what would charles dickens think?

I have been trying to give these Yuletide at Devon people the benefit of the doubt. Even sent potential sponsor people and others their way. But then on top of the fee just to walk in the gate, I next heard about the parking prices.

Sorry not sorry, my inner Scrooge came out at the parking prices on top of the walk in the gate prices without so much as a complimentary candy cane? Ummm?

And then there was the whole “press preview” because that cracks me up. Influencers, and more benign mommy bloggers were invited. I am laughing because my invitation must have gotten lost, yes? But then again, I don’t ask for or expect freebies, do I? But hey some Russian and India based bot tweeters have it on “X” so I guess that matters?

I have never been an it girl (or needed to be), nor am I an influencer or an overly socially ambitious “therapist” who wants to be an influencer, I just love Christmas and offer an honest opinion.

But my honest opinion after mulling it over is that for $35 just to walk in the door, not including parking or anything else unless you want to ride kiddie rides? I’ve made the decision to skip it. I am not saying don’t go, I am saying for me it’s a shiny Christmas bauble without the necessary luster.

If Yuletide at Devon had decided to offer to donate a portion of proceeds back to a local nonprofit even on just select days, as in doing something that would help people during the holiday season, I probably would have bought a ticket in the end. But what their event is messaging to people in my opinion is Christmas magic at a cost that a lot can’t afford. So sadly, I think for its inaugural year I am giving it a pass. Also the reviews have been quite mixed and everyone has said it’s too expensive.

Christmas should indeed be magical but maybe not another gaping dividing line between haves and have nots. What would Charles Dickens think? I am thinking he might think we need a modern Christmas Carol or something, truthfully.

So what events will I attend that I was delighted to buy tickets to because of a non-profit component? Keep reading….and first two other great giving ideas….

One of my other just giving for good picks this year is Plaid Pajama Project.


And of course you can never go wrong with Toys for Tots.


See below for 3 amazing event picks. I also have heard of another fun shopping event near Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem but I don’t know details yet. And I will also tell you that all of my picks for vintage and antique things that I love remain true at Christmas:

Now… here are my three picks for fun holiday events with a shopping component to attend in the area:

Holiday Magic for Good #1:

First up will be the preview for the Holiday Barn Sale at Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm. The preview tickets are sold out and I am happy to buy them every holiday season because it’s a spectacularly magical and beautifully curated holiday event that ooozes Christmas and the holidays. And a portion of the sales every time go to a nonprofit.

The sale has three FREE public days and free parking as well.

Friday, December 1st, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Saturday, December 2nd, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday, December 3rd, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

LOCATION: Willowbrook Farm, 1750 N Valley Rd, Malvern, PA 19355

Every year I introduced more people to this event, and every year they thank me for telling them about it because it’s such a wonderful experience!

Holiday Magic for Good #2:

When I first heard about this event in its infancy, a year ago, I was so excited. I can’t wait!!!

I am talking about the Surrey Services for Seniors Holiday House Tour and Shop. It is the first real holiday house tour of its kind in the Main Line area since Christmas in the Country, which was the event that Agnes Irwin did for years as a fundraiser!

The tickets for this event at Surrey sold like hotcakes. So the tour portion is actually sold out but they have this amazing set of Christmas shops over in Eisenhower Hall at Valley Forge Military Academy and College. That is free and open to the public on the same day as the house tour! And the vendors are carefully curated and a lot of local faces, that people love among others.

The Christmas/holiday shops are Friday, December 8 from 11 AM to 6 PM. 1001 Eagle Road in Wayne. And best of all there’s ample free parking! And I know who some of the vendors are for this and people will love it!

Best of all, this entire day, benefits, the fabulous nonprofit known as Surrey Services for Seniors, so what is not to love?

Holiday Magic for Good #3:

I guess you’ve already figured out I like Holiday house tours. Especially when they benefit a good thing.

So number three on my list is a West Chester Borough and area tradition.

The Holiday Home Tour will take place on Saturday, December 2, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and will showcase eight homes in the Northwest and Southwest quadrants of the Borough decked out for the holidays.

