Friday, April 21, 2017

In front of angry residents, Borough Council approves park at 5th and Broomall Streets

UPDATE 4/24/17 5pm EST:

By request of a Freedom of Information Act submission to Media Borough, we received documents related to the sale.  Of interest is a Sales Agreement that was signed between Media Borough and the seller in March.  Based on the email it appears to have happened as early as March 13, 2017.   That was two weeks before Brian Hall sent out a letter dated March 30, 2017 to some residents that a public hearing would be held to discuss the park.   Was it shared with that group that the borough had already secured an agreement of sale at the April 4th public hearing?

 If the agreement of sale was already locked up, was the vote at the April meeting just a formality?  Had the decision already been made in March despite the community's input presented on April 20th?




?

Media Borough Council President Brian Hall 

We will be doing a full story with "must see" video from last night's meeting, but the vote to proceed with a park at 5th an Broomall Streets passed 5-2.  Paul Robinson and Lisa Johnson voted against it but that wasn't enough for the standing room only crowd that was openly hostile towards council president Brain Hall for two straight hours.   One-by-one residents took to the floor to express their displeasure with how the whole process was carried out.  Citing examples of misleading/incomplete information, lack of transparency, favoritism and personal agendas.  Residents even went as far as declaring their total lack of trust in Media Borough Council.

Shouting matches ensued with threats being leveled that people would be removed from the audience. Infighting between members on council also erupted with one member questioning the council's own transparency and legal obligations.  Vice President, Paul Robinson openly accused Brian Hall and other members on council of bullying the park through with no discussion.  He even went as far as saying he didn't even know about the agreement.  That's interesting as complaints from the community stated the same thing.

After two hours of open hostilities, the council did manage to take a vote on the issue, but this doesn't look like it'll blow over anytime soon.

Here's what wasn't known until last night's an hour before the vote.

  • The Borough will pay $350k for the land.
  • The land is owned by an employee of Media Borough 
  • There are back taxes owed on the property
  • Media Borough did not adequately post the agenda in advance stating there would be a vote on Thurs 4/20.  They posted it the day of the borough council meeting.

Not only did Brian Hall lose control of last night's meeting, he's lost the confidence of the community to effectively lead as council president.



71 comments:

  1. Isn't it due to Hall's leadership the borough is still in contempt of court over Third St Bridge? How is this guy still on council?

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    1. Easy when a D is in front of your name you get voted in. Regardless of being a DEMOCRAT or D-bag.

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    2. Or the big hanging on your chin.

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  2. This council is going to have a hard time proving this wasn't some kind of bailout for an employee of theirs in tax trouble. When was the last time this council made a deal like this and at this price?

    As I saw last night, residents aren't buying the fraudulent intentions of "let's create a park"

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    1. The last time council made a $350,000 real estate deal was when they sold the easement to Sunoco for the ME2 Pipeline.

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  3. I am very glad it will be turned into a park... 350k seems steep, but you gotta understand that is the market price for empty lot of this size in the Borough (for reference, look at the list price of 518 Walnut in Swarthmore -- 400k) Now the fun part on applying for grants.. off the top of my head, I can name three or four that we would immediately qualify for. Others would be dependent on how we design the park.

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    1. They already have another parcel that is sitting unusable as they have not brought funds, grants or otherwise, forward to implement the plan. Media is the perfect example of the corrupt politics from the left. Bailing out their own, spending other peoples money and refusing to listen to their constituents. Vote them all out.

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    2. What is the address of that unusable parcel?

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    3. I'm very much right leaning politically, but this is the right choice for this area of the Borough.

      It could've been turned into an apartment complex -- this is by far the best thing for the area. The key is to now have buy-in from the neighbors in helping to take of it (see: Friends of Houtman Park group) and using their input on the park design -- for example, not including lights so it can't be used after dusk, and plenty of signage that states the Park closes as such... lots of trees and no pathway behind the twins would be another good idea, as well as making 5th Street residential permit parking only..

      This CAN become an incredible little oasis that benefits all of the properties that abut it... the time is now to hop on board.

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    4. Anonymous April 21, 2017 at 9:35 AM
      What is the address of that unusable parcel?


      MINERAL HILL

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    5. If the borough actually valued the peoples' input being impacted by this the most, the bailout park wouldn't have passed.

