Zoning rules apply to us all…

Zoning rules apply to us all…

Zoning rules apply to us all…

Local rules impact us on a daily basis. Property owners must adhere to these strict regulations set by local municipalities so that our community is not harmed in some way. It also helps to prevent people and businesses from negatively impacting property values or quality of life; or to maintain the character of the community. They are also important so that development that is incompatible with local planning is not allowed which could cause harm.

Zoning is also used to keep industry or commercial uses to specified areas to limit the environmental impacts to residential neighborhoods. In our region this is particularly important as many homes still utilize wells for home water supply.

Zoning can impact home owners as well, like in the case of someone building an addition on their home that violates or impacts the surrounding homes. People are not allowed to come too close to property lines, they must get inspections for electric, etc. These are designed to keep the homeowner safe, future owners safe, and the surrounding homes safe from improper design or future problems. We can all agree that zoning laws, although sometimes we may disagree when it negatively impacts us, are a good way of maintaining order in our community. But does this apply to everyone?

In 2014 West Goshen Township passed zoning that forbids the ability of pipeline companies from placing highly volatile pipelines within a certain distance of homes. These lines are not allowed in R3 residential zones; and only allowed in Industrial & Commercial zones with permission. But West Goshen does not want to uphold this zoning. Why? We all must follow the rules. So why not pipeline companies?

The answer is simple…MONEY. Many local officials believe it would be too costly to fight. I have heard this argument several times over the last three years. I disagree. They have all sworn an oath to secure the health, safety, and welfare of their constituents. But they will not enforce their power in this regard.

With the help of many people, I have petitioned the court to uphold our local zoning to secure the health, safety, and welfare of West Goshen residents. If we allow this one project to pass through without even attempting to secure our community, to preserve the “character”, then we will be setting a bad precedence for future projects that are destined for Chester County.

I am not arguing the greater discussion over to Frack or not to Frack. I simply believe that the rule of law applies to everyone. Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields states that they are also trying to follow the rules of law in a recent NPR article.

Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields says the writ of possession is lawful. “We are proceeding with construction in Huntingdon County and elsewhere and will conduct ourselves according to the law at all times,” Shields said in an email. (NPR article, April 28, 2017)

We shall see Mr. Shields!

Growing up in Philadelphia, I learned that to fight and lose is commendable. To fight and lose shows that you are willing not to be a victim. But the one lesson I learned that is more important is if we do not fight to protect ourselves that this can cause doubt and self-deprecation which can have a lasting impact long after the confrontation has ended.

I will not shy away from conflict; especially when defending my home community!

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