Someone I met with yesterday who lives farther out in a more rural and straight farming community in Chester County said to me when we met up in Malvern Borough “I don’t like to come this way much any longer. It’s too congested and is getting over-developed.”
Yup. That is exactly how I felt about the Main Line when I left and I still do.
When I was little I remember distinctly the separation of city into green that one felt when traveling from Philadelphia to the suburbs known as the Main Line. In the heat of the summer, the temperature would drop quite a bit once you got back to suburbia because of the trees and the green. The farther west you headed the cooler it got. Until you go to say Lancaster County. Lancaster was always hot and humid. Too far from water I suppose.
But as I grew up that temperature differential dropped as development occurred. I remember the first development as a kid that I saw as a death knell to a way of life was what they call Oak Hill in Penn Valley. I remember when there was farm there and lots of open space. When you drove by one corner you could see the remains of a silo and a spring house down in a little valley.
I love Chester County but I fear for Chester County because the planning is all pro-developer from municipality to municipality. It’s not about us, the residents. It’s not about open space and protecting our farming and agricultural traditions and our history. It’s about the ratables and the lore that business taxes will cure all woes. Will they? When our school districts get full to busting at the seams and no plans were made for them, will that be curing all woes? Or will that just make those taxes go up as the school districts scramble to catch up in the ever-growing land of plastic houses?
Great Valley is one school district I wonder about in the land of disconnect. And that is because of East Whiteland.
East Whiteland recently released a list of development in the works, and I do not believe that is all of it (read East Whiteland Development List Township Release Fall 2015 ). I find this list terrifying because well, I want to live in Chester County, not the next King of Prussia, Plymouth Meeting, or Conshohocken. The development is all designed and planned so that developers can cram in as much per square foot as possible. It’s about calling all lemmings, your Tyvec wrapped monstrosities are ready.
And a lot of this is apartments. Apartments. When did the country become about apartments? And hey, is what is built already really filling to capacity?
That is O’Neill’s building on the other side of Worthington. The Royal Worthington which I find well, royally unattractive. Sorry. It has as much appeal as a Lego Tower only not as colorful. Lego towers are fun to build as kids, but do you want to live in one? With a “royal” view of highways? Imagine going out on their lovely Juliette balconies and hearing the whir of 202 and other major highways? Yeah, that’s Chester County living alrighty.
And then skip over to the Borough of Malvern. Eastside Flats. I love Chirstophers and the little boutiques, Kimberton Whole Foods and Malvern Creamery. But the buildings? The design? It says nothing about where they are placed, they are just a monument of in-your-face development left by the developer who sold the project and moved on. I know little of the new Eastside Flats owners other than trucks going there and equipment are always blocking King Road. And the apartments at night do not appear to have full occupancy.
Only Patch seems to be noticing all the development from media land, and what they post is only peripheral given I doubt the Malvern Patch editor actually comes to the Malvern area which is more than a borough. One article talks about brining “thousands” to the area.
King of Prussia and worse here we come if people don’t wake up.
I drove by Linden Hall the other day. The land has been raped and scraped and pillaged in advance of those townhouses that are coming. I keep hearing about all the “restoration” that is supposed to occur to Linden Hall, which is quite historically significant, but I see nothing. Except broken windows on the side when I drive by. If the house is left open to the elements and construction much longer, how will that affect the actual ability to save Linden Hall? There is after all, nothing that guarantees that building’s preservation.
Let’s talk about historic preservation. East Whiteland has a historical commission pretty much in name only because you never hear about what they do, what they have saved, what they are planning to save. They don’t post their meeting agendas, they don’t post their meeting minutes. The last minutes and only minutes one can find posted are from 2009, and it isn’t much. Here is a screen shot from just now:
So now let us go to the impetus for this post: WaWa. WaWa is like the new RiteAid wanting to gobble up as many commercial spaces as possible. East Whiteland has three in close proximity. Two in the Route 29 area (Swedesford off 29 and near route 30 on 29), and one on Planebrook and 30 (first photo in this post). Now there are plans for another WaWa in East Whiteland. Umm there already is a WaWa, PA, East Whiteland.
According to Patch this next WaWa is going in at the Haven at Atwater – another ridiculously pretentious name for a land of plastic which even Patch describes as “massive”. If that one gets built will it also be a pick up spot for day jobbers?
Response is mixed. I believe a lot of people don’t want another WaWa but some are of the mind set more is good and how WaWa will keep taxes down and let municipal services grow. I do not quite get that logic because if municipal services have to grow, all taxpayers have to pay. And what about people on fixed incomes?
I know the jingle of “Gotta have a WaWa” but there is no accounting for taste and one would *hope* people would want better for East Whiteland than gobs of plastic townhouses, limited historic preservation in a very historic area, and oh yes plastic chain stores to serve the plastic townhouse set? Given the Wegmans and Target and existing WaWas and other things, I would say the 29 corridor is pretty well served already.
Time will tell. Personally, I like my own coffee better.
Thanks for stopping by.