file under malvern borough does damage control?

malvernHow funny! This blog has “arrived” I suppose in Malvern Borough given the very amusing comment under the article I am about to post.

The article is about Malvern Borough and I presume the Malvern Business Association and borough is doing damage control in light of growing community discussion (including on this blog) on development in Malvern Borough. The article is authored by a writer whom I deeply respect, but I still find the article to be a little obvious on the part of the borough.

MalvernResident Comment1

“Certain blogs”? How funny! I suppose that must be yours truly? Well the reality is I have been at this a long time and I do not deal in “misinformation”. And in the same vein, they want you to believe opinion is bad and opinion is misinformation. Which of course we all know as intelligent and rational human beings is simply not true.

I have never pretended to live in Malvern Borough. Truthfully, I would never live in the borough given the local government issues, which while they ebb and flow always seem to be a problem. And it is highly insulting to say to people in neighboring communities in essence “all we care about is you coming to town and spending money. ” The reality is, none of us have to shop in Malvern Borough. There are some local merchants I try to support but if traffic and parking and development increase, I will go elsewhere. Life is too short.

As for developers? Can we put on the big kid pants for a moment? Developers develop to enhance their profit margins, not because they are secretly altruistic and love everybody to the moon and back. They build, take their profit, and move on. They aren’t “partners” in the community. However, not all developers are bad. I have some that I like. But I do not like what Eli Kahn has done. East Side is too big, too hulking and someone left a comment on my last post about fire trucks? Here (and I quote):

Mary Crawford on October 14, 2013 at 3:44 pm said:

It is my understanding that the fire department in Malvern is unable to service the building in the back as the trucks do not have access. Now the behemoth is in danger of burning faster due to lack of planning. Wasn’t Eli Kahn on the planning Commission? How can you not plan on a fire at some point? All hoses must come in through the front door or through the roof.

Now I know nothing of Eli Kahn and the planning commission, I thought he was part of the business association or something?

The horse is out of the barn on East Side flats and yes I think they are huge and hulking and lacking human scale. And yes I am saying that as a neighbor but not resident of Malvern Borough.

I think Malvern Borough sells itself short by allowing density and development that does not mesh with the small town character of low and old Main Street buildings and Victorian and other older homes on the side and connecting streets to King.

Yes it is my opinion that Malvern Borough should hit a pause button and see how East Side flats fare for a few years before committing to additional large-scale development. And yes I think they need to be more selective about infill development in general.

My opinions are based on research and what I have seen happen in other communities where local government wouldn’t listen to residents and where development has not only torn the communities asunder, it has not delivered the promised pathways of gold.

Azar Habib

The comment above is amusing too. This is the guy who decided on my last post that this little woman was going to see it his way or else. Towns and boroughs should not be hard to drive through. It hardly means that people want to go there, it only means that they can’t get through there….and no we don’t need another sprawl mall or series of big box stores, but what do you think goes hand in hand with those development-wise? And there is still no lack of blight in Malvern Borough. Parts of King around the Flying Pig are prime examples. And just building new buildings is not going to make pre-existing blight go away. But incentives aimed at business property owners might help. State grants for facades and sidewalks and whatever. Not much of that money is around but why not have State Reps and the State Senator seek things like that out?gables

There is this whole build it and they will come mentality. But what is it they are building and who is it who is coming and will they stay? Malvern is a SMALL town. How many apartments does it need, and will apartment dwellers really add to the long term tax base or will they just be more transients passing through?

The only way to decide this is to not grow all at once, but in stages. Which is why Malvern should try living with the hulking behemoth that is Eastside Flats and not rush to approve a 600+ unit Transit Oriented Development (“TOD”) project and other high density infill development.

And one other thing about this Malvern Business Association? Don’t they encompass OUTSIDE the borough too? Into Frazer? What are they thinking about the Route 30 business corridor in Frazer? With the landscape that is dotted with dangerously blighted and crumbling buildings? You know like the former Malvern Meetinghouse that is SO bad that East Whiteland is thinking of condemning it and there is speculation of homeless living in it? Or all the odd rental properties that house a lot of transient immigrant workers that look like they are ready to cave in on themselves the properties are so ill-kempt? Do they know about that sinkhole in the parking lot that appears and disappears where the Frazer Post Office and Nudy’s Café is?

I find it amusing that a couple of columns by Henry Briggs and a couple of blog posts and some limited public discussion has the PR machines revving up in Malvern Borough. Apparently a nerve has been struck I guess?

Anyway, I will keep on offering my opinion when and if the spirit moves me. My opinion is Malvern Borough is one hot mess now and all this development won’t improve it. And that is a shame. I still feel they should embrace their inner small town and work on improving what is already there. Especially since no one knows what Septa is doing. They could cut service past Paoli again, they have done it before.

