Thursday, January 27, 2011

NASD to build "spiteful" fence around LNES

According to the article in the Morning Call, NASD is leaving behind a "goodbye gift" for the residents who fought the installation of the three acre Commercial solar array on Residential zoned property in Lower Nazareth.

This move by the board can only be described as spiteful. This is somewhat similar to the neighborhood kid who doesn't get his way so he takes his ball and goes home.

Back in early 2008, I was at a NASD board meeting when a friend of mine asked about the possibility of erecting a fence around the Shafer playground. His concern was that the playground was relatively open and given the number of sexual predators (as registered by Megan's Law and easily determined by anyone with a computer) near Shafer, he was concerned for the children's safety. The boards response to that request?....

Not necessary. Too expensive.

Yet now, the board is more than willing to spend the money (estimated by some to be approximately $30-40,000) to erect a fence just to "spite" the neighbors who got the school and township to realize that zoning laws matter. That is, you cannot construct a commercial enterprise in a residential zoned area.

The school district had NO case and no legal standing to build a commercial solar array on residential property. Let me give you a simple example that I think will help those who didn't understand this situation:

I like hamburgers. I have a large property with property behind my house (next to my neighbors). What if I decide I want to lease my "extra" property to Five Guys so they can build a restaurant there and in return, they'll give me a break on the price of hamburgers? You think that would fly with the zoning board?

If NASD goes through with building this fence, I think they need to consider fences around Shafer and Bushkill too...

12 comments:

Clem said...

This school district has never been about the students. EVERYTHING is about the bureacrats, union and the egomaniacal board.

They not only don't worry about creeps, they honor them and protect them. There is a commemorative wall plate at LNES. You'd think they'd strike the name of one who got nailed for child porn, but he was one of their own. Then there are the staff they know about, but do nothing.

As for the spiteful fence, it can't surprise anyone who even occasionally follows this board.
This group, and the free-spending administration they rubberstamp, really believes they own the district, rather than represent the interests of those that elected them.

The Battle Cry of Freedom said...

A lot of us are perturbed by the NASD. Indeed it is a lousy school district like most of the school districts in America. I suggest that you get a copy of the Express-Times of January 27 and read George Wills editorial titled The Single Goal Post Theory.
Let me note two things that can have an immediate effect on the district. Show up at their meetings particularly the general meeting held twice a month and the finance committee meeting. The second thing that you can do is run against Treon and Audenreid who are two of the current sitters on the board. Treon, was a very bad teacher but his peers installed him as the head of the union. He should not even be allowed to seek a seat on the school board as is the case with Butz and Crook. All these guys had to do was cut a little bit over a million to have a zero tax increase but their literal addiction to money causes all of them to tremble and weep when the money is not available.We cannot stop these guys unless we have more people there willing to speak out against the rape of the taxpayers of the Nazareth School District.

Xitch13 said...

Give me a break.

The reason the Board has to build a fence AND the reason the neighbors were so upset over the usage as a solar array is that they built sheds and play equipment over their property lines. In some cases 75 FEET over the property line.

If the school board did not make a move, these jokers could claim the property under "Adverse Possession".

Had I been on the board when these people started complaining, I would have bulldozed the sheds and play equipment and sent the bill to the yahoo who built on someone else's land.

Ross, let's change your antecdote a bit. Let's say you come out one morning to put a new flower bed in your backyard. But lo and behold, Larry next door decided to build a 15 x 20 foot shed on your property. Would that be fair? Would you be a bit upset. What if Larry said, hey I'd move the shed no problem, but my kids are allergic to flowers, so I'm going to take you to court to prevent you from using your land as you see fit?

The Battle Cry of Freedom said...

Xitch 13
Did the Board ever tell them that they had infringed? Could it be that the folks were there long enough to claim the land? Is the Board going to make them move these infringing buildings now? Some how I have trouble with your claim. But be that as it may the entire plan by the Board was to enrich someone, another boondoggle if you will. Keep in mind that solar panels last about 20 years, surprisingly the length of the contract. Then they have to be repaired, at a very high cost, or replaced, also at a very high cost.

