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After a Wednesday night meeting between legal counsel for West Vincent Township and the Ludwig's Corner Horse Show board. The Supervisors voted today, Friday, to rescind the resolution authorizing condemnation proceedings for the horse grounds.
It appears the Township is still interested in the property, and has asked the Horse Show for, among other requests, a right of first refusal on any sale in the future.
West Vincent Supervisors to Meet with Horse Show Board, but Refuse to Rescind Condemnation.
Dec. 13, 2011 -
Nearly 300 supporters of the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show turned out on Monday night to voice displeasure with West Vincent Township Supervisors. The crowd wanted action, specifically a vote on the rescission of the Township resolution to take the horse show grounds through the use of eminent domain. Some in the crowd held signs which read, “Rescind or Resign.” However, despite the large turnout and lengthy public comment on the matter, the Supervisors told the crowd that no vote on rescission would occur. Instead, the supervisors stated that a meeting with the board of the Horse Show would occur on Wednesday. More information available here.
With the way things are going do not count on a quick resolution of this matter, and prolonged litigation may be inevitable. If the Township Supervisors pressed forward with eminent domain now, hoping to acquire the land at a bargain because of a depressed real estate market. They may have miscalculated. Extended litigation on the matter could eat into any potential savings, and it may cost more in the end.
In a related matter, Township Supervisor Clare Quinn was fired as executive director of the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, according to reports the firing was because of, “a fundamental conflict with the trust’s long-standing mission of voluntary land conservation.”
UPDATED Dec. 7, 2011
The friends and supporters of the Ludwig's Corner Horse Show are encouraging people to attend the December 12, 2011 supervisors' meeting at the West Vincent Township Building. The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Two of the supervisors have reportedly committed to supporting the rescission of the resolution calling for the initiation of condemnation proceedings on the horse show grounds, which passed at a previous meeting.
Dec. 6, 2011
The West Vincent Township Supervisors’ Meeting Monday night was attended by nearly 100 members of the equine community opposed to the Township’s plan to use the power of eminent domain to condemn the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds and turn it into a township park. The supervisors told the crowd that they would vote on rescinding the condemnation resolution issued last week at a future meeting, to be held at a larger venue to accommodate the large number of attendees expected. The supervisors said that they didn’t vote on whether to rescind the resolution Monday because one of the Supervisors, Ken Miller, was not in attendance.
It looks like the Township will move to eventually purchase the horse show grounds one way or the other, regardless of the supervisors’ vote. The issue is really only whether the township will negotiate the purchase with the property owner directly, or will use eminent domain to take the property. Challenging condemnation based on eminent domain is difficult, particularly where the government seeks the property for a public use, but the Property Rights Protection Act limits the government’s ability to condemn property for private business. It is unclear whether the taking of Ludwig’s Corner would implicate the private business limitations. The township’s press release states that they will use the property for a public park to fulfill the vision of, “a compact, walkable, traditional village center containing a blend of municipal, commercial and residential uses.” The more likely point of contention will be the value of just compensation for the property taken. If the township doesn’t make a deal with the Ludwig’s Corner owners directly, the issue of compensation will be settled in court.
December 2, 2011 – Yesterday evening West Vincent Township supervisors announced the township’s plan to condemn the 33 acre facility owned and operated by the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Association (LCHSA). The township says that it plans to turn the grounds into a township park, using some of the property for playing fields for youth sports. However, the township says that it wants to maintain the equine facility and will work with the LCHSA to continue the annual horse show and other equine activities. Some LCHSA supporters are upset about the township’s discussion, so there may be a legal battle ahead. These are developing issues, and we’ll try to keep you informed about the legal issues implicated.
See the West Vincent Township press release here.
Follow the story with The Mercury, here.
Milt Toby, over at Horses and the Law, posted recently about State regulation of horse sales, check it out here.
In Pennsylvania there is no state level regulation of horse sales, so buyers and sellers need to protect themselves. This means that a written agreement should be used in every sale.
Unfortunately, this is often not the case.
Many, if not most, sales of horses are done without any documentation.
Could you ever imagine going to a car dealership and buying a car without having to sign anything? Many horses cost as much or more than a new car, and the maintenance is far more expensive. But people continue to conduct these transactions without a written agreement.
Sometimes the only documentation is for breed registration. The document doesn't talk about the price paid, whether there was a vet check, or whether the seller made any representations regarding the horse's condition or experience. These are important issues to address, for both parties. Buyers want to be sure they are getting what they paid for. And, Sellers want to be sure that a Buyer won't come back later demanding thier money back. Both of these scenarios can lead to litigation, which is costly for everyone. A written agreement that helps to make sure everyone is on the same page, is a good investment for both sides.
Whether and how well a State's equine liability law protects you depends greatly on the state you are in. Some states offer significant protection (like NJ), others (PA) not so much. Now the law that applys to you. Make sure you comply every requirement. Have a good assmption of risk and release of liability. Get the right insurance. And, make safety a priority.