Delco Sues Marple Over Park Rezoning

Delco Sues Marple Over Park Rezoning — Charlie Alexander has let us know that Delaware County has filed its suit against Marple Township for rezoning the county’s Delco Woods park to exclusively open space.

Check out Charlie’s site for details.

Delco Sues Marple Over Park Rezoning

Delco Council Threatened With Tar and Feathering Over Delco Woods Mental Facility

Delco Council Threatened With Tar and Feathering Over Delco Woods Mental Facility — About 150 packed Delaware County (Pa.) Council’s meeting room, last night, April 17, to protest the possibility of a former Don Guanella building becoming a home for mental patients.

The county got the 213-acre property between Sproul and Reed roads in Marple via eminent domain from the Catholic Church in 2021.

The price tag was $22 million and it was to be a park.

About 170 undeveloped acres were zoned residential. The rest was zoned institutional and contained a facility for boys with mental disabilities.

The tract was officially named Delco Woods, April 3.

On Monday, Marple Township, reacting to the county, rezoned the property to all open space. Marple also rejected county requests for occupancy certificates for three buildings. Two would have been for office space and one for the mental patients.

The county says it will sue to keep the institutional zoning.

Executive Director Update

Last night, County Executive Director Barbara O’Malley said other locations for the mental health facility are still being considered but Delco Woods has significant advantages. The county already owns it and it has buildings that might serve as secure housing.

Sandy Garrison, chief of Human Services and Community Support, said the county has funding for a mental health facility but can’t get a program running. She says they have investigated 25 locations with none being satisfactory.

Ms. Garrison said a facility would be staffed 24/7 and have time secured locks. It would be used as a stop for those about to return to community who had been receiving high level care.

There are 25 persons in Delco who need such a place, she said. They range in age from their 20s to their 70s.

Ms. Malley vehemently denied the rumors that the building would be used to house illegal aliens.

Shouts from the crowd showed that many doubted her claim.

Kevin M. Madden chimed in.

“You might not like us because we have a D after our name,” he said.

This angered the crowd even more and hoots of scorn filled the room.

Madden also said that just a “sliver” of the property would be used for the facilities.

Public Comment

Charles Alexander of Marple, whose postings on Chuckles Sports have kept Delco’s illegal alien concerns in the spotlight spoke first during public comments. He brought up Jan. 8, 2020 action in which the county consented to a refugee resettlement program.

He said things are getting worse and the county is ignoring why.

Concerning health facilities, he said that there were 10 hospitals in Delco when he was born. Now it’s down to “three OK ones and a travesty.”

“You have awakened a sleeping giant,” he said.

He quoted Congresswoman Maxine Waters infamous call to harass Trump Administration officials and applied it to Council.

Sharon Devaney of Haverford Township asked councilmembers if they had read the paperwork she presented at the last meeting concerning her auto accident involving an illegal which left her crippled.

“I was a Democrat,” she said pointedly addressing Madden’s earlier claim that the complaints were political.

“We want the truth,” she said. “We want everyone to get a long.”

James Small quoted Edward Snowden regarding conspiracy theories and said he didn’t trust council. He asked that they resign.

Tar and Feathering

Howard Alexander of Marple, Charlie’s father, also said he was a former Democrat. He said the last Democrat for whom he voted was a “Muslim queer“. He wanted to know how many council members had taken money from George Soros. Alexander threatened them with tar and feathering.

Kathy from Haverford said the councilmembers have violated their oaths of office and outright lied about Delaware County not being a sanctuary county.

She noted that the council’s Facebook page prohibits comments in violation of Supreme Court rulings.

The council’s explanation for the policy is to stop “misinformation.”

“You’re a bunch of hypocrites,” she said.

She asked why the county is using the money it received as part of opioid lawsuit at Philadelphia hospitals.

“Why no rehabilitation at the prison?” she asked. “They are human beings.”

Joy Schwartz of Upper Darby noted that while the letter regarding refugee resettlement concerned the Trump Administration, council fails to understand things have changed. It is ignoring the massive influx of illegals occurring under Biden.

Biden is literally flying in illegals, she said. They are not vetted for disease or criminal records.

“They are being staged,” she said. She said even if the county is not directly involved they know about it and can do something about it.

Tax Bomb Looms?

Michael Gowdy of Marple brought up some scary points for taxpayers regarding Delco Woods’.

He asked that it be confirmed that the Philadelphia Archdiocese is challenging the $22 million price set by the county during the eminent domain acquisition.

Solicitor Jonathan Lichtenstein did so.