      I'd love a park too, as long as it was going in your backyard, or better yet, any of the 5 coucil members who voted yes.

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    6. Mineral Hill isn't in the Borough and is owned by the County, try again tho

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    7. Actually Anon 10:48 mineral hill is a joint ownership between county, media, upper providence, and Middletown. but nice try, try again.

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    8. Why does this article say that the county acquired the property then?
      http://www.delcotimes.com/article/DC/20101110/NEWS/311109987

      Delaware COUNTY expanded its catalogue of open space by 46.2 acres last month with the acquisition of Mineral Hill in Middletown Township, said county council Vice Chairman Christine Fizzano Cannon at a press conference Tuesday.

      Fizzano Cannon joined fellow council members, municipal officials and representatives of local conservation and preservation groups at Memorial Park on Baltimore Pike to unveil the COUNTY's latest land acquisition, which is now part of the COUNTY's park system.

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  4. A bigger shame natural lands trust couldn't broker a deal to save GreenBank farm
    Mr. Williamson your organizing failed to save this and know you will have McMansions all around your trusted land
    In Marple Newtown Square yes Hildacy
    Will be almost surrounded just like the
    Residents that live near thus pocket park
    "Show them the money"

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  5. Weird controversy. If anything the neighboring residents should feel lucky the rest of us are subsidizing their property values by buying them a park.

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  6. "Buy in from the neighbors"....."now the fun begins".........."I can think of several grants......." really?

    Council stated they MAY be able to 50% of the purchase price from a state grant, however the state has it's own billion dollar budget deficit.

    Council ignored all of the neighbors comments last night, including comments from the adjacent property owners. The only positive comment was an email message Mr Williamson read, and that person was not told what the purchase price was before he wrote the email.

    Why would anyone thing they will listen to what we have to say any other night.

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    1. Do you not think there will be other grants available? Media has a full-time grants administrator... per the Borough Spring 2017 Newsletter:

      "the Borough sought and was awarded a major pedestrian safety grant last year: a $727,854 grant from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to connect many of the gaps in the current side-walk network."

      I trust they will be able to find other grants -- there are a lot out there.

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    2. Wasn't Media's serial rapist we found out about 8 months after he was arrested related to the borough "grant writer"? Another borough perk? suppressing information?

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    3. Not arguing that lack of disclosure just that we do have a full-time person whose sole job is to literally apply for grants.

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    4. I would like to get framed copies of the grant checks for: wayfinding, sharrows, and The grant check Media Borough receivesfor the 5th and Broomall park. It will make for excellent wall art that can be added to former townhouse memorabilia

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  7. The owner of the property is a "Civilian Employee" of the Media Police Department overseen by Mayor McMahon.

    http://www.mediaborough.com/police/media-police-officers-0

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  8. Ok, NOW maybe the voters in Media will vote these people OUT. It is past time for them to go. I was behind them at first, but over the years they have proven to be not fit for office. Time to get them out in midterm elections

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  9. In the next world your all on your own.

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  10. What about the proposed CVS? Did they vote on that?

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  11. In the audience were the two future members of media borough council one
    A construction manager-,Kenneth Huppman who I would hope is used to working within budgets. Typically in that trade is if it's not in the budget and well a change order can't be issued- it simply doesn't get done. The other in attendance Lin Axamethy Floyd a part time patent attorney we'll see what value add she will bring to Media Borough Council and specifically Media Borough residents

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  12. I just drove by 5th & Broomall , what a lovely area, the houses are nice and its very quite down there .

    Why in the world would the borough decide to put a park in this residential area ? I don't believe the residents need to have young people hanging out and making a lot of noise in the evenings

    What are you thinking, listen to the people who live there

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    1. Anon 4:34 you should have come to the meeting on 4/20/17 to take a Brow beating from council president
      Brian Hall he would tell you that it's all in the comprehensive plan an to shut up or he'll call the authorities to have you removed

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    2. In case you didn't notice on your quick drive through our neighborhood, the area is chock full of kids already.

      God forbid they now have a small park to play in instead on the actual road. Unsure of who else you think would be 'making a lot of noise evenings'.

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    3. My family lives there and we want the park. No more houses!! Let's keep the Green space!

