sigh…..more drama in the hinterlands

On the news today they announced that the FBI has a new toll-free government corruption hotline.  The toll-free hotline number is 855-FBI-TIPS (855-324-8477). They did it for Philadelphia, but will accept tips for any municipalities and see where they lead.  File under food for thought. Not saying anything, not accusing anyone of anything, it is public information released today and I found it interesting.

Now onto other curiosities du jour:  quizzle me this: how does a property owner in Chester County not get notified at a potential zoning change they describe as “40 feet” from their front door?

Calling West Vincent, your slip is showing again.

The long and short of it is some chef wants to open a BYOB.  Not only is there residential to be considered, but it is in a school zone too, apparently? Funny thing is people love quaint country BYOBs, but hey proper notification is key, correct?

Now I have a resident’s permission to post this drama in a country beat, but I am afraid they will be retaliated against for speaking up, let alone speaking to a blogger. And well this blogger hopes that West Vincent shows some style here and just tidies up their mess in a legitimate, above board, sunshine-friendly fashion, ok?

So this nice guy named Kevin Miller is a little upset.  Mostly because he says he never received a written notice of this proposed use and how is that possible?  Was it just an innocent oops that they skipped notifying this property owner? Wasn’t anything posted at the property in question for people to see?  Are there innocent oopsie daisies in West Vincent?  If only a couple of properties within this little stretch were being zoned commercial is that spot zoning?  (I am not a planner or land use specialist or zoning guru, so I am just asking.)

Here is the e-mail this nice man sent to his supervisors:

————————-email to claire quinn and kenneth miller—–

I am the property owner next to Elaine’s flower shop ([HOUSE NUMBER REDACTED] Conestoga rd.).  Last week a neighbor informed me that there was a planning commission meeting in which a proposed change to the zoning map was being considered that included my property.   Apparently Elaine Horton is attempting to sell her barn to a person who wishes to open a BYOB restaurant 40 feet from my house.

I must say that when I attended this meeting to express deep concern over this, I was even more shocked that apparently, this was pretty much mapped out and set to be approved by the planning commission.  Maybe I am naïve in not randomly checking the West Vincent website to see if someone’s trying to rezone my house, but I’m beyond shocked that no one from the township made any effort whatsoever to communicate this to me, in any form.

The concerns I expressed to the planning commission were as follows:

  1.  You’re basically approving to open a BYOB restaurant in a school zone – directly across the street from an elementary school.
  2. I assume this restaurant will be open at night?  Which mean I and my family with 3 small children will have to deals with parking lot lights, noise…etc at night now?
  3. The proposed map was basically spot zoning by skipping over the property at 2735 and its frontage
  4. Concern over the viability of a restaurant in a less-than-optimal retail location given the amount of construction work it would take to get the building up to code.

Fortunately, it appears the planning commission at least paused on approving this until November.  I and a number of neighbors in the immediate area think the idea of a restaurant at this location is bad in many ways.  I’ve communicated my concern over a BYOB restaurant, which will be open during school hours, to the West Vincent PTA and the initial reaction from them was what I would classify as quit negative.

I did not email you today to complain about a proposed restaurant next to my house because frankly, the notion of changing that bat-ridden barn in a place where is food is served is laughable.  What I am taking issue with is the simple fact that the township knowingly made zero effort to communicate with me that you were you going to re-zone my house.

Thankfully, and unlike  elected officials, my neighbors cared enough to bring this to my attention.

I would like an explanation as to why the township made no effort to communicate with  me on  this.   I received multiple communications about the proposed sidewalk from Jim Wendleglass and that’s not even close to happening from what I understand.  My house was basically mapped out with Elaine’s to be spot zoned commercial!  The fact that I didn’t know about this is nuts.

Here is the e-mail that Kevin Miller sent to me that his wife got from the real estate agent when she inquired about the property:

Hi – Unfortunately, there was no attachment indicating which listing you are referring to but it might be the florist business located on RT. 401 called “Elaine’s Flowers”. It has a commercial variance for a gift shop relating to the floral business. There are many uses under the current zoning. Currently, an offer is on the table regarding an organic restaurant. West Vincent is discussing change a “block” of parcels into a commercial district. We are currently involved in those meetings. Please call me at (610) 952-3600.

Barb Kondrath

So this involves Elaine’s Flowers.  Now interestingly enough I found a Prudential Page about this address.

Seems to me that West Vincent has done everyone a disservice here and put backs up all the way around, yes? These things are ALWAYS 100% worse when municipalities don’t take the little steps to ensure comfort, yes?

See PDFs of WVT documents: 001, 2, 3 (incidentally these were NOT sent to me by the potentially affected resident.) I guess they are applicable here?

It is indeed a shame that it appears that West Vincent has screwed a lot of stuff up for a lot of people? I mean don’t you also feel sorry for this woman trying to sell her florist shop?