Dear ChesCo Planning,
The new website sure is pretty, but what are you doing for us? Are you saving Chester County from overdevelopment? If you are, please let us know how.
On Wednesday, Sept. 13, the Chester County Board of Commissioners announced the kick-off to Landscapes’ second update, Landscapes3.
During a presentation at the commissioners’ Sunshine meeting, Matthew Hammond of the Chester County Planning Commission pointed out that eight percent of the county’s open space enjoyed permanent protection prior to Landscapes; now the number is nearly 27 percent.
Hammond noted that an influx of 150,000 residents is predicted by 2045, reinforcing the need to have a plan that continues the focus on managing that growth through open space preservation, urban center revitalization, and municipal planning assistance.
“We’re very excited to be moving forward on this,” said Brian O’Leary, executive director of the Chester County Planning Commission.
Landscapes3 will involve a two-year effort that begins with a series of stakeholder meetings this fall, to determine the issues and challenges facing Chester County over the next 10 years.
“Twenty years ago, Chester County made a choice to redirect growth, to protect open space and to revitalize our towns and urban communities,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chairman Terence Farrell. “Landscapes and Landscapes2 have served us very well in doing that, but it is time to renew our vision and ensure that Chester County remains a highly attractive place to live, work and visit.”
Ok that’s all nice and fluffy, but how are you preserving open space REALLY? What land are you saving? Look at all the parts of Chester County at risk, what are you doing? You guys talk a good game, but to be honest I lost faith in you when you hired Brian O’Leary whom I remembered none too fondly from Lower Merion Township where developers say “jump!” and Lower Merion says “how high?”
Lower Merion Township will ultimately be ruined by all the development still coming at it, and Montgomery County is a giant development mess.
As the county planning commission you are supposed to seek balance, where is that balance exactly? How are the rights of existing residents being preserved? How is the agricultural and equine history, tradition, and culture being honored? When arable farmland and open space is gone, it’s gone.
How is allowing East Whiteland develop to the point of being like King of Prussia meets Bensalem positive? Or watching acre after acre of farmland in places like West Vincent and Upper Uwchlan a positive?
How many developments do we need ? How come residents do not truly get a say in this? I mean you say you want our input, so we give it to you, and up pops another development or strip mall. It is a bit frustrating.
What are you doing to save Crebilly Farm???? Bryn Coed??? Any open space and farmland anywhere throughout the county? Do you care about ANY of the historic structures threatened throughout the county at all?
Is below the future of Crebilly? Liseter II (Liseter WAS Foxcatcher Farm the DuPont Estate in Newtown Township, Delaware County) :
Or maybe it should look like this:
How is any of the current development “smart” growth? Your Brian O’Leary is even on the board of the Smart Growth Alliance, and allow me to quote them on him:
Through his work in local planning, Brian has seen the importance of smart growth. With smart growth, new development is focused towards existing communities, helping these places revitalize, improve their infrastructure, and create vibrant and healthy neighborhoods. Without smart growth, farmland is lost, people’s transportation choices are limited, and the economy suffers.
So are we supposed to all hop into our smart cars now and jump on board the New Urbanism Fairy Tale Express? Brian O’Leary is a resident of Penn Wynne or Wynnewood in Lower Merion Township so seriously, what does he know from open space? And that is whose hands our future is in? Have any of you dealt with the congestion that is the Main Line recently? Or seen community after community torn asunder by development and the constant whirl of political shell games? Well I did, and I want better for the gorgeous county I now call home.
The news last week that Crebilly Farm, a picturesque 300-plus-acre property in Westtown Township, was poised to become a 300-unit Toll Brothers subdivision, prompted swift public outcry.
Hundreds of area residents took to social media, many expressing outrage as well as interest in doing whatever possible to stop the bulldozers. Dr. Ryan K. Tamburrino, an area orthodontist, even pledged to donate $300 to the cause for each new patient he receives in July who mentions the preservation effort.
However, questions remain about what, if anything, can prevent Westtown Township’s conditional-use approval, particularly since the developer’s preliminary plans fall within township guidelines.
Speaking at an information session on Thursday, June 30, Andrew J. Semon, a division president for Toll Brothers, said the agreement of sale is contingent upon getting that approval. He said he expected the developer to submit an application later this summer.
There are several counties in America, each with more than 10,000 homes, that have vacancy rates above 55%. The rate is above 60% in several.
Most people who follow unemployment and the housing crisis would expect high vacancy rates in hard-hit states including Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. They were among the fastest growing areas from 2000 to 2010. Disaster struck once economic growth ended……..Data from states and large metropolitan areas do not tell the story of how much the real estate disaster has turned certain areas in the country into ghost towns.
……These are the American Ghost Towns Of The 21st Century. Each has a population of more than 10,000 along with vacancy rates of more than 55%, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
Is that our future? It very well could be. Unless Chester County Residents rise up now and take back our county.
Yes, them’s fighting words according to some, but when the head of the county planning department doesn’t even actually live in Chester County, how does he truly get it?
The answer is he can’t. He is not living in our communities, he merely has a job here, collects a salary in the county, and goes back home to a place very different from us. Not being mean, it’s just the truth.
Chester County residents deserve better.
But how do we get there before the county is destroyed by wanton development?
Here is Brian O’Leary’s e-mail if you would like to contact him to ask him about Crebilly or anyplace else in the county facing wanton development : firstname.lastname@example.org