The Save Ardmore Coalition Responds to the Commonwealth Court Decision
On Tuesday, December 15th, the Commonwealth Court issued a decision on our lawsuit to stop the misappropriation of public funds from the redevelopment of the Ardmore Train Station to build an eight-story luxury apartment building on the Cricket Lot in Ardmore. We are gratified that the court found that we had taxpayer standing to file our lawsuit. Nonetheless, the court dismissed our suit. We are exploring our options, including appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
This issue highlights the continuous effort of the Township to force urbanization and densification on Ardmore prior to the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan and regardless of the opinion of its residents and the local Ward Commissioner, Stephen Linder. It also brought attention to the sweetheart deals made with developers in the Township, specifically, the fact that Carl Dranoff has twenty years to pay the $2 million sale price for the Cricket Lot.
While school districts throughout the state are borrowing millions to stay open and non-profits are closing because of a lack of funds during the State budget impasse, our Township, one of the wealthiest in Pennsylvania, fought to ensure that $10.5 million were available for Carl Dranoff to build a luxury apartment building in Ardmore. Our Board of Commissioners sold themselves to the devil and intended to live up to the bargain.
The public-private partnership with Carl Dranoff to revitalize Ardmore has been the perfect example of the powerful exacting what they can, and the residents granting what they must. Those who want to urbanize Ardmore like to talk about “feet on the street.” Their vision is a Ardmore filled with transients without any sense of place or standards shared from generation to generation.
Commissioner Rogan took the unprecedented step to post a press release from the law firm representing the Board on the Township website and sent out an email that gloated over the decision by the court. She claimed that only "a handful of citizens have opposed this project.” In fact, over 500 residents of Lower Merion signed a Change.org petition to oppose this project. It was more than a handful of citizens who rallied in front of the Township Building last year, packed the Board room at many a meeting to speak clearly and forcefully against this project, and contributed to pay for this lawsuit. Her statement only illustrates the enormous gulf that exists between the citizens of Lower Merion and those who run it.
The Save Ardmore Coalition is committed to enhancing our quality of life in Ardmore and the Township, which means much more than simply increasing the tax base. We are members of a community that reaches into the past and the future and has an sense of public responsibility and civic obligation. Whatever the final outcome may be, we are determined that any future plans for revitalizing Ardmore are based on community input and consensus building.