Created as a socially distanced replacement for the Holiday Home Tour during the pandemic shutdown of 2020, the family-friendly Holiday Door Tour was so popular the library now offers it in addition to the Home Tour! Running from Saturday, December 2 through Sunday, December 17, this self-guided tour will feature West Chester doors and porches decorated by their owners in holiday finery. It can be enjoyed at any time of day and by a group of your choice.

get tickets:

All proceeds from the Holiday Tours will benefit West Chester Public Library and the community it serves. Holiday Home Tour advance tickets are $40 per person and may be purchased in the library or online through December 1. Tickets may be purchased the day of the Tour, December 2, at the library for $50 each.


She’s almost ready for prime time. The Jenny Lind in Historic Yellow Springs has been reborn. And she is magnificent.

The Jenny Lind is now the Life’s Patina Merchantile & Cafe located at 1657 Art School Road in Chester Springs, PA. Meg Veno has outdone herself.

The Jenny Lind is restored and transformed. It’s one of the most beautiful adaptive reuses I have seen in years. My other favorite as you all probably know is Loch Aerie mansion in Frazer. And I think it’s marvelous to have both of these lovely places in Chester County!

This was such an amazing experience yesterday that I am still super happy about it the next day!

The attention to detail is something you don’t see every day, and it makes this all the more special. This is quite literally everything you want to see in a restoration and an adaptive reuse, and I sure hope that Historic Yellow Springs Village and West Pikeland Township have deep appreciation of the fact that Meg Veno stuck with this, and is now bringing everyone this gem to enjoy.

This has been a very long and winding road because this was a very intense restoration. And Meg and her team are perfectionists. This is one of those places that you walk into and just stop and marvel. No corners have been cut. The materials and the skill of the craftsman who put the Jenny Lind back together are undeniable.

This is an amazing restoration, and I hope someone gives them an award like Chester County for example. Chester County should be counting their lucky stars that there are people out there that still want to do restorations instead of demolitions. I will go further and challenge every township official in the region and developers who want to tear down historic things and build plastic mushroom housing developments and apartment buildings to go visit this place once it’s open full-time and see the possibilities of just doing the right thing.

You walk in and you feel at home. The beauty of the place envelops you softly and then you get to the café. The chef of the café has an incredibly deft hand with pastry and everything she touches. I have not met her. I look forward to meeting her because the food is terrific. My husband said the mushroom soup was one of the top three best he’s ever had. Because we were there for brunch I had this little bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on a biscuit which was so light and flaky, it melted in your mouth. there are also these salads that are off the hook good and don’t get me started on the actual pastries and sweets. Wonderful tea and coffee. The café is a place where you don’t want to rush. You want to savor your meal and linger.

And then you wander into the Mercantile. The Mercantile is full of all sorts of wonderful things, old and new. The best thing it’s not only the way it looks, but the fact that everything for sale has been chosen with care and it flows together. You don’t walk into this store and wonder why something is there, you walk into the Mercantile and wonder how you can use that in your own home.

One of the other best things about this restoration is it fits. When it was the Yellow Springs Inn, the food was great but the gorgeous interior of this building was hidden by too much Victorian everything. And I am saying that as someone who did really enjoy that restaurant at one time. But this metamorphosis is so remarkable and beautiful and just stunning. This restoration has made me love this building even more. And this restoration will show everyone the possibilities of what you can do with the gorgeous old buildings that are scattered throughout Chester County that need love.

It was a few years ago now that I was at one of Meg Veno’s barn sales at Life’s Patina in Malvern and she said she was looking for another project. I was standing there with my friend and I turned to her and I asked if she had ever thought of Yellow Springs Village because the Jenny Lind house was at that time in foreclosure. And now look at the Jenny Lind. I believe the Merchantile and Café will be open soon for visitors full time, but if you’re going near the village, I hope you at least drive past until she is open full-time to see what a beautiful restoration it is.

This whole project is not only a testament to historic preservation, it is a testament to loving what you do. And above all else, you know why this place will be a success? Because it has a heart.

Brava, Meg Veno, brava.

