For Immediate Release
Cinda Waldbuesser, Senior Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, P: 215.327.2529
Park Advocates Move Forward With Legal Challenge to Ordinance Permitting Inappropriate Development in Valley Forge National Hist
PHILADELPHIA - Lower Providence residents and the nonprofit National Parks
Conservation Association (NPCA) yesterday followed the direction of the
federal court and moved forward in Montgomery County Court of Common
Pleas with their case to protect Valley Forge National Historical Park
(NHP) from inappropriate development. In addition, residents and the
National Parks Conservation Association filed an appeal of the federal
court decision not to hear the claims.
"While we respectfully disagree with Judge Brody's decision, we are
nevertheless taking steps to do as she said by moving forward with our
case in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas," said Cinda
Waldbuesser, Pennsylvania senior program manager. "We look forward to
showing the Court of Common Pleas that the ordinance is invalid."
Filed on December 1, 2008, with the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the lawsuit asserts that the
ordinance is preempted by federal law because it would interfere with
and undermine the National Park Service's role in managing Valley Forge
NHP. The suit also claims the zoning is unlawful under Pennsylvania
law as "spot zoning" because it permits development that is
inconsistent and incompatible with the neighboring national parkland
and other open space.
In her April 7, 2009, decision, Judge Brody did not decide the case
on its merits, but rather decided that the issue was a local matter and
not one the federal court should hear.
"Because we disagree with Judge Brody's decision that this is a
local matter, we are also appealing the decision to the U.S. Court of
Appeals in Philadelphia," said Waldbuesser. "Valley Forge is a
national icon belonging to all Americans, which must be protected for
our children and grandchildren to enjoy."
The historic land at risk is an area that was vital to the
Continental Army encampment during the winter of 1777-1778. The parcel
of land is almost totally surrounded by parkland, in a remote location
not easily accessible by visitors to the park. Moving forward with this
inappropriate development proposal would forever change the historic
character of Valley Forge. For additional information, please click here.
Since 1919, the nonpartisan, nonprofit National Parks Conservation
Association has been the leading voice of the American people in
protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA, its 325,000
members, and allies work together to protect the park system and
preserve our nation's natural, historical, and cultural heritage for
generations to come.
The National Parks Conservation Association and its co-plaintiffs
are represented in this lawsuit by the law firm of Arnold & Porter
NPCA is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System.