just dumb

truck 2This morning if you were on 352 at the underpass in Frazer you got to witness yet another truck driver get stuck. And it wasn’t some guy renting a box truck from U-Haul or Budget or Penske for the first time, it was a regular truck driver in a huge truck hauling a load – in other words this isn’t in my opinion to be filed under beginner’s bad luck.

Every time I see something like this happen I marvel at how these trucks and people driving them don’t seem to know how big they are by themselves and if they are carrying a big load, how tall they are in relationship to a tunnel or underpass.  And if they do know how big and tall they are they see the height sign for an underpass that would indicate to a sensible person they might get stuck, why they don’t stop and turn around?

Around 10 am this morning a giant truck hauling giant metal cube things decided height restrictions were for other people at the Route 352 underpass in Frazer.

truck 1

We were in a line of traffic waiting on the Immaculata side of the underpass and we sat and watched the truck approach.  The driver stopped at first as if giving it a good look and then he proceeded.  And got stuck.  The truck stopped.  Then remarkably it tried to go forward as if that would make it better.  Only he wasn’t hauling puffy rubber or foam that would bend, he was hauling these giant metal boxes with what looked like vents cut into them. So he got more stuck.

Finally he stopped trying to go forward and instead started to back up.  Of course it being 352 there was traffic up the rear of the truck but they started to back up and after many minutes of all of us on the road collectively holding our breath, the truck was able to get unstuck and out from underneath the underpass.

I just don’t understand how these trucks think they are going to fit if they are too tall and big going into the scenario?

Here’s hoping Amtrak checked the bridge after.  Every time there is a stuck truck or a hit they are supposed to check the bridge.

cool preservation news

ChesLen Preserve - Courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

ChesLen Preserve – Courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

The Natural Lands Trust is a very big deal in the realm of conservation, land preservation and stewardship and they do a lot of very cool stuff.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the list of preserves you can visit and a few are right here in Chester County!

Today I am focused on the ChesLen Preserve they manage – it is on 1199 Cannery Road in Coatesville. At over 1200 acres in this location is one of the largest private nature preserves in Southeastern PA.  Part of it has been designated a wild plant sanctuary too!

Through the generosity of the Lenfest family they have recently completed building  a beautiful center on site dedicated to the preserve and the community.   The Lenfest Center will provide offices and maintenance facilities for the preserve’s management staff, as well as gathering spaces for visitors, volunteers, and local community groups. It opens with an event and dedication on the evening of Saturday, June 15th (see below) and there is a community day on Sunday June 16th .

cheslen (2)

This to me is something truly exciting because land conservation is a tricky business – lots of people say they want to do it and few groups do it as well and as diligently and consistently at the Natural Lands Trust.

The Saturday evening event is also a fundraiser.  This will be festive evening of drinks, local farm-inspired edibles, and music will support their ChesLen Preserve-based efforts to save land, steward natural resources, and connect people to nature. Tickets start at $150.

The Sunday Community Day will be open to the public from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature  building tours, preserve walks, refreshments, and activities for the whole family! This event is free, but if you can I would suggest making a small donation that day if you attend.

 

everyone wants to be in the farmers market business

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UPDATE June 5th, 2013 11:45 A.M.

The following was posted on the West Vincent Farmers Market page on Facebook this morning:

WVFM

Look I don’t want to split hairs, and I will preface my comments AGAIN with the statement that I am a HUGE fan of farmers markets.

As per what I heard from people who went to the West Vincent township meeting on Monday they need a zoning variance from Upper Uwchlan because although West Vincent owns the land it is in that Upper Uwchlan township and if that is true why not just tell people they need a zoning variance?  It happens. 

And for what it is worth I have followed a number of farmers markets which have opened over the past few years and what I saw is those markets had all their permits and whatnot in order BEFORE any agreements were reached with a municipality or firm market dates were announced. Not trying to split hairs but I have observed this process with this market and between the dust up of whomever was posting on the Anselma page and this, I think it would be helpful if they just slowed down and did things correctly and I would further suggest if they do indeed need a zoning variance that they tell people when Upper Uwchlan is meeting on that so they can take their market supporters to that meeting. 

