looking back, looking forward

Sometimes if you want to go find great old photos or mementos of this area, just put the town name into eBay. I did this a little while ago when decided I wanted to write this post.

Berwyn as a town has once again become a ground zero of potential development. Someone sent me this letter the other day:

So. It’s not like this was unexpected. If we’re honest, people just forgot about it right? It’s not that people are so sentimentally attached to old dilapidated business sites. To me, or in my opinion at least, it’s more about why does ALL progress today have to mean so much density? Sometimes less is more.

Someone said in a local group that:

“…Density is controlled by a developer balancing zoning requirements, cost of a project and income it could generate….The changes in zoning were in fact meant to take advantage of a transit oriented development and both Berwyn Square and Fritz are doing just that. There are very few large parcels or clusters of parcels where this can happen in Berwyn. We also happen to need apartments in our community. We need alternate living arrangements to single family homes, twins and townhomes. Not everyone wants to buy or have the responsibilities associated with that type of living situation. If you want to look at a flop of a development then consider that at the Waterloo site in Devon we ended up not with a downtown with shops, restaurants and easy access for residents to use the train we got a suburban parking lot. Yuck. Not creative or the highest and best use of the property. Such a shame.

We can make Berwyn a destination or leave as it is and just change the name to “Blahwyn”.”

Ok that is their opinion and they can have it, right? Even if some of us find it offensive, right?

But is it a case of “We” don’t need more unaffordable apartments, developers want them. Discernible difference, sadly.

They (including politicians and paid planners here too ) basically assume the public is stupid. Transit oriented development in my opinion is a great myth. I watched it destroy Ardmore.

And charming Berwyn was just fine with a great history until developers came along. It doesn’t need to be a perpetual Disneyesque development from one end to the other. That won’t make it “Blahwyn” if it doesn’t happen, maybe by some sheer stroke of luck some of it’s character and history might remain.

And to denigrate where you live and call it “Blahwyn” is kind of offensive I think.

Developer speak drives me bananas. These people are always falling back on catch phrases like they want to see a “vibrant downtown.” Berwyn is a village by it’s history so how is cramming it full of Tyvec wrapped monstrosities creating vibrancy? This isn’t development that breeds inclusiveness or community is it?

Developers and those supporting development (like property owners who wish to have said gloms of density) like you to hear buzz words and catch phrases like “game changer”. In my humble opinion a true “game changer” would be plans with less density and more historic authenticity from an architectural perspective.

Let’s talk affordable housing for a minute. Is any of what is being proposed truly that? No it’s not.

Some who own certain properties will always benefit from development right? So they want us all to love development right? It’s kind of the way it has always been. Time in memoriam/ temps immémorial.

But it’s ok if we think our communities deserve better than what is being proposed. It’s ok if we think super amounts of density is wrong.

But those who love development or who will profit from it will tell us there is something wrong with us or we really don’t care about our communities.

But is that true? I don’t think so.