will bryn coed become chester county’s next chesterbrook?

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Overnight a brave lady posted on the blog’s FB page. A resident of West Vincent who lives on Bryn Coed property. Bryn Coed was recently mentioned in a development post I had put up, because if developed between the land in West Vincent and the land in a neighboring municipality, the land is well like close to twice the size of what was Chesterbrook Farm and what is the development Chesterbrook that when the first house was built in 1977 forever changed the face of that part of Chester County. So built up today, you would never know it was once an important agricultural site.

Also do not forget Foxcatcher Farm off Goshen Road and 252 in neighboring Delaware County. Don’t forget what Toll Brothers has done there in what is known as the Liseter. Remember the barns, the rolling fields, the ponies, the horses, the trees, the woods? You would never know one of the most grand DuPont estates was once there. And no matter how they advertise (New York Times and tacky “buy now” signs all along West Chester Pike until you are practically in the borough), are those houses selling like proverbial “hotcakes”? Doesn’t seem to be does it?

Tredyffrin Township can barely handle Chesterbrook and all other responsibilities involved today and well Tredyffrin is a much larger better functioning municipality than West Vincent. I hate that once again West Vincent is the focus of a Chester County blog post, but this is a municipality in crisis, isn’t it?

Between West Vincent and Upper Uwchlan, this part of Chester County is in serious crisis from development. Remember another post I had up a couple years ago? Once again about Toll Brothers…in Upper Uwchlan. Toll Brothers is everywhere. And if it is not Toll Brothers it is other developers.

It’s too much.

Bryn Coed is one of the last relatively unmolested land parcels of its size in Chester County, isn’t it? Neighboring farms and homes voice bragging rights due to their proximity to Bryn Coed.  I once saw a real estate listing with this description:

This small but wonderful farmhouse is …situated on a country road on 3.9 very usable acres that are fenced in for three paddocks and riding ring. The bank barn has 4-5 stalls, and huge hayloft. It adjoins open space owned by Bryn Coed farms. You can ride out to trails right from the property. Chester County, Pennsylvania hosts many equestrian events of all disciplines.

Descriptions of listings like that will change if Toll Brothers or another developer buys the land parcel, right?

Think I am making it up? Here are the screen shots:

Toll Brothers1

Bryn Coed Evict

evict family

Developers don’t care about existing tenants and rent producing tenant properties when they have a “vision”, do they?

There is a sugar would melt in their mouths bless their little hearts page on Facebook for West Vincent residents supposedly even though I really thought it was created to promote a certain supervisor’s desperate bid to remain in office. I was sent a screen shot just now:

hear voices

My, my, my.  I guess this “lady” is the “official” spokesperson for West Vincent Township? Why bless her heart!  People keep sending me screen shots where she seems to speak FOR the township and the elected and appointed officials? Guess they do things differently there? Hope Miller keeps her in cheese and veal sticks, right?

So you know if you had such “influence” in the community wouldn’t you be trying to find the nice lady and other residents on Bryn Coed places to live? Or would you dismiss someone posting publicly that they had a notice to quit or something similar posted on their door as a “rumor”?

Everything is always a rumor it seems with Bryn Coed, right? Remember the meeting in March where the meeting notes reflect addressing a gentleman who expressed concern including about Bryn Coed? (West Vincent-2015-03-09-minutes)

Toll Bryn Coed

So it’s all always a rumor while quietly things get looked at, measured, tested, filed with DEP I am told?

This lady has SIX children. Now I know I know you rent there is always a risk the property will be sold but why post a notice like that if it is not true?  At any time they could be put off where they call home.

Oh and speaking of Bryn Coed, saw a cool restoration on an architect’s website (click here).

For the historical perspective Chester County resident should read if they haven’t the history of Chesterbrook as complied by the Tredyffin Easttown Historical Society. (Volume40_N1_027 TE History of Chesterbrook ) . It is a grim reminder of what could be seen again, on Bryn Coed, isn’t it?

This is why residents in NOT just West Vincent but elsewhere need to change the faces of who govern them sooner rather than later. The lure of the developer’s song (and dance) is far too tempting for local politicians who are shall we say…deeply entrenched? And what about term limits in local government? Not a bad idea, eh?

I am a realist. I know it is nearly impossible to preserve giant swaths of land like this – no one wants to deal with a 350 acre estate (Ardrossan, Radnor Township) or an 800+ acre estate (Foxcatcher Farm Newtown, Delaware County) Look what happened at Ardrossan, after all and that 350 acres has been carved up by relatives, and rumors abound there about the future of the mansion too, isn’t there? And we know the horror show that occurred at Foxcatcher Farm.

But between no one wanting to deal with big estates, and hearing about this lady on Bryn Coed made me think about all the tenant houses on Ardrossan.  What has happened there? Are the people still living there? I know different people over the years who have rented cottages and small farm house on Ardrossan. But I digress.

So, development of parcels like this is inevitable unless someone like Natural Lands Trust buys and conserves the land. And sometimes land conservation groups can only acquire a portion – and a lot of times it is the portion of the property that would just be too difficult and expensive for a developer to develop, right? Swamp? Wetlands? Steep Slopes? (You know like the pig in a poke purchased by Radnor Township at Ardrossan?)

The problem with all this development throughout Chester County and elsewhere is there is no true planning, it is just shoving in as many plastic houses as possible. No gardens, no lawns, no sweeping vistas, just row after row of plastic boxes sometimes slab on grade. All lined up like plastic soldiers or Legos.

So think about all the crammed in plastic and stucco boxes on Chesterbrook. Then think about Bryn Coed. Is that the appropriate vision for Chester County, or more like a nightmare waiting to happen?

Local government will always play Pontius Pilate when it comes to development won’t they? Just like monkeys all lined up when you ask questions. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil?

monkeys

Yeah. About that. If that is what you get, another reason to change the face of who governs you.

Preservation and conservation and so on and so forth can’t just be buzz words. They actually have to mean something.

Once the land is gone, it’s gone.

I will close with another old article I found on Chesterbrook:

Pre-development History Of The Farm At Chesterbrook

Posted: September 26, 1991

Mary Cavanaugh arrived at the Berwyn train station on an icy winter’s day in 1909. Snow was piled high on the land around her as she stepped into a horse-drawn sleigh, bundled robes around herself to keep warm and began the three-mile trek across the frozen ground to Chesterbrook Farm. She had just arrived in the United States from Ireland and had never seen snow before.

Cavanaugh, a parlor maid in the main house on the farm, was the mother of John, Edward and Marie Boland, who gathered Monday evening with about 80 current residents of the Chesterbrook development for a presentation on the history of the 600-acre farm in Tredyffrin Township.

The three children’s father was Peter Boland, a second coachman at the main house who became the farm manager in 1932.

The Boland children reminisced about growing up on the farm in the early 1900s, swimming in its streams, sledding and hunting on its fields and making its open space their playground.

Now, the same land is populated by condominiums, townhouses, office buildings and a shopping center…….. Audrey Baur, chairman of the DuPortail History Group, and Clara Bondinell, a member of the history group, painted a picture for the audience of the dimensions and the location of the farm…..Some former residents of the farm are unhappy with the development of the farmland.

“It makes me sick. It’s terrible,” said John Boland, who now lives in Berwyn. “My wife and I were on the committee to save Chesterbrook. We had hopes the state would annex it to Valley Forge Park.”

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