sigh…..more drama in the hinterlands

On the news today they announced that the FBI has a new toll-free government corruption hotline.  The toll-free hotline number is 855-FBI-TIPS (855-324-8477). They did it for Philadelphia, but will accept tips for any municipalities and see where they lead.  File under food for thought. Not saying anything, not accusing anyone of anything, it is public information released today and I found it interesting.

Now onto other curiosities du jour:  quizzle me this: how does a property owner in Chester County not get notified at a potential zoning change they describe as “40 feet” from their front door?

Calling West Vincent, your slip is showing again.

The long and short of it is some chef wants to open a BYOB.  Not only is there residential to be considered, but it is in a school zone too, apparently? Funny thing is people love quaint country BYOBs, but hey proper notification is key, correct?

Now I have a resident’s permission to post this drama in a country beat, but I am afraid they will be retaliated against for speaking up, let alone speaking to a blogger. And well this blogger hopes that West Vincent shows some style here and just tidies up their mess in a legitimate, above board, sunshine-friendly fashion, ok?

So this nice guy named Kevin Miller is a little upset.  Mostly because he says he never received a written notice of this proposed use and how is that possible?  Was it just an innocent oops that they skipped notifying this property owner? Wasn’t anything posted at the property in question for people to see?  Are there innocent oopsie daisies in West Vincent?  If only a couple of properties within this little stretch were being zoned commercial is that spot zoning?  (I am not a planner or land use specialist or zoning guru, so I am just asking.)

Here is the e-mail this nice man sent to his supervisors:

————————-email to claire quinn and kenneth miller—–

I am the property owner next to Elaine’s flower shop ([HOUSE NUMBER REDACTED] Conestoga rd.).  Last week a neighbor informed me that there was a planning commission meeting in which a proposed change to the zoning map was being considered that included my property.   Apparently Elaine Horton is attempting to sell her barn to a person who wishes to open a BYOB restaurant 40 feet from my house.

I must say that when I attended this meeting to express deep concern over this, I was even more shocked that apparently, this was pretty much mapped out and set to be approved by the planning commission.  Maybe I am naïve in not randomly checking the West Vincent website to see if someone’s trying to rezone my house, but I’m beyond shocked that no one from the township made any effort whatsoever to communicate this to me, in any form.

The concerns I expressed to the planning commission were as follows:

  1.  You’re basically approving to open a BYOB restaurant in a school zone – directly across the street from an elementary school.
  2. I assume this restaurant will be open at night?  Which mean I and my family with 3 small children will have to deals with parking lot lights, noise…etc at night now?
  3. The proposed map was basically spot zoning by skipping over the property at 2735 and its frontage
  4. Concern over the viability of a restaurant in a less-than-optimal retail location given the amount of construction work it would take to get the building up to code.

Fortunately, it appears the planning commission at least paused on approving this until November.  I and a number of neighbors in the immediate area think the idea of a restaurant at this location is bad in many ways.  I’ve communicated my concern over a BYOB restaurant, which will be open during school hours, to the West Vincent PTA and the initial reaction from them was what I would classify as quit negative.

I did not email you today to complain about a proposed restaurant next to my house because frankly, the notion of changing that bat-ridden barn in a place where is food is served is laughable.  What I am taking issue with is the simple fact that the township knowingly made zero effort to communicate with me that you were you going to re-zone my house.

Thankfully, and unlike  elected officials, my neighbors cared enough to bring this to my attention.

I would like an explanation as to why the township made no effort to communicate with  me on  this.   I received multiple communications about the proposed sidewalk from Jim Wendleglass and that’s not even close to happening from what I understand.  My house was basically mapped out with Elaine’s to be spot zoned commercial!  The fact that I didn’t know about this is nuts.

Here is the e-mail that Kevin Miller sent to me that his wife got from the real estate agent when she inquired about the property:

Hi – Unfortunately, there was no attachment indicating which listing you are referring to but it might be the florist business located on RT. 401 called “Elaine’s Flowers”. It has a commercial variance for a gift shop relating to the floral business. There are many uses under the current zoning. Currently, an offer is on the table regarding an organic restaurant. West Vincent is discussing change a “block” of parcels into a commercial district. We are currently involved in those meetings. Please call me at (610) 952-3600.

