Some of you may have heard of the Delaware and Lehigh Drive Byway Project that has been making news in the Bucks County area. Some of you may even be affected by this project and may not even know it. The most devastating aspect of this project is that it violates citizen’s property rights. One aspect of the project is that it creates a “viewshed.” According to the Institute of Water Research a viewshed is a “term used to indicate the entire area an individual can see from a given point. Being able to determine the viewshed and how it could be altered is of particular use to park planners and landscape architects.”
So how does this viewshed provision affect you? If you live in the designated viewshed area, you better like exactly how your property currently is. Since that property is now protected you will have to seek permission from the established planning committee if you want to make any changes to your property. If you want to take out a tree, change the color of your home, add bushes to your property, or any alteration to your property that you can think off has to be approved by the planning committee. You see this viewshed will force you to ask the government for permission, despite the simple fact that it’s your property.
On page 289 of the Delaware and Lehigh Drive Byway Project document under the section titled “Threats to Corridor Resources” it states, “resurgence of the call for private property rights to take precedence over public expenditures to encourage greater stewardship, nearly all Corridor resources face some sort of threat.” If only the viewshed was the only thing to worry about. But simply the ownership of your property is in jeopardy. On page 218 it states as an action item, “Support existing nonprofit and government efforts to protect identified environmental sites including the acquisition of easements or property.” This means that the local governments could force you to sell them your property through these easements. These easements are also mentioned on pages 20, and 250.
This is why it is imperative that on August 21st at 7:30 p.m. we all attend the Upper Makefield Township Meeting at 1076 Eagle Road, Newtown, PA 18940, and tell the township supervisors to rescind Resolution # 2012-04-17-01. Again this resolution is a direct threat to the residents of Upper Makefield’s private property rights and has to be rescinded.