the grinch must live in upper uwchlan township


Folks I bring you sad Christmas tidings. Upper Uwchlan Township is trying to close down a place near and dear to many of our hearts.

Incredibly, Upper Uwchlan is trying to shut down the SMITHFIELD BARN.

On so many levels, this is a big bag of wrong. From a practical standpoint, where will half of the township employees shop if they close down the barn? Most of them are customers are they not?

The owner of the Smithfield Farm property prior to the Smith family tenure operated some sort of an antique store and often sold things out of the barn. So it’s nothing new. And the sales that go on there are glorified garage sales are not an everyday thing.

At first my friends were told that there were some sort of neighborhood complaints. So the Smith family did what concerned neighbors naturally do: they went door-to-door asking if they have somehow upset a neighbor.

I don’t know for a fact, because I haven’t done one, but I bet a freedom of information act request would turn up what exactly ? My opinion is not much.

What I wonder about quite honestly is the Toll Brothers project pending next-door to the barn property the crosses Little Conestoga Road as well.

Somebody somewhere told me that some kind of turtles were found on the property the developer had purchased, so if environmentalists are aware of that, wouldn’t that mean that project might be scaled-back?

So I have to ask the question: does this sudden desire to shut down the occasional barn sales they have ignored for so long have anything to do with a developer? That would be a real shame if it did wouldn’t it?

I assume all will be made clear eventually, but this now means the perfectly nice family is going to have to retain help to save their barn. Can I count on all of you out there to help? Can you please contact every supervisor and go to local meetings coming up? Call reporters you know?

Are they going to outlaw yard sales in this township next?

Please help save the barn!

Upper Uwchlan just became as bad as West Vincent in my book with this.

In Malvern borough they tossed some bums out with that writing campaign this past election season, maybe it’s time to consider that here as well do you think?

Barn sales and yard sales are part of Chester County life and a lot of fun. You should be allowed to continue. And this is a very nice family that I feel is being victimized by local government most unfairly.

Upper Uwchlan

Guy A. Donatelli
Chairperson 78 Stonehedge Drive Glenmoore, PA 19343

Catherine A. Tomlinson
Vice-Chairperson 788 North Reeds Road Downingtown, PA 19335

Kevin C. Kerr
16 Heron Hill Drive Downingtown, PA 19335

140 Pottstown Pike
Chester Springs, PA 19425
Phone: (610) 458-9400
Fax: (610) 458-0307

Cary Vargo Township Manager
(610) 646-7008


19 thoughts on “the grinch must live in upper uwchlan township

  1. WHAT??!! This cannot happen — ‘Save Smithfield Barn’ … is on! So, do you know what the current status is — do you know if it’s on the Board of Supervisors agenda for the next meeting? I’m currently in Puerto Rico but will return on January 1 and we will be available to do whatever I and Community Matters can do to help. This just cannot happen :(.

    • The problem is no one really knows anything. It is not on any agenda yet that anyone has seen. No one actually sure with the actual complaint if one actually exists is. I was told a freedom of information act request turned up pretty much nothing and isn’t that weird if there supposedly a problem? It’s all very nebulous and with Toll Brothers building part of their development at the edge of their property, I think we all know what this is about don’t we?

      What they need is for their customers and supporters to inundate the township. Starting now. calls and emails work. I gave you the link to the website.

  2. Smithfield Barn is a treasure for many reasons, one of which is the down home country feel of it’s ‘yard sales’. If the township is coming after them who is next? Will no one be allowed to host yard sales? Save Smithfield Barn! I’m in…100%. This family doesn’t deserve the wrath of Mcmansion developers!

  3. Sorry — I don’t agree with you here. Laws are laws and you just can’t pick and choose which ones you wish to follow. If all of us just decided to open up a business that is open virtually every weekend from Spring through the late Fall, that probably wouldn’t sit right with any of our neighbors. Perhaps all they need to do is pull a few permits and get in compliance. Unless it’s in the deed, virtually nothing like this is grandfathered from one owner to another.

    • The land is zoned agricultural farm use and something else as far as I know. It’s not just residential. What laws have been broken precisely? Are you behind this? Because if I recall when I first wrote about the Smithfield barn you complained long and loud about them paying taxes properly.

      The bottom line is what they do amounts to occasional garage sales and that’s not illegal- they’re hardly open every weekend. The barn is not heated and so on so that’s just not possible.

      • I believe that you’re being a little dramatic here. Simply asking about how they were operating and if they were paying their share of our township’s taxes is hardly “complaining loud and clear.” I simply raised my hand and asked a question. As I had mentioned during my earlier posts, I was considering doing the same thing from our barn but was worried about breaking laws. Now I’m truly glad that I decided it against it.

        “PS most of the neighbors around there operate businesses from their homes so do you want all of them out of business as well?”

        Only if they aren’t in compliance with zoning. We have zoning laws in place for a reason.

      • You astound me. I am not being dramatic, they did not break any laws. Further and to the point they filed a right to know on complaints and guess what? Isn’t it just so SPECIAL that apparently no complaints can be found?

        This is about politics and developers in my humble opinion. If it wasn’t I can’t imagine that township manager could be THAT busy that he couldn’t take time to speak to a resident who used to hold his position years ago in another municipality, huh? Upper Uwchlan has been toying with these people since before Thanskgiving!

