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UPPER MAhEFIEiD – In a unanimous vote, the board of supervisors rescinded an April resolution which supported designating River Road in the township as a scenic highway.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