NOTE: Above see a snapshot timeline of the past 17 years of the 3rd Street bridge and dam project in Media Borough. Click the + buttons at the bottom of the timeline to expand it. Click on the boxes to see more details.
An earlier judge's ruling that the May 2011 three-way stipulation agreement regarding the 3rd Street Project be revoked, has been vacated or canceled out by another set of judges this week, according to court documents.
Now, a court will decide if Media Borough is in contempt of court for not following that 2011 stipulation agreement.
Confused? Well it has been 17 years, let's review.
The May 2011 stipulation agreement did not answer the question of "who owns the dam," but it did move the project forward and secured funding for its replacement. Media Borough was responsible for the repairs to the road while Delaware County and Broomall's Lake Country Club (BLCC) were to maintain the dam once the repairs were made.
Media Borough residents and council were then divided on whether to reopen the roadway at all, after it had been closed since 1996.
But in May 2012, Media Borough Council voted 5-2 in favor of notifying the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that the direction of the 3rd Street Project be to replace the existing dam with another dam structure that has both a vehicular and pedestrian component, which was required in order to be consistent with the three-way stipulation agreement from the year prior.
In September 2012, Media Borough Council then voted 4-3 in favor of a one-lane, one-way roadway across the dam.
Following the September 2012 vote, BLCC filed a contempt of court petition against the borough saying it was in violation of the three-way stipulation agreement to "re-establish" the roadway as it was, which was a two-lane, two-way roadway. Borough council responded with its own court filings.
Instead of ruling on the contempt of court filing, in February 2013, Common Pleas Court Judge James Proud ruled "sua sponte" (meaning on his own) that the May 2011 stipulation agreement be revoked, saying the parties disagree on the language used in the agreement—specifically the meaning of "re-establishing" the bridge—and disagree on how to move forward with repairs.
Now, the newest court ruling made on Dec. 9, vacates Proud's February ruling, which had revoked the stipulation agreement.
So, after almost a year, we're once again back where we started (and last February, when Proud originally ruled, we had been back where we started too).
What Happens Next?
Now that the three-way stipulation agreement is back in play, the courts will next rule on BLCC's September 2012 contempt of court filing against the borough or a settlement among the parties could be made, according to court documents and Eugene Bonner, the attorney representing BLCC.
Is the borough in violation of the stipulation agreement that says it must "re-establish" 3rd Street, if it constructs a one-lane, one-way roadway?
There's no word yet as to when the contempt of court proceedings will continue, Bonner said.