When I wrote about West Goshen last week, I did not realize I had ignited some sort of political powder keg and why is that is local governments are supposed to be so open and find it impossible? These people are elected to represent all residents equally, correct?
Anyway, apparently there was a rather heated West Goshen Board of Supervisors meeting last night? I hear among other things, the recording of meetings was discussed? So as of now West Goshen records/films zero meetings and their website catalog of meeting minutes and agendas are somewhat, shall we say, deplorable? So I do not know the actual agenda. But, apparently the supervisors, or maybe it was solicitor or maybe both had their knickers in a twist about this topic and so did certain residents that in other townships are often referred to somewhat indelicately, albeit accurately, as cheerleaders?
The whole thing of recording meetings by the public has always been a hot button topic, not just in West Goshen but all over. The reason a lot of residents will choose to record meetings often has to do with the basic fact that not all municipalities record or film (videotape) meetings, and many are not exactly current on posting meeting minutes or even agendas. And some townships the meeting minutes are shall we say, sanitized? So people record them. (and for the record, I have tried to pull up agendas for the West Goshen Supervisors for both August and September of this year, and I got Planning Commission Agendas, which is incorrect as per their posted meeting date.)
Municipalities will say to the public they are worried about privacy in the recording of public meetings held in public spaces. We’re not talking about Executive Sessions to which the public is not included, we are talking about regular meetings. What is that whole no expectation to privacy in a public space? And not a public bathroom where there IS an expectation of privacy, but a public board room, where there is NOT, correct?
Ok so yes municipalities will play Captains of Semantics to split hairs in their favor. (Not a dig, human nature, totally understandable.)
So in July I found courtesy of a Google cache that West Goshen was contemplating adopting an ordinance similar to East Goshen’s having to do with members of the public recording of meetings. The ALSO discussed the possibility of RECORDING meetings so the public could see them in their entirety later, and I would assume that also means they are possibly speaking with Comcast and Verizon regarding a municipal channel that every municipality is entitled to if they so choose?
Ok so got that? They are discussing their OWN recording of meetings so how is THAT not an issue? It does not compute. Anyway, her is hoping they join modern times because the more open a local government is, the happier the residents and taxpayers, right? And nothing makes residents happier then to NOT HAVE TO go to a meeting to find out what is going on where they live and pay taxes, right? Isn’t it nice to be able to sit in the comfort of your own home and watch a meeting and only have to attend a meeting if you wish to speak at public privilege/public participation?
West Goshen is beginning to sound like Haveford Township in the bad old days (or West Vincent before last election) and I hope for the residents’ sake that isn’t the case, don’t you? I don’t really know. What piqued my curiosity was the case just filed by the resident Tom Casey against the township. It is about open records, or “sunshine”.
Here is all I can get right now. These are all filed with the court, and to the best of my knowledge are OPEN and not sealed, unless someone has other pertinent information? In an effort to be a good citizen, I redacted e-mail addresses and whatnot to the best of my ability with the exception of the West Goshen township e-mail addresses because those are already public.
The situation in West Goshen is also a smelly one and has to do with the sewer plant. I don’t know all the players or the politics, but I do know quite well the politics of being miserable to residents and even non-residents for discussing topics that local municipalities and school districts/school boards do not want out in the open. Everyone always says when things happen they are “coincidences” but are they really?
I am a big believer in our inalienable rights. Ultimately the Chester County Court system will decide, and I hope this resident gets a fair hearing in front of the Judge hearing the case. I hope West Goshen lets the resident have their day in court FAIRLY without any outside shenanigans, don’t you?
I am guessing unless the court posts otherwise that this will get a hearing date in the near future, right? A public hearing that media and the public can attend? Anyway, West Goshen is uncharted waters. Who knows what will happen? I will hope for the best that they do the right thing and get over medieval style politics, right? After all, they owe their residents (ALL of their residents) to be the best, right?
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.
None 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!
They 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 safety. 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?
I went to Malin Road and stood outside the fences of Bishop Tube today. Totally creepy and deserted. I was glad to see an unmarked police car do a drive by a couple minutes after I got there, the place gave me the willies.
I took photos from outside the fencing on the road. What a weird feeling to be out on such a gloriously beautiful day, yet there was the overwhelming creepiness of the Bishop Tube Site, all abandoned and the only way to describe it was the place seems to radiate negative energy. Don’t see how that feeling will be eradicated by plastic townhouses marching row after row. The site doesn’t appear to be particularly secure and given what appears to be vandalism, nor does itappear as if it has been for years has it?
Staring at the site, I couldn’t help but wonder where the PA DEP was on this? I can find on the Internet where they were in the past, but not in the present. Or the EPA, which is so screwed up just read THIS and THIS and THIS. Here let me share this:
The scene was otherworldly. A river tinted orange by a toxic brew of heavy metals, including lead, arsenic, and other pollutants. Three million gallons of wastewater from an abandoned gold mine in rural southwestern Colorado flows slowly downstream. Communities are shutting off drinking water collection. Vacationers are being warned to avoid contact with the contaminated water.