NewsOverCoffee said...

Xitch13, it is not my post or my anecdote, but I do find it interesting that the decision to erect a fence due to encroachment is on the heels of LNT denying the solar array.

Did the school notify the homeowners? Did they follow a cost effective course of action?

Unless these homeowners had 20+ years uncontested use of land, they don't have a case for adverse possession, and even then it would have to go before a judge.

And, where was the school when these initial placements were made? Why didn't they do something as soon as it was noticed?

Battle Cry of Freedom, it does not matter when the panels need to be replaced, the private company whose energy plant will be on school grounds, will be responsible to replace them. Worse case they will go out of business and we'll be left with cost of disposing of their used up solar farm.

The Battle Cry of Freedom said...

You are presuming that the company's contract with the district calls for the company to do the repairs or replacements assuming some type of limited warranty. Maybe you know something I don't

NewsOverCoffee said...

My understanding is that the school is leasing land to Kenyon and in exchange for rent Kenyon provides an amount of electricity that will reduce the electric bill at LNES by about $50,000.

Kenyon gets to build on the land that remains the property of the school thereby by-passing having to pay property taxes.

I've not heard any instance of the school purchasing, leasing, or otherwise owning solar panel generating equipment.

Brad Moulton said...

Xitch (or is it Lou?)

You appear to know a lot about this that hasn't been reported in the newspapers... 65 feet? or is it 75 feet? And Adverse Possession?... Me thinks you know a little too much to simply be "Xitch13"...

Regardless, NASD lost. Get over it.

NASD could have been "good neighbors" and approached the neighborhood about their plans or even boundary disputes. They chose not to do this. And when it rightfully upset some neigbors, NASD tried to stall out the neighbors, making them pay their own money in retaining attorneys to fight this. NASD knew they didn't have a case and could have dropped this anytime but stayed in the hand - holding nothing but a high card...

So how much is this "spiteful" fence going to cost? Are their any plans to build a similiar fence around SES or BES? I'm guessing not...

Brad Moulton said...

Xitch13/Lou,

One other thing... To your comment about using the land as you see fit... Do zoning laws mean ANYTHING to you?

This was (IS) a residential neigborhood. NASD was going to build a COMMERCIAL enterprise. The whole "accessory use" argument was a joke... By that logic, I can build my own power plant in the back corner of my yard too.

My Five Guys analogy still stands. Zoning laws prevent me from allowing Five Guys to build a burger joint on the back corner of my lot in return for a price break on their hamburgers...

And that's what NASD was trying to do.

Xitch13 said...

I have no idea who Lou is. Perhaps you wish to talk directly to him instead of assuming everyone who reads the newspaper is him.

I know that the surrounding property owners have for years taken advantage of their neighbor, the school. When I read that they had installed permanent structures on someone else's land, I quite frankly, lost all respect for them.

TO Ross - Sorry, I did not read the byline in the article. I thought you had written it.

Brad: No, your analogy does not stand. The solar array was not considered commercial. It was an allowed usage under the zoning laws AT THE TIME. So all the neighbors did, in my opinion, was spend lots of money on attorneys, cost a lot of money to the taxpayer, and in the end raise everyone's taxes in the greater Nazareth area.

I do not really have a dog in this fight. I used to live in Lower Nazareth and plan to move back to the Nazareth Area at some point in the next three to five years. That is why I keep abreast of the news. The reason this really pisses me off, is that no one pays attention to the fact that the neighbors have been stealing the use of this land for years. It is not just letting their dogs poop and not cleaning up for the kids playing there anymore. It's actual building being built on land that is not theirs.