        And what was it about that codes guy and the former township manager, rent and a township owned farmhouse ? And isn’t this the same codes guy trying to make a stink about a Volvo parked across the street from the Smithfield Barn that is owned by the neighbor who owns the land????

        Barn sales once every month or so are no better or worse than garage sales. This isn’t an old barn prettied up to be an actual store (like the one on 401 or the one in Spring City), this is = a GARAGE sale! So is Upper Uwchlan getting ready to abolish garage sales, yard sales, estate sales ?

        And if you are afraid to do the same thing, that is on you. The point is you aren’t breaking any laws but if your property abutted property Toll brothers or something a developer wanted, well honey, could it be considered they might find a problem?

        These people pay their taxes, they are part of your community, but obviously you are a township sheeple which is very disappointing. And if they are being targeted, anyone could be next,even you, yes? And that is not being dramatic…it’s just what? Oh yeah, politics.

      • HI!!! I love the Smithfield barn!!! I have not done any research, but I will!! This family sells new, vintage and antique items. They are NOT open on a regular basis. The hours are not posted and are mostly by appointment only….. Sounds like a family selling stuff….. Like on Craig’s list! I’ve sold MANY Items on Craig’s list….. And I have people come to my house to look and PU items! Am I running a business??? Uhhhh, NOOOO!! As far a developing the area….. I am sure that this house and barn are historical and should be protected and preserved. Any historical society or historical preservation group will fight to keep this property in tact!! As for turtles… More than likely BOG TURTLES!! Which, if i remember correctly, are on the endangered species list and are protected. Toll Brothers would have to hire a service to relocate the turtles, the area would have to remain vacant for a period of time to ensure that they got all the turtles. It’s a huge PITA! They were also found on a DASD property as well as at the Embreeville State Hospital site. Both sites remain undeveloped. Lastly….. If you are going to fight….. Yes, start at the local level but also make sure you are emailing/ writing your senator and governor too. It also almost always gets media attention when a school (children) hops on the wagon!! Please keep me updated! I am happy to do whatever is needed!!!

        Things to do NOW to get ready should something happen…. If you wait by the time the public hears Toll Brothers will have already done their “deal” and it will be tooooooo late!! Organize a group!! Start a Facebook page…. Get as many “likes” as possible!! Like an “unofficial” petition!!!
        1.) contact historical societies, clubs and groups!! All you can find!!
        2.) contact environmental agencies, groups, clubs!
        3.) contact agencies, groups, clubs that protect wild animals or endangered species!
        4.) contact local government officials…. Remind them that meeting minutes should be made available to the public as well as any request/approval to survey a property. So, if they discussed it at a meeting it should mention that in those minutes!
        5.) contact senators and governors (find out whose platform is focused on environmental preservation, historical preservation and wildlife refuge)

  4. I sent an email to Cary Vargo, township manager and copied the 3 supervisors. I’ll let you know if I get a response.

    • Wonder if they will play possum and act like nothing is going on? I bet they might. I know that the Smiths have been trying to get in front of the township manager, and this has been going on for weeks but I was asked to not say anything, so I honored my friends’ request.

      Eleanor who posted earlier seems to want to paint them as some sort of law breakers, and they aren’t. They also aren’t the only ones to do these barn/yard sales which Upper Uwchlan has to know? And the woman who lived there before had an antiques/collectibles business there for like 30 years and a store elsewhere.

      And well as some of the old timers out there and not just in Upper Uwchlan like to tell it there was some big old scandal that cost the former township manager his position and that’s how the current guy got his job or something? It would be a real shame for this one to get caught in something unpleasant right ?

      Mike Wolfe of the History Channel’s American Pickers retweeted this post to his over 100,000 followers and Cari Cucksey of HGTV’s Cash & Cari has this post retweeted to her thousands of followers and on her Facebook page. Support is swelling!

  5. The state sales tax agents are also poking around looking for occasional sales to claim they are dealers/stores and must follow all sales tax laws and reporting; we know of several folks whose small occasional sales have been visited by these intimidation agents in the last year. Government at all levels is running amok.

    • Yes but they pay their taxes. Wow what a world we live in! Earlier I received a comment I chose not to publish because it was clearly about intimidation. As soon as someone equates opinion to spouting off etc we know we have struck a nerve. It’s like the new law about restaurants and automatic gratuities for large parties – taxed as ordinary income or something along those lines going forward. Government has to eek every penny out of ordinary and hard working people to make up for their mistakes….

  6. Pingback: media picks up on smithfield barn | chestercountyramblings

  7. Also, Eleanor, in this day and age local, small businesses must support and promote each other! We help each other not hurt!! After reading your comments, which are less than supportive of this local business, I don’t think I would shop in your store! You are commenting on a public forum. You may think your comments are anonymous but eventually people figure out who is making waves! You say you are just researching for your future business…… But why wouldn’t you google it or call your township building…..check reliable sources…. Or better yet!! Talk to a local small business owner!!! Why would you trust and rely on the comments and opinions of the people on this site!?!? Might you just be bored and trying to “stir the pot”?? Or maybe you are competitive, just plain negative or not a fan of the smiths and want to create an issue where there is just not one!

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