I also want to note because I think it’s important, that those of us who attended yesterday paid for our meals, we were not given anything in exchange for our thoughts on the soft opening. I would like to say we are the right kind of “influencers” as we are the kind who are actual customers and will return gladly with friends and family.

Happy Monday 😊

aren’t communities tired of lego land construction yet?

They call it architecture, but is it really? All new development seem to look the same. Whether it’s townhouse, apartment, “condo”, “carriage homes” it’s all about maximizing developer profits and it has absolutely zero to do with the area in which something is being built or what exists there already like the people or the future. This is all about how much money can a developer get now and move onto the next project.

A lot of people are actually quite presumptive in their ignorance. I have attended many meetings over the years about development period. Whether it be zoning, planning, or regular board meetings.

And I have to laugh when someone says developers don’t decide on the “look” of their buildings. Ummm developers indeed DO decide on the architecture of their project. And again, today there is a distinct lack of style. It’s all about how fast you can throw them up and most of them look like they were built out of Lego sets. It’s like real architecture is dead.

I posted a photo of said Lego architecture this week that was from West Philadelphia. The reason I posted it was to prove that the same style new build is going everywhere. Nothing is adapting much to the surroundings. It’s one style and it’s a Lego building that gets plunked in. Truthfully, so many of these buildings look the same but I’m surprised they aren’t being delivered 100% prefab.

If you ever drive along I 95 to take a bridge like the Betsy Ross to New Jersey you’ll even see these buildings going up there right along I 95 and they look the same as the ones along 202 or Route 30 out here…West Philadelphia, wherever-it’s all the same.

Lego buildings are everywhere. In urban areas and suburban areas. No longer are projects being built to complement the area in which they are going. No longer our projects built to remotely look like they fit, let alone have human scale and good setbacks.

I take pictures of architecture everywhere, but this new style, cram first- actual architectural design later is ugly and it doesn’t have to be.

I actually do know people who have put up new buildings that were taking chances in formally rundown urban neighborhoods that actually have an architectural component to them. Not everything has to be unattractive and pretty much everything is unattractive these days with very few exceptions.

And I am tired like many other people of Lego architecture getting shoved into our communities.

I don’t understand why more people in positions in government and zoning and planning also are not sick of Lego architecture? Where have all the planners and architects gone that used to care about things fitting into the environment?

We have become one big huge homogenous glob of regurgitated ugliness because everything everywhere looks the same and it’s basically the same construction. It goes up fast, won’t last, and then we’re stuck with them in our communities.

What happened to making sure scale was appropriate and not just giving a zoning variance like cheap jellybeans out of a candy machine every time a developer wants to go up a few feet? What happened to developers that actually gave a shit about design? I actually wonder why they all want to look like each other which is like some kid’s Lego project?

We’ve gone from single-family developers, who add so much crap and articulation to a building it looks dizzy to people that basically open the box of Legos and just build them up.

What single-family construction exists is so cheek to jowl that you can reach out of your window and tap on your neighbors window and ask to borrow a cup of sugar. Everything is all about the density. And people are already regretting it in their communities. I mean what happened to people wanting to do things like garden? Why does everyone want to live in a place that looks the same to such a point that you get people lost in your development because nothing stands out?

Yet it all marches forward. And one reason is there are no design standards, limited taste, and the Municipalities Planning Code which hasn’t been comprehensively updated since 1969.

The Municipalities Planning Code guides all the zoning in this state. And over development is everywhere. Ironically, some of the worst over development is close to Harrisburg. Places like Mechanicsburg which used to be lovely, rolling farms and hills have been cramming them in for years. Lancaster County too. And of course, Montgomery County and Delaware County.

It’s depressing.

And all of this development is costing our communities. It’s driving up prices and it’s creating a more transient society. If we just take Chester County as an example, most of us moved here because it used to be so beautiful. Open space, farms, fabulous Pennsylvania farmhouse architecture, and more. Now much like neighboring Delaware County or Montgomery County. We have pockets of those things that still exist, but for the most part, everything is just being run over by crappy development and too much density.

