I didn’t want to write about this issue here on my blog. But again today I read extremely ignorant comments on articles about the Ross Twp. tragedy. To preface this, like most people I have the information I’ve read in articles. That is what I am basing my opinion on. Perhaps more information will come out at some point and the narrative on how and why this man lost his property will become clearer if there is missing information.
I’m very frustrated because there are people who choose to make this tragedy into political fodder. It disgusts me quite frankly. Makes me sick to my stomach. I see it in comments on every article about the issue by ignorant people trying to move forward mostly wing nut agendas.
This man who shot up a public meeting murdering innocent people is no “property rights martyr”. Saying this tragedy is about a twp. who “backed a man into a corner” by unfairly “taking his home” is insane and ignorant. Comments that imply the twp. schemed some wicked plot to take this man’s land and circumvent his property rights are way off base.
The facts as I understand them are this:
- This man had 17 years of notices and warnings to deal with the issues he alone created. It’s clear this man never had any intention on remedying them. He had no regard for policy or procedure; or the same rules the rest of his community somehow manage to follow.
- Really this goes back to 1990 when this man bought a property with a deed transfer that read: “The above described premises are considered wetlands, do not perc (for adequate septic disposal) and no building permit is obtainable for construction thereon.” He bought a property knowing he could not build on it but he did so anyway. Everything stems from this. Again, nearly 2 decades this has been an issue.
- This man maintained a property in violation of rules and regulations setup to protect the health and well being of his community. The conditions are well documented. Property rights are a two way street. Yes, they protects your rights but also equally important your neighbors rights as well.
- When neighbors complained the twp. had an OBLIGATION to react. Most twp’s for the most part don’t seek out ordinance violations they respond to complaints. That’s how it is for the most part here in Lower Macungie. The township responds to complaints. A complaint triggers action.
- The twp. didnt “steal” this mans home. They didn’t “rob” him of his land. They followed procedures and the court system to the only logical conclusion after this man forced their hand and refused over work with them over 17 years to address the issues he created.
- You cannot easily kick someone off their property. It’s a long drawn out process. Our system protects deadbeats. Ask any landlord if it’s easy to evict a deadbeat. The system protects the property owner or the renter in almost all cases.
- It was not the intention of the twp. to “get” or “steal” the property. After sheriff sale proceedings, there were no bidders on the property so ownership transferred to the township, as the lien holder that filed the action.
If you want to argue against zoning ordinances in the United States make that silly argument. We’ve had zoning in the United states for nearly a century. Without it you have land use anarchy. For better or worse the property value of the biggest investment you make in your life is directly tied to your neighbors. Without zoning laws it’s a free for all. I believe in bottom up gov’t, the rule of law and a communities right to enact a zoning ordinance. Conversely I also believe in a communities right to not enact a zoning ordinance if they so choose. (Houston, TX)
Bottom line do not politicize a tragedy. There is nothing more pathetic. Yes, this brings up conversations about security at municipal meetings and yes I have some thoughts. I would not support armed guards at township meetings. You acknowledge we live in a sometimes crazy world and you take precautions but you do not live in fear. We need to have these important conversations absolutely. But do not use this to push an agenda. That isn’t a conversation. That is standing on a soap box and this isn’t the time.