Barn project should not move forward

To the Editor:

Letters1The Teen Center Barn proposal being put forth on the land of the Unionville Chadds Ford School District is not consistent with current zoning and land use classifications and further efforts to secure such approvals should not be encouraged or entertained.

When the land was acquired the School District stipulated that the parcel was for “proper school purposes, namely, to expand the District’s secondary school campus”.  Undertaking a commercial land development plan that would result in a long-term lease to an outside entity whose stated goal is “a teen center” that “would be a meeting place, offering fun events, crafts, games, in addition to assistance with homework” demonstrates a departure from initial intent.  Will such departures continue with a CVS or Walgreens ending up on the corner of Rt. 82 and Doe Run Road?

Our school board directors are charged with important responsibilities.  They work earnestly to foster and oversee the education of our children and manage and maximize limited resources to attain the highest standards possible.  Diverting their attention to land development is not in the best interest of the School District.

As the land owner, I would urge the School District to gracefully decline any further engagement on the Barn proposal.  Setbacks, fire lanes, parking, storm water runoff and many other land use issues face this proposal.  Additional School District costs are present.  Good intentions aside, the school board Directors must be circumspect when entering the realm of land developer.

 

Glenn L. Best
East Marlborough
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Tags: Doe Run Road, The Barn, Youth Center
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8 Responses

  1. Mr. Best:

    I respectfully disagree and would like to clarify some of the representations you make here.

    First, such a facility would not be a “commercial use,” no more than at some point in the future converting the farm fields at Rt. 82 and Doe Run into Recreational sports fields for use by the URA and other local organizations (and frankly, one is more like to see fracking take place on that plot than the development of a Walgreens or CVS or other commercial use — which is to say never and whatever is beyond never as a likelihood).

    As a member of the community, a local business owner, as a district parent and yes, as the newly-minted president of the Unionville-Chadds Fords Education Foundation, what those of us who support this project ask is this: an open mind, and not to rush to judgment before we have had the chance to present the project fully to the greater community and make our case.

    The cost to the district is minimal in exchange for having a badly deteriorated building replaced and available for district use, in our opinion. The entire cost of the project will come through fundraising.

    And yes, there are some hurdles, including zoning — but any number of legal and proper remedies exist to resolve them. Assuming the board agrees to move forward — and assuming the support for the plan of the greater community — those are conversations had properly with township officials. The other land use issues you describe are no different than those on any building or renovation project, and I can speak with personal experience on that matter.

    We know this will not be an easy undertaking. But we also feel strongly this is a project that will benefit the greater community — most of all, our children.

    We ask for an open mind, strong engagement and a willingness to listen. If the greater Unionville community offers us those three things, I think that the vast majority of the people in the community will agree with us that this is a worthy undertaking.

  2. Mr. McGann,

    Thank-you for revealing that you are the newly minted president of the U-CF Education Foundation and that you are dependent upon the BOD’s of this school district for their vote in the barn project going forward.

    It was the right thing to do.

    TE Resident

    • I’m not dependent on any elected official and have sparred with any number of members of the board over the years, as Keith can attest, probably in great detail, and will likely do so again in the future when I believe it is in the interests of my readers. The project is dependent on support from the school board to go forward — and if we make our case, I feel it will have that support. My track record of repeatedly pointing out issues, when merited, with this board (as well as other boards in the county) speaks for itself.

  3. Respectfully, I do not see how it is possible that you are not dependent on the BOD’s for the Barn project. It is their decision and their decision alone.

    Just as public officials have tremendous power over citizens, you, as the editor of this paper have tremendous influence over citizen’s attitude’s opinions and beliefs.

    You want the barn project to go through, the BOD’s don’t like it when citizens question them, you’re the editor of the local paper. It’s a sticky spot you’re in at the very least.

    • I think, at a fundamental level, you misunderstand both my role here at The Times and with the UCFEF.

      As a newspaper editor, my first job is to inform and educate and place information in context. With the UCFEF, I am an advocate for education, across the community. Having both roles doesn’t mean I have to check my integrity at the door.

      The only dependency I have is my readers. Without readers, we have no advertisers. We’ll make our best case on the barn, one, after we’re done with it, we think will make sense to a large swath of the community as well as the board. And if it doesn’t pass muster, than it shouldn’t happen. That’s democracy in action.

  4. Mike,

    I like it that you respond to citizen comments. I like it that you write opinion letters. These things influence residents attitudes, opinions and beliefs. I don’t believe you can separate your role as an editor with your place as a citizen. Just my opinion.

    Not saying you have to check your integrity at the door. I’m not implying your integrity is in question. Just saying this is exactly why there are conflict of interest rules.

    • Again, I think you are laboring under a fundamental misunderstanding. No one is objective, despite claims to the contrary. Everyone has some sort of take — or some sort of conflict, unless you are so disassociated so as to be utterly disconnected, which would make you useless as a journalist.

      So how do you combat that? By being transparent and responsive. People always know where I’m coming from and they always have the opportunity to ask questions and hold me accountable.

      I’m not really sure what else you could ask for. As an anonymous poster, it is hard to gauge your level of professional experience, understanding of the process, or how well you understand the past history of my relationship with this school board.

      I suspect from your comments there could be deficits in all three categories.

  5. O.K Mike, Thanks for providing the opportunity for citizens to post their comments. It’s important and I appreciate it.

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