The cause? None other than a mistake by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The Wall Street Journalreported details on the incident Sunday, noting that the spill was initially downplayed by the EPA, and that it was much larger than first reported. Most importantly, as of Sunday, the mine is still releasing wastewater at a rate of about 500 gallons per minute. The pollution incident is ongoing.
This latest toxic release is yet another example of the EPA spectacularly failing at its primary mission. As I’ve expressed in this space before, the government is not particularlycompetent at environmental remediation and management.
When you read things written by critics of the PA DEP, it is often not much better. Look these government agencies have good intentions but they all seem to get in their own way and in the end are the accomplishing their goals of protecting all of us?
The Pennsylvania DEP has been criticized for its poor record of providing information on fracking-related contamination to state residents. In April, a Pennsylvania Superior Court case claimed that due to the way DEP operates and its lack of public record, it’s impossible for citizens to know about cases where private wells, groundwater and springs are contaminated by drilling and fracking.
“The DEP must provide citizens with information about the potential harm coming their way,” John Smith, one of the attorneys representing municipalities in the lawsuit, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “If it doesn’t record and make available the violations records then it is denying the public accurate information, which is unconscionable.”
When is the last time the PA DEP or EPA took a good look at sites like Bishop Tube in Pennsylvania? These aren’t new sexy disasters, they are plodding along existing trouble spots so now that there don’t appear to be lots of government money floating around for clean up ( a la “Growing Greener“) who cares about these toxic sites like Bishop Tube?
I happened to check the court dockets on the Bishop Tube litigation mention in prior posts when I came home and there are a few more filings on the case of ordinary hard-working people vs, everyone involved around Bishop Tube. Here are the two most interesting:
Apparently although The Daily Local did that curtain raiser of an article a couple of weeks ago, no other media seems interested in a toxic superfund site in bucolic Chester County? Or are there media inquiries and other inquiries starting to foment and ferment behind the scenes?
Here are a couple of gems from all this legal stuff:
From the plaintiffs’ memorandum (2:15-cv-01919 (GJP) filed 8/10/15):
Page 4: “The Plaintiffs have alleged that, during the Defendants’ respective ownership and operation thereof, they discharged hazardous substances into the environmental which have migrated onto and into the Plaintiffs’ property including the Plaintiffs’ drinking water. It is further alleged that the Defendants have failed to remediate the contamination, the regulatory authorities have failed to require the Defendants to remediate the contamination and additional response work will be necessary.”
Page 6 “It is alleged in the Complaint that, during their respective periods of ownership and operation of the Bishop Tube site, the Defendants used or permitted the use of hazardous substances, including trichloroethylene (“TCE”), during the manufacturing processes for their seamless stainless steel and other products and that, as a result of the Defendants’ ownership and operations at the Bishop Tube site, hazardous substances, including TCE, were disposed into the environment, including the Bishop Tube site’s soils and groundwater. See Complaint,¶¶34-35. It is further alleged that subsurface migration of contaminated groundwater from the Bishop Tube site has and continues to contaminate the aquifer beneath the Bishop Tube site and beneath off-site premises including the Plaintiffs’ home. See Complaint, ¶36.”
Page 7 “Accordingly, in or about 1999, the PADEP took over response actions at the Bishop Tube site, which included periodic sampling of soil, surface water, groundwater, vapor intrusion pathway analysis and maintenance of monitoring wells in the contaminated aquifer as well as the installation of a soil vapor extraction and air sparging system designed to capture and remove contamination from subsurface soils at the Bishop Tube site. See Complaint, ¶¶42-43.
However, none of the Defendants have taken any steps to actively remediate the contamination that originated on the Bishop Tube site, which has and continues to migrate onto the Warren property and neither the EPA nor the PADEP have taken any steps to compel such remedial activity. See Complaint, ¶44. Further response action is necessary to abate the release of the hazardous substances at the Bishop Tube site which have and continue to migrate onto the Warren property. See Complaint, ¶45.”
A Notice of Intent to Sue was served on all Defendants as well as the EPA and PADEPon December 8, 2014, to which no one responded”
Page 11: “III. Plaintiffs’ RCRA Claim Must Not Be Dismissed
Johnson Matthey next argues that the Plaintiffs’ RCRA claim must be dismissed because it does not adequately allege an “imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment” and because the State is diligently addressing the contamination.
However, as described in detail above, the Complaint alleges that TCE contamination from the Bishop Tube site has migrated into the Plaintiffs’ well water. TCE is a volatile organic compound “used mainly as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts, but it is also an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, typewriter correction fluids, and spot removers.
