Thursday, June 18, 2015
Open Space - Because the Rich Need Handouts, Too!
Wealth management specialist Michael Glovas, who advises rich people from his Morgan Stanley offices in Easton, has figured out a way to con the government into giving him a cool $319,970 and make his Williams Township estate (you can see his mansion above) all the more valuable. All he has to do is grant a "conservation easement" and the gummint will fall all over themselves to write him a check. Since none of the land around him will be developed, that will make his remaining property all the more valuable.
Believe it or not, this obscene scheme to help a rich guy become richer is on the agenda at tonight's meeting of Northampton County Council. The Open Space Advisory Board voted unanimously to support this nonsense, mostly because it is packed it is packed with environmentalists, one of whom actually lives on a property that the County paid to preserve.
Glovas' property, located at 590 Browns Drive, is already the beneficiary of preferential tax treatment. One of his two tracts, consisting of 32 acres, is only assessed at $22,400. The other parcel, which includes 40 acres and the mansion, is only assessed at $200,500.
Instead of mere tax breaks, Glovas now wants the government to write him a check. My guess is that they will, too. Last year, in a 5-4 vote, they bailed out failed golf course developer Alexander Patullo in Lower Saucon Township. He ended up getting $1.775 million from various government sources for a golf course he allowed to go to hell.
That bail-out was opposed by Republicans Mat Benol, Glenn Geissinger, Hayden Phillips and Seth Vaughn. But Democrats and Peg Ferraro voted for it. Scott Parsons called it a "no-brainer," although to me, it was pretty lame-brained. Scott has often been the voice of reason on Council, but this is a perversion of open space. Nobody who supported that referendum expected to see it used as a welfare tool for the wealthy.
The reason environments are frothing at the mouth over the Glovas tracts is because they are in what they call the Hexenkopf Slope and Rock areas. But that's nonsense. Instead of being a steep slope, this is a lowland located exactly one mile from the Delaware River.
The whole point of open space is to protect land from being gobbled up by developers. No rich man with an estate and gigantic mansion is ever going to allow the dirty unwashed masses anywhere near him. That land will never be developed. This is nothing more than a scheme in which he can grab a few more bucks from the government so he can buy a few more country club memberships.
This really needs to be rejected.
There also needs to be a concerted effort to get people on the Open Space Advisory Board who will see through these welfare handouts to the wealthy.
Glovas won't even have to take a piss test for this dough.