Also if they are going to be a market governed by a non-profit status they should post that and the type of non-profit (501c3 or whatever). 

And a special message to those upset by this post: I did not create this controversy, have merely commented on it as is my right.  I am a big fan of farmers markets and an even bigger fan of doing things the right way. I am sorry if that upsets you.

The Daily Local covered this too:

Fate of farmers’ market remains unsettled

BEFORE:

UPDATE 9:07 PM – I was messaged by an attendee to the West Vincent meeting:

ken (miller) says he will not participate….the township taxpayers are footing the bills so far…ken (miller) says that the farmers market people will have to apply for a variance

Explain to me again how West Vincent can approve a farmers market on land it  owns in another municipality? Do they have magical zoning exception super powers or something? So they are saying that they passed the agreement only and per the agreement it is up to the farmers market people to get the required permits? Wonder if they will be using the West Vincent Township  lawyers and who will pay for that? And apparently old Claire Health Insurance Quinn said  the township is not charging any rent because it is for sustainability? Well I guess she gets a free ride so Lady Godiva over there thinks everyone else should too?   A very bizarro world over there in West Vincent…

EARLIER:

Who knew?  I plopped up a post about food drama, err farmers market drama. It was about the newly minted but yet to be held or approved West Vincent Farmers Market.  And apparently the location was partially in Upper Uwchlan?  Neat trick that, huh?

Well needless to say even Chickenman was interested…something about needing 10 acres total to have this market and needing 2 acres from Upper Uwchlan because they have 8 acres?  But then the market would actually be on the 2 acres in Upper Uwchlan but they would call it West Vincent because the balance West Vincent land wasn’t conducive to a market by topography or something and West Vincent owns this land in a neighboring municipality? I guess this is new math and I should get out my abacus? Or magic wand?

So I got a comment  (see below) from someone who told me to speak to these Cantrell people.  I dug around and discovered she does business with them – web design.  She is sticking up for her friends, that’s cool.  And I think Maysie’s Farm is a great idea anyway.  I know nothing about Cucina Verde. But this commenter also did not understand that I had no issue with these Cantrell people per se, what I took issue with was the apparent round the back door approach by West Vincent if that makes sense?  She also made some remark about it being difficult to get a township to pass something that doesn’t directly benefit town board members and ouchies my dear that is what a conflict of interest is, is it not?

And we all hear that West Vincent Supervisor Ken Miller’s farm would be a producer so how is that something free from errr, conflict of interest?  I mean it is entirely up to these market folks if Farmer Miller’s Farm is part of this thing, but if that is to be the case a recusal is in order n’est–ce pas?

wv market1

Now apparently the plot thickens.  Sources tell me that some folks made inquiries to Upper Uwchlan Township regarding this market and their role.  Apparently Upper Uwchlan has not agreed to any market?  Something about no permit was issued and that if West Vincent wanted a permit they would have to obtain a zoning variance?  This rural zoning is all a bit fuzzy to me but it is something to do with if you want a farmers market the stuff has to be grown on the property on which you are holding the market? And as one resident quipped today what farm in Upper Uwchlan grows silver jewelry and Washington State sea glass? And I am told this info came from the township manager Cary Vargo? Apparently Upper Uwchlan sent an e-mail to West Vincent to be followed up by a letter? Anyone have that letter in their hot little hands yet?

What I do have that is MOST interesting is the market contract between West Vincent Township and the homeless and yet to be West Vincent Farmers Market.  (see LICENSEAGREEMENT WVFM )

This is not my first rodeo and I know a little about getting these markets established in new municipalities.  Who the heck does a market agreement before there is a set location and public consensus???