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  13. At this point, I genuinely don't know why they are purchasing this park for $350,000 from a borough employee who stopped paying their taxes on this lot and their house over 10 years ago. Combined, the owner owes over $115,000 in back taxes on their house and this lot. Supposedly, the borough is also going to pay off the $40,000 that's owed in back taxes on the lot, most of which is owed to RoseTree Media School District.

    I'd love to not pay my taxes for over 10 years on my properties and then have the borough bail me out too. Must be part of the benefit package they offer when you're working for the borough. It feels a lot like that bridge on third street at this point. But, just like third street, nothing will come of it, and Media will continue voting in the same people. Why, because their Democrats and that's all that matters.

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  14. Hello All , please remember to vote in May , just maybe we can get rid of the standing council

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  15. Who else is running besides democrats ?

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  16. For the people attacking the owner, none of you seem to realize that the owner could sell the property to a developer and settle the tax debt, IF that was what they wanted to do. Offers are made weekly on that property. They don't want more houses on those lots! And that is why they chose to accept the borough's offer. It kills two birds with one stone. I'd rather see a park there then one more house that doesn't fit in with the existing landscape.

    From one whose family has lived in Media since the ice man was delivering​ ice. All you newbies know nothing about that!

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    1. It was where broomall lake was
      Interesting history but to the public the manner in which it was done
      Is the problem also the borough is exempt from at least having some
      Firm renderings of what this would look like before they spend 400 k on the property.Now the borough gardener will actually have something nurture and earn their keep

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    2. Good, I'd rather it go to a developer for so many reasons. It's a lot easier to deal with one or two neighbors than countless people who have zero interest in what's best for the neighborhood and who may or may not be from Media. The Media elementary park after school lets out is filled with people I don't want in my backyard uninvited.

      The existing landscape isn't really worth maintaining and I'd love to see a developer with money actually fix some of the issues in the immediate area. That's not going to happen with the borough - they don't maintain anything they own.

      Not sure why your living here for a long time gives you anymore credibility or weight than the people actually being impacted by the owner's lack of responsibility on paying their taxes for the last 10+ years. Yeah, the owner didn't pay their taxes for 10+ years and is now getting rewarded by the responsible taxpayers of Media. The taxpayers are all burdened by the owner's irresponsibility and now you think they deserved to be praised - I don't think so.

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    3. No more houses that won't "Fit the existing landscape - that's why they're something called building codes
      Seems like media borough doesn't even abide by their own or acknowledge that they even exist when it suits them

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  17. Well get over it because a developer will never get that property. Move if you don't like what's going to happen. I never said the owner deserved praise. I simply explained why the owner accepted the borough's offer. You don't know these people. You have no clue as to why the taxes are behind. But you sit on your high horse and judge. There are a lot of properties in Media in the same position. It is what it is and you can do nothing about it. So get over it. Just pray nothing ever happens that places you in this same position.

    My living here gives me the same right and weight BECAUSE I live here and am therefore impacted! As tax payers we bear the burden of alot of things, none of which I feel worthy of raising my blood pressure over. Developers are not going to get that property. So, you may be better served by making sure those countless people do not become a nuisance when the park opens.

    I actually believe the only people using it will be the folks with children and no green space, that already live in the community.

    And here's a thought.... It is conceivable that the park could actually be closed and locked every night. I also think they should include a dog park there for all those folks that walk their dogs and let them urinate on my lawn.

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    1. If the Borough doesn't put lights there, the only people using it are going to be neighborhood kids that now use the street to play in. The area is simply not conducive to people hanging out there after dark. Do you see anyone hanging out on the lawn next to the Tot Lot after dark? At Houtman park after dark? Nope. Because there is no lighting.

      There is a lot of light pollution in State Street that illuminates the Media El park at night hence why they get later crowds. Anyone thinking anyone other than the neighbors surrounding it are gonna use it is deluding themselves and trying to ve deceitful at best.

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    2. You have the audacity to complain about dogs peeing on your lawn and then suggest a dog park in others' backyards. Nice trolling.

      I know the owner was able to afford a destination wedding several years ago when the money could've went to pay their taxes. Not very responsible...I don't have any sympathy for people who only care about themselves, sounds like you two are of the same ilk.

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  18. Please, the owner doesn't care about their neighbors, and only thought about themselves. They are the only ones to get what they wanted.

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  19. Like any other home/property owner. No one consults their neighbors when deciding to sell their property.

