The historic Birchrunville schoolhouse is the former West Vincent Township building. The property was sold when the new township building was built on the Evans farm on St Matthews Rd. In order to maximize the price, Ken Miller, leading his cohort Supervisors, developed the idea that the zoning should be changed from Municipal (which it had to be since it would not be owned by a Municipal entity after the sale) to Commercial. It could have been changed to Residential. It could have been Commercial but deed restricted to protect the property, but that wouldn't bring the township the money Miller wanted. As a result, they sold it as Commercial without restriction. It was overheard as one of the Supervisors told the buyers, "Don't worry about the zoning", meaning the Supervisors would bend the rules where the need arose.
Plans were submitted for 3 additional modern office buildings to be placed on the site in close proximity to the historic schoolhouse. The neighbors had been asleep at the wheel for years, assured that the Supervisors only had the Birchrunville residents’ interests in mind. When they woke up, it was discovered Birchrunville was sold down the river. After 7 years it was over. The builder sold half of the property to a long time tenant and the other half to the Township for a "Park".
For changing the property to a non-deed restricted commercial use, the Township probably yielded an extra $100,000 when it was sold to the developer. After the years of dealing with the Developer, the cost of buying back half of the property for $160,000 plus legal expenses, the sale was most likely a net loss. But who really paid for all of the costs and the angst. Not Ken Miller. It was the neighbors (they spent $70,000 on experts and attorneys) and the taxpayers. In the meantime, Ken Miller portrays himself as a hero but it was he that created the entire problem. The fact is he was driven by greed and his own agenda, just as he was when he tried to take the Horse Show. Ken Miller believes that bad behavior is ok if he just apologizes. He has proved he is not trustworthy and will continue to his bad behavior as long as he is in office.
Historic Birchrunville Schoolhouse Development
For about two years, I have been approached by readers about the old Birchrunville Schoolhouse property, aka, the old township building, the Birch Run Village project, the Wilkinson Project. I have stayed away from the issue. Now, things are heating up and most of the people in the township have no idea what is going on. I am simply going to refer to it as the Schoolhouse.
First, the location. The Schoolhouse is located at the intersection of Flowing Springs Rd and Schoolhouse Lane. This location is part of Birchrunville, an area zoned Birchrunville Village District (BV). Many newcomers to the township have no idea where this is because they have no need to drive into this particular part of the township. Take the time to go see it. Historically, this is the heart and soul of West Vincent Township.
After my last e-mail about the Birchrun Schoolhouse property being sold without deed restriction, this vintage ad was forwarded to me. Look at the lower lefthand corner description, how the Auctioneer described the viability of the property. Where would the auctioneer come up with such valuable information such as "The Township has changed the zoning" allowing the commercial use of the property. The words "has changed" indicates....Read more....
West Vincent to buy Birchrunville property
By Ginger Dunbar, Daily Local News
WEST VINCENT – Township supervisors voted Monday to purchase a property where a developer planned to build three office buildings.
Now, supervisors plan to build a park in Birchrunville Village on property that had been the subject of heated debate for years at township meetings.
Wilkinson and Associates Inc. had been working to build the office buildings near the historic Birchrunville Schoolhouse. Residents had opposed the plans, arguing that such a development does not fit in with the historic nature of the village.
West Vincent to buy property for park
By Ginger Dunbar, Daily Local News
WEST VINCENT — The township is going to spend $160,000 to purchase two acres of land for a park that had been considered for commercial development.
The supervisors previously made plans to purchase the land for a park at its appraised value. The purchase price came to light Monday when the supervisors announced a settlement date for March 3.
Supervisors’ Chairman Kenneth Miller read a letter dated Feb. 12 on behalf of the developers, seeking to withdraw the land development application. Developer Wilkinson and Associates Inc. sought to build three office buildings near the historic Birchrunville Schoolhouse. The 1863 schoolhouse was previously used as the township’s administration building.
Pictures of the future park
You are looking at $168,000 that West Vincent Township spent of taxpayer money to protect property that is should have been deed restricted. That would have cost the taxpayers NOTHING. No cost outlay, no annual maintenance costs. Look at the change in elevation of this property. The only flat area is the parking lot, otherwise quite steep. It also has sewage disposal located on it. These are older pictures and some trees have been removed.
Video showing the Historic Schoolhouse and the "Park"
In this video, you will see the Schoolhouse and how steep the hill it is. This will give you an idea of the elevation changes on this property which clearly could never have been built on. The Township paid full price for this ground. The video is from 1987 and especially good if you are a Jim Croce fan.