Other things in addition to the fact that this indeed seems to be the Cantrell Market after all  (“West Vincent Farmers Market Association, an unincorporated association whose address is  Maysie’s Farm Conservation Center” ) is they proposed hours every Wednesday between 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Call me crazy but most markets are umm 3 maybe 4 hours. And this event counts as a special event in my mind so where is their event insurance? And what up with a license fee of $1.00?  Is that all the municipality will make?  What are the fees and what not involved?  Will taxes be collected for both municipalities or just one?  And how is it West Vincent is licensing land in Upper Uwchlan to a farmers market anyway? So is this a non-profit run market then?  (I have asked the question regarding non-profit status and Maysie’s farm before.)

So I am guessing this West Vincent meeting could be interesting this evening?  Here is hoping lots of people go.  And just so we are CRYSTAL CLEAR, I am not and never will be anti-farmers market – I love them.  What I don’t like is things that are not done properly.  West Vincent is such a beautiful place so why is it everything that this local government touches such a mess?

If I was a betting person I would say  Supervisor Miller wants to sign the agreement tonight unless someone makes a fuss, yes?  In addition what do you want to bet that West Vincent applies to Upper Uwchlan lickety split for a zoning hearing date? Also what do you want to bet that this hinky market will open pending the outcome of the Upper Uwchlan Zoning Hearing Board decision? And why is it in every other municipality the zoning is generally done before something new begins?

And a little history I find amusing here.  Didn’t West Vincent  shut down Pearl’s Market for zoning at Route 100 and Horseshoe Trail?  Pearl’s is now on or near Little Conestoga Road in Upper Uwchlan isn’t it?  Amusing irony is it not?
I swear the drama in the warped Mayberry known as West Vincent is like no other….

farmers markets = drama? in west vincent no less?

DSC_0210And I thought the drama surrounding farmers markets in my part of Chester County was enough.

Apparently not…..

Now there is more farmers market drama.  But what did I suspect? Or expect if it involves West Vincent Township? Shall we just call it Miller’s Market to go with the Miller Towers in Miller Township and be done with it?  Why in addition do the names Ann Marie Butera Cantrell and Sam Cantrell of Maysie’s Farm keep cropping up?  Are they the movers and the shakers who are behind the move to West Vincent from Anselma Mill? Is the Anselma Mill Market really moving from Anselma Mill to West Vincent or is the Anselma Market closing and another market opening in West Vincent? Are you able to track this because I am sure having a hard time….

So the drama with this market started when fans of the Anselma Mill’s Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market page on Facebook started seeing posts about that market closing and becoming the West Vincent Farmers Market.

Anselma on FB2

Anselma on FB3

Anselma on FB

It has been a veritable who’s on first scenario.  What is it about West Vincent that they can even (apparently) screw up a farmers market?  I love farmers markets and they are an awesome addition to communities but you have to do things properly.

wv market 1

wv market2

wv market3

wv market4

And what is the craziest thing of all with this farmers market?  How about that the land proposed to be used might actually be in Upper Uwchlan Township?  So if so, has there been a meeting there?

Who is sponsoring this market?  Is it a local municipality?  Is it a non-profit farmers’ cooperative, and if so are they registered as a non-profit? Or is it a for profit business model, and if so who is it and will they be paying the right taxes and fees, etc?  Who will be responsible to the citizens of West Vincent (or Upper Uwchlan) in cleaning up the market? It is a little hinky on parking, so where will people park?

And who the heck ANNOUNCES a market as in signs, Facebook pages and so on and so forth that has not formerly been approved?  I mean what kind of amateur hour romper room antics is this? That just makes people resent something that should equal a pleasant experience, and of course that lends itself to asking again who exactly is doing this market?  And if it is a producers market that means all farmers have to grow what they sell right?

Seems to me there are a lot of questions and that this is something yet again that West Vincent is doing in a slap dash backroom deal kind of way, doesn’t it?  Is there actual permission in tangible form from Upper Uwhclan? And why was the legal notice SO LAST MINUTE?   Does the legal notice mean there is not quite the proper zoning for such an enterprise and if so who announces a farmers market with signs and Facebook pages if they don’t have the zoning in place?

