Letter: Let’s change the conversation

To The Editor,

Letters1The possible closure of The Barn at Spring Brook Farm has been portrayed in social media and The Kennett Paper as a situation of “The Good Guys vs. the Bad Guys.” This is unfair to the community of Pocopson Township, the Township Supervisors, and is not true. The conversation should instead focus on “Good Neighbors: A Community Effort”.

I am a big fan of The Barn at Spring Brook Farm. My 5th Grade Girl Scout Troop performed a year-long service project there, and Mary Beth Drobish was very accommodating, allowing the girls to groom the animals and use the facility for our meetings.

I am also a Pocopson Township resident; I have served on the Parks & Recreation Township Committee for several years; and I am a big fan of the Supervisors ensuring that our residents are able to enjoy their properties, without undue compromise.

The issue at hand is not about one disgruntled neighbor vs. Spring Brook Farm and the children it serves, or about the Supervisors asking for improvements to bring the facility up to code. The issue is about the larger community; it is about upholding the rights of township residents and property owners, while ensuring that The Barn is safe and compliant in its zoning as an “Educational Use” facility for the community served by The Barn. The Supervisors are doing their job; they are upholding zoning ordinances, and they granted The Barn a 3 1/2 month extension to complete the improvements. That doesn’t sound like “The Bad Guys” to me.

While fundraising is always a challenge for non-profits, the cost of the needed improvements and stipulation of one onsite fundraiser per year don’t signal a death knell. There are numerous alternatives: online crowd funding, silent auctions, corporate sponsorships, offsite events in tandem with other organizations, etc. Surely Dan Stark, who is the Executive Director of the Barn and Principal of his non-profit consulting firm, thinknext  http://www.tnextsolutions.com, has proven ideas regarding sustainable revenue streams after 25 years in the non-profit sector.

And while not everyone agrees with the “No Birthday Parties” stipulation and may find that unreasonable, I challenge you to imagine your home next to Spring Brook Farm, with its ever-increasing traffic (full-size school buses, too!) due to additional guests arriving for events throughout the year.

It is time to talk like a community, to stop pointing fingers at the Supervisors and the neighbor, and to face facts: The Barn has been out of code for several years; a firetruck could not even make the turn into the driveway. The Barn is not doing their job; they are jeopardizing the safety of all who utilize the facility and property, and as of May 12, they have not complied with any of the fire and safety code improvements. That doesn’t sound like the “Good Guys” to me.

I realize this may be difficult for some who find it easier to lay blame rather than engage in a real conversation, but I do believe that this situation can be about “Good Neighbors: A Community Effort.” Everyone needs to try.


Lawrie Graves Bolger


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  1. Janie Farrow says:

    thank you Lawrie Graves Bolger – just found this letter and you said it all so well – so many people forget these are Federal and State Codes and not township people just changing whatever they want. She appears to want to do good but she wants to do what she wants and the heck with everyone else and she can’t. So many of the items required are minimal cost but she hasn’t done them and 2 years ago she made a pretty good profit that most if not all could have been accomplished.
    again, great letter.

  2. Sharon Sears says:

    Have read both sides od the argument and I think there is something rotten on Pocopson! Just wait a few months after they drive the people off the farm, you’ll see what this is all about as the developers swoop in like vultures to bury their heads in the rot.

    • Mike McGann says:

      So…the township isn’t supposed to enforce laws some people don’t like? Even if the failure to do so puts handicapped kids at risk and sets the township up for enormous liability?

      • Tom Watson says:

        Let’s try to make a clear distinction between laws and codes. I’ve worked with the various building codes throughout my entire working life and know the difference between the intent and the letter of the code. I would like to see a bill of particulars that explains the COE’s dissatisfaction with the property.

  3. Tom Watson says:

    Enlightened governance is not about a slavish regard for the rules; it is about finding the greater good.

  4. AnnieB says:

    Wow, thank you for saying what at least some of us have been thinking. I had never heard of Spring Brook before the recent news. It seems like a noble and ambitious effort. But it also seems to have been established with absolutely no regard for the regulations that should have been met before it was ever opened.

    I don’t know what the answer is. But I do believe the township supervisors are trying to accommodate the rights of all residents and the wants — I emphasize wants — of a small but vocal population that is mostly not township residents.

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