gladwyne village is fighting for survival from bad development.

This has been posted for perspective. So don’t tell me it’s not Chester County, etc, it’s indicative of the problem throughout the Southeastern Pennsylvania area with regard to invasive, unnecessary development that doesn’t even pause to reflect the character of the area.

So yes, even in Gladwyne, PA neighbors are rising up. Even in the rain they packed this VFW hall over a bad plan that would totally kill the sweet village of Gladwyne. And it’s literally a village.

Where they once had a grocery store ACME markets failed there and closed, and some developer wants to come in and put like apartments or townhouse condos and it’s not some gracious plan that will fit with the surrounding area and be across the street from a church, it’s a cram plan and a load of crap.

And I can’t help but go back to the people that owned the parcel who could have chosen differently and didn’t. Because they’re greedy in my humble opinion. Sorry not sorry.

But it’s Lower Merion Township, the land of infill development and former West Chester Borough Manager Ernie McNeely is the current township manager, and well he always loves development doesn’t he? And the current Director of Building and Planning in Lower Merion is someone who can’t suck up to a developer fast enough.

Essentially if this plan gets built it will be like putting an Eastside Flats in the tiny village of Gladwyne. And while people think of the Main Line as large houses etc, there actually are villages left that have to fight for survival when they should be embraced and encouraged to exist.

From the local civic association:

📌Acme Property Update

Dear Gladwyne Residents:

With so many rumors circulating about the Acme Property I wanted to take a moment to inform you of what we know about recent events and once again inform you that you to a June 8 meeting we are holding to discuss it.

Here is what the Gladwyne Civic has been told:

  1. The Acme property (NOT including the Shell station) is under an Agreement of Sale with a developer.
  2. The Developer has NOT submitted an official plan to Lower Merion Township or any commissioner.
  3. The Developer has shared two preliminary concepts with a small group of Civic Directors. Neither of those concepts meets the Township’s Zoning requirements for a Village Center https://www.lowermerion.org/home/showpublisheddocument/23245/637214107846470000).
  4. The Civic Association has not yet engaged in any official discussion of the concepts, nor has it taken any position with regard to them.

Consequently, after summarizing what we know about the sale of the property and the developer’s ideas, we intend to pivot this meeting to be the first of several Civic workshops to create a Community Vision for our Village Center. In preparation we encourage you to familiarize yourself with 2016 Comprehensive Plan (https://www.lowermerion.org/home/showpublisheddocument/13726/636072036854530000 ) as well as the aforementioned zoning code. In this context please consider that, by design, a Village Center is meant to be a mixed use area that will likely include some residential component within what is primarily a commercial setting. The operative portion of the code reads:

VC Districts are the small commercial areas that function as neighborhood or village centers, generally compact, walkable in scale, with local retail, and occasional residential uses above the first floor.

We are currently working with the Township to clarify what the allowable density can be on the property and other pertinent information.

….If you have specific questions you would like us to cover at the start of the meeting please email them to gladwynecivic@gmail.com by the end of day on June 6 before the meeting so that we can be prepared to respond.📌

Gladwyne is a gem nestled in the Main Line. And I’m not talking about the overpriced extended ZIP Code 19035, I am talking about this village. And the reason I am talking about this village is many decades ago when I was considered a “city kid“ my parents moved us to suburbia. We eventually settled in Haverford, but our first year was spent in Gladwyne.

We were just outside the village on Monk Road, and in those days kids could walk into the village via Youngsford Road without fear of becoming road pizza. We played kick the can and other fun games outside in the evenings in the summer. And in the winter if we were really lucky Mr. Gwinn took folks on a sleigh ride. We learned how to ride horses in Gladwyne, and a daily sound that I remember is the clip clop of horses hooves. (Although I didn’t belong because I wasn’t that good of a rider there was an amazing pony club.)

One of my favorite libraries I’ve ever been in is the little Gladwyne library. There was an old fashioned hardware store where the floors creaked, there were all sorts of old houses both 18th century and 19th century splendid and simple Victorians off of all the little streets. Gladwyne Village is special.

Today a lot of that still exists because the people who live there care. I have always applauded the people who live in Gladwyne because they rally together and they are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in.

I know if this development gets built it will forever change a historic village and the village does not deserve this. That is why I’m posting this. I would like the future kids to move here or even the ones that are there today to be able to still wander around a cool little village.

This is the place where you can still go to the fire company and celebrate the lighting of the Christmas tree (and buy your tree!), and have a fabulous Memorial Day parade that is old-fashioned and memorable. This is a village where you could go trick-or-treating with your families safely. This is a village where people care about their history. You know your neighbors because they stay, they aren’t transient. Therefore this is a village that deserves better than some crap developer with a cram plan because they just want to make money and move on.

We need to stop this kind of sprawl in ALL of our communities. Progress should complement our communities, not maim them. We need to stand up for places like the Village of Gladwyne, Berwyn, Malvern, wherever we live.

These are our communities and we deserve more in a say on how their future is shaped. It is high time to start lobbying our elected officials in Pennsylvania for a comprehensive update of the Municipalities Planning Code and better protections for where we call home. We need more that shredding events in our communities sponsored by elected officials. We need these people to roll up their sleeves and get busy trying to help the people that put them in office in the first place.

Not all developers are bad, but sadly there are a lot of bad and greedy developers. Developers might not like my opinion but the First Amendment says I can express myself thusly.

Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply