February 16, 2009

Eminent Domain and Pork Spending

Four years ago, Abington Township Commissioner Lori Schreiber (D) ran on the promise to end blithe in her neighborhood of Roslyn. She blamed her opponent for, among other things, failing to get the owner of a commercial property at 1180 Easton Road (pictured) to either rent or sell the location after it sat vacant for several years.

Now, after failing to do the same during her first term, Commissioner Schreiber has a brilliant idea; hostile government takeover.

Eminent domain – when a governmental body decides to forcefully take property from a private citizen for the “best interests of the community”.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Abington voted for the hostile takeover of the property so it can be used to relocate, expand, and improve the current Roslyn library. Individuals from both parties voted against it as well. One Democrat was wise (dare I say brave) enough to see the danger in this move.

The measure passed by one vote but doesn’t guarantee a quick resolution since the owners can appeal. Can you envision the price tag elevating already? Grant money won’t cover legal bills.

Those in favor of this action justify the move because it won’t increase taxes. Grant money will be used to fund the project. But this creates problem number two.

When the country’s economy (actually a global problem) is tanking, these pork projects should be shelved. Especially when its sole purpose is not to beautify the neighborhood as Commissioner Schreiber would like you to believe, but rather to guarantee this politician gets re-elected.

Republicans on the Abington Board who voted in favor of this move, failed to follow the example shown in Washington. The pork spending Washington added to the “stimulus” bill on one end, leads to Democrats being re-elected here, on the other end.

My family enjoys the Roslyn library and would visit the beautiful new facility if it ever becomes a reality, but only if private investment made it happen.

This library however, is simply being used as an excuse for the government to justify a takeover and for one specific politician to benefit.


page13 said...

If you are on Facebook...


JG said...

if the owner or owners of the property aren't able to sell or rent or they want to do neither, why not have them donate the property to the township with the stiplutation that it is used for the library. I would think that it would be a good tax write off??? and every one gets what they want! But i don't believe that any township should have the right to take over any property unless it is proven that no legal ownership is established to the property. i would not like to see what kind of legal cost would be involved to fight one's rights of ownership, just because, the township wants something done with the porperty. then where would the take overs end????

page13 said...

The daughter of the property owner had this to say about the issue...
courtesy of Montgomery Newspapers - via site at the bottom

abuse of power
Abington called me in florida under the guise of LEASING THE PROPERTY. We said we would be happy to lease the property to Abington. We hired Terry Quinn of Quinn and Wilson to handle the lease negotiations. Next thing we know they want to TAKE IT!!! Abington is trying to take advantage of an 80 year old widow by stealing the property. The offer they have on the table was rejected by Mrs. Patane thru her representative Terry Quinn!!! The reason the building has been vacant so long is because Abington has always had an issue with not enough PARKING!!! Now all of a sudden they want to put a library in??? What about the parking??? Abingtons behavior is dispicable, and underhanded!!! They are trying to steal this property off an 80 year old widow, who would have to pay capital gains and then estate taxes on the same money, shame on Abington Township for abusing their power. They can lease but it is more lucrative and can do a bigger project if they take it! Matt Lahaska actually said "why would we want to lease it? We wouldnt get the state money to fix it up?" Because you do not own it Matt!!! Scale it down and lease it , stop wasting taxpayer money on attorneys!!!
Jean C. Patane, Fort Myers, Florida


Anonymous said...

Why has the property been vacant for 19 years? Many businesses have tried to rent the space and been turned down. When I asked why, the answer was "it's a tax write-off." This eyesore has been part of the Easton Road corridor too long. I think its a great idea that the township wants to do something with it. If they can buy it all the better, but Ms. Patane needs to stop playing games and making excuses that leave the property vacant.

Anonymous said...

The vacancy rate in Montgomery County is 20-25%. Are they going to condemn all the vacant properties???

Elizabeth Kane(PATANE) said...

It would be a very unfriendly undertaking. Elizabeth Patane resides in Fl.- After becoming a widow last year she stayed in Fl. to be close to her daughter who was just diagnosed with a brain tumor. The township contacted Mrs. Patane about leasing the property after which she hired the Real Estate broker Terry Quinn to show the property. The property was never for sale.The property was previously never allowed to be divided . The township could purchase the property on Easton Rd. where the mini-golf was located-IT is across the street from the school-where the library would be better suited. To be taking anyone's property in these difficult economic times is unjust.Why didn't they do this in an upmarket-- To be able to lease this or any other property at this time is also very difficult. The Township should be helping Mrs. Patane with all the grant money. Mrs. Patane has been paying the taxes on this property and is current. The townships has been accepting her money all these years without ever doing anything to help her. John Patane was an upstanding member of the community. This is an outrage to their children. How dare they start this at this time of Mrs. Patanes life. Whoever came up with this scheme should be ashamed of themselves!!!!It will be a long a lengthy legal battle. The taxpayers better really want this library. Why don't they use the firehouse for their new library-its already there-No one would get lost. Build a new Fire Station for the community with all your pork spending money. Leave the private ownership of the people to the people for the people.

Anonymous said...

Abington Township Issues -