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  1. #1
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Marsh Creek Access

    below are excerpts from a few emails that i received over the weekend - none of this is from me, but i wanted to share it...

    Hello All,

    Today is a sad day for those of us that have enjoyed
    accessing Marsh Creek from the Struble Trail and
    Dorlan Mill Rd. Today I had the pleasure of meeting an
    agent of the landowner just as he was putting the
    finishing touches on a large metal/wire fence that now
    completely blocks the park access from Dorlan Mill
    road. Had I been about 30 minutes later I would have
    most likely been blocked in.

    I spoke to him briefly and here's what he had to say.
    He was generally friendly and non-confrontational,
    although he did not appears as though he was going to
    speak to me until I engaged him first. I asked him
    what was going on with the access, to which he replied
    "the only access to the trails of Marsh Creek are at
    the park entrance on Reeds or Chalfont roads".
    I asked why and he said that "the landowner has been
    denied access to develop this property so this
    entrance and the struble trail entrance at the mill
    are now closed until someone comes to their senses." I
    said that's a shame, what can we do, etc. He said "the
    landowner was only asking to build 20 houses on 40
    acres, it's not like he was building Eagleview or
    anything. I suggest if you want access and you vote,
    then don't vote for the incumbent." After this he
    didn't say anything else and returned to working on
    the fence.
    -------------
    Apparently this guy (John Shelton) is a developer who is trying to hold park access from Dorlans Mill and the Struble Trail ransom to build his development. He is currently involved in a couple of court cases about tying into existing sewer lines (see below) and this is how he deals with the flack he is getting.

    Developer locks horns with township officials
    By JOHN ROSSOMANDO, Special to Tri County
    04/10/2007

    UWCHLAN - A private developer has locked horns with township officials over his claim that he has the right to connect to a sewer main that was constructed over township property during the 1970s and is partially located in neighboring Upper Uwchlan.
    The dispute has forced township officials and developer John Shelton, president of Shryock Brothers Inc., to file legal claims and counterclaims, in their efforts to either force or inhibit that connection.
    Currently, two cases involving the dispute stand before the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission and a third, brought by the township, is in front of Chester County Common Pleas Judge Jacqueline Cody.
    Arguments stem from an easement placed across the property in 1977, when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania contracted with the township to provide a 100,000 gallon-per-day sewer connection for Marsh Creek State Park.
    Of that capacity, Uwchlan negotiated that it would take 50,000 gallons per day of that capacity, while leaving the other half under the state's control.
    However, a disputed interpretation of that easement lies at the heart of the problem.
    The township claims a 1985 agreement, establishing the Downingtown Area Regional Authority, limits the former Shryock paper mill to 1,000 gallons per day. The authority provides sewage disposal for Uwchlan, East Caln, the Borough of Downingtown and Caln.
    Township Solicitor Guy Donatelli said the municipality believes that limitation was "set in amber."
    The municipality's lawsuit against Shelton seeks to settle whether he can tie into the Marsh Creek sewer connection for his proposed development on his 44-acre tract and whether the 1,000-gallon limit still stands.
    "I can't understand how we are bound by an agreement because DARA didn't exist in 1977, and Uwchlan joined DARA and arbitrarily put a limit on the amount of new sewage flows," Shelton said. "There is nothing in the easement that restricts the connection."
    He contends his access to the sewer main is unlimited because Shryok, as a third party, is not bound by the DARA agreement, and consequently being forced to accept that limit is unfair.
    Shelton said under a 2005 reallocation of wastewater capacity across the DARA municipalities, Uwchlan received a 60,000-gallon-per-day share of the system's total 300,000 gallon-per-day total capacity.
    The developer claims the state park, on average year-round, uses an average of 4,000 gallons per day, although it doesn't use any of the capacity during the winter, which leaves enough capacity for its needs.
    Shryock requested access to 19,650 gallons per day in mid-2005 and again at the end of 2005 to connect its property to the Marsh Creek sewer main, but that request was refused.
    "Having been sued in a local court, we had to re-evaluate our legal position, and we, Shryock Brothers Inc., brought a PUC suit that is up for review in July 2006," Shelton said. "We are claiming that Uwchlan Township has been acting as a de facto public utility for over 20 years by providing direct sewer services for people outside their corporate limits, and they can only provide wastewater services to people in their community who have the ability to vote."
    The PUC's jurisdiction, Shelton said, is narrower and uses a "less politically motivated interpretation of the law." Should the utility commission decide in Shryock's favor, it could theoretically order a connection.
    The developer also seeks to have the commission declare that Uwchlan has collected illegal sewer rates, direct the reporting of all revenues collected since 2003, determine the amount of "illegal" rates collected in the same period and order a refund of those rates.
    "A municipality providing public-utility services to customers outside its corporate limits must file with (the PUC), tariffs showing all the rates established by the municipality and charged to customers outside its municipal limits," Shryock's attorneys wrote in their PUC filing. "The township never applied for, nor has the commission ever granted, a certificate of public convenience to the township to provide sewer services outside the township's corporate limits."
    This contention has also led Shelton to contest Hankin Group subsidiary Eagleview Environmental's application for PUC certification for the Eagleview sewage treatment plant.
    The sewer plant also serves portions of the Eagleview Corporate Center on the Upper Uwchlan side of the development.
    Although Hankin owns the plant, Shryock Brothers Inc. claims the township's stormwater management plan, filed with the state Department of Environmental Protection, establishes the township, not Hankin as the plant's "operator."
    Shelton said the Board of Supervisors declined to take dedication of the Hankin plant earlier this year.
    Donatelli said the township believes the Shryock and Hankin issues are unrelated.
    "For years, DEP has allowed Eagleview Environ-mental to run the plan, and when the township wants to take dedication, it can do so," Donatelli said.
    The Eagleview sewer plant issue could become a dead letter for Shryock, if the township decides not to fight DEP's March 7 order requiring the township to assume full ownership of the plant by May 15, 2007. The order also directs the township resurrect its municipal authority by July 17, 2007, to act as the plant's owner and operator.
    Donatelli believes DEP's goal is to have all sewer plants municipally owned and operated.
    Hankin Group and Upper Uwchlan officials could not be reached for comment.