And if people wonder why their taxes are going up look no further than the actual cost of development. West Whiteland is a prime example. They have avoided raising taxes for about 30 years and now they don’t have a choice. Infrastructure isn’t just roads and sewer systems, stormwater management, etc, there’s a human component like first responders. Or township employees who need to be hired and paid to keep pace with the needs of communities. And all of this development has a negative impact on school districts as well.

A friend of mine, who is a historian among other things actually put it well recently, when she said:

Architects are now vastly disturbed. Not since Toll Brothers creation of the McMansion. (Really, NYT traced it to the builder) has the state of American housing reached a new low. Worse, these new “boxes” are really just wood fire boxes – composite wood too since we are plowing thru our forests . Here’s what what one site says;

“Across the U.S., podium buildings have typically been 4-over-1 or 5-over-1, meaning they have four or five stories of wood over a single-level podium.”

The amusing thing is the article she quotes seems like they are lauding this style of cram plan. And to me, whether mid rise or high-rise, they’re all ugly.

These developments are obliterating our countryside. And to this day, the only people who seem to profit from this proliferation of ugliness are the developers. They plunk down the developments, and they move onto the next. The eternal hamster wheel of the Emperor’s new clothes.

In conclusion, you don’t have to like my opinion. But I am not going to stop saying I think these plans are ugly when they are. Our communities deserve better.

holiday open house at loch aerie!

Open house at Loch Aerie on Sunday 10, 2023 1 PM to 4 PM – please bring a non-perishable food item for Chester County Food Bank or a new unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. Loch Aerie is a very special house and this is so awesome they are doing this! If you haven’t seen her since she was completely head to toe restore, come celebrate the holidays and give back.

dear qvc…

Dear QVC,

I will admit I don’t understand the religion of the Q. I have ordered a few things over the years like a garden hat or a plant I wanted to try. I have darkened the doors of your outlet store in Frazer once in a while, mostly out of curiosity. So I am not a devotee, merely familiar.

But let’s dish a minute, shall we?

That billboard is atrocious and you are still in West Chester and a lot of your on air folks live local so we know unless they live under a rock, people HATE this billboard yet here you are contributing to distracted driving and presenting a danger to nature and migrating birds? This billboard can be seen from space, not just at the intersection of Route 29 and route 30 in East Whiteland Township, Chester County

Then there is your outlet store. First of all, you make enough money that it should look nicer inside for both the customers and more importantly, your employees. The Goodwill store that used to be in the shopping center was better put together and looked nicer than your store..

But there is another problem with your outlet store. And the problem is you don’t do anything about the customers going shopping in your store that park on the sidewalk and in the fire lane. Your customers are not the only guilty ones, the others are the ones going to pick up their bottles at the liquor store.

So since you got your start, and Chester county, one, would hope you would have a little more respect for the residents where you have your outlet store. Some retailers around here have discovered that advertising on giant billboards are bad for business. You have a cult like following, so most likely you won’t have that problem, but there are the optics to be considered.

Stop being a bad neighbor, QVC.

oh what the hell…

Ma Belle? No that’s not it…it’s Mae Belle. That’s it.

It’s a new Jawn with a move out at 6730 Germantown Ave and possibly a move next door to 6732?

Ok come on, line up now and get it out of your system. I am terribly horrible for writing about this, but it’s out there and fascinating. Nothing privileged. Above is the former site of Farmer Jawn Greenery in Mt. Airy on 6730 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia PA 19119 which is now CLOSED and for rent. Only they say she opened something else next door as in immediate right of where she was? ( I found a website too.)

Even Google marks it closed:

So….the Farmer in the Westtown Dell gave an interview to The Daily Local Last week. I grabbed it off cache so here, read without the paywall:

Now this was a rather interesting article because it’s obvious the subject, Farmer Jawn herself was dancing, not substantively answering some questions. Like…where the article says:

The farm store is up and running, with more than a 100 different items to choose from. Farmer Jawn said everything offered is local and comes from no farther than 2 hours away.