While Lichtenstein refused to discuss the litigation details such as the price the former owners value the land, Gowdy noted developers had offered the Church $45 million and $35 million for it.

This could mean that county might be on the hook for double what it expected to pay, he said.

That wouldn’t be counting the $2 million in interest it would have to pay if it loses.

Joe Finio of Marple said people of all political views united to save the park. He said the county made a solemn promise that it would be used entirely for recreation. He said the buildings were originally declared unusable and wondered what had changed.

Trish Adams of Delco Skatepark Coalition said the master plan called for a skatepark where the buildings are.

Tom Flocco, citing video posted by Charles Alexander showing HIAS Pennsylvania collecting food and clothes for illegal in Delco, asked the county to address non-government organizations.

He mentioned a rumor about illegals living at the McIntosh Inn in Middletown.

Council Accused Of Disrespect

Colleen Labalty (phonetic) was another who said the council was losing trust.

“I don’t understand how people lose their morals,” she said. “How they sell out.”

She noted her husband was a legal immigrant.

“Stop with the Democrats and Republicans,” she said. “We are all people.”

Denise Manley (phonetic) of Marple said the debate was about safety, not mental health.

She accused council of laughing and “snickering under their teeth” during the comments.

“It’s not about Republican or Democrat,” she said.

She suggested council consider the shuttered Glen Mills School for a mental facility.

Susan Long of Maple dittoed her regarding the disrespect council was showing.

“You brought up the ‘D’, Mr. Madden,” she said.

Republican Chairman Speaks

Delaware County GOP Chairman Frank Agovino of Springfield said that what happened in Marple two days earlier compelled him to speak.

He said he wanted to let the Marple resident and township government that he fully supports them.

Scott Thomas of Marple said that council has no right to be concerned about “misinformation.”

“It’s our government that gives us the most misinformation,” he said.

He noted that one of the big causes of mental health issues is the drugs flowing across our open borders.

Jim Castaldi (phonetic) described himself as one of the “most middle of the road speakers”.

“It’s safe to say the jig is up,” he said.

He said they those who fought for the park thought council would keep its promises.

A man who said he had been an EMT said the safety precautions at mental health facilities often fail. He said noted that he had taken many to the county’s existing mental health facilities and took them back again after they walked away.

A man said the original plans for the building area called for a community hub with recreation facilities.

Proximity To Schools

Sam Lassiter (phonetic) of Marple said he would not bring his young children to a park next to a mental facility.

He had worked in mental health, he said.

“Let it be a park,” he said. “It’s next to two schools.”

Marc Giosa says he has sold real estate for 23 years.

He say it’s not uncommon for someone to pay $50,000 or $100,000 over list price to buy a home in Marple.

He say, however, thathe has seen first hand how a mental facility will cause home prices to plummet.

“This will affect property values,” he said.

“It is within walking distance of two schools,” he also noted.

Gregg Miner of Upper Chichester said he was surprised to learn that Delaware County was a sanctuary county.

He asked council to compile a report showing how many illegals come into Delaware County; their effect on crime; and their fiscal impact.

Liz Piazza Defends Marple

Liz Piazza of Upper Providence, the GOP candidate for the 165th State House Seat which includes Delco Woods, said he was there to support Marple Township.

“What you are doing to Marple is unacceptable,” she said. “They put their trust in you.”

She noted that she grew up in Marple and that her son still lives there.

Patricia Bleasdale of Glen Mills said what the council is doing builds distrust.

Dave Clark of Ridley also noted trust is an issue.

“What is troubling the United States as a whole is the bait and switch tactics used by the political class,” he said.

Joanna of Brookhaven said it was crazy to put a mental institution where a park is.

Demetrius of Marple said there was a group home on his street for those with mental issues and they get out.

Council Response

With public comments over, Lichtenstein angrily took issue with claims that the 2020 letter concerned illegals.

He said it was for legal refugees many of whom had served alongside Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Lichtenstein said the motion was passed at a council meeting and not “in the middle of the night.” He noted it had been done at the request of the Trump administration.

Councilwoman Elaine Paul Schaefer repeated what she said at the last council meeting that she opposed any governmental use for the park.

“I truly feel the frustration of the community and share in their goals,” she said.

She said she was hopeful that they will find a better place for the mental health facility.

Madden agreed that the issue was trust.

“We’re just doing our best,” he said.

He noted that county’s lawsuit is just to preserve their options and they don’t have any “blueprint in place” on what to do with the buildings.

He said the county would not use all 40 acres that it is trying to keep zoned institutional.

