The following was submitted to Radnor Patch by Elaine Paul Schaefer, President of the Board of
In the past few days, several letter writers have put forth some very alarming rumors about the Township’s potential acquisition of a portion of Ardrossan. I write today to clarify the process that will unfold and assure the community that these disquieting speculations are not accurate.
First of all, no vote is imminent, no decisions have been made, and there is no “done deal”. Here are the facts: the Township is interested in the possibility of acquiring a portion of Ardrossan for open space. This goal has been consistently set forth in our planning for decades. Specifically, the Township is interested in three tracts – the Wheeler Tract (by Saw Mill Road), the Quarry Tract (on the western side of Darby Paoli Rd at the intersection of Darby Paoli and Newtown Rds.) and the Rye Field (the parcel on the east side of that same intersection). The exact acreage and price have not been agreed upon, nor have all the terms of such a proposal. These terms are still in active negotiation, and the negotiations are being conducted by our Township solicitor and the attorney for the seller.
Once the proposed terms are settled and the seller has signed a proposed agreement, the public process of deliberation will begin.
· First, every single piece of information that is pertinent to this community decision will be posted on the Radnor website, and that will include: the appraisals (we have three), the financial analyses, the proposed agreement itself, a detailed explanation of the proposed acquisition and potential uses and costs for the land, the Open Space Committee worksheets and recommendations, the grant applications, and all supporting documents and studies.
· Next, an ordinance will be introduced in a public meeting – probably in November – that opens the public discussion of the merits of this purchase and how we would pay for it.
· There will then be at least two hearings, more if we need them, for the community to weigh in and share their opinions.
· During this period of community conversation, our Open Space Acquisition Policy also demands an analysis of the proposed purchase from our CARFAC (our financial citizens’ advisory committee) as well as other specified due diligence efforts.
· Finally, after all of this input, there will be a vote on whether to adopt the ordinance that would allow the Township to enter into the proposed agreement of sale.
This will be a big decision for our community, and a potential investment for many generations of Radnor residents to come. We are sure to have a lively debate, with passionate opinions on both sides of the issue. This is a very educated and sophisticated community, and I have the utmost confidence that we can conduct this community debate in a civil, patient and respectful manner and we do not need to resort to alarmist speculation. I encourage all residents to participate, to learn all of the facts when they become available, and to share your opinion. It is ultimately the community’s decision as to whether we want to preserve this open space now, recognizing that if we do not, this highly desirable and developable land will likely end up as three more housing developments.