Ok translation please? I think the reporter asked where the food is coming from because obviously she isn’t growing it, but if she still has the Elkins Park location for real, why not? Other markets, and not just the way Pete’s was, will tell the customer WHERE THE FOOD CAME FROM. This is a sketch at best answer IMHO

For more information, go to farmerjawnphilly.com

Another dodge ball response, the website says essentially NOTHING or regurgitates what is past, past, past. Or has broken links.

Every backyard gardener is familiar with weeds….Barfield said farmers don’t have to look at weeds as the enemy. She noted that weeds retain water in the soil, can provide shade, keep plants cool in summer and deter deer from eating the crops.

Ummm. Yeah. Fairly accomplished gardener here. Weeds take up what viable crops and garden plants need for survival…which is why personally I pull them. Except for poison ivy/oak/sumac as I have that removed chemical free. And weeds deter deer? Good lord city girl, have you met the deer in Chester County yet? (This was a very tooth fairy response I think.)

Next growing season, rye, barley, and buckwheat will grow on 20 acres for a local malt house. Barfield said that all ingredients in the beer from beginning to end will be created by Blacks.

So will madam actually be growing her own honey as well? Wasn’t sure where last honey originated from and was not a fan and yes I tried and tossed a jar of it out. It was in a basket I won as a silent auction item for a non-profit fundraiser.

And can we talk about the whole recurring message elephant in the room and on the fields of the farms which is to be other than a black farmer is a bad farmer? Sorry not sorry, that bothers me. And because I am white, I am not supposed to ask that and will I be once again called a racist for asking why only one type of farmer is a good farmer? Why if I personally don’t take others to task over the color of their skin or nationality or religion and more am I supposed to apologize or feel bad because all of my ancestors are Caucasian?

Comments from last week/weekend:

So as a related aside how does Farmer Jawn like living in West Chester Borough since that is where she is living supposedly? It’s a cute town, I hope she and her family are enjoying it and I say that honestly, without edge.

And I will state (again) for the record that I have zero issue with her stated mission. It just seems like for someone who so lived their life out loud and has done, that we have so many questions about the business of her business.

Let’s chat this other new Mae Bell biz and how will that work with what? Two farms? One in Westtown and one in Elkins Park at 1760 Ashbourne Road or wherever? That’s a lot on one plate, isn’t it? And what about the non profit?

So, she’s part of our community and still in Philadelphia? Sign me still waiting to see how this all works out. And what is the address of her charity etc. now that she is no longer actually at her old location given the empty and forlorn look and for rent sign?

(Cue the attack rats and keyboard warriors.)

dear congresswoman houlahan,

Dear Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan,

I called your office today. Like any other time I have called since you’ve been in office, you have wonderful staffers in DC. Then listen and they are polite and then what will happen?


The same nothing that has been happening since I first voted for you for your first term which began in 2019. I used to think it was just me and I don’t call very often and I’m not anybody important. But then I discovered that people who should be important get the same treatment.

I took the picture above here in October 2018. I was so happy to meet you at this event. I was happy to vote for you the next month. I was thrilled when you were elected. I’m not some big campaign donor I don’t actually donate to campaigns. I vote for people whom I can believe in or whom I think I can believe in.

Sadly Chrissie, I don’t know if I believe in you anymore. How can I? You are so removed from your average constituency and that’s me. I’m not a big donor I’m not some big swinging political dick in Washington. I’m just one of the people that has voted for you twice.

But you kind of keep letting us down, Chrissie.

Like I said, when we call your office, they listen. But nobody ever falls up unless of course it’s to get a Robo call for a Townhall meeting or something. And then there’s your Townhall meetings which are scripted and you can’t just ask a question it has to be screened, doesn’t it?

When we try to reach you, it kind of just circles. So like I said, you’re out of touch with your constituency. You don’t even get how here in Chester County we are not only plagued by the pipelines, but we just had to beat back the concept of a hydrogen hub too close to home a few months ago.

So imagine my surprise when you send me a newsletter this week proclaiming to me that hydrogen hubs are fabulous. So allow me to quote my friend Ginny Kerslake:

These PA hydrogen hubs are cloaked in secrecy and greenwashing.