Councilman Richard R. Womack said he appreciated everyone coming out. He said he heard their concerns and would work to find another place.

Councilwoman Dr. Monica Taylor also thanked the crowd and reiterated that nothing has been carved in granite.

Christine A. Reuther reminded everyone that Tuesday was primary election day.

Delco Council Threatened With Tar and Feathering
The scene before the meeting
Delco Council  Threatened With Tar and Feathering Over Delco Woods Mental Facility
Attendees line the wall

Delco Council Threatened With Tar and Feathering Delco Council Threatened With Tar and Feathering Delco Council Threatened With Tar and Feathering

Marple Zones All Delco Woods Open Space; Rejects County Request To Use Building To House Mental Patients From Prison

Marple Zones All Delco Woods Open Space; Rejects County Request To Use Building To House Mental Patients From Prison — The Marple (Pa) Commissioners voted 6-0, last night, April 15, to zone the 213-acre former Don Guanella tract all open space.

The commissioners also voted 6-0 to reject certificates of use and occupancy for three buildings on the site sought by Delaware County. Two were wanted for office space. The third was to be a secured 28-bed mental facility for patients who would otherwise be housed at the county prison.

As the second vote was a late agenda addition, the board rescheduled another vote for Monday, April 22, allowing proper advertising.

They want to play it safe, 1st Ward Commissioner Joe Rufo said.

Abstaining from all votes was 6th Ward Commissioner Mike Molinaro. He cited a conflict as he is a county assistant solicitor.

The land was acquired by Delaware County in 2021 and has been renamed Delco Woods. Promises were made by County Council to save it as open space despite it zoned residential and institutional.

The property is between Sproul and Reed roads.

About 40 acres on Sproul Road with buildings for a Catholic Church institution for boys with mental disabilities was the institutional zoning.

Attorney Nick Caniglia, representing the county, said his clients had no objection to changing the residential zoning for the woodland but demanded the institutional section stay.

Close to 100 raucous residents filled the meeting room. Several shouted suspicions that the county would raise the number of mental patients at first chance.

The building for the beds in is 60,000 square feet.

The board noting the unanimous support for rezoning suggested public comment be skipped.

There were no objections but some still took the microphone.

One man said he arrived as immigrant from Sicily in 1977. It had taken him two years of paper work. He was responding to the rumors that the county secretly seeks the buildings to house Biden’s border breakers.

A resident suggested the county use one of the shuttered hospitals as a mental facility.

Charles Alexander of Chuckles Sports asked if the county would put probation offices in one of the buildings.

The commissioners said those with questions should take them to County Council, which will meet 6 p.m., Wednesday, at the Government Center Building, 201 West Front Street, Media, PA .

A woman who led a community youth group said that all her teenagers were vehemently opposed.

A Cedar Grove Road woman said the county has created an atmosphere of distrust with the citizens.

Republicans Liz Piazza, who is seeking the 165th District Pennsylvania House, and Alfe Goodwin, who wants the 5th Congressional District seat were there to support the residents.

Marple Zones All Delco Woods Open Space; Rejects County Request To Used Building To House Mental Patients From Prison
GOP legislative candidates Liz Piazza and Alfe Goodwin were on had to give residents support.
Marple Zones All Delco Woods Open Space; Rejects County Request To Used Building To House Mental Patients From Prison

Marple Zones All Delco Woods Open Space; Rejects County Request To Used Building To House Mental Patients From Prison
Discussion continued after the meeting ended. Delco Council might get a crowd Wednesday

Marple Planners Recommend Don Guanella Tract Be All Open Space

Marple Planners Recommend Don Guanella Tract Be All Open Space –The Marple Planning Commission, March 28, voted to recommend that the entire 213-acre county-owned Don Guanella tract between Sproul and Reed roads be zoned open space.

Half the land had been zoned institutional. It was the site of a Catholic Church facility for boys with mental disabilities before the county bought it in 2021.

About 30 people were in attendance due to rumors that it would used by the county to house illegals.

Residents implored the planners to recommend that camping and tents be prohibited on the property.

The Marple Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the matter, April 15.

Public comment will be taken.

Hat tip Scott Thomas

Marple Planners Recommend  Don Guanella Tract Be All Open Space

Westtown Votes Tax Hike For Open Space

Westtown Votes Tax Hike For Open Space

By Bob Small

Yes, you read that right. In a ballot question this past election day, Westtown residents voted 3,459 to 1,745 (67 percent) to approve a tax increase for the preservation of Crebilly Farms as one of Chesco’s major open spaces.