What a shame is what I say.  Farmers Markets are awesome for local economies…but when you don’t do things the right way, can it be said everyone suffers?

Farmers Market drama is so unnecessary.  Sigh…Bravo could add a new series to their reality TV roster: “The Real Farmers Markets of Chester County“….

Here is what Chickenman has to say:

Hi

West Vincent Township has been actively working to bring a Farmer’s Market to the township’s Andrew Evans Park.  Local farmer Sam Cantrell came to a township meeting on March 11, 2013 to request the use of the Township property.

 

http://www.westvincenttwp.org/images/Minutes/BOS%20Minutes%20031113.pdf 

 

This was done under new business, not public comment on non-agenda items but not published on the agenda:

 

http://www.westvincenttwp.org/images/docs/031113%20Agenda.pdf 

 

 

It was further discussed under Public Comment on April 8, 2013:

 

http://www.westvincenttwp.org/images/Minutes/BOS%20Minutes%2004-08-13.pdf

There was a question pertaining to the park property being eased against commercial activity and Clare Quinn stated that there is no easement. It was supposed to be eased as part of the DONATION to the Township, but it was never done. While Clare Quinn answered truthfully, the Township did indeed adopt a resolution AGAINST commercial activity on the property that stands today.

The township eventually elected against using most of the park, but there is just over 2 acres next to Rte 401 that the township purchased from Newt Evans and is allegedly not part of the resolution. The part of the park is actually located in UPPER UWCHLAN TOWNSHIP. There are some improvements that need to be made. In the last couple weeks, a pipe was installed in order to cross a drainage swale. Surveyors have been hustling around the location in the last week. I see signs have been popping up.

 

 

This operation has NOT YET BEEN APPROVED. Who is paying for these improvements? You are. Sustainability is a buzzword in West Vincent Township. Does Sustainability mean that the taxpayer need to underwrite the expenses of the local farmers?

 

Wait! It will be more than Farmers. It may be crafters, also. Here is the Farmer’s Market Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WestVincentFarmersMarket  this operation is required to be approved by the township of Upper Uwchlan and according to the video, a permit was issued (according to Ken Miller), against the zoning of Upper Uwchlan Township. Is Upper Uwchlan is starting to become like West Vincent by ignoring their laws? Did they really issue a permit? Here is the pertinent section of the West Vincent Township meeting about the Farmer’s Market:

Pt 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRByEhLGzVU&feature=youtu.be

Pt 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD5nx8BAWZM&feature=youtu.be

I urge everyone to watch these videos.  In Part 1, resident Frances Ellis points out that the use does not meet the criteria set forth in Upper Uwchlan zoning. In Part 2, Ken Miller is anxious to vote on this issue. The issue is discussed as if it has already been approved. Ken Miller becomes very upset when counsel advises against voting on the Farmer’s Market. It sure seems like this is a done deal, in the face of questioning that this clearly does not meet Upper Uwchlan Zoning.

What is the rush? Ken Miller needs a new outlet for his goods? This is his chance to move into a Farmer’s Market at no or little cost, at least to him. There will be plenty of cost to the township taxpayer as this moves forward. I am not against a Farmer’s Market, I think they are great. But it has to be a legal operation. Pearl’s Farm Market was shut down years ago because it’s location on Rte. 100 at Horseshoe Trail did not meet zoning.

 

Additionally,  why does the government (the taxpayer) have to finance someone else’s business? Rent the property, cover the expenses for ALL the improvements and costs. I have not seen any township video discussing how the township expenses are going to be covered. Better yet, do it on private property, where the rental income can be taxed, which supports the government operations.

There is a special township meeting currently advertised for Monday night, June 3 at 8:00 pm, (see attached), to vote on the Farmer’s Market. If you want to find out what the meeting is about, or just wish to be aware of what’s happening, you should attend.  But I bet I know how it will turn out.
wv market notice
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Best wishes

Chickenman