8 Houses is a few
too many ! Blatant violations of PA Code
years of trying to ignore the cows,
pigs, chickens, firewood, mulch, noise, debris, bamboo, etc.,
neighbors do not want the Township to ignore required hardships
for waivers, or ignore proper stormwater
management, as they propose seepage tanks under streets they'd like to dedicate
to YOUR care, fire access issues due to road width dimished so
they can squeeze in more homes, parking
deleted because of requested road width, rain gardens needed
because of extra run-off from extra homes, etc.
neighbors have already had
a bull (literally) on their doorstep, as the codes here were
ignored but .....
they've had enough
of the bull now.
And who could blame them.
This lot is directly across from McKinley Elementary
School. It is #1 on the numbered lots below .
Next Meeting with
related information - Sept 9, 2022 7 pm
Board of Commissioners regular meeting . They have on the agenda a
measure that would require notification of residents for Land
Development matters that come before the Planning Commission.
You don't often hear me say this ...... but YAY- this is a GOOD
thing. That being said - I still feel the need to put this in
perspective. The law has always required the public to be able to
attend and have speaking rights at Planning Commission meetings. This
administration under President Tom Hecker and Manager Richard Manfredi
knew that - yet by CHOOSING not to notify the impacted
residents, as happened here, they effectively took their rights away.
They did not need a LAW to do the right thing. Just a moral
conscience, as previous administrations had. That conscience
apparently lacking, they at least finally succumbed to our requests
for proper notification guidelines & we will at last finally get
a law --- and we can applaud them for doing something good.
Next Meeting with this
on the agenda - none known as of Sept 2022 since this letter was
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2022 4:57 PM
Richard Manfredi <rmanfredi@AbingtonPA.gov>; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Cc: Ken Brodsky
<email@example.com>; Drew Rothman <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Jimmy
DiPlacido <email@example.com>; Julia Vaughn
<jvaughn@AbingtonPA.gov>; Mike Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
Stuart Winegrad <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Dennis Zappone VERIZON <email@example.com>; Jessica Carswell
<firstname.lastname@example.org>; John Spiegelman <spiegs@AbingtonPA.gov>;
Bill Bole <bbole@AbingtonPA.gov>; Lori Schreiber HOTMAIL
<email@example.com>; Thomas Bowman AOL <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
Allison A. Lee <aalee@Pennoni.com>; Khaled R. Hassan
<KHassan@Pennoni.com>; Thomas Hecker <thecker@AbingtonPA.gov>; Matt
Vahey <email@example.com>; Terry Castorina
<tcastorina@AbingtonPA.gov>; Ashley McIlvaine
<amcilvaine@AbingtonPA.gov>; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: RE: Please remove 365 Cedar Rd from the agenda until
it is in compliance with all laws and codes
To all :
The questions for you, Mr Manfredi are :
1) How ever did an
application not properly filled out according to PA law even get to
the next step ? I think that is an important question that we need an
answer to. Who is in charge of seeing that this didn’t move to any
next step until it was properly done and ready? You may recall my
concern over your appointment of someone with ZERO code and zoning
experience as head of code and zoning – and ditto on the code
enforcement specialist who multiple times didn’t seem to know the law
on something as simple as property maintenance and absolutely had not
applied the law to swiftly handle the vacant properties – which
led to buildings that for 10 or more years remained a blight in our
town . He then found himself elevated to the challenging position of
Zoning Officer – in a world where some verry forceful, knowledgeable
and powerful people prefer to have their way. It matters if we have
people with experience in such positions.
2) No hardships at
all . You can’t waiver things unless the hardship has created
effectively an “impossibility to zone according to the law” Why
did the Engineer not address those lapses. Why did he/they not refuse
to grant waivers at all – especially since nearly all the waiver
requests are a result of what is of the applicant’s own making. Not
the Engineer or the Planning Commission or Montco Planning or any
others that took part in this addressed the law? Did the solicitor
review it ? There are many questions here that need answers.
3) Ultimately it is the public who puts the people in charge
of hiring those that protect our own health, safety and welfare. So
the fact that we have been unable to get virtually any responses to
important questions asked during your term in Abington is a serious
matter. You know I already addressed this very specific lapse – long
before it showed up on tonight’s agenda for “approval”. NO
other administration has been like this in the nearly half century I
have been in Abington.. This administration has put people back in
charge – even on our Zoning Hearing Board - who could have been
charged by the Commonwealth for their actions – ones that displayed
an utter disregard for our laws and for our health safety and welfare
in development and code matters. So it matters that we oversee –
and it matters that we get answers and that we are not blocked from
access to the tools we provide you to give that access. They give us
the power to oversee.
Please direct your staff to answer
questions for the public – your constituents. I have yet to hear
of a developer with the same complaint when he asks one. Please
allow our tools to be used so we CAN have oversight . Tape the
meetings – such as the very important Comprehensive Plan meetings ---
and all others. Use all the tools you can to notify people.
Provide summary information or minutes as immediately as you can
where no minutes are available for 3 months. Have someone always there
to answer the phone. Fix the website problems that have people calling
ME to help them figure out how to attend meetings . Tell the Solicitor
to respond, as immediately as he is able, to Right to Know requests
and with ALL the information. Stop trying to cut off every sentence a
resident says that you think you might not like the ending to. Give
residents the courtesy of making their comments AFTER they have been
informed about the issue. Allow residents to share their 3 minutes
open comment when they arrive because the disrespect of requiring them
to wait through a three hour meeting in order to address you for 3
minutes is tantamount to removal of their rights. You have not
responded to the meetings that took place out of the public
where decisions to remove Zoning Hearing Board Candidates were made,
leaving only one candidate who had a history of problems with zoning
code matters. In many of these things you are blatantly violating the
law and thereby removing our rights . Those things fall under
Abuse of Office – Official Oppression under the criminal code. Just
as the law is not being followed here --- the law is being violated
again and again --- as are basic courtesies. These things show you not
to be working in the interest of the health, safety and welfare of us
– the residents who elected you or pay for your services.
plan a new way forward and start by adhering to the laws that you took
an oath to obey.
Please get back to me so we can discuss
these problems .
La. Meadowbrook, PA 19046
LAST MEETING ... MAY 2022
There was a great deal of confusion . They had this on the agenda for 5-12-22
Thursday at the Board of Commissioners for 7 pm supposedly for
"approval" - but according to Comr DiPlacido he was going to make a
motion to postpone that to June. I am assuming he has to make a
motion to advertize it first. To correct an earlier error of
mine : I previously believed the matter would have to come
before the Zoning Hearing Board (because of
a definition I had relied on differentiating waivers from variances.
which I susequently learned was not valid in PA). So
it seems the Board DOES have the right to directly approve the waivers,
but not without fully explained hardships, not without good cause, not
when they are of the applicant's making, or are not in the public
interest. The reasons for the hardships must be specifically
detailed in writing with the
application. I have not found any reasonable hardship explanations for the waivers
the applicant seeks. Perhaps that is what's causing it to be
postponed. They do have the right to build - but not EIGHT
homes. So, I'm sure they'll be back soon.
We asked residents to please attend and demand that this application and all aplications be required to
follow PA Law on hardships etc - especially ones like this, that would negatively
impact nearby residents even if they DID follow the law. Ask that
all emails or questions about this zoning matter be answered
as soon as possible especially about the lack of adherance to laws
such as the requirement to explain hardships and that meetings be
video-taped and aired - and that notification be given to all
nearby residents -- even though the law apparently doesn't require
IN ADDITION YOU SHOULD KNOW that only ONE, count 'em
ONE, of the neighbors learned of the Planning Commission meeting in
February in time to attend ( unprepared and at the last minute), they nonetheless
application, that requests too many houses for the lot,and no adherance to laws and codes to
move forward, hoping, apparently for a quick and dirty approval --
with no one notified , there would be little resistance. Only
one, count 'em one, meeting was held before putting this forth for
approval on the Board of Commissioner's agenda May 12, 2022. (Fast
forwarding to Sept 2022 on the 9-8-22 Board of Commissioner's agenda
they are passing a requirement ot NOTIFY neighbors o the same street
within 500 feet and on other streets if they are within 250 feet of a
project coming before the Planning commission)
A number of the hardships are of the property owner's
making because they want to put too many houses on the 4+ acres.
It is not legal to approve such waivers. It would be a
direct violation of both Abington Code and PA Code (see below)
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE PROJECT: The Applicant is proposing to demolish an existing residential
dwelling, covered porch, garage, shed and boulder wall; and subdivide
the existing 177,620 square foot parcel into eight (8) individual lots
ranging from 15, 022 SF to 21,14 SF. Along with the subdivision, the
Applicant is proposing to construct a singlefamily detached dwelling
on each lot, as well as associated, sidewalk, curbing, driveway,
streetlights and stormwater management facilities. Access to/from the
site will be by way of one new cul-de-sac roadway named Independence
Circle that will intersect with Cedar Road as a new T-intersection.
Each new dwelling is proposed to be served by public water and sewer
Please note there is a great deal more open land right
next to this property -- and they already, some years back, had put
forth an interest in developing. The driveway for this current
development may be being considered to enable development of the
second property. There once was a Springhouse on the 365
Cedar Property . Mushy back yards on Glenmore that abut the property
may be related ....... Over the years reports of truckloads of dirt
and mulch and other events are a concern.
VIOLATION OF PENNSYLVANIA LAW /CODE
Municipalities Planning Code § 512.1(a).
Section 512.1. Modifications. (a) The governing body or the
planning agency, if authorized to approve applications within the
subdivision and land development ordinance, may grant a modification
of the requirements of one or more provisions
if the literal
enforcement will exact undue hardship because of peculiar conditions
pertaining to the land in question, provided that such modification
not be contrary to the public interest and that the
purpose and intent of the ordinance is observed. 34 (b)
for a modification shall be in writing and
accompany and be a part of the application for development.
shall state in full the grounds and facts of unreasonableness or
hardship on which the request is based, the provision or
provisions of the ordinance involved and the minimum modification
necessary. (c) If approval power is reserved by the governing body,
the request for modification may be referred to the planning agency
for advisory comments. (d) The governing body or the planning agency,
as the case may be, shall keep a written record of all action on all
requests for modifications.
NO WRITTEN HARDSHIPS HAVE BEEN GIVEN
- AND MOST CONDITIONS CAN BE ALLEVIATED BY PUTTING FEWER PROPERTIES ON
THE ACREAGE - SO THE PROBLEMS ARE OF THE OWNER'S MAKING. OTHER
REQUESTS ARE CONTRARY TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN
MULTIPLE WAYS .
VIOLATION OF ABINGTON CODE
146: Subdivision and Land Development/Ch
146 Art VIII: Modification and Validity
A. Granting of hardship;
(1) The Board of Commissioners may grant a modification of the
requirements of one or more provisions of this chapter if the literal
enforcement will exact undue hardship because
of peculiar conditions pertaining to the land in question, provided
that such modification will not be contrary to the public interest and
that the purpose and intent of this chapter is observed.
(2) Proof of undue hardship must
be presented to the township by the subdivider/land developer. It
shall not be considered sufficient proof of hardship to
show that greater profit would result if the variance were granted.
Furthermore, the hardship complained
of cannot be self-created and must be suffered directly by the
property in question.
B. Procedure for modification.
(1) All requests for a modification
shall be submitted to the Zoning Official in writing and shall
accompany and be a part of the application for development. The
request shall state in full the grounds and facts of unreasonableness
or hardship on which the
request is based, the provision(s) of this chapter involved and the
minimum modification necessary to abate the hardship.
(2) The Township Planning Commission
shall review the applicant's request and submit a report to the Board
(3) The Board of Commissioners shall
review and approve or disapprove the request and keep a written record
of all action on the matter.
(4) A written summary of any exception
shall be appended to the record plan.
MEETING : 2-22-22 Planning CommissionHere is the
original presentation - the documents and Plans presented at the 2-22-22 Planning
Commission Meeting -This was the only proper meeting that has
ever been held.. and it was not proper because no one was notified -
so they could not even attend. Our Township has lost its moral
conscience and its soul under Tom Hecker and Richard Manfredi.
The docs start at p76 at this link :
Improper process ? The very first we saw or heard of this
application was 2-22-22 at the Planning Commission meeting.
What's wrong with that? Pretty much everything. Unless it was
presented somewhere else that I can't find . The way it is
supposed to work is the way it did forever, and ever in Abington, is
that a new zoning request would come before the Code Enforcement and
Land Development Committee. The neighbors within 500 feet would be
notified of ALL the expected meetings ...the first being the
Code and Land Development Committee. They reviewed it and with
their input and any input from residents that happened to learn
about it, it went to the Planning Commission next. But in
the meantime, residents had a chance to research it, alert their
neighbors who might not know, consult a lawyer, and formulate their questions
for the Planning Commission, etc. They also learned more
about the zoning process in the meantime, because many are
encountering the process for the first time - but the effects of what
happens right next dorr can last a lifetime.
proper process, next it would go back to the Planning Commission for a
deeper, fuller review - where residents were not limited to 3 minutes
or 1 question and then done. They were, in the past, actually able to
go back-and-forth with the developer until they understood one
another. Developers were
expected to actually answer the questions asked by planners or residents. Then,
the project came back to the original Code and Land
Development Committee with the Comments from the Planning
Commission and the residents who attended - and those
comments were incorporated into the revised request that the Committee
looked at again . The Committee then decided if they wanted to
add anything or it was ready to be forwarded on to the Board to
request their approval advertising for Hearing .
It was a reasonable process. But it has been turned on its
And this new wrinkle, if
indeed, it went FIRST to the Planning Commission is more than
New Manager Richard Manfredi has up-ended nearly every
tried and true process we had in the Township, renaming
Committees ( sometimes the same one again and again), restructuring
staff positions and departments,
putting people in charge of major department operations that have absolutely no
experience, while people with certifications and years of experience
sit in a different office doing nothing they’re qualified for;
changing our speaking rights 4 times within the first 4 years of being
here, eliminating informed public comment more and more each
time....... This is a perversion of the zoning and development process,
and other processes in our Township that is
past any reasonable limit.
one neighbor even learned of the Planning Commission meeting for 365
Cedar in time to attend.
He was given a limited time to
speak even though he was speaking for all the neighbors who couldn’t
be there because they didn’t know about it, and the Planning Chair
would not allow him to accept my minutes that I offered to donate to
him. It is unclear to us
at the time that I am writing this where it is going next -- but my
fear is that they will try to send it to the full Board next to
advertise for a hearing -
when literally none of the neighbors has had a chance to even examine
this properly. Was Planning
really the first meeting it went to?
just one in a series of many, many detrimental things that Mr.
