Editor's note: The following statement was submitted by Joseph Landau, president of Better Chester, which describes itself as "a coalition of business leaders and Chester citizens who support the construction of The Greens at Chester." Please see related story, "Greens of Chester sues town and county officials for breach of contract and discrimination," at chroniclenewspaper.com.
Actions by the Town of Chester:
Unfortunately, within the last year, Town of Chester officials began taking a series of illegal actions to prevent the already approved construction of the Greens of Chester, including:
• Violating a court order by using a new town law to shrink the total size of the homes at the Greens to a size that is smaller than a two-car garage (566 square feet), which would make construction impossible unless Chester wants to have an influx of small, low-income, apartment-style housing.
• Misquoting the court-authorized agreement between the owners of the Greens and the town to invent new restrictions to prevent construction.
• Attempting to bully the owners of the Greens to scrap the residential development in favor of a commercial or industrial development, which would damage Chester's residential character.
The owners of the Greens have incurred millions of dollars in damage as a result of the town's actions. The number goes up every day. After numerous failed attempts to resolve the outstanding issues with the town in order to proceed with construction, the owners of the Greens have been forced to sue the Town of Chester to recover the damage done by the town, defend its property rights, and proceed with construction.
Consequences of the litigation with the Greens:
In many cases where local town officials have taken illegal actions and caused damage to property owners residents of the town have been left to pay a court judgment, amounting to thousands of dollars per household in increased property taxes. Already, the Town of Chester's insurance carrier has filed a lawsuit against the town, informing it that they will not cover the costs of any illegal or discriminatory actions taken by the town. In order to avoid a situation where Chester town residents pay the price for local politicians' irresponsible actions, Better Chester is raising awareness about the potential cost to residents of the Greens' lawsuit with the town.
Better Chester cares about the Chester community and is committed to developng the Greens in a way that maintains the town's rural character and brings tax revenue that will benefit all of Chester. We are saddened that the town has taken these irresponsible actions at the expense of Chester residents. When the town ultimately loses this lawsuit, the residents and taxpayers of Chester will be the ones who are hurt. Instead of supporting the Greens, which would bring millions of dollars into Chester each year to fund the schools and local services, the town is now going to spend millions in tax dollars in court to fight it. Eventually, they will pay millions more in damages to the owners of the Greens. We remain hopeful that the town can resolve this dispute with the Greens before it costs taxpayers too much.
To learn more about the Greens at Chester and the dispute with the town, or to get involved, please visit betterchester.com, or contact us as firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
To speak out and ensure that Chester residents aren't stuck paying for the town's illegal actions, please call Chester Town Supervisor Robert Valentine at 845-590-8058.
Joseph Landau, President