Councilwoman Lisa Diller kept no secrets about her disdain of former Exec Tom Gordon, and her love of newly elected Matt Meyer. It is widely suspected that she kept the Sister's development plans a secret, just to deny Mr Gordon any opportunity to get involved early on in saving the Orphanage Property as a regional park. If so -- and it's definitely plausible -- she literally threw her constituents under the bus in an act of retribution toward her boss.
It became abundantly clear upon his election that Exec Meyer was fiercely pro-development. His campaign donor list contains a wealth of construction interests as well as land use attorneys and others in the building industry. Not only did Townsend-Osienski stand back and let Meyer throw away STOP all by himself, he also awarded his developer friends a bonanza in Port Penn farmland and crtical migratory habitat area. The Brandywine and Cavaliers Country Clubs will also be replaced with almost a thousand more houses and the traffic congestion that goes with that will be staggering.
While some key organizations such as the Delaware Nature Society, Coalition for Natural Stream Valleys, and White Clay Creek Watershed endorsed STOP without hesitation, those of highest clout would not. Sierra Club DE Chapter, DE Audubon Society, DE Wildlands, and others were asked repeatedly to sign on to 3 simple statements, supporting preservation of the Orphanage Property as habitat, a regional park, and open space. They ignored the opportunity, in spite of the devastating environmental consequences. Without their support in matters like this, people question what their purpose is, or what they bring to the State in terms of environmental conservation.
Senator Bryan Townsend, Rep. Ed Osienski, and Councilwoman Lisa Diller share constituents and are sworn to act in their best interests. This trio knew in 2013 -- a full two years before Diller leaked it to the public -- that the Orphanage Property was under threat of development, yet they saw no value in saving it as open space. They failed to recognize that geographically, a regional park was very much needed, and this was the last opportunity in their districts. And to top it off, Osienski himself stated that 2 years of additional notice would not have made a difference in the outcome -- STOP's fate was sealed from the very start.
Putting developers and land use attorneys in positions to prioritize parkland -- for the very land that they own and plan to develop -- would be a conflict of interest anywhere else in the U.S. But not if you're the NCC "Ethics" Commission, supposedly a watchdog group overseeing NCC Govt ethics. And worse, the NCC Civic League has accepted this and moved on after having endorsed STOP and a regional park. "Route 4" (Ogletown-S. Newark) was indeed prioritized as #3, behind Red Lion and Middletown. Saving the Orphanage Property for this region should have been #1 priority, because the land was not yet owned and secured and this was the last chance. #1 and #2 are regions with properties that NCC already owns or had gifted to them; they just need the amenities. With only a couple million left over in the parks budget, and Meyer unwilling to add anymore, a #3 priority was as good as ZERO priority. But no, Setting and Hoffman on Meyer's Parks Team, helping set priorities wasn't a conflict of interest according to this farce of an "Ethics" Commission, whose attorney members are appointed by Meyer himself.