High Drama in Radnor Township

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carla's picture
Last seen: 3 years 14 weeks ago
Joined: 2008-01-03 :36

See below photo for update. Call it high dudgeon in Radnor. Ya know, I don't like robo-calls, but these neighbors have a right to be concerned about what amounts to institutional creep. And for Villanova as a school to basically do the Pontius Pilate is why the neighbors are historically so mistrustful of the school. Having watched several of my friends deal with the isues of St. Joe's expansion onto Episcopal Academy's former campus, I can honestly say I don't remember it being this nasty this fast in the manner this issue seems to be morphing. I will also note I have no horse in this race personally and am observing with concern.

Reading this article in the Inquirer by Katrhy Boccella dated March 14th it is as if residents are being cyber-bullied? Are they? Or are they unused to message boards? Is this turning into the type of issue that if you object publicly to Villanova's plan you will be subject to harassment? These people have families and kids. They are worried about how institutional creep will affect their greatest asset: their home. However, the flip side of the argument is that if they are going to put it out there to fight something they object to in their community, realistically they have to expect that those on the other side of the argument may fight back.

But my point is this all seems to be spiralling out of control. It's just nuts. I have posted links to the message board postings. I can't decide if they seem more than just message boards or not.


Saw this on Radnor's govie channel and wonder what it is about, what the calls say, and who is sending them out:

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From: Right Plan For Radnor
Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 10:17:55 AM GMT-4
Subject: Statement by Right Plan for Radnor on the Philadelphia Inquirer Story Today


*Statement by Right Plan for Radnor on the Philadelphia Inquirer Story Today

*We Call on the Administration of Villanova and Our Elected Officials to
Denounce these Attacks.*

Right Plan for Radnor was deeply saddened today when the administration of
Villanova University would not even say that these statements are not
reflective of the University; its students, their Alumni, fans or in any
way admonish these posters for their behavior.

If the University administration won't say anything for the students,
Alumni, or fans Right Plan for Radnor will. Right Plan for Radnor and the
residents of Radnor Township knows that these posters in no way, shape or
form reflect the vast, vast majority of Villanova students, alumni and fans.
These few Villanova alumni and fans do not reflect the character of the
entire Villanova community, and the positive impact the University has in
Radnor and throughout Delaware Valley.

We ask the University administration, as a responsible community partner,
to immediately denounce these attacks on their neighbors. The
administration of Villanova is asking Radnor to trust it in seeking one of
the largest zoning exemptions in Radnor history. Unfortunately the
administration feels trust is a one way street.

Community partners don’t hide behind weak statements when their neighbors
are attacked. We ask Father Peter Donohue to do the right thing. Denounce
these attacks. Let your voice be the voice of reason. It’s what good
neighbors do.

If the administration of Villanova will not denounce these attacks we call
on our Board of Commissioners to, in a united way, to denounce these

Right Plan for Radnor looks forward to working with the University, Radnor
Township residents and our elected officials to develop the best plan for
our Radnor’s seniors, and families. A plan that benefits our township in
the immediate future and for generations to come.

Paid for by Right Plan for Radnor

Now here are the links to the board postings:

Bench Warmers/Right Plan for Radnor Responds

Bench Warmers/Phone Messages to Radnor Residents

Bench Warmers/Say NO to NOva, Right Plan for Radnor -Let's get the names of the 50 people

Here is the article:

Postings worsen Radnor's town-gown tensions

By Kathy Boccella

Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: Wed, Mar. 14, 2012, 7:15 AM

Some Villanova alumni and fans, it seems, are acting more immature than your average college student.

Posters on a popular college sports message board, rivals.com, took potshots at residents who oppose the Catholic university's proposed $200 million expansion.....The residents belong to a newly formed group called Right Plan for Radnor.

Rivals.com commentators singled out members of the group and their families for ridicule, using terms such as "overweight oaf," "gross," "imbecile," and "wild and horny" to describe them.

They also discussed getting the names of all 50 members of the group from its Facebook page and suggested that the opposition was made up of alumni of Catholic rival St. Joseph's University. Several identified themselves as Villanova graduates.

Jonathan Gust, a spokesman for Villanova, said in a statement: "This website is in no way affiliated with Villanova University. This is an independent fan site, and Villanova has no control over the content."

Right Plan for Radnor, which is a little more than a week old, took down its Facebook page this week. The group alerted the university to what was being posted on the message board.

Joe Vandergeest, a group member and Villanova's closest neighbor, found a picture of himself, his wife, and two young children on the site with snarky remarks. The picture was taken from his Facebook page.

"Look, it's a public domain," he said of the photo. "But I think it's extremely unfortunate that they would seek to debate this on a personal level and attack a family.....and attack other residents.

"I certainly have not signaled out any one person. I haven't thrown any darts. I'm just trying to get an open dialogue."

The site names several members of the group, what they do for a living, and where they graduated from college. A few are St. Joe's grads. ...Over the weekend, Right Plan for Radnor paid for robo-calls to residents alerting them to the expansion plan and its impact on the neighborhoods. Kevin Geary, a founder of the group, said they wanted to "inform them of important issues that were before them that they may not know about," he said.

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carla's picture
Last seen: 3 years 14 weeks ago
Joined: 2008-01-03 :36

So now I know what the above is about. Apparently that new residents group (I forget what they call themselves) are behind it and is it true they used voter rolls to get all the phone numbers? They did a robo-call to show their displeasure at Villanova's plan. Mind you, I seem to see Radnor's Bob Z and others as working with the residents so I don't know that this was a good move. But then again, I hate robo-calls. I would get it if the neighbors focused on Bill Spingler and 'Nova fan Nick Caniglia a/k/a the Fred Fromhold of Radnor, wouldn't you? But are they? How many of these University plans is Nick Caniglia the lawyer on for example? And why does he try to say every plan in "by right"? He and Spingy go way back, huh to the days of Jim Pierce, right? Relationships are everything in Radnor, right?

Anyway....there is also this new article in the Inquirer. My favorite quotes come from the student who gives her entire name and how many she lives with (because if she is in Radnor she is living against Radnor codes) and perennial ass Father John Stack who is Villanova's VP for Student Life - he's like a Chatty Cathy doll that can only spout the same things over and over and he has for years and years. I think he told some in my neighborhood once upon a time the students were "learning" to be good neighbors - this was in response to begging the university 12 plus years ago to deal with a then nototius student rental. Stack needs to get off campus and go visit neighbors in Garrett Hill, for example. He needs to see what their concerns are in real time, and the concerns of the students for that matter. He can't just sit in his office saying the same things he has said for years and years and years.

Anyway, it's an old issue coming to a head, and while not all off campus students are problems, look at the issues we have covered up here over the years - LM, Radnor, and Tredyffrin (Mt. Pleasant)

Here's hoping this new residents group doesn't cut off it's collective nose to spite their face.

Radnor residents feeling like townies

With as many as a third of those in the township now college students, social problems are fraying relations.

March 12, 2012|By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer

It's Friday night and a crowd of loud, inebriated college students pours out of a local pub. Two suburban women and their tween daughters walk past and get in their car.

Before they can drive off, one of the young bar-goers offers a rude gesture: a fleshy rear end pressed hard against the car's back window.

A typical weekend in Happy Valley? Actually, no. It was witnessed one night in Radnor Township, outside Flip & Bailey's, in the Garrett Hill neighborhood.....The recent controversy over Villanova University's planned $200 million expansion on the south side of Lancaster Avenue with new dorms for 1,160 students also cast a light on a little-known fact: As many as one-third of the township's residents - estimated at 10,000 people - are college students. That includes those living not just at Villanova but also Eastern and Cabrini Colleges and Valley Forge Military Academy and College, as well as students living off campus....."We understand we disturb adults and families who live here, but where else can we go?" asked Villanova senior Catherine Sanio, 22, of Margate, N.J., who shares a four-bedroom twin with four other students.

Student renters complain about the lack of housing options on and off campus, sky-high rents, and frequent noise citations when all they were doing was having a conversation.

No one disputes that there's overcrowding. Radnor permits no more than two unrelated students in a unit, but the law is frequently ignored....."The township needs to get real," said Ali Lentini, a Villanova senior who also lives with four others in a Garrett Hill twin meant for two. "They don't understand this is a college town."

Township Manager Robert Zienkowsi said Radnor - which receives as many as two or three complaints daily about unruly students - is hiring a full-time inspector just to deal with rentals. And he has scheduled a meeting March 21 for residents to voice their concerns about Villanova's building plans....The Rev. John P. Stack, vice president for student life at the Catholic university, concedes that some Villanova students "are still learning to be good neighbors" and said the school takes steps, including issuing a code of conduct, to ensure better off-campus behavior. But he expects more students, including seniors, will live on campus with the added housing.

"Obviously, we wouldn't put forth such a big plan if we thought they were going to be half-empty," Stack said.

But neighbors fear the dorms are part of a plan to boost enrollment

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"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

carla's picture
Last seen: 3 years 14 weeks ago
Joined: 2008-01-03 :36

Another e-mail from the Villanova neighbors. Maybe it is just me, but I think everyone needs to just calm down. I have asked several people more web savvy and message board savvy than I and they looked at the posts and said "eh, that is just the opposing opinion and people don't like it." Truthfully, I used to see worse on the old Haverford Blog.

I do not feel that this neighbor is wrong in saying Villanova as an institution does little in the positive corner of community and neighbor relations because they do not and never have - it took Radnor Manager Bob Z. to get them to pay attention to the lights. Yes,that article in the Inquirer is a little tabloid-esque and it is probably not helping the situation. I also know that IF Inquirer editors want to, they can turn OFF the comments under an article or scrub them all together. But in a time when they are scrambling to survive and are in the process of being sold to who knows this time are they really going to keep a lid on things when the comments draw visitors to the Inquirer site? IMHO, that would be "NO".

I have redacted e-mail addresses to keep the paranoid from coming after this blog where the topic is in truth being observed more than anything else.

I think the University likes all this brew ha ha because they probably think this will help their case. Unfortunately for the Right Plan for Radnor people this message board side show circus is detracting attention from the issue at hand and why they formed. And at the end of the day what did they think was going to happen when they formed a group to oppose the plans of a powerful academic institution let alone sent out a robo-call? Really, they should talk to the Merion Community Coalition members and all they dealt with at St. Joe's. Here is the MCC website: http://www.merion-community.org/

I am not trying to be unsympathetic as if I lived next door to an academic institution that was so super-sizing I would be freaking out if I lived there and would indeed be worried, but somewhere, some people need to dial it back, be the adults, and get back to the actual issue at hand. And to understand quite clearly that to Villanova this is not about religion, this is about business. If this group doesn't learn to handle the distractions better they will lose their audience. And yes, I fully expect some of these people will have a lot to say about my comments, but you know what? I have been through way too many of these issues and watched friends go through others.

From: gmail [REDACTED]

Subject: Re: Attacks from Villanova Fans -PLEASE READ!

Date: March 13, 2012 1:44:30 PM EDT

To: Right Plan For Radnor [REDACTED]


I am shocked to read the comments posted. And shocked that they go un-admonished. That Villanova University doesn't take a stand about what is expected of Villanova Students since they represent the University.

This is not the first time I've seen these kind of comments. There have been similar comments on Philly.com

ie: "stupid NIMBYs - what did they think when they bought near a university"

What we personally thought was, "We love Villanova, it will be great to live near the school, get to walk to basketball games, and the Vassey theater." We did not think, "Oh, we better not live there because living near a prestigious Catholic University will probably decrease our property values", "They will not consider the neighborhood or community, they won't care if their students are vandalizing property or endangering themselves or others with their alcohol use." On the contrary, if anything, we assumed that a prestigious Catholic University would be a stickler for considerate behavior.

Could the college not be aware of it? or does it condone it? or feel it's not really a problem? A common comment about Villanova and it's student and their actions that comes to mind is, "Yes, you may have the *right* to do something, but is it the right thing to do?"

This is and has been the problem all along - this is how Villanova acts like and they are not admonished or held accountable - instead, the community is left shuttering over unchecked bulling aggressive behavior.

