Saturday, December 30, 2017

Political will remains the final hurdle for STOP

Here is the current (potential) buyout situation for STOP. The campaign continues, despite dangling by a thread. Much of these details have been posted on the organization's Facebook page in recent posts:

Verbal sale offer from developer of $7.14M (still need that in writing)
  • New Castle County Exec Meyer claims he's still in it with a $3M co-pay (need that in writing), but traditionally, the County -- at the very least -- splits the total cost in a joint buyout with the State. NCC should handle the actual sale proposal and agreement, and from there, any zoning or other DLU issues and then it becomes a County or Regional Park. But Meyer is signaling that, since the fallout with the Nuns (along with Advocate's publicizing/politicizing his developer ties), he wants no part in the logistics.
  • Assuming the developer will not wait until June when the Bond Committee meets and can vote on funding, and Meyer doesn't commit in writing to bring at least $3.57M (or half the buyout price) before Council vote, Sen Townsend and Rep Osienski will likely go before the BC as early as Jan (next month) to make "an impossible ask" of full State funding for the property.
What needs to happen?
  • Developer commits to selling for $7.14M (or other, reasonable) in writing, along with any other asks, such as payment timeline if such is allowed. Senator Townsend is attempting contact now to confirm this is coming.
  • Exec. Meyer commits in writing to bring half the buyout cost before NCC asap, and handle any logistical aspects that only the County can.
  • Townsend and Osienski go before the Bond Committee in Jan (soon) and make the request for a "mini" bond bill to line up the funding, the best chances coming with progress on the above two.
Other notes:
  • We are told that the ~$1M in donor funds originally set aside for STOP is no longer available, having been put toward Beaver Valley.
  • The status of the original $1.25 set aside in the Bond Bill (since Exec Meyer negotiating) is not known. If it still exists, the ask would be that much less.
  • It is not clear if anything remains set-aside from the Open Space Council, which was originally in for $0.25M.
  • Though the developer has indicated a sale possibility, it is going to be more difficult as compared to the Felician Sisters. For one thing, the option for a multi-year buyout is all but lost, at least barring high interest.
STOP Advocates will forever insist that political will has been the #1 obstacle. That, and a "charitable", very wealthy, religious organization that placed financial gain over the greater good. Few words can describe.

We, as citizen advocates, have left no stone unturned, with every one coming up an epic fail. For those of you joining us later, this also includes the 10-9 campaign, and open space as a plank in the Democrat party platform.

The fight for justice in this matter must go on. Email us ASAP if you can be available to join us in any upcoming rallies, demonstrations, or other presence that may be needed, i.e. during a legislative vote on funding:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Is Meyer's Fundraiser a lure for development interests?

Advocates can't help questioning if New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer has geared recent land use events to coincide with his first fundraiser on December 7. There was that ridiculous "Panel Discussion on Traffic Impact Requirements for New Development" on October 18th, where multi-modalism was discussed as the possible answer to relaxing traffic LOS standards. Advocates in attendance were forbidden from asking questions aloud; only via index card.

It could easily be felt that Exec Meyer has "strutted his stuff", where putting the brakes on open space and farmland preservation efforts is concerned. He threw away the Orphanage Property, and allowed millions in federal acquisition funds to expire. Added up, it's the ultimate lure for development interests and gaining top dollar at a fundraiser.

These are very sad times we live in for saving open space in NCC where it's truly needed. Based on the evidence so far, expect little or no support from Mr Meyer when it comes to using County funds for acquisition efforts -- regardless of how critical. And this comes at a time when, according to the Democrat's own Stephanie Hansen, we are facing a "state-wide ecological extinction".

Funny that the initial invitation (below) showed that it was possible to donate as much as $1,200 per head to the Meyer campaign, but this is illegal -- and later corrected. The maximum allowed by law for a County candidate is $600. Never the less, it must be pretty dire if a fundraiser is already needed in the first year of his first term.

More to come, we're sure . . .