Guest Post #1 of 3: No more Sunshine (Act) and a History Re-Write

The following is a post from a special guest:

Is the Downingtown Borough Council trying to bluff their way through a sunshine act violation???

In July, there were 2 Public Notices in the Daily Local News. Each was advertised twice stating there would be public hearings at the August 5 Council meeting.   “The Council will consider the ordinance and take public comment at the hearing and will decide whether to enact and pass the ordinance….on the same night.”

BUT there were only 3 council members and the mayor at the August 5, 2015 meeting along with some residents who had something to say on several topics on the Agenda.

First question: Is it a legal to have a meeting with only 3 of 6 council members in attendance? (Answer:  No)  The Council members and the mayor looked at the Council Solicitor. One of the vacationing Council members was in a ‘conference call’ via the Mayor’s phone listening in.  AND THIS IS LEGAL? Solicitor said it was. (Solicitor was wrong)

Comments and questions from the audience were made and asked. According to Council Prez, Council members do not have to respond to questions presented at Citizens to be heard. In most cases, Council flat out ignores direct questions from citizens.

    A couple residents – including a former Council member – opposed the plan to add parking meters where there were never meters before.  One person spoke up about the poorly written, unedited and approved Comprehensive Plan. (More on this later) A couple residents opposed the Ordinance titled “Woodbine Overlay District” (including the former Council member!)

The Woodbine overlay district Ordinance and the Comprehensive Plan alteration were voted on and approved by the 3 council members present and 1 council member on speakerphone.

BIG question: WHY were the same public hearing notices advertised in July re-advertised in August ? Each notice, published twice in August stating there would be public hearings during the September 2 Council Meeting are exactly the same as the ones done in July. Only the Council meeting date was changed.  Oh…so having only half the council members in attendance is NOT legal. 

    The good news is that we still have the opportunity to speak out and correct the Comprehensive Plan.

* Kardon Park was omitted as a public park.  It doesn’t matter if the properties are in litigation. It is STILL a public park and must be included in the current Comp Plan.

*In fact, the most recent decision by the Commonwealth Court clearly states that the front two parcels (bordering PA Ave and containing the Victims’ Memorial) are public parkland and cannot be sold.

* Various maps within the Plan omit waterways through certain areas of the Borough. The Mill Race that flows through Kardon Park and its lakes was not included as a waterway. On the other side of town, some maps show just Beaver Creek and some show just the RACE that goes to the Roger Hunt Mill. The race goes above the baseball fields on Manor Ave. The Creek flows below the fields and is just above Mary Street.  It is what regularly floods the area. Little Parke Run was omitted as was the stream that goes through Kerr Park. They tend to flood too.

   I believe that, with the obvious omissions, instances where opinions were written that change the actual history of the Borough, this version of the Comprehensive Plan must be corrected and properly edited for typographical and sentence structure errors.

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