The Saha family would like to thank you for
your support over the past six years. Finally after six years of anguish and
uncertainty and spending over $300,000 of their retirement savings in legal
expenses, the nightmare is over!
Dick and Nancy Saha have been fighting
for six years against the City of Coatesville's abuse of eminent domain.
The Saha's have spent countless hours and most of their retirement savings
in fighting this injustice.
Coatesville’s City Council and Paul Janssen have wasted effort, time
and $3 million in legal fees, and have ended up with the same 5 acres of
property the Saha’s offered them for free 6 years ago.
moved to Chester County with their five children in 1970 to pursue their
dream of owning a small horse farm. They worked hard to restore their
of Mr. and Mrs. Saha's daughters married, they built their family
homes on the farm as well. Now Dick & Nancy Saha enjoy seeing their five
grandchildren growing up next door.
years ago from "out of the blue", the Coatesville city manager and city
solicitor knocked on Mr. Saha's place of business in Coatesville and told
him the city of Coatesville was going to take his entire farm through
eminent domain to build a golf course.
After loosing their battle in
the courts, Dick and Nancy settle with the City of Coatesville.
On May 9, 2005, one
week before election, when it was obvious the tide was turning on the
Saha and Coatesville City Council
officially put an end Monday to the land dispute that has gone on for six
years, costing the Saha’s over $300,000 in legal fees.
Under the agreement, the city and
Dick and Nancy Saha agreed to terminate all litigation between them,
including the revocation of the eminent domain case. According to the
agreement, Sahas agreed to sell the city five acres of land
along an abandoned railroad bed for a price far less than the $300,000 they
spent on legal fees. In addition, Saha agreed to grant the city right
of first refusal if his family ever chose to sell 26 acres of its property.(
Click here to see more pictures of the Saha farm.)
The Sahas first learned of Coatesville’s plans for their land in April 1999,
when city council approved condemnation of seven properties, some of which
were located in Valley and West Caln, to make way for a municipal golf
Since then, the Sahas have been fighting the city in the court of law and
public opinion, while periodically attempting to negotiate a settlement.
Saha said that the departure of City Manager Paul G. Janssen Jr. was a
major breakthrough in resolving the dispute. Janssen, who had
championed the proposed 18-hole Iron Hawk Golf Course, resigned suddenly
April 6 to take a job as municipal manager in Norristown.
City officials originally maintained that the proposed Iron Hawk Golf Course
was essential to the success of the $60 million regional recreation center.
Saha was fighting eminent domain abuse, not the city’s redevelopment.
However, in total, the city spent about $8 million on land acquisition and
legal fees associated with the golf course and regional recreation center.
In addition to legal fees, Dick Saha
and his supporters spent countless hours fighting to save his farm.
"When we started out, our lawyers gave us a 5 percent chance of winning.
They didn’t think we’d last this long," he said. "But I just hope that it
gives hope to people who find themselves in the same position. Not false
hope, but some hope."
Saha said the agreement was a win for property owners and a loss for
eminent domain abuse.
"It’s something that had to be stopped sooner or later," Saha
send troops all over the world to protect people’s property and rights
and we can’t protect our rights here at home.
If you are new to the site, please read on. If you have visited previously, click here to get an update of recent developments.
Condemnation is a legal term; it by no means implies that the property is
unkempt or unsafe. Click here to see pictures of the
Saha farm. Eminent Domain is a law that gives a municipality the
right to forcibly take private property for the good of the community,
usually with compensation to the owner.
local government from using eminent domain law to take private property
(outside their municipality) to build a municipal golf course and golf
save our farm and fight future eminent domain abuse.
We must Stop local government from using eminent domain law to take private property (outside
their municipality) to build a municipal golf course and golf related facilities. And stop
the threat of eminent domain law to be used to build other businesses (bowling alley,
restaurant, ice rink, theater, batting cages, go-carts, hotel, conference center, boat,
canoeing, and rock climbing). Help save our farm and fight future eminent domain
THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE WITH:
- Coatesville Revitalization
- Recreational Centers
The City of Coatesville, PA, a third class city, Chester County, in the southeastern part
of Pennsylvania, is using eminent domain to build a golf course outside city limits in
surrounding townships (Valley and West Caln).
The city tried to exercise eminent domain of homes and property for the golf course
project back in April, 1999, but tabled the issue after the outrage that it created. June
26th, 2000, the Coatesville City council voted and passed 6 to 1 an ordinance to acquire
property via eminent domain for the golf course. July 22, 2000, Dick and Nancy Saha
received court papers from John Carnes, City Solicitor, that Coatesville filed a
"Declaration of Taking to Condemn" at the Chester County Courthouse. Click here for a complete history of events.
This action affected several land owners. This web page is maintained by the Saha family,
who fought to save their 48 acre farm with restored historic home of 30 years. The City
originally planned to leave the Sahas with a 6 acre parcel, separating them from the
their children and grand children on adjacent lots. At several times during
the long six year battle, they intended to condemn all the
property. The Snyder family has been forced to sell their home to Coatesville. The Den Braven family is also affected. Altogether, nine properties
Did Coatesville need
The condemnation of the Saha property was
necessary to build the golf course. Coatesville always had more than enough
acreage for their project without taking the Saha homestead.
The original golf course plan, prepared in
1999, did not include the Saha property in any way. It included the city’s
110 acre landfill and a few surrounding properties. Later, the City of
Coatesville decided arbitrarily (without feasibility study or cost/benefit
analysis) to condemn the Saha home.
In addition to the 110 acre landfill, the
city has acquired more than 60 acres from other land owners. There is an
additional 62 acres adjacent to the Saha property that was for sale and has
yet to be developed. The city of Coatesville never pursued using this
property instead of the Saha farm.
In addition, the city has entered into a conditional agreement of sale
for another 64 acres to be used for their project. Neither of these
properties (totaling 126 acres) were part of the initial plan.
Clearly Coatesville has had enough land to build their golf course. Still
the city continued their assault on the Saha’s family and insisted that their
property was needed for a “bigger plan”.
This “bigger plan” still remains undefined.