Impacted communities here in southeastern PA are especially being kept in the dark on MACH2 which will mean more dangerous pipelines through Chester County and possibly power plants. And the executive who was at the helm during the disastrous Mariner East planning and construction is leading this project.

I know Ginny has written you to on this topic. And she has the background and chopsticks presser so far better than I do. But have you ever read the Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken? Here allow me:

The Road Not Taken 


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Have you ever thought of becoming the Congresswoman we thought we were voting for? Have you ever thought of being the Congresswoman doesn’t show up for strategically placed sound bites alone?

I’m really trying very hard not to be rude because I genuinely like you and I would like to believe in you again. But let me tell you the story of the election of 2022. Do you understand why so many people voted for you? Do you understand that 2022 was the lesser of two evils election all around?

No, I’m not going to play for the other team, but I’m trying to wake you up before you have your next election to run. Right now you’re losing people and more every day, especially with the hydrogen hub that is only going to benefit the same people/kinds of people who put the crappy pipelines to Chester County. Would you also seem oblivious to, and you serve our district.

Your people seem to think that we’re just going keep voting for you because you’re a Democrat.

You are indeed, totally greenwashed at the prospect of this hydrogen hub. If you’ve done research surely you can see hydrogen hubs aren’t actually really clean energy?

All hydrogen hubs are is danger on many levels wherever they are shoved, and profit for others NOT in the communities where they are shoved.

So the bigger Democrats threw you a bone and let you play Vanna and turn those letters, right?

Houlahan Announces Hydrogen Hub in Southeastern Pennsylvania
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Print this Page Share by Email
Washington, D.C., October 13, 2023

If the original Chrissie returns in time for the next election, happy to vote for you again. But you have to prove you are not the congresswoman in the golden Democratic cage first. And sometimes when the little people call, they actually expect you to respond yourself.

I actually had a similar conversation years ago with another Congressman who once held this district. And I was nobody important. I was just a constituent. Same person I am today except the difference was this Congressman listened to all of us. He came to our community events, his staffers really listened and looked into things when asked. His name was Jim Gerlach. Personally I miss him.

Be more like Jim. Also be your own woman again. Not the unapproachable, overly handled woman your constituents no longer recognize.

It truly makes me sad to write this post. But I don’t get what you don’t get about how your constituents actually feel about hydrogen plants and hydrogen hubs.

Thank you for your time. There is no need to reply, because I know you won’t anyway.

no is my favoirite billboard word

I have been meaning and meaning to post this but life got in the way. PennDOT said NO to Outfront Media chopping down more trees. Outfront is who bought the Catalyst 202 billboard site in East Whiteland where the tree massacre occurred a while back in 2022. Of course, they can appeal, but hey this is lovely news.

And speaking of billboards, that thing at 29 and 30 is still so bright you need shades even at midnight so….maybe complain to PennDOT and East Whiteland instead of just to me?

Take a bow East Whiteland residents, take a bow. Good things happen when residents get involved and take action where they live. Now let’s work on getting the 29 and 30 billboard turned DOWN.

Nighty night

well it’s monday, might as well blow up the internet over proposed zoning changes in west whiteland that will ultimately benefit a developer for the weston tract on w. king rd. right?

Things that just send my hackles up: not telling East Whiteland when West Whiteland has a public hearing October 25th to change the zoning around the Weston Tract on West King Road from zoned O/L Office/Laboratory to R-1 Residential.

So right now the thing that also makes me think is if the conditional use for this was for say a halfway house or a drug rehab or anything that couldn’t otherwise be shoehorned into a R-1 zoning district there might have been a little more advanced notice other than a friend in West Whiteland who is just a regular resident says to me at noon today “You might want to look at the agenda for West Whiteland this week.”

So yes….look at that right on the agenda.

Whoops there it is. An itty bitty zoning change…..Oh it looks all harmless zoning change, but as we have all learned zoning doesn’t exist in a vacuum does it?