This is part of a larger issue in the Nazareth area. new people move in, and then complain about things that have been there for years ahead of them. Be it the New Jersey couple who move next to a farm because of all the open space, and then complain about the sound, or the New York couple who move next to a trucking company and then are surprised by the truck traffic. Their first reaction is to retain a lawyer and cost the rest of the area higher taxes.

My advice to people like that is, "Stop playing the martyr and act like a responsible neighbor".

Brad Moulton said...

Xitch/Lou/Whoever...

Your earlier post indicated a depth of knowledge on this subject that goes far beyond what was reported in the newspapers and your last post only adds to my suspicions as to whether you have (as you put it) "a dog in this fight".

I promised myself I wasn't going to continue beating this dead horse, but you throw up so many red herrings I just couldn't stand back and let it go...

First, to take a shot at people from NY or NJ is not fair, but in my experience somewhat common for this area. Also, to call these neighbors "jokers" is demeaning and unbecoming.

Taxes going up because of this? Taxes will go up for sure (because NASD continues to spend) but it's not because these solar panels aren't getting build in LNT. As you (for sure know), Kenyon and NASD worked out a deal that moves this project up to the roof of the new Middle School. NASD still gets the grant from the state and continues to get the reduced rate for electricity.

Permanent Structures on NASD property? I don't know about you, but I don't think a woodpile or garden constitute "permanent". As I also understand it, the neighbors in the area were/are more than willing to move these. Again, NASD just had to ask...

Adverse Possession? I don't recall this being reported in the newspapers. Again, only someone close to this would have known this. Also, I would think you should have known that schools are exempt from Adverse Possession....

Zoning Laws at the time...hmmmm.... what to say here? Zoning laws didn't address this because LNT didn't think that anyone would build a 3 ACRE solar farm and try to pass it off as an accessory use. The general accepted use of solar panels in residential areas have been mainly small installations on rooftops. Again, NOT A 3-ACRE solar farm! You probably are also aware that most municipalities all over PA are making amends to the their zoning laws to specifically address this "loophole". Bushkill already has and LNT and UNT are following suit.

I guess technically you are right though... I just didn't think that NASD would play the big, bad bully and try to ram this down the neighborhood by using this "loophole". Shame on me, I should know better.

Finally, lawyers aren't free you know. The neighbors had to come up with the money themselves to fight this... Who pays for NASD's legal representation?

Xitch13 said...

Again Brad, I am not whoever this Lou guy is. I explained who I am, but if it helps you think I'm a sock puppet instead of interested third party who can read the newspaper, so be it.

The 65 or 75 feet (I do not remember which exactly, but thought it was 75) was reported in the Express Times and the story did not say it was a wood pile or a garden. It did say it was a shed and their were also swing sets/playhouses as well.

My knowledge of Adverse Possession comes from business law courses I took in college. I did not know schools were exempt from it. It has stayed with me for the simple fact that it seems like a great injustice to me. Plus, last year, there was a case in Coloroda where a judge and his wife had cut a walking trail though his neighbors wooded lot, and was attempting to seize the land due to that. Sounded like greed to me. So when I read about the sheds and playgrounds, I naturally connected the greed and injustice there with Adverse Possession.

Speaking of that, did the neighbors look into that? Do they really want to steal the land outright???

None of my arguments were red herrings, but examples to better explain my arguments. You were the one who started off with a spurious and poorly reasoned antecdote about a hamburger joint.

Brad, I don't know you or anyone else involved in this beyond Dr. Lesky - but that was back when he was a vice principle in the school twenty odd years ago. Can I assume from how passionate you are about this, that you are one of the neighbors? Are you one of the neighbors with built structures on the land?

By the way, I did notice a distinct lack of mention of any structures being on that land in subsequent articles. Do you know why this was? I assumed it was because it was not as good of a story if it became about the greedy neighbors. Was it rather that the neighbors immediately removed the structures? If so, I applaud them. If not, well...taking someone else's property and using it for your own good is called stealing.

As far as lawyers, everyone in Lower Nazareth and in Nazareth through the school district in general paid through their taxes.