So a reminder that the next Crebilly meeting is Wednesday, March 29th, 6-10PM Rustin High School and it will be the second Conditional Use hearing. Here is the link to a printable flyer my pal Mindy Rhodes made with additional dates we all encourage you to share with others:
But what is really and truly exciting to me is something I have wished a school district out here in Chester County would do – take a stand on wanton development, and that is exactly what West Chester Area School District has done. Here is hoping more districts follow suit because it gets a bit much when taxpayers watch school districts behave like ostriches with their heads in the sand. Chief ostrich in my opinion is Great Valley School District, but I digress.
Anyway, Mindy Rhodes wrote to all of us this morning not only about the meeting tomorrow but also about this:
Party Status will be determined for a number of groups and then testimony continues. I had a dream last night only five people came to the hearing and the auditorium was empty with the exception of a full stage that included the BOS and Toll Brothers. There are 850 seats in Rustin Auditorium. Please do what you can to attend any part of the hearing. Every bit helps… and don’t forget to bring water:)
Last evening, Dr. Scanlon, Superintendent of the West Chester Area School District, issued a letter to the community that included a resolution from WCASD and the impact the Crebilly development by Toll will have on the schools in the district:
Dear Community Members,
The West Chester Area School District has passed a resolution at its March 27 board meeting to allow the Superintendent to request an annual impact fee of $645,000 from Toll Brothers developers for the added expenses the district will incur from the proposed Crebilly Farms housing development.
Crebilly Resolution.docx – REVISED 3-21-17.pdf
Currently Toll Brothers is seeking approval from Westtown Township to build more than 300 homes on the Crebilly Farms tract of land at the corner of Routes 202 and 926. Working with an experienced demographer, we have determined that this development will generate at least 172 students who would attend our school district. (This estimate already excludes the number of students we believe would attend private schools, based on our previous experience.)
It is common practice for school districts to request impact fees from developers when a large development is proposed. Simply put, a public school district cannot fairly shoulder the entire cost of a huge surge of students at one time. We will need to find additional space in our schools with modular units or additions, we will need to hire additional teachers and other staff, and we will need to provide additional transportation. (In addition, we are bound by law to also provide transportation for any students who choose private schools located within 10 miles of our borders.). We anticipate approximately 56 private and/or parochial school students from this proposed development.
Final approval of this development rests with Westtown Township. We consider it our duty to keep you informed as this matter relates to our school district. Public hearings are continuing, and we welcome your voice in this matter.
Dr. Jim Scanlon, Superintendent
I am so thrilled by this letter and resolution. I have often been impressed with Dr. Scanlon’s writings in the past; in my opinion, a thoughtful and very sensible voice of reason. This creates yet another hurdle for Toll Brothers to comply with. It is my hope others in similar positions will stand up to this company and hold this developer accountable in every way possible.
If not you, then who?
I have been critical of the WCASD school district in the past, but today I admire them. I admire their chutzpah in being real and saying to a developer “Hey this is not OK.”
Municipalities and School Districts are separate entities they are autonomous of one another, so basically neither consults the other ever about anything that in the end affects taxpayers and residents….and kids in a school district. Development looks really great on paper to politicians. They can say they brought in ratables end it helps them build the legacy to themselves that they all seem to crave. And no, I am not saying that is the case here with Westtown, it’s just what I think about a lot of municipalities.
Municipalities tend to look at new development like a fresh and shiny toy, but sometimes they need to have more thought as to what that toy will cost taxpayers and residents and members of school districts down the road.
Finally, a school district in Chester County is standing up and saying not no to developers per se, but who is going to pay for the side effects of development after developments are built. This school district is being responsible to residents, children, the taxpayers. And might I add this is something the Chester County Planning Commission should be doing with every development proposed in Chester County? As well as State Senator Andy Dinniman? After all it is not just about land and historic preservation, it’s about the other long term impacts of development, isn’t it? Why do residents always seem to have to do the heavy lifting ?
Here is what WCASD said: