A Chester County township supervisor has lost her post as executive director of a local conservation group after she voted to seize the land of a popular horse show for public use.
The board of the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust voted unanimously to end its more-than-five-year relationship with West Vincent Township Supervisor Clare Quinn, said Cary Leptuck, the trust's board president.
"The board believes that Ms. Quinn's actions as a West Vincent Township supervisor in condemning the Ludwig's Corner Horse Show grounds represent a fundamental conflict with the trust's long-standing mission of voluntary land conservation," he said.
Quinn could not be reached for comment.
John Jacobs, president of the horse show organization, said he was not surprised by the firing.
"I can't take any pleasure from someone losing their job," he said. "But I do think she brought this on herself."
Leptuck called Quinn's termination unfortunate.
"We all feel badly," he said. "She's made huge contributions to our organization."
This month, Quinn was among the West Vincent supervisors who voted to seize the 33-acre horse show tract by eminent domain, a decision that prompted a widespread outcry that included two politicians, State Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman (D., Chester) and Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello.
The supervisors said they wanted to use the land for a park and ball fields. The horse show could use it as well, they said, but those affiliated with the show questioned the feasibility of that arrangement.
The conservation trust passed a resolution on Dec. 3, "opposing condemnation as a means of land preservation and community access." After that, Leptuck said the board took another week to gather information about whether Quinn's actions represented "a conflict of principles."
In the meantime, Quinn, joined by Supervisor Zoe Perkins, a cofounder and chairwoman of the West Vincent Land Trust, said the supervisors would vote on whether "to rescind the condemnation" when all three members could participate. That vote has yet to be scheduled.
Leptuck said Quinn never told the board she might reverse her position on the condemnation. He said the trust had offered to help broker a compromise between the township and the Ludwig's Corner Horse Show Association "to preserve this valuable community resource."
In 1943, five families pooled their properties to create the Ludwig's Corner Horse Show, a nonprofit organization whose signature event is a family-oriented Labor Day show that attracts thousands each year.
Jacobs said his group has never considered selling the property but would be "delighted" if the township purchased the development rights. That income would help the Horse Show create a self-funded endowment and would ensure that the property was protected and well-maintained, he said.
He said he was troubled by the fact that the township wanted to "negotiate before rescinding the condemnation vote." He said a meeting between the horse show officials and the supervisors was scheduled for Wednesday.
"I keep thinking there's information they haven't shared with us," he said.