on H.R. 4128. We introduced the author of H.R. 4128, now author of H.R. 1433 James Sensenbrenner to Ardmore to check it all out.

H.R. 4128 got buried, but has been resurrected today as H.R. 1433, the Private Property Rights Protection Act.

I am paying it forward and suggesting you do to.  Check out an e-mail just received from Christina Walsh at IJ:

Friends:
H.R. 1433, the Private Property Rights Protection Act, will likely be considered by the House of Representatives this week.  It was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month.  It is critical that you contact your representatives TODAY and tell them to vote for H.R. 1433.  You may remember that this bill passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly in 2005 by a vote of 376 – 38, but has been stonewalled in the Senate since.

You can find your representative’s contact information here.

This reform is long overdue.  H.R. 1433 will strip any municipality that abuses eminent domain of federal economic development funds for two years.  You can read the text of the bill here.  It’s time that Congress stop being complicit in the abuse of eminent domain.

Read IJ’s op-ed in the Washington Times on federal eminent domain reform efforts here and below.

Please forward this alert onto your friends, colleagues and e-mail lists, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Best,

Christina Walsh Director of Activism and Coalitions Institute for Justice 901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900 Arlington, VA 22203 (703) 682-9320 (703)-682-9321 (fax) www.ij.orgwww.castlecoalition.org

WALSH: Congress can halt eminent domain abuse Politicians must be stopped from using law to reward developer friends

When the U.S. Supreme Court rules, more often than not, that settles the matter.
But not in the case of Kelov. City of NewLondon, where the court sparked a revolt that quickly flared across more than three dozen states. The decision, handed down in 2005, told cities across the country to feel free to take away homes and businesses from property owners and give them to wealthy developers, as long as cities promise they think new developments might generate more tax dollars or jobs, with an emphasis on “think” and “might.”
There is no appeal of Supreme Court decisions and changing the Constitution is hard, but that didn’t stop states from setting more protective standards for their own property owners. Since Kelo, 44 states have enacted laws restricting the power of eminent domain to varying degrees, and more protections are being added. Virginia’s legislature is close to passing expanded protections.
Despite the differences in the reform efforts, the message remains the same: You got it wrong, Supreme Court. Now the nationwide revolt has come to Congress, finally allowing the federal government to join the effort to stop eminent domain abuse.
The power of eminent domain is supposed to be for “public use” so government can build things like roads and schools. Local governments essentially can force homeowners and business owners to sell their land, often at cut-rate prices, so essential services can be built. But starting with the wildly unsuccessful urban renewal efforts of the 1940s and 1950s, “public use” has been stretched to mean anything that possibly could benefit the public, not limited to what the public might actually share in using – shopping malls, fancy housing developments and office towers that could pay those local governments more in property taxes.
It has been demonstrated time and again that eminent domain is routinely used to wipe out black, Hispanic and poorer communities, with less political capital and influence, in favor of developers’ grand plans.
It also has been demonstrated that restrictions on eminent domain in no way inhibit economic growth, as the beneficiaries of eminent domain abuse would like you to believe. Development will continue to happen every day, as it always has, through private negotiation – not government force.
In fact, prohibitions on eminent domain abuse instill confidence in investments, leading to even stronger economic growth.
Groups across the philosophical spectrum have recognized the need to limit this abuse of power to protect those who are defenseless against the seemingly unstoppable alliance of powerful, deep-pocketed developers and their politician friends. The diverse coalition has included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Farm Bureau. It’s safe to say that the coalition also includes more than 80 percent of Americans, as demonstrated poll after poll taken after Kelo.
Despite the evidence that Americans are united against the misuse of eminent domain, Congress has yet to to take even a modest step. A bipartisan bill, H.R. 1433, making its way through the House would strip a city of federal economic development funding for two years if the city takes private property to give to someone else for their private use. Cities that want to keep their funding will have to be more circumspect in using eminent domain.
This bill undoubtedly will pass the House as it did in 2005, and likely will get stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee, headed by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, where it has gone to die in years past.
It is tragic because this is exactly the kind of centrist reform – uniting minority advocates and small-business interests – where Republicans and Democrats should be able to work together.
Christina Walsh is director of activism and coalitions for the Institute for Justice, which argued the Kelo case before the U.S. Supreme Court.