But the mentality of everyone has to be OK with this is wrong. Everyone shouldn’t be ok with this. There needs to be meaningful community input and there hasn’t been. Just deals made between the Mayor, Borough Council and Developers. The only positive I see in this hot mess thus far is the addition of Kimberton Whole Foods and Christopher’s to the business district. Here’s hoping we’ll all be able to park and patronize them when they open.

At the end of the day I can’t see this from my window. Thank goodness. But I have seen what happens elsewhere, so I can tell you that if this all steamrolls ahead without thought and planning, Malvern Borough will end up hating what they created but will merely leave it for future generations to fix.

What happens in Malvern Borough will also affect OUTSIDE of the borough in neighboring municipalities.

Here is the article:

Malvern warming up to Eastside Flats

Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2013

By Caroline O’Halloran

Now that it’s finally taken shape, Malvern appears to be warming up to Eastside Flats, the mammoth mixed-use project on East King Street that has radically changed the face of the borough.

“The majority of people are excited, especially for the new retail coming to town,” said Malvern Mayor Jerry McGlone.

Public concerns about the $48 million, five-acre complex have mostly focused on traffic and parking, but “we worked with the developer to get that right,” McGlone said, “and the concerns seem to have disappeared.”

One level of a bi-level 330-space parking garage has been set aside for shoppers and a surface lot will hold 84 cars.

“Parking won’t be an issue,” promised David Della Porta, president of Cornerstone Communities, the project’s developer in partnership with Eli Kahn and Gary Toll….“It’s big; there’s no question about it,” said McGlone. “But they’ve done a nice job with the façade. And people forget how blighted the area was. To have a residential/retail complex like this is such a big improvement.”

Della Porta said he hasn’t heard any complaints. “If people don’t like what they’re seeing, they’re being polite and keeping it to themselves,” he said. “We’ve gotten more notes, calls and accolades on this project than for any other one we’ve been involved with.”

Pat Reeser, president of the Malvern Business and Professional Association, admits that local opinion has been mixed

Sigh….it’s all alrighty in Spin City….

4 thoughts on “file under malvern borough does damage control?

  1. I think what Azar means is towns are something to drive *to* not *through*. The town itself is a destination, not a transit for somewhere else. That means a populated, vibrant, and yes hard to drive in town is a successful one. Towns are for people not cars. If you don’t like it, live closer, walk, or take transit!

    • And here we go again. One word : dumb.

      If you all crave such urban surroundings why are you basically living in a small country town? Your arguments to my opinions don’t make much sense. As for the take public transit of it all – your argument continues to be flawed because all Septa talks about are cutbacks not growth.

      We’ll see who’s more right at the end of the day. I still believe it will be me.

      Towns are for people yes, but out here people need to drive cars. And they are going to continue to drive cars.

      When a municipality goes whole hog into the whole topic of “people don’t need cars to live here thing”, it is really because they have no solution for parking and traffic issues.

      • Malvern isn’t a small town, it’s part of a larger metropolitan area.

        Have you ever visited Europe? People there have cars. But they also, in metropolitan areas, orient themselves around trains. It’s a system that works well, is scalable, preserves open space and farmland, reduces pollution and regulates traffic. Do people drive in Europe? Yes of course, but they also have alternate options. We need to mature ourselves to a similar lifestyle.

      • Don’t condescend to me. Malvern Borough is not part of a larger metropolitan area. It is a small one horse town with a main street off the beaten path that did not even have a name or formal incorporation until the late 19th century, and that’s fine.

        Furthermore, in order to orient ourselves around a train system, we need one that consistently works. You can’t say that about Septa and Amtrak. If we were talking a transit system the caliber of the DC Metro system I might say you were not do far off base.

        Transit oriented development in PA is just a fairy tale spun by developers and those profiting from them. That includes whatever it is local yokel politicians get for looking the other way and approving plans that lack sound planning. The politicians in turn spin their own fairy tales about parking and traffic- the reality of course is this is just very dense and very unattractive infill development with no real or viable solutions to traffic or parking issues.

        We are not a European country with actual government controlled public transit and socialized medicine. And you can hardly compare giant US vehicles to smaller and often more practical European ones

        And the only Europeans I know that use public transit are the ones that are in the densely populated urban areas like major cities.

        I know you think I’m a rube who knows nothing, but I actually do have a brain and Malvern by it’s very history is what it is- and if borough officials were smart instead of silly, gullible, and quite possibly greedy they would enhance the small town of it all.

        I am endlessly amused about all of you like to spend countless time trying to change my mind of my opinion. Wow what a nerve I have hit

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