Anything is possible when a community comes together.
Next we found out that Stokesay was planning on using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to partially fund the project. All you need to know about TIF is that it was created to bypass local voting rights for funding projects that local residents likely wouldn’t vote for and that it gets worse from there. We wrote this essay on TIF if you would like to learn more about the lack of accountability and how local governments use it. We also wrote a letter to the editor at The Reading Eagle which they graciously published.
We also started a petition to illustrate the community’s concern to Lower Alsace Township Supervisors. In the end, the Township Supervisors would need to approve the plans. It turns out that we weren’t alone in our concerns, as in a matter of three weeks we assembled 700+ signatures between our online and paper based petitions from all over the world. In fact, of the 724 total signatures as of December 16th 2015 (there are more now), 93% were from the United States, 82% were from Pennsylvania, and 76% were from Berks County. We would have broken down the numbers even further but that is as far as our software could break it down with the data we had.
The Reading Eagle published another full-length article explaining our concerns as the Township Supervisors meeting approached. WFMZ also interviewed a few of us the day of the meeting. In the end, Stokesay ownership decided to table the plans for now. That didn’t stop 70+ concerned neighbors and SaveOurMountain representatives from attending the meeting and speaking our peace. Mr. Gulati even showed up to provide his opinion. Highlights of the meeting are here.
We declared victory for now. That said, we know this isn’t the end of this project and we will remain vigilant watching and waiting for it to come back around. We will continue to attend Township Supervisor and Planning Committee meetings and we hope at least some of the residents that attended the Township Supervisors meeting supporting our cause will continue to do so as well. We are also looking into the Spook Lane Overlay District in the Zoning Laws as indicated at the December 16th meeting.