  2. #2
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    f#ckin douchebag....

    i hope someone comes by and rips his fence out everytime he puts it up. (not that i would advocate that).

    i don't live there anymore, but that was a great spot to get out when i lived in West Chester and i know lots of bikers will be affected by this closure...

    that was your guys' weekly shop ride right?

    sucks!!!!

    but what i really can't understand is: why the park would build an entrance across private land. that seems pretty boneheaded.

  3. #3
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    yeah - that is where we typically ride...

    i cant agree more RE the access point there - that was the first thing i brought up... there MUST be an easment there - otherwise, what is the purpose of an emergency access road if you can access it???

    he is totally holding the wrong group hostage here... we will not stand aside watching with folded arms nor will keeping us out help his cause.

    the kicker is - im pretty sure this part of the properly is in UPPER uwchlan which is NOT the twp that is giving him a hard time... total c0ckbag!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowflag
    what is the purpose of an emergency access road if you can access it???
    yeah, like what if the township needs access to say THE DAMN at the bottom of that road...

    i predict the fence will not stand long; but in the meantime i hope you guys find a way to ride.

  5. #5
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    I actually accessed the park just as he was drilling the holes for the posts. He gave us a somewhat dirty look and said "last day guys" as we rode over the hole he had just finished drilling at the bottom of the trail entrance on the left of the fallen/cut trees. I don't see how it effects us too much seeing as we can simply ride up Dorlan Mill a few hundred feet more and cut threw the fields to the trails. I haven't been back since Friday so perhaps I am missing something.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by anth
    I I don't see how it effects us too much seeing as we can simply ride up Dorlan Mill a few hundred feet more and cut threw the fields to the trails.

    Um, yeah... unless you have the property owner’s permission to cut through said field, you are poaching, trespassing or whatever you want to call it. Now you'll have riders upsetting even more property owners surrounding the park.

    If you DO know the owner and have permission, that would be great and we should spread the word. Otherwise, I’d say it’s wise NOT to just start cutting through there.

    There is a fairly large group of people working to get this resolved. If you would like to get involved in a positive way, let me know and I will send you contact info as I receive it.

  7. #7
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    some more info to pass on:

    There is definitely a trail on the far side of the mill. It leads to where the stream flowing from the dam intersects with the Brandywine. If you hang a right a little before the stream, it will take you to the fire road that intersects with the “normal” fire road that we always take. This trail is not well traveled and is really just a few paths used by local fishermen, so it could use a little (but not a lot of) cleanup. You should easily find your way through that area.

    also... RE the field at top of road:

    that field is privately owned and is leased to a “farmer” who uses it for hay. That farmer’s ex-wife and nearly adult kids live in the house next to the field. She and her son regularly hassle people that the see in the field, but they have no legal claim to do so. With that being said, the field has been used by fishermen to access to the lake for years and years…and they were using it again on Sunday.
    Last edited by shadowflag; 05-08-2007 at 09:20 AM.