Trichloroethylene is not thought to occur naturally in the environment. However, it has been found in underground water sources and many surface waters as a result of the manufacture,use, and disposal of the chemical.” There is evidence that TCE affects the developmental and nervous systems in humans and is also carcinogenic. Specifically, there is evidence that TCE can cause kidney cancer and limited evidence for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer as well as various tumors in animals. See United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxic Substances Portal for TCE, http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/substances/toxsubstance.asp?toxid=30 (last visited August 7,2015).
Accordingly, it is respectfully submitted that it is disingenuous for Johnson Matthey to claim that Plaintiffs have not adequately alleged sufficient imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment to sustain a RCRA claim.”
Page 13: “Conclusion
Simply stated, in support of their federal CERCLA and RCRA claims, the Plaintiffs have alleged that: (1) the Defendants, including Johnson Matthey, discharged hazardous substances, including TCE, into the environment at the Bishop Tube site which have migrated onto the Plaintiffs’ property and, specifically, into their drinking water; (2) that the Defendants have failed to remediate the contamination; (3) that the regulatory authorities have failed to require the Case 2:15-cv-01919-GJP Document 6 Filed 08/10/15 Page 12 of 13 10 Defendants to remediate the contamination; and (4) that additional response work will be necessary. Indeed, TCE is a carcinogenic. Based on the foregoing, it is respectfully submitted that the Plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts, which must be presumed true for purposes of this Motion, to withstand a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the FRCP”
From First Amended Complaint With Jury Demand:
Page 5: 37: “During their respective periods of ownership and operation of the Bishop Tubesite, the Defendants used or permitted the use of hazardous substances, including trichloroethylene (”TCE”), during the manufacturing processes for their seamless stainless steel and other products.”
Ok above are just snippets of the legal documents, quotes, excerpts. You can read for yourself the entire thing as they are uploaded in this post:
I did not create any of this it is all on the court record.
I am a cancer survivor. I would not wish that on anyone. I have also known people who have seen their children through cancer and trust me, it is too gut wrenching for words. In my opinion based on the research available to publicly peruse, this is site is toxic is it not? And then there is General Warren Village. Those residents deserve peace of mind don’t they? They have always been directly affected by Bishop Tube haven’t they?
I am a realist. This might be a creepy site but it is this chunk of land that developers are salivating over (don’t know if they are glowing in the dark from walking around it, however.) This site will be made into something although really it should be cleaned up and left alone since it is also my opinion that this site will take years to properly remediate, and can’t you agree that is reasonable?
But the thing is this: a plan like that not only affects people who want their piece of the American Dream and want to live in gorgeous Chester County who might purchase these cram plan slab on grade no basement wonders if they are built, but potentially every east Whiteland resident in the future, correct?
How can East Whiteland say for certain they would not ever become a party over litigation surrounding this site? They can’t, can they? And they have an obligation to current and future residents to see beyond the shiny promises of developers oh so familiar to them, see beyond and some new ratables down the road, and must put their heads down and see that this site is properly remediated and even get alternate land uses investigated, right? The bottom line is the owner of the land knows how to remediate this properly, they have the experience, correct?
Approving a development plan here while this litigation is ongoing and remediation isn’t complete can be considered a case of putting the cart before the horse, yes? And why is it all we hear is about the developer planning on “capping vapors” with the concrete slabs for the townhouses, yet the current litigation mentions aquifer again and again which is ground water, drinking water, and so on, right? A little different from vapors, right?
East Whiteland has a lot of development balls in the air and should we worry about how the land planning with all the developer driven zoning overlays are getting done?
East Whiteland, you have to do this right. Lives depend upon it. Please.
So this beautiful bridge known as the KnoxCovered Bridge is in Valley Forge Park. I have taken it’s photo easily dozens of times and walked the bridge. It’s beautiful. It is 252 on one side along the creek and Yellow Springs Road on the other.
Here is one photo I have of it that I took (I think this one is circa 2008):
So someone according to my friend and others (including two television stations) did a hit and run on this beautiful bridge!
What kind of jerk does this???
As per PennDOT this bridge (The Knox Covered Bridge) is now structurally unsound and closed as of today. No estimates on repairs. This is in Tredyffrin Township Police Department’s jurisdiction, here is hoping they and Tredyffrin Township in general are as diligent and thorough as East Pikeland was with Rapp’s Dam and bringing that truck driver to justice.
This bridge, the Knox Covered Bridge was just recently part of an award of monies for repairs:
By Candice Monhollan, cmonhollan@ 21st-centurymedia.com, @CMonhollanDLN on Twitter (Pete Bannan photos)
People will be able to take a drive through history once again after PennDOT rehabilitates three covered bridges in Chester County.