Even an official's "humorous" statement, "I'm planning a performing arts center, and I WILL GET IT". Am I the only one who cringes over that? Is that the message they really want to send - because it sure feels like that's how they feel. Wouldn't it be better to work as a team? What better "lesson" could a college (which also happens to be affiliated with a major "christian" religion) impart to it's students than how to work WITH a community and forge relationships rather than trampling it because it is their "right"...

What kind of example for it's students is that? When we on Aldwyn Lane spoke up about not wanting infirmary on the Aldwyn Triangle there we acts of vandalism - Villanova, administrators and students, just do what they can get away with - and apparently that is EVERYTHING and ANYTHING.

Perhaps all the participants are not aware of all the behavior.

What is the official Villanova stance on when their students react to opposition with violence, aggression, bullying? What is Villanova's stance on working "with" the community vs. bullying the community?

There were similar comments to Philly.com articles on the Villanova expansion

ie: "stupid NIMBYs - what did they think when they bought near a university" What we personally thought was, "We love Villanova, it will be great to live near the school, get to walk to basketball games, and the Vassey theater." We did not think, "Oh, we better not live there because living near a prestigious Catholic University will probably decrease our property values", "They will not consider the neighborhood or community, they won't care if their students are vandalizing property or endangering themselves or others with their alcohol use." On the contrary, if anything, we assumed that a prestigious Catholic University would be a stickler for considerate behavior.

I feel is great potential for alliance between Villanova and the community - just use the kindergarten lesson - be nice and people will be nice back.


Radnor Resident, too frightened to use my name for fear of some kind of retaliation.

On Mar 13, 2012, at 11:40 AM, Right Plan For Radnor wrote:

Dear Friends,

Some rather disturbing internet activity has come to light today. Activity that crosses the line and that I want to make you aware of ASAP.

The recent news stories have created a PRETTY big fire storm. To say that some passionate (Non-Radnor residents) Villanova fans have come out of the word work is an understatement. In fact one website and their bloggers have started to attack people personally. Because of this I have taken down the Facebook Page immediately to discourage others from attacking us more. We will revisit our web presence further down the line.

We have read what people have written in the comments section of some of the news stories. Seen some of their language. But what I have seen today crosses the line, and crosses it dramtically because it involves people, including family members. Now this blog is for Villanova sports fans and includes almost no one from our Town, those who are defend us. But I wanted you to be aware of it, no matter how unpleasant.

Unfortunately, in America today this is how the isolated and arrogant act. With hateful words on the internet. While I believe the initial language I have used and the tactics employed have been resonable and appropriate it has stirred up emotions WAY beyond what I could have ever imagined, most if not all from people who don't live here. If this has caused you pain or anger because of this blog or recent articles I am profoundly sorry. The web log is below.


Again I am sorry if this causes you pain, anger and concern.

I have called Villanova to alert them to this problem. They are powerless to do anything about it. I am calling Yahoo's legal department to alert them to this as well.

If anyone wishes to talk to me personally about this please call me at [REDACTED].

I am deeply sorry for the trouble.



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"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

politeia's picture
Last seen: 3 years 12 weeks ago
Joined: 2008-07-30 :00

I agree both sides can learn from the Merion Neighbors/St. Joe situation.

While it was contentious, it primarily stuck to the issues and neither side really took personal shots at each other. St. Joe’s alums and students primarily stuck to the issues when commenting in media articles and the Merion Neighbors kept it professional.

Robocalls by Right Plan For Radnor does not help, and neither do potshots at RPFR by VU bloggers.

Stick to the issues and leave any potshots for the public issue/public figures/institutional leaders.

That’s how the SAC blogs work due to responsible blogging by its bloggers.

Seems other blogs and those who comment on newspaper websites are not used to dealing with issues of public concern and need to learn to stop being personal towards other posters with different views on issues of public concern, but rather focus on the issue and the actions of the institutions/public figures (they have the power, after-all, and those who don't have the power outside of influence by their numbers should not waste their time squabbling with those with different views while the power brokers laugh at the scene and get what they want).

The focus with this Radnor issue should be on the plan, its impact, the zoning procedure and how Radnor Township and VU administration and those in position of authority handle it.

How those in authority handle it is fair game for commenters, but no need to personally attack the opinions of others on this issue of public concern.


Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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