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    Thanks for the info. I am sure this whole thing will not last long, assuming marsh creek and struble trail actually have proper legal easments. I don't believe he has the legal right to do anything, I only say this because my dad has a piece of property with a state wetlands easment on it and we can't eve walk throught the easment area. It is basically for all intents and purposes the states property.

  9. #9
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    got this in an email today...

    I talked to Curt Shroder's office yesterday and this guy is notorious for this kind of stuff. Apparently, nobody likes him. I was also told that he has been violent in the past and spent time in jail for assault. After hearing this information,and about the nails he has thrown down on the road behind the new fence, there is no telling what this guy is capable of. Using the adventurous route leaves options for him to set some kind of trap whether it be nails on the ground or something rigged in the fence. We are already trespassing, so I doubt we would have any recourse should someone get hurt. I think we might be better off finding another route as this could go on long term.

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    It seems like the guy is as much of a nut as I thought. I would be careful because you never know what someone like him is capable of. Also, sometimes people do stupid stuff like put a wire across a trail thinking it will just knock someone off their bike and ends up really hurting someone.

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    Maybe a bit confused, does this have anything to do with access to the park itself or just the trail that leads to the park? Can both sides of trails in the park still be accessed from the parking lots?

  12. #12
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    this is just the one access road off of dorlan mill road. all park parking lots (reeds rd & Chalfont rd) are fine.

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    Any changes/updates?

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    I was riding up dorlan mill today (the first time in a few weeks I took this path) and noticed that the fence blocking the entrance was flattened. Being the big puss that I am I still rode on up to the fields to enter the park. Post ride however I felt a bit more adventurous and decided to check it out as an exit (The fact that the fields are so overgrown that they look like a scene out of Jurassic park didn't hurt either.). The fence is knocked down enough that you can easily ride over it but the area immediately behind the fence is now home to a few hundred roofing nails. How much of the entrance does the builder actually control? The park entrance sign is just inside the downed tree zone so I can only assume that he has just a few feet (50 at best?) of the land.

    Also I would like to add that a group from PaTH was in the park today doing trail maintenance and I would like to commend them on the great job they were doing. The areas that they had been through were so much more inviting than the overgrowth they hadn't made it to yet. I am hoping to join them next time at either Marsh or French Creek.
    I live a life of paranoia. It keeps me safe!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by anth

    -content snipped-

    Also I would like to add that a group from PaTH was in the park today doing trail maintenance and I would like to commend them on the great job they were doing. The areas that they had been through were so much more inviting than the overgrowth they hadn't made it to yet. I am hoping to join them next time at either Marsh or French Creek.
    French Creek in on for June 10 (a week from this Sunday) We also typically go for a ride afterwards (to survey our handiwork) so if you want to join the ride, bring the bike.

    P.S. Forgot to say that we meet at the Hopewell Lake parking lot at 9:00am (the lake next to the ranger station.)
    Last edited by Grumpy; 05-28-2007 at 02:08 PM.

  16. #16
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    forwarded info below...

    "Got a call from Kurt Schroeder's office today. He would like us to meet him in the parking lot of Shamona Creek Elementary at 3:45pm on June 8th. From there, we will then move down to the fence site."

    Anybody wishing to join and make a good impression is welcomed.

  17. #17
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    Any updates?

    I accessed Marsh Creek via Reeds Rd. and checked out the problem area from the park side. Looks like some folks have been getting by... but I didn't go all the way to the road. So how did the meeting with Schroeder go? Thanks.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy
    French Creek in on for June 10 (a week from this Sunday) We also typically go for a ride afterwards (to survey our handiwork) so if you want to join the ride, bring the bike.

    P.S. Forgot to say that we meet at the Hopewell Lake parking lot at 9:00am (the lake next to the ranger station.)
    Just to update (and perhaps some insight to the problems of land access for MTB trails) We got zero turnout for our french creek work party (other than a couple dedicated path members)

    Do any of you ride in french creek? We are pushing the park management for new trails (and access to a couple of the previously closed trails) but that request (from mountain-bikers) doesn't carry much weight when we aren't even properly maintaining the trails we have access to now (at French Creek)

    If we were to schedule it would anybody here willing to volunteer for 3 hrs (9:00-12:00) work at a special trail day at french creek? (We need to schedule one because we simply didn't have enough hands at the normal PATH trail day to do ANY (ZERO, ZIP) maintenance over on the Miller's Point/Mill Creek side of the park which desperately needs it)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy
    Just to update (and perhaps some insight to the problems of land access for MTB trails) We got zero turnout for our french creek work party (other than a couple dedicated path members)
    How exactly is one supposed to find out when these days are? I've never seen ANY kind of schedule posted or published anywhere.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtskibum
    How exactly is one supposed to find out when these days are? I've never seen ANY kind of schedule posted or published anywhere.
    The schedule is posted here:

    http://www.patrailhands.org/

    I've had a crap year and my weekends through the end of July are busy so I'm guilty of not helping (but also guilty of not riding as well). Hopefully, I'll be able to make a couple of traildays in the fall.
    I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. - Thomas Jefferson