Manfredi has brought to this Township. I hope all of you reading this
have also read the page called
Explosion where he seeks to make changes that will affect our
Township literally forever and that will not likely be able to be
undone once they are passed. His aim is to accomplish this by May 2022
The property at 365 Cedar is labelled #1 here:
. Please send us pictures
or documents or whatever you have that may be helpful to work together
as a group -- the more informed everyone is - the more cogently they
can speak . Send to
The 8 houses do not fit and to squeeze them in they want waivers such
--- have narrower road with no hardship - they say they want to provide more
greenspace - but the only reason there is LESS greespace is because
they are asking for too many houses
--- remove parking on one side
- narrower than 30 ft cartway - no hardship & dangerous for
emergency vehicle needs - not in the public interest
the stormwater seepage basin under the street ( that they want to
dedicate to the Township) no hardship Not in the public interest -
could be very, very costly
--- have a rain garden at the low point
on the Glenmore side no hardship and raingardens are not reliable are not reliable
--- be excused for providing names & addresses
& other information on properties within 400 feet - except
those contiguous - no hardship listed
special accommodations for turning radius width on driveway - no hardship -
can be dangerous - impacts the property of others
etc., etc., etc.
Owner did not properly list address
-Person listed as
co-applicant, has provided no power of attorney we have seen
Property maintenance issues
- Fencing on the property is in violation of Section 303.7 of
Property Maintenance code
in violation of bamboo ordinance -https://abingtoncitizens.com/aaISSUES/Bamboo/Bamboo.htm
Trees /Tree Removal
- Prior Removal and recent removal - how many have been
removed in total?
- Trees- Replacement ordinance - the Engineer can order trees to be
replaced at 2 to 1
- a look
onto the property from a neighboring property seems to indicate
a creek or creekbeds
- if there is a creek would the proposed construction be allowed ?
- has DEP inspected the property and is there a report ... ?
-Are there sufficient visual/noise buffers from Valley Glen,
Glenmore Ave, and other neighbors ?
- collection tanks under street is a horrible idea - fixing problems
is too expensive for a HOA
Homeowner’s Association rarely has actual capability to
repair something that expensive
- Rain Garden area on Glenmore side – who decides size – who
maintains it - who oversees that ?
- Is there a yearly inspection and
report on the rain garden ?
rainfall chart put together by resident shows that the rain fardens
could be problematic
how is there an easement on the plans if it wasn't bought? Neighbors
deny approving one
Steep slope Conservation area? See
Steep Slope Conservation Ordinance
- reports of Cheltenham and
Abington Township trucks bringing
dirt, mulch etc are of concern
- landscapers apparently also brought in chips and tree debris
if slopes were changed or marshy lands filled in, is that problematic?
- does dedication of
the road to
the Township mean
school visitors can
- Planning Commission
may have recommeded doing traffic study - where is their report?
-Turning radius of driveway tshould accommodate trucks w/o using
are a concern for Fire trucks and emergency vehicles
- If the concern for the width is just to have less impervious
- reduce # of houses
-Distance to hydrant ? Nearest is up on Cedar –is that the
reason for road length limits ?
- direct mail
to all residents within 400 - 500 ft should be given and no
waivers given to avoid that.
- they clearly
were trying to fast track it before residents even learned the
application was made
- Township staff
time & dollars were spent on this long ago why don't residents have
residents should have access to documents from the time a
developer begins using taxpayer services
- with no Committee review first, both
and officials are seeing it for the first time
- upon the first view, decisions are being made -
approvals recommended - not sound procedure
- all should be able to do research, or obtain lawyers
if necessary or read all the documents fully.
- information sessions with open question answer periods are
appropriate -they are always needed
- a question / answer page for ALL development projects should be
created at the outset
- why is the Township not alerting residents via TV Channel.
Newsletter? Commissioner news? etc
- because of the lack of notification, documents should be
provided without a Right To Know filing
- It is believed the house is NOT on the historical
Farming / Agricultural
They have apparently NOT claimed to be a "Farm" for tax purposes ( and do not have
10 acres )a
- They have over 3 acres and are allowed 1 head of livestock - they
appear to have 2 .
-High impact uses
- such as the regular use of heavy equip and loud noise has been allowed
happened despite neighbor complaints
- They have
chickens (and apparently had a rooster or 2 in the past) and they keep bees
they may use the milk , eggs, honey and firewood
produced for their own use......