I am writing in response to Trustee Cole and the Delaware County Prosecutor’s statements in the article “Brown Twp. to Dedicate Hall-Neighbor Not Happy About It,” Nov. 10.
The facts are that the township was not asked not to build their building, but to adhere to its own written zoning resolution for “Public Administration,” which was only a specifically permitted use in their Planned Commercial section, and to observe the appropriate 100-foot setbacks from all residential uses. Prior to and throughout their design process, which they estimate cost their taxpayers $150,000, on their own testimony, not one single conversation occurred between the trustees or their zoning inspector regarding adhering to their zoning. Their hall was simply designed to the maximum extent of their budget and to comply with the donors’ requirements, but it was never discussed throughout to make any attempt or effort for their design to conform to township code. Spending $382,000 chasing a $1.1 million gift over 3 years (when the requirement was 2) and knowing the issue of contested zoning is pending judicial review is reckless and irresponsible at best; it is certainly not fiscally minded, accountable government.
The township was required by Delaware County to issue itself a zoning permit, so the prosecutor’s assertion that the township is exempt from its zoning presents an illogical conundrum in itself. Furthermore, self-servingly enacting legislation to amend township zoning in August (months after breaking ground and over a year of ignoring zoning) to now explicitly permit township “Public Uses” in all districts while nobody has yet made any effort to interpret the existing “Public Administration” provision. Thinking that this somehow corrects an error never admitted to, only deepens the mystery. Another curiosity is why the township zoning inspector was not under immediate disciplinary action upon admitting to having never read the section of the code that a citizen appealed and paid the township to review in a formal zoning appeal overseen by the prosecutor’s office.
Brazenly committing to steamrolling through with construction while burning through taxpayer dollars and requesting (twice) the Fifth District Court of Appeals and now the Supreme Court to prevent the local trial court from ever hearing the case under the guise of “preserving judicial economy” is entirely nonsensical. The township never intended to comply with anything, as reasonably interpreted by the prosecutor’s statement in pre-trial, that they (township) would do as they wanted to do regardless of the judge’s decision. The depth of project mismanagement, misfeasance, fiduciary irresponsibility, lack of neighborliness, and dogged determination to prevent any decision from an impartial trial is wholly anti-American and not what we should expect from government. Or, maybe, it is and the old-fashioned notion that government follow its rules and that there are checks and balances is merely a fairy tale propagated in classrooms?
If someone can logically explain to me how any effort was made to comply with township code, while zoning was admittedly never reviewed or discussed by the township and it now argues itself exempt from complying with the rules it mandates upon everyone else, and it believes itself immune from even being questioned on the subject, then I will gladly concede the point that, evidently, there should be one set of rules for the citizens and none for government and politicians.