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    I find it hard to believe that Trailhands did anything at Marsh Creek late May. I can't even run down some trails.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by khill
    The schedule is posted here:

    http://www.patrailhands.org/

    I've had a crap year and my weekends through the end of July are busy so I'm guilty of not helping (but also guilty of not riding as well). Hopefully, I'll be able to make a couple of traildays in the fall.
    I don't think we will be able to get the add on trail day (to get the Miller's point/Mill creek trails in reasonable shape) on the website (too short notice) but as soon as we have a date scheduled I will post something to this thread, so you all will be notified.

    It is only a morning, and you will get that warm and fuzzy every time you ride a trail you had a hand in maintaining. There are normally several who ride after so you can just think of it as a long ride without all that riding
    Seriously, we appreciate (and need) any and all volunteers. French creek needs you

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by toastedsquidmelt
    I find it hard to believe that Trailhands did anything at Marsh Creek late May. I can't even run down some trails.
    Well we were there, about 10-15 people. As I recall, we basically split into three groups of 5. My group trimmed the lake trail (between the boat launch and Chalfont) then went up the blue trail from the Chalfont parking area (that had become almost impassible from rose and briar growth) then up the red trail to the blue and up and down the blue from the launch to the top of the hill where the green hits it. (the other two groups were working on the dam spillway side)

    If we had had more people we would have been able to cover more trails. you can only get so far in 3 hours.
    What trail are you referring to that is overgrown?

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    All trails leading to the tracks on the boat launch side. I think there is 3 or more. I dont know the color but if I took a guess I would say green. Only nice sections on that side and you guys missed them.

  25. #25
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    Helping

    I'll keep this thread somewhat hijacked to say that I will be paying more attention to the PaTH website for work days. I don't ride FC, but I should (?!), so I will help there first chance I get. I do ride MC, so ditto for helping there too. That said, I may not be even home for the weekends posted until October. But I guess October will be here sooner than we'd like it to be...

    Re. MC, I have definitely noticed an improvement in the trail areas Grump mentioned. I haven't had any issues with the short segments leading to the blue trail, but then again I know there is one that tends to be overgrown and sports a nice mudhole - so I use the others. Re. the dam side of MC, there are so many little trails over there that I don't think an army could clear all that in a week... I'm still pulling weeds out of my cassette!

    I defintely appreciate the work done - it's noticeable - and I will be there to help the very first day that I'm home on a work day. Heck, I could use the experience, since I built a little trail in my own little patch of woods in our backyard (shh - don't tell wifey... think she'll notice?!)

    Speaking of work, does anyone know off the top of their heads if other groups do trail work in the area? Seems they do, but I haven't hit Google yet or the respective state park sites to find out...

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by toastedsquidmelt
    All trails leading to the tracks on the boat launch side. I think there is 3 or more. I dont know the color but if I took a guess I would say green. Only nice sections on that side and you guys missed them.
    Dude your attitude really sucks
    There are only two legal (legitimate) trails that loop down onto the old rail line (an extension of the struble trail) It is the blue trail that loops down onto the struble for a 1/2 mile and back up, they are both marked in blue and are both clear.
    The trails you are referring to are not marked (and not legitimate trails), Missed them? not hardly we had 5 guys on that side and there were legitimate trails that desperately needed attention. I have seen the new trail that someone blazed this year that goes between the green and the struble.

    We have to clear the legitimate trails, there is no decision. Attitudes like yours are what get trails closed to bikers.

  27. #27
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    Holy Thread Hijacking Batman…

    While I totally agree with what Grumpy has said… especially that toastedsquidmelt's comments/attitude make him sound like a total assclown, this has gotten way off topic. Take note too - toastedsquidmelt has had only 2 posts - both in this thread - both sounding like an assclown!

    The issue of access, in this particular case, has nothing to do with how we as a community give back to the trails we ride. It is one a-hole developer that owns a 25 foot wide strip of land that crosses an access road to the part. Because local government has not given him what he wants, thus making it impossible for him to build, he has tried to hold park users (bike/hike/fishing) hostage.

    On the issue of trail maintenance - I am guilty this year of not making it out for any work days due to schedule conflicts. But I agree - last fall after the bad storms that destroyed most of MC, I was out there (with Khill too) and it did feel great riding the trails afterwards. I think the best way to get results on MTBR is to start a new thread specifically for that event. I don’t think many people are aware pf PATH. I only became aware after a similar posting in an unrelated thread last year.