The earned income tax rate goes from 1 percent to 1.08 percent and the real estate tax rate increases from 3.5 mills to 3.92 mills.

Crebilly farms is the site of the Battle of Brandywine on Sept. 11, 1777, then the largest single-day battle of the American Revolution, which was won by the British/Hessian forces. This  victory  led to the British occupation of Philadelphia.

The estimated cost of the tax increase for a household earning $100,000 would be an additional $80 in local earned income tax. A household with an assessed house value of $250,000 would pay an additional $105 per year.

The Natural Lands Trust  hopes to land about $2.5 million in grants, and says they are well on their way to doing that.

The Daily Local News of Chester County has been ovewhelmed with letters.

Here is one.

Westtown Votes Tax Hike For Open Space
Westtown Votes Tax Hike For Open Space

Charlton Explains Why Church Should Donate Land

Charlton Explains Why Church Should Donate Land
Alex Charlton and family

Charlton Explains Why Church Should Donate Land — Alex Charlton, of Springfield, who is the Republican candidate in the race to replace Bill Adolph in the 165th District of the Pennsylvania House, had an excellent column in the July 18 Delaware County Daily Times explaining and defending his request for the Philadelphia Archdiocese to donate the 213-acre Don Guanella tract in Marple Township as open space rather than sell it for development.

It can be found here and is worth reading.

We will take issue with Charlton, however, regarding his claim that   taxpayers have long borne the hidden cost of Don Guanella property by virtue of its tax-exempt status and suggest he stop making it.

Don Guanella Village — like Catholic schools — provided a desperately need social service that would otherwise be borne by the state at far, far higher cost to taxpayers if it hadn’t existed.

And it wasn’t as though taxpayers hadn’t been using the church property for nature hikes, jogging and such which is the status that Charlton and other opponents of development are fighting to keep.

So stop saying that Alex.

We’d further note that the Village proper is already developed and there would no objection if the Archdiocese were to separate that for sale.

We’d also note that it wouldn’t hurt for the county were to sweeten the deal, say, by agreeing to develop and maintain some athletic fields at Reed and Sproul roads giving Cardinal O’Hara first free use of them during weekdays during the school year. Or by building an access drive from Reed Road to O’Hara paralleling Sproul. Or both.

Charlton Explains Why Church Should Donate Land

 

 

Brandywine Open Space Music Fest

Brandywine Open Space Music Fest — Ten bands and craft beer are slated for Open Space Music Festival which runs noon through the evening, tomorrow, Aug. 10 at the Newlin Grist Mill, Cheyney Road and Baltimore Pike in Concord Township, Glen Mills, 19342.

There will be great food, pony rides for kids and face painting.

Tickets are $20 now and $25 at the gate.There will be great
music from 10 different bands, craft beer, and good food. Kids under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult.

Proceeds will be used to help fund the attempt to save 324 acres of open space on the Beaver Valley Conservancy along Beaver Valley Road and Route 202 in Concord.

Brandywine Open Space Music Fest

 

Beaver Valley Applications Withdrawn But Return Expected

Beaver Valley Applications Withdrawn But Return Expected
The festival outside the meeting hall.

Beaver Valley Applications Withdrawn But Return Expected — A crowd of a thousand packed into the Garnet Valley Middle School auditorium, May 14, to hear the Concord Supervisors announce that the applications for a zoning change to allow three developers to put a big box store, and various residences on 324 acres belonging to
Woodlawn Trustees has been withdrawn.

It was pointedly noted, though, that new applications are expected.

The meeting scheduled to start at 7 p.m. began five minutes late and was officially closed at 7:15 although Woodlawn Chief Operating Officer Vernon Green gave an off-the-record statement afterwards noting that Woodlawn founder William Bancroft started the trust to provide parkland and inexpensive housing for workers with the expectation that some land would be sold to fund these goals.

Cameras for all the local television stations were present. The
supervisors noted that they had received a petition of 5,500 names
against the development.

Supervisor Dominic J. Cappelli said that it will be at least
60 days before  any new applications would be received and hearings
will be  announced well in advance on the township website.

Cappelli during the hearing noted that Supervisor Chairman Dominic
Pileggi had recused himself from the matter in October due to a conflict
of interest.

A note to Republicans: among those attending were Democrat County Council candidate Bill Clinton and Democrat Register of Wills candidate Frank Daly. Expect a fight this year.

Beaver Valley Applications Withdrawn But Return Expected
A plea to save the bridle trails

 

Beaver Valley Applications Withdrawn But Return Expected