Barb Kondrath

So this involves Elaine’s Flowers.  Now interestingly enough I found a Prudential Page about this address.

Seems to me that West Vincent has done everyone a disservice here and put backs up all the way around, yes? These things are ALWAYS 100% worse when municipalities don’t take the little steps to ensure comfort, yes?

See PDFs of WVT documents: 001, 2, 3 (incidentally these were NOT sent to me by the potentially affected resident.) I guess they are applicable here?

It is indeed a shame that it appears that West Vincent has screwed a lot of stuff up for a lot of people? I mean don’t you also feel sorry for this woman trying to sell her florist shop?

barn moments

So yesterday I was out at the Smithfield Barn poking around (they are open this weekend including today), and I put my purse down to look at a small gate leg table. (I love gate leg tables).  As I put my bag down, I noticed the other people milling about.

There was this amusing pair of babes from South Jersey with matching blonde hair and “country-style” attire who cracked me up.  I am guessing this was a big outing in the “country” for them. They were obviously wearing their “picking” clothes and matching boots. Kind of the types of women I would jack the prices by 30% on if I had to deal with them. (No I am not a curmudgeon, just somewhat intolerant of phonies.)

Anyway,  I had put my  bag down next to me as I examined the table(did not want it to swing off my shoulder and break something)  and one woman says to the other woman “look she even has a Coach bag here for sale” and picks it up! She seriously started to walk away with my purse in her hand. So I said to her “Excuse me? That’s my pocketbook”  The woman just sort of looked at me. Blankly.

I guess I missed the memo where a pickers’ barn also contains designer handbags of the twenty-first century…

Other things of note about yesterday’s barn experience?  The people who bring children who behave like wild indians inside and outside.

I mean, wow, really?  If I had acted like that when I was a kid, my parents would have locked me up for decades.  The barn is loaded with all sorts of things, including toys, yes, but it doesn’t mean they are running a baby-sitting or child entertainment service.  This barn is full of someone else’s property that is for sale, and the prices are good because for the most part people try to respect the barn.

But I will tell you what, if people with kids don’t try to respect the barn a little more and control their kids from just tearing through stuff more things are going to get broken or damaged and then the prices won’t be so picker friendly.

Maybe it isn’t my place to comment on the children of other people, but sometimes you just have to shake your head in wonderment at the little savages of it all.

So yes, the people watching and picking is fine indeed this weekend at the Smithfield Barn.



thinking blogging thoughts….

A word about blogging.  I have noticed some people take themselves waaaay too seriously about it.  A member of a group I am part of asked how many times a day people posted.  The answers went back and forth and back and forth. One person kind of put me off with a comment that they “have a business to run” so they only post in “x” manner.

Wow? Really? Does that mean my time is not valuable or I am a lousy blogger because I post when the spirit moves me?  Usually I post here or the breast cancer blog. Sometimes I still blog over at Save Ardmore Coalition.  But only when I feel I have something to say or add.

I think that is the best way to blog.  If you are a true writer and student of life, you will always find things to write about.  I think that keeps the content more real and readable too.   Blogs are ultimately the discretion of the writer/creator and if you are going to blog, in part you have to listen to your inner voice.

What moves you?

What inspires you?

What do you want to talk about?

Mind you I say this as someone who has been at this for years.  Maybe my way doesn’t work for others.  But it works for me,  and I have the readership and followers to prove it.

However, my last word is this:  I blog first and foremost for myself.  I do not ever blog to merely please an audience.  I appreciate my audience, do not misunderstand me, but writing is something I do indeed do for myself first, because much like photography it brings me pleasure and personal satisfaction.

Blogging is pretty mainstream now and quite individualistic I think.  I do not think there is a right way or a wrong way as long as you are being responsible.  Of course, depending upon the topic responsible is somewhat subjective, isn’t it? But that is a broader topic for another day.

chestercountyramblings….the photography book

This labor of love is finally finished! It was hard to choose which photos made the cut for my first photography book devoted entirely to the beauty of Chester County! I hope you all order LOTS of copies, and enjoy each and every one! This book, like my other photography books makes a great gift for yourself or for someone else! The book is available in soft cover, image wrap, or hard cover.

Also available in E-book! JUST FOLLOW THIS LINK