    Peace out.

  28. #28
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    Yeah, sorry about the hijacking... Glad to hear you were out at the trail maint. last fall, we have likely met face to face then (at least briefly).

    My MTB advocacy plate is overly full, but I can think of several possible avenues (though you may already have thought of these); First touching the state rep was great, also contact local press (tv and newspaper) and see if you can generate interest and public sympathy/awareness. Also a large number of hunters use that access, they have both a strong advocacy structure in place, and many sympathetic ears in Harrisburg.
    Lastly contact the owner directly. I realize he is thinks this is a leverage point to motivate the approval of his subdivision/development. However, I think the township could care less about the access (unless there are many homeowners in the area that are concerned (which I doubt) If you can convince him that he is generating ill will (with very little upside) and possibly inviting some state level intervention you might get him to open it voluntarily. The PA DCNR (and secondarily the USACE) does not have to have that access. They have access to the dam and spillway from the other side (from the boat launch, via the access road (that was stoned last year))


    Or, as an alternative, you could see if there is any possibility of resurrecting the access (closed about a dozen years ago) from the old fire road across from Shamona Creek Elementary. It used to run fairly close to the edge of the new development (roughly an extension to township line rd). A good case could be made for community access to the trails on that side of the lake from that location.
    Google map of the old access area, across from the school:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...&t=h&z=17&om=1

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    Quote Originally Posted by toastedsquidmelt
    All trails leading to the tracks on the boat launch side. I think there is 3 or more. I dont know the color but if I took a guess I would say green. Only nice sections on that side and you guys missed them.

    Instead of complaining about how other people need to clear the illegal trails that you like to ride and/or run, maybe you should get off your fat ass and do a little maintenance yourself. You suck at life.

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    Hey, Squid. Maybe you should get your behind off the couch and go maintain some trails yourself or show up on a PATH workday.

    Grrrrr..

  31. #31
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    Hey guys, I'm new on MTBR and found this site looking for info on what's going on with Struble Trail and Marsh Creek. Just to update you all on the situation (if you haven't seen it in the last week) there are now several large trees cut down across the struble trail at the end, blocking the path to the old parking lot. If you climb over those trees, they also cut down trees across that little path that goes up the hill to the right towards the road. Then, they put up a 6' high chain link fence completely blocking the path from the road. However, the fence has been cut up the hill to the right.

    So, if when you get past all that and get to the marsh creek entrance path or Dorlan rd., they put up another 6' chain link fence that looked like it blocked the path pretty well, but that too has been cut down. Then they cut down more trees on the small path up the hill to the left. I was a little disturbed when I read that this guy has been arrested for assault in the past.

    Anyway, I'm glad I found some other bikers who are going through this with me and now I know who we're dealing with. I'll try to get off work on Sunday to join PATH at marsh creek.

  32. #32
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    From the Daily Local News...

    http://www.dailylocal.com/WebApp/appmanager/JRC/Daily;jsessionid=TyJyG3LpBYGnsMpwtyJGCfJ0hs4hmvVKJ NL7TQTynpQYSYLQV09Q!-1909965304?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_article&r21.pg path=%2FDLN%2FHome&r21.content=%2FDLN%2FHome%2FTop StoryList_Story_567271


    Monday, August 6, 2007

    Posted on Mon, Aug 6, 2007
    Land owner, officials clash
    By JOHN ROSSOMANDO
    UPPER UWCHLAN — A developer’s decision to close off his 45-acre property has brought him into a confrontation with state, county and local officials.



    The property in question is located on a strategic juncture at the north end of the Struble Trail and mouth of the longtime Marsh Creek dam access road.



    The developer, John Shelton, has drawn criticism for recent actions, including the construction of a fence and the chopping down of numerous trees at the access points to both inlets. Some residents have also alleged he scattered roofing nails along the dam access road to deter people from accessing his property.



    State Rep. Curt Schroder, R-155th, of East Brandywine, wrote of the allegations in a May

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    11, 2007, letter to state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Michael DiBerardinis, calling them “truly reprehensible.”



    “This mindless act poses a threat to public safety and health,” Schroder wrote.



    Schroder said he was also concerned by Shelton’s May 2006 revocation of the easement that formerly allowed the DCNR to access the dam to test water going to the Downingtown Municipal Water Authority. Since the revocation, DCNR has found another route to access the dam for water testing.