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    1. This is a unique situation and not a typical selling of "their property". It's possible something else could've been worked out among all the neighbors or neighbors/non-profit, etc. It was mentioned that people should get off their high horse and stop judging. Why, it's obvious the owner thought nothing of their neighbors and did only what's best for them.

      I'm far enough away from the "park" and hope that a basketball court is put in on the side of their house. There might be a grant still available for midnight basketball for "at risk" youth.

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  20. Can we get Mexico to pay for it...?

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  21. The current owner inherited that property, they did not own it at the time of the wedding. Nice try though.

    And no they don't care about their neighbors and the neighbors don't care about them. What you are talking about only happens in a community were folks actually interact. That hasn't happened in that community since the new folks started moving in.

    It is not a unique situation. They are selling the property period. Just not to who you think they should.

    You all should ask yourselves why you are really mad about this situation.

    Bottom line, it's their property and they can do what they want with it.

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    1. "new folks" aka white people - gotcha.

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  22. See therin lies the rub. I can be upset about how the sale went down -- ultimately I know the seller has a right to sell to whomever they want -- the tax debt notwithstanding (I just hope now it gets paid now that they've shorted everyone for a decade)...

    and yet, I also am glad the Borough is the one who owns it. Why? Because I know a developer would have crammed as much housing as possible on that lot if they got their hands on it.

    So, like anything in life, I have mixed feelings on it. I am, however, glad it will be turned into a park. I will remain heavily involved in the design of it, and I do truly believe that it will come to improve the property values of all those who surround the park -- it will become a community asset.

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  23. So based on a lot of the comments above, the park will only benifit the people who live close to it, no lights, for now, maybe no baseball court, and maybe a fence to keep people out at night.

    Therefor the tax payers get to pay $350,000 to buy it and who knows how much in closing costs. We already paid for an appraisal, attornies fees and there will be other studies as discussed at the council meeting. At a minimum I'm sure we need to have an envoronmental study done to make sure the site is clean and maybe a feasibility study or two. Might even want the consultants that "studied" the wayfinding signs or bike lanes to revise their studies to include this new park.

    Then we really get to see how much will be spent. How about sidewalks, fencing, benches and stormwater improvements. Maybe we could have a nice rain garden.

    As stated above this park is not likely to draw many visitors from other parts of town, but we will all pay for it. Your own little private oasis paid for by the tax payers of Media, without public debate. Remember notice of the impending borough purchase was only sent to people who live within 500 feet of the property. Maybe they should be the only ones who pay for it, even though the adjacent property owners that showed up at last weeks council meeting where all against it.

    If developed in accordance with current zoning the property, according to council, the property would yield maybe 3 homes or could even be sold and one house would be built.

    Sorry but I think spending that much to stop maybe 3 homes is ridiculous. Esspecilly since this council approved waivers that allowed for additional units at the west end flats and apartments.

    You could do a lot more for the environment with $350,000+ then buying one small vacant lot.

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    1. Guess ya gonna have to live with it, eh?

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    2. From: http://www.americantrails.org/resources/economics/Economic-Benefits-Trails-Open-Space-Walkable-Community.html

      Open space and recreational facilities can require fewer public amenities and municipal services than new land development, offering a cost-effective alternative.

      The Northeastern Office of the American Farmland Trust studied towns in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York and found that, on average, open space lands required only 29 cents in services per dollar of revenue generated.

      A number of communities have reportedly elected to purchase park and open space land, rather than allow it to be used for residential development, because in the long term this results in less tax burden on existing residents than if new homes were built on the land.

      Additionally, investment in parks and open space does not incur some of the costs that often accompany residential development, such as traffic congestion, noise, pollution, infrastructure deterioration and changes in community character.


      Try again.

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    3. "The studies found that, in general, urban parks, natural areas and preserved open spaces showed positive effects on property values. Some types of open space can reduce nearby property values, an outcome sometimes called ‘the nuisance effect.’ Studies have confirmed that parks that are excessively busy, located in highly desirable or undesirable neighborhoods, or unattractive or poorly maintained have a negative impact on home values."

      The above is from the referenced study, FYI - Glen Providence Park is a great asset, I think $350,000 in improvements to that park could have a greater impact then buying 0.4 acres for what ever reason.

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    4. Thank you for actually reading the article, Vince. Clearly the answer is that this thing needs to be well maintained in order to do what I said it will do, which is increase property values. Almost anything would have been better than the dilapidated fence and vacant lot that it is now, but since its going to be a park, it needs to be maintained. Good to know.