PennDOT awarded a $3.2 million contract to Eastern Highway Specialists, Inc., who will set to work on the Rapps Dam covered bridge in East Pikeland, the Speakman covered bridge and West Marlborough and the Knox covered bridge in Valley Forge National Historic Park in Tredyffrin Township.
“The ideas to rehabilitate the bridges came from a variety of sources — from the county, from PennDOT, from the historic preservation community and from legislators, such as myself,” said Sen. Andy Dinniman. “PennDOT is trying to rehabilitate as many bridges on the funds that we have approved. The historic covered bridges are still being used..
Good thing that money is there, right?
Unbelievable. If anyone out there knows anything or saw anything, please please please call Tredyffrin Police or Valley Forge Park or PennDOT. It is hard to see who is taking tips as early media reports indicate that Tredyffrin Police are sort of referring this along right now. This apparently happened this afternoon around 2 pm but there is nothing on the Tredyffrin Police Department Website yet.
Please…if you know anything, or you say saw a damaged vehicle driving away from this direction this afternoon, PLEASE call police. This bridge is part of our heritage and our history and a lot of people still use this bridge daily. Accidents happen, but a hit and run like this is not right. The bridge is painted white so a vehicle could have all sorts of white paint on it and hopefully Tredyffrin will do their bit and see if any automobile paint is on the damage. yes, yes I know a little Nancy Drew meets CSI but this is such an awesome bridge!
Here is the media I have discovered thus far on this:
Authorities are seeking a driver who reportedly struck a covered bridge in Tredyffin Township Monday afternoon.
Knox Bridge, located where Yellow Springs Road crosses Valley Creek in Valley Forge National Historical Park, was hit by an unknown vehicle at approximately 2:30 p.m. According to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) spokesman Gene Blaum, the only information currently known about the vehicle is that it was ”large.”
The bridge remains closed indefinitely pending a PennDOT investigation….
Later, in a PennDOT statement, Blaum reported that ”nearly an entire stone-masonry wing wall adjacent to the bridge” had been damaged along with a 20-foot-long section of its timber siding….
Originally built in 1865, the Knox Bridge has rehabilitated twice, in 1996 and again in 2006.
Asked for comment, a representative for the Tredyffin Police Department referred all questions to Valley Forge National Historical Park, where an official in turn said any new information would come from PennDOT
Nothing like a shopping center slum lord in the snow, right? Has anyone else been to Lincoln Court Shopping Center recently as in during or after any of the recent weather???
That lot is challenging on a good day with clear weather, now it is so bad that personal injury lawyers should just hang out in the parking lot every day.
Yes I know it is a challenge to keep anything clean in this weather, but these commercial property owners are supposed to try to make it safe for business owners and their employees and their customers, aren’t they? And here even the handicap spots aren’t even properly cleared and aren’t they supposed to be by law?
And someone told me this is the same property owner that owns over where Frazer Post Office and Peppridge Farm is too?
Most municipalities do have rules that commercial properties must abide by so does East Whiteland ever look into stuff like this? Anyway, be careful especially in Lincoln Court.
I know many people who own chunks of commercial properties in the Northeast as well as small businesses struggling in this weather, and I know they are all having issues of clearing snow and finding places to put it. But can’t this Lincoln Court property owner get snow hauled off and say ask other property owners that own large stretches of field near there if they can pay them to put the extra snow there? Or ask East Whiteland if they have any places extra snow can go? There has to be a solution, right? Or is it this commercial property owner only cares about collecting the rents?
This winter has been brutal, God knows but people should be able to navigate safely in this lot and right now they can’t. Businesses need business from customers to pay the rent. But if customers and employees can’t navigate safely how the heck are all these businesses supposed to generate the income to pay the rent?
And is it true that according to East Whitelnd’s own code this center should have nearly 900 spaces? Someone told me that as per property management site (which I have not seen because I don’t know who it is…yet) there are approximately 592 parking spaces? (Except some City Feet listing I found says 771 parking spaces?) This is probably all grand-fathered, right? But aren’t all lots with 60 or more spaces supposed to have a pedestrian path or walkway from one side to the other?
Whatever, I am totally confused as to how many spaces a shopping center of this size should have. That is for East Whiteland to figure out. All I know is the parking lot conditions could be considered hazardous to the average citizen, and well it is the site of our local Drivers License Center, grocery store, QVC outlet and so on. It is always busy except for nowbecause it is ridiculous. SO why isn’t it cleaned up better???
East Whiteland is a municipality where there is a LOT of commercial property compared to residential and the news that does eeek out from the non-televised and non-recorded meetings indicate they are always courting more commercial projects, so why not have the older shopping centers like this look better, feel better and be better too? Mind you, I am not blaming East Whiteland for this parking lot debacle in the sense of it is not really cleaned up safely or properly, that is all on the property owner whomever they are, right? Just food for thought as more commercial sites grow, right?