Su­per­vi­sors vote to re­scind scenic by­ways res­o­lu­tion

The Advance of Bucks County - - NEWTOWN AREA - By Pe­tra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

UP­PER MAhEFIEiD – In a unan­i­mous vote, the board of su­per­vi­sors re­scinded an April res­o­lu­tion which sup­ported des­ig­nat­ing River Road in the town­ship as a scenic high­way.

The vote was cast at the board of su­per­vi­sors’ pub­lic meet­ing on Aug. 21 and was taken af­ter the Delaware and iehigh Na­tional Her­itage Cor­ri­dor, Inc., for­mally with­drew plans for the des­ig­na­tion af­ter fail­ing to re­ceive sup­port for the ef­fort from mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the cor­ri­dor.

In April, the town­ship was ap­proached by the DiNHC, which ex­pressed in­ter­est in hav­ing the full length of River Road in­cluded in the Na­tional Scenic By­ways pro­gram.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion promised that in­clu­sion in the pro­gram would have made the River Road area el­i­gi­ble for grant money IRU EHDuWL­fiFDWLRn SuUSRVHV.

More than 100 peo­ple at­tended the Aug. 21 meet­ing. Some of them had gone doorto-door telling prop­erty own­ers on River Road that if the April 17 res­o­lu­tion re­mained in ef­fect, their prop­erty rights would be in peril and that zon­ing laws would be changed, ac­cord­ing to su­per­vi­sor iarry Bree­den.

How­ever, su­per­vi­sor Mary Ryan, said af­ter the meet­ing that Bree­den was “fear mon- ger­ing” and the group was dis­tribut­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion.

“They were telling peo­ple that their houses were go­ing to be taken by im­mi­nent do­main” and that the DiNHC was go­ing “to force” the town­ship to change its zon­ing. “And they did this know­ing that the pro­gram had been can­celled,” she said.

Ryan ac­cused Bree­den of “stir­ring things up for what rea­son I don’t know. The pro­gram was can­celled. He was aware of that. We agreed to re­scind,” she said, af­ter the so­lic­i­tor ad­vised the board that there should not be any loose strings.

“iarry has a way of tak­ing things out of con­text,” Ryan said. Bree­den and other res­i­dents, she said, were bas­ing their com­ments on a 20-yearold doc­u­ment.

“Much of it doesn’t ap­ply to the scenic by­way… He took it out of con­text and made that his mis­sion state­ment,” she said.

A let­ter sent to River Road prop­erty own­ers, which was signed by David Ny­man, in­terim town­ship man­ager, ex­plained that “a group of peo­ple is go­ing door-to-door along River Road mis­in­form­ing the res­i­dents about a scenic by­way pro­gram by stat­ing that the scenic by­way des­ig­na­tion would LnFUHDVH WUDI­fiF DnD HnFRuUDGH WKH VWDWH WR con­demn prop­erty.”

Ny­man’s let­ter was sent be­cause the town­ship started re­ceiv­ing com­plaints from res­i­dents who were ask­ing if their prop­er­ties were go­ing to be con­demned.

The let­ter stated that the fac­tual in­for­ma­tion is that “ef­forts by the Delaware and iehigh Na­tional Her­itage Cor­ri­dor, Inc. to cre- ate a scenic by­way along River Road have been can­celled due to lack of sup­port...

“Any in­for­ma­tion which leads you to be­lieve that the state in­tends to con­demn your prop­erty is false,” the let­ter reads.

Bree­den told Buck­sio­calNews.com that he did not per­son­ally go door-to-door, “but there was a group of res­i­dents who did.” He said peo­ple in the group had read 400 pages of the DiNHC’s man­age­ment plan and made up their own minds.

In the plan, Bree­den said the DiNHC talks about con­ser­va­tion ease­ments and WR LnFUHDVH WUDI­fiF WKURuGKRuW WKH Ey­wDy. “Those are the things that alarmed the peo­ple who live on River Road,” he said. “They state in their plan that in or­der for them to be suc­cess­ful, the town­ships needs to amend zon­ing laws to con­form to the man­age­ment plan…

“For­tu­nately, some con­cerned cit­i­zens caught wind of the [April] res­o­lu­tion,” which was passed in a 3-2 vote, said Bree­den.

Su­per­vi­sor Tom Cino and Bree­den were the two nay votes. Vot­ing in fa­vor of the scenic by­way des­ig­na­tion was Dan Rat­ti­gan, board chair­man; Bud Bald­win, board vice chair­man; and Ryan.

Bree­den said that “some con­cerned cit­i­zens sim­ply wanted more time to see what this was all about.” He said some­one at the April meet­ing “made a plea” to ta­ble a vote on the scenic by­way.

He said that the scenic by­way pro­gram may have been shelved, but that it could come up again in the fu­ture and that’s why he wanted the April 17 res­o­lu­tion sup­port­ing the scenic by­way re­scinded.

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