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    5. Also since it sounds like your a council member or on that side of things please maintain the concrete jungle
      Better known as olive street garage I would suggest someone take a hard look at the structural repairs done
      A few years back, if indeed nearly a million dollars was spent on the previous repairs someone needs to be held accountable for the condition of the garage

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  24. For expenditures like this a vote should be cast for all Borough of Media residents
    Not some comprehensive plan that isn't
    Flanged up with the borough budget
    It might be a nice passive park however
    There will be mounting costs to move forward again not in the budget

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  25. Yep the new people, the ones that don't speak to each other nor the owner. They just happen to be white as you pointed out. Nothing new to us. Media has always been a diverse town. What we are not use to are neighbors that don't speak. Don't interact. What we have now are people that actually feel they should have some say in what someone else does with their property.

    People that think the owner should have approached them and offered to sell them parts of the property. Or just told them what was about to happen so they could band together to come up with a better solution. Why would they think someone they don't even speak to or acknowledge should care anything about what they want.

    Boggles my mind....

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    1. People have the right to have an input or, at least an opinion, because your "friend's" property is being bought with taxpayer's money. Your "friend" failed to pay their taxes for over 10 years and the taxpayer's are apparently picking up the tab for that too. Tell your "friend" to pay their taxes and no one would be in their business.

      I'm hoping your "friend" gets a basketball court on the side of their house and a dog park in the back of their house. Some lighting for late night games in the summer and maybe a few sharps containers for those who choose to indulge. Tell your "friend" thanks...

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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. Glen Providence is a County park..call the GOP for improvements.
    350,000 for appraised value
    Does sound like alot of money, but we will be using eminent domain and BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to build a wall....hey maybe Mexico will pay for the new park too...

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    1. What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.

      At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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    2. Idiotic? I responded to the comment that the $350,000 (BORO dollars)
      Be used to improve Glen Providence park (county park)TWO SEPARATE GOVERNMENT entities.Just pointing out how dumb people really are..a wall hooray,a park boo..everyone in your room is now a little smarter.When you learn the difference between Local,county,state and federal governments.

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  29. There's a lot for sale on 6th and Olive Streets. It's undeveloped, no storm drain issues - devoid of all the issues of the current property purchased. Our children already play after hours in the parking lot on Olive Street. Why not give us a park? Is it that the 1.1 million dollar listing that would be next to the park would be negatively impacted? Is it that the parcel of land isn't owned by a borough employee?

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    1. First of all... troll a little harder next time... that house just sold ... not for $1.1m but for $690k (http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/30-W-Sixth-St_Media_PA_19063_M45208-04194)

      The lot is already spoken for too... try again buddy.

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  30. Why didn't the owner of the property sell the lot and their house to a developer if they could've received more than what the borough paid? Doesn't make sense, but neither does the borough's process of purchasing the property to begin with.

    The borough put up the video where the park was voted on. Kinda feel bad for the people who actually took the time to go. It's clear that the vote was just a formality and meaningless.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVz-HgWnp2pG88mc1n0ZIFQ

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  31. Indeed media borough council and their mangt of what they allow and what they don't allow clearly comes down to politics
    It was pointed out the waivers granted for the west end no worries about having anything green on those parcels

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    1. You want it both it ways --- you want a developer to develop this lot, but then when a developer wants variances to allow for more units you deride Council granting it...

      so which one is it???

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  32. Nobody wants it both ways
    Why can't people follow the ecode
    If a developer did get the property
    They should follow the ecode for the residential district in which it is located
    Nothing should be up for interpretation
    Often times in media borough everything
    Is up for interpretation so the person or developer who media borough can't say no to gets what they want

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    1. Because unfortunately, that's not how it works in the real world. If a developer got this lot, nothing would have prevented them from trying to get a variance to build more units than currently allowed here either.

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    2. In Everybody's Hometown it works this way - The borough will stall the project until they exhaust the person/entity of their resources and then they give up, or it's just due to their incompetence. Either way, they'll get what they want. Don't underestimate a monolithic government backed by brainwashed constitutes that only know how to pull a lever with a big D on it at election time.

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    3. Like Vince Pennoni stated why would they listen to residents any other day
      Well, they won't

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