    Supervisor Catherine Tomlinson agrees with Schroder’s appraisal of the situation because the township previously had an agreement with the state park prior to Shelton’s revocation of the easement to use the access road for emergency services. Last year’s summer storms brought the road’s importance to the fore because fallen trees made providing emergency services at township’s southwestern end more difficult.



    Shelton and his wife, Linda, denied any knowledge of the nails allegations, and said they had no desire to see anyone deliberately injured on their property.



    The fence, Shelton said, was erected at the township’s request. Township Codes Enforcement Officer Al Gaspari had contacted him allegedly at Supervisor Catherine Tomlinson’s request, asking him to secure the property. It had become “an attractive nuisance” for vandalism and for teenagers who congregate on the former railroad bridge over the Brandywine Creek, Shelton said.



    “I opted for fencing and procured fencing because I was asked for a means of securing the property,” Shelton said. “We have suffered at least between $70,000 and $80,000 in damages from the theft of copper wire.”



    He said the fence was also erected with a township permit after efforts to deter people from entering his property with signage and after working with the township police failed.



    Tomlinson, though, disputes Shelton’s claim, saying she was appalled by the fence’s erection, and she said Township Manager John J. Roughan Jr. had asked Shelton to take down the fence as an “act of good faith” at a May meeting. She said Shelton’s failure to follow the prior property owner’s example of allowing public access to the land has contributed to resident ire.



    The property’s strategic location adjacent to Marsh Creek State Park makes it an attractive potential addition to the park, and Schroder said DCNR might have money available together with the township and the county to acquire it. Plans for extending the Struble Trail increases governmental interest in the property and its acquisition.



    “I think public interest is present with the presence of the trail and park access,” Schroder said. “If a governmental body were to decide to take it, it would probably have a lot of public support based on the number of people who have contacted me.”



    Schroder, however, hopes a less drastic agreement can be reached with Shelton for the property.



    At least 100 county residents have also complained to the Chester County Department of Parks and Recreation about Shelton’s actions at the Struble Trail’s north end.



    The county has indicated it opposes using eminent domain to acquire the property because of the freshness of the memory of Coatesville’s attempt to seize Nancy and Richard Saha’s property. County officials are sitting on the sidelines awaiting what happens between the Sheltons and Upper Uwchlan.



    Upper Uwchlan sought to purchase the property in 2005, but it could only come up with $500,000 of what township officials estimated was a $1.5 million price tag at that time.



    “We didn’t have the funds at the time, but that was before we had the $10 or $20 million bond issue,” said Supervisors’ Chairman Charles Lobb.



    However, Linda Shelton said Friday she and her husband received a $4.8 million offer for the land from a developer, and they would want a minimum of that amount from state, county or local government.



    The Sheltons say they have been trying to meet with Schroder, the township and other officials for some time.



    “We called Curt Schroder’s office about a year ago to get all of the players together,” Linda Shelton said, but the meeting never happened. “Is there something wrong with what we have when it is this important to the community. We want to come up with a plan that not only works for us, but for everyone else in the community.”



    Schroder said he declined the meeting because he felt the matter should be handled by the township.



    John Shelton said they offered to donate 25 acres of the 45-acre tract to the township when they obtained the property in early 2005, but they allegedly were refused because they were told their plan did not meet zoning requirements. Tomlinson, however, said she didn’t remember Shelton had offered the property to the township.



    To contact staff writer John Rossomando, send an e-mail to jrossomando@dailylocal.com.

  33. #33
    mtbr member
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    Heads up!

    Just wanted to post a heads up in this thread to notify all in it
    This is a call to action to all who are interested in access to the north end of the Struble trail.

    Please reference the posting I made in a new thread-

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...76#post3535776
    Last edited by Grumpy; 09-17-2007 at 08:23 PM.

  34. #34
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    Struble News 7-20-08

    Hi,

    Good news on the Struble Trail front. Natural Lands Trust and the County worked out a deal with the owner of the paper mill. Plan calls for access further northward, re-establishment of the trailhead on Dorlan's Mill Road, and also a better biking access to the Marsh Creek trail system. We've secured 2 million dollars in funding so far, with 1.125 left to go. Please watch the website at FriendsOfTheStrubleTrail.org to see when to write letters. We have a big letter drive coming up next week as the Governor decides whether to sign this funding or veto it.

    Thanks!

    Sharon O'Shaughnessy
    Friends of the Struble Trail

  35. #35
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    Help me understand how this impacts my ride.

    I typically begin at Chalfont Road and ride out to the rails trail along Brandywine Creek. Once on the rails trail, I cruise to Lyndell Road and then hustle up the hill en route to the dam and single track trails over there.

    Will the fence interfere with my ride?

  36. #36
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    It won't have any impact..

  37. #37
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    plus, there has been an agreement reached between all parties...

    http://dsf.chesco.org/ccparks/cwp/vi...?a=11&q=637248

    word

  38. #38
    mpg
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    The Struble Trail and Marsh Creek access are open!!!.

    I was riding my rode bike today and noticed that the fence was down. I took some pictures and posted on my blog at http://raleighgrandprix.blogspot.com/

    When I got home, I saw this article in the Daily Local News:

    Struble Trail, access road fence removed
    By DANIELLE LYNCH, Staff Writer 08/02/2008

    Staff photo by Larry McDevitt The fence is down at the trailhead of Struble Trail near the old Shryock Paper Mill property.
    UPPER UWCHLAN — Fences that blocked the northern tip of the Struble Trail and the access road to Marsh Creek State Park have been removed. But, a balance of $125,000 must still be paid before the purchase is completed.

    The removal of the fences falls on the heels of an agreement reached between the Natural Lands Trust and Shryock Brothers landowners, John and Linda Shelton.

    The Sheltons purchased the 44-acre Shryock Paper Mill property in 2005. Since then, a portion of the Struble Trail and an access road to the Marsh Creek State Park had been closed to the public.

    Natural Lands Trust, a land conservation organization, entered negotiations with the Sheltons in August 2007. On June 19, Natural Lands Trust announced it reached an agreement to purchase 28.5 acres of the land owned by the Sheltons. The agreement has been contingent on approval of a final subdivision in Upper Uwchlan as well as securing funds needed from the state, county and township toward the purchase.

    Upper Uwchlan supervisors approved plans for a five-lot parcel on July 21. Two of the lots will be turned over to the state's parks and two of the lots will go toward county open space, according to Upper Uwchlan Township Manager John Roughan Jr.

    The subdivision's remaining lot, where the old paper mill stands, will remain with the property owners, Roughan said. This lot, which is roughly five acres, is zoned as a limited industrial district, according to Roughan.

    As part of the agreement, the landowners have granted an easement to go through the part of the parcel that they will retain, according to Natural Lands Trust spokesman Oliver Bass. The easement will allow Struble Trail to cross the Sheltons' property and be expanded to the northwest, he said.

    Specifically, this 20-foot-wide easement will run parallel to the Brandywine Creek and Route 282, according to Roughan.

    The Chester County Commissioners announced they would contribute a $1.5 million grant toward the $3.125 million purchase. Gov. Ed Rendell recently announced the state would give $1.5 million toward the purchase, too.

    Natural Lands Trust President Molly Morrison said this leaves a balance of $125,000 needed to officially complete the sale agreement. She said there have not been any discussions about the funding between the Natural Lands Trust and Uwchlan. But she said there are discussions going on between the trust and Upper Uwchlan about the township's contribution toward the project.

    Upper Uwchlan is where the majority of the property is.

    Roughan said the Upper Uwchlan supervisors' position is that the board would either contribute money to the sale if needed or donate money to Natural Lands Trust. Roughan said he is waiting to confirm details of the sale with Natural Lands Trust.

    Now that the fences are down, members of the FriendsOfTheStrubleTrail.org say they believe it looks better, but they are also not sure what this means, because the no trespassing signs are still posted.

    "I believe it was Mr. Shelton's intent to reopen the parking area and part of the trail to the public, and by removing the fences and concrete barriers, I think he fulfilled the role," Roughan said, adding that he believes the removal of the no trespassing signs was merely overlooked.

    Several attempts to reach Shelton for comment about the fence removal were unsuccessful. An attempt to reach his attorney was also unsuccessful.

    To contact staff writer Danielle Lynch, send an e-mail to dlynch@dailylocal.com.



    ©Daily Local News 2008

  39. #39
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    Well I just wanted to post the ultimate update to this story.

    "Dear Friends,

    ...We have accomplished our goal. On August 18th, Natural Lands Trust settled on the bulk of the Shryock property. Friends of the Struble Trail collected $2,515.00 toward the purchase. The house, mill property, and five surrounding acres remain under the ownership of the current owner, with an easement through it between the house and the mill for the trail continuance. This works for everyone; the County & State were pleased to leave the liability of whatever clean-up might be on the mill property with the current owner, and the placement of the trail keeps it on higher ground which means less flooding maintenance cost for the county. All the acreage behind the mill and house parcel will be added to Marsh Creek State Park. The trail head parking is preserved as well as County Park property. The parcels will be transferred to the State Park and Chester County in the near future.

    This victory represents about a year of constant organization, with pressure on, (and support for) our local officials as obstacles were overcome with perseverance. It is gratifying beyond measure to see people using it, accessing Marsh Creek again off Dorlan's Mill Road at the dam, and taking my kids back into the pretty places where Marsh Creek spills into the East branch of the Brandywine. Joe Delaney, who sets out seasonal bird boxes, took me on a guided tour, and I am eager to see the wintering bluebirds when they congregate. The 'bike guys' as I have affectionately come to know them, have offered to help blaze the planned trail through the mill property and up the hill into the park, so you won't have to use Dorlan's Mill Road anymore if you don't like mixing with cars. So we're not finished yet, but the heavy lifting for this piece of the trail has certainly been completed with gusto.

    Many people made this happen. Without Rep. Curt Schroder, and his proactive mailings to people who expressed interest in the project, I would never have known the key time to decide to become involved. His constant championing, willingness to open his appointment book and his office to meetings, and helpful communication were key to everything accomplished. He was my first big 'get' for the Rally in September, and I know that helped gain the confidence of the other elected officials that we had enough community support that they had to pay attention. Rep. Schroder's assistant, Becky Corbin, has also been genuinely terrific. Catherine Tomlinson, Upper Uwchlan Twp. Supervisor, was the one supervisor who unfailingly supported this project, and if she had not been on the council, I believe they would have caved to the developer before we had a chance to get involved. If she had her way, Upper Uwchlan would have orchestrated the sale the first time around and saved us all a lot of money. That took guts to keep her stand, and all of us who enjoy the property and value the water quality & habitat are in her debt. Carol Aichele also supported the project, and her willingness to take calls and (along with John Mikowychok) act on timely information where the County Parks Department needed to get involved were important as well. And finally in the major players, Jack Steffarud of Natural Lands Trust has my undying admiration for his unworldly patience in the land owner negotiations. He must really believe in the importance of this crucial property bridge between parks to deal with the fits and starts of this exasperating process.

    I know it's boring to read a long thank you list, but I ask your grace in a case like this where so much had to come together...without the local environmental supporters Sen. Schroder & I invited to his office for that first meeting last August that got us running (Robert Lonsdorf of Brandywine Conservancy; Dick Whiteford of Defenders of Wildlife; Martin Page of the WC Bird Club; John Johnson, past Pres. of WC Fish, Game & Wildlife; Steve Duckinfield, local mountain biker; Sandy Moser, Gary & Susan Erb of WC Running Club), Brian 'Sure, you can design a website!' Poppe, and his wife Suzann, who designed our logo gratis; Rally speakers (Holly Merkel, avian census taker; Ray Crossen, Civil Engineer; John Johnson; Rep. Curt Schroder, Sen. Andy Dinniman's COS Stephannie McLimans, and Richard Sprenkle, past Deputy Dir. of DCNR), Commisioners Aichele, Cozzone, and Farrell, (who were receptive and approved the county funding); Sen. John Rafferty (who sponsored the PA Capital funding), DCNR officials Lori Nygard and Michael DiBerardinis, Sen. Andy Dinniman, and finally, Gov. Rendell himself who signed the line item in the budget, we would certainly not have been successful. And don't forget to join GreenValleys.org, whose 11th hour sponsorship of the unexpected insurance requirement saved the Rally. Green Valleys is a wonderfully run, effective organization.

    Our group, Friends of the Struble Trail, wrote letters and made phone calls to all of these people, in an orchestrated manner as we needed them to pay attention...in a civilized, helpful way that let them help their constituents. And a quiet thank you as well goes to all the people whose jobs make it impossible to publicly share their knowledge where there might be political ramifications, but who found ways to educate me so we learned crucial environmental information we needed to be persuasive. Special thanks to Vanguard, Pook & Pook, and Mauger for their large donations...and to all of you, from the $10 checks to $100, who participated with your pocketbooks. We made a difference, and every time you or your children or their children use this trail, we will know we had a part in preserving it. There's a Settlement Map on our website...Go out and hike the (now) state park land. It's humbling and so cool that we helped save it!

    Sharon

    P.S. Wallace Township upstream on the Brandywine is fighting the same fight, on a Much Larger scale - 600 acres! See http://www.watchourwaters.org to learn about it. The developer's site is http://valhallabrandywine.com/discov...w/the_property Chester County asked Wallace supervisors to put the brakes on zoning variances to allow more evaluation, but the supervisors elected not to. The only way to fight it, as we did, is to go to township meetings and express distress. Theirs is tonight at 7:30 in the Wallace Twp. building at 1250 Creek Rd. in Glenmoore."


    If anyone hears anything about "bike guys" organizing a weekend to blaze that new trail, please let me know. I'm at school now, but I'd love to come home and help.
    If it ain't broke, fix it 'till it is.

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