East Whiteland residents and West Whiteland residents are affected here. Read this excerpt from agenda:

Motion To approve Ordinance No. 476 to amend the R-1 Residential district regulations in the West Whiteland Township Zoning Ordinance and to amend the Zoning Map to re-zone a portion of land in the Office/Laboratory zoning district to R-1 Residential.
At the Planning Commission meeting of June 20, 2023, Mr. Tom Kessler of the Willow Hill Development Group (“Applicant”) presented the latest in a series of sketch plans for the redevelopment of the Weston Solutions campus, a tract of about 54 acres along the south side of King Rd. at the southeastern corner of the Township. The plan (attached) proposed about 100
new dwelling units and featured the preservation of several significant historic buildings along with permanent open space. The plan was presented in support of a future application to amend the Township Zoning Ordinance (“Zoning”) since the development shown would not be allowed by the current regulations.
Based upon the favorable reaction of the Planning Commission, the Applicant formally submitted a proposal to amend the Zoning Ordinance, pursuant to the provisions of §325-125.B of the Zoning. The proposal has two parts: an amendment to the text of the R-1 Residential district regulations and an amendment to the Zoning Map to change the designation of the Weston
campus from O/L Office/Laboratory to R-1 Residential. The Commission and Staff had previously advised the Applicant that they would support a map amendment to re-zone the property to R-1, which would match the surrounding land; any amendment to allow the project more
specifically would therefore need to be an option within the R-1 district. The Applicant’s approach is therefore consistent with the direction of the Planning Commission and Staff and may be summarized as follows:

The proposed text amendment will add a “large tract residential cluster option” to the R-1 district regulations. Only tracts of fifty acres or more would be eligible for this option. Other than the Applicant’s site, it appears that the Whitford Country Club property may be the only other readily available tract of this size in the R-1 district, although it would of course be possible for someone to acquire a number of adjacent properties to assemble a
fifty-acre tract.

  • The Applicant’s proposed amendment to the Zoning Map included only their property.
    Amending the Zoning Map in this way would leave a handful of properties with a total area of about four acres in the O/L zoning district. Given that most of those lots are in residential use (which is not allowed in the O/L district), the Planning Commission and Staff agreed that any re-zoning for residential use should include those properties not owned by Weston.
    The County’s review (attached) supports this as well. Staff therefore proceeded to contact those property owners as required by both the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (“MPC”) and our own Zoning to advise them of the possible change.
    The Planning Commission discussed the amendment informally with the Applicant on August 1,2023 and officially (as part of the required review and adoption process) at their regular public meeting on September 19, 2023. Commission member Andy Wright expressed concern about
    the density of the proposed project, similar to the County’s comments, but the other Commission members were satisfied that with the amendment as proposed. The discussion concluded with the Commission passing a motion recommending that the Board approve the amendment; only Mr. Wright was in opposition to the motion.

So before we get into the meat of this let’s dish basics: who was notified of this proposed zoning change as in who lives within the magical 500 feet and who lives just outside the magical 500 feet and well, including down the road in the adjoining municipality East Whiteland? West Whiteland imposes it, but the applicant has an affirmative duty to notify, correct? Whomever owns adjacent properties doesn’t just mean homeowners, does it? For example, the little league field. Or better yet, that large academic institution called Immaculata University? Do they know? Because I know as of when I found out around noon, East Whiteland residents did not know, not sure about the township itself but I think not or it would have been on the website?

There is the letter of the law when it comes to notifications, but also important is the spirit of the law, correct? There are those in West Whiteland whom probably do not know, but there are also East Whiteland residents, aren’t there?

And to say this “cannot be tied to any specific development….” ok kids, then I am the Tooth Fairy, yes? Isn’t it kind of obvious this developer NEEDS this to develop this:

Oh and let us NOT forget the Johnson Matthey parcel directly across the road? I seem to recall the address is 1397 King Road West Chester PA. “Light Industrial” and 15.7 acres, correct? So do we REALLY think THAT land will be sold to OTHER than a RESIDENTIAL developer, and well it’s Johnson Matthey so umm what chemicals live in the land now? Fair question since well weren’t they a previous owner-operator at Bishop Tube? The PA DEP says so.

So this was “informally” discussed in August? And then in September only Andy Wright whomever he is had the gumption to say it might be too dense of a project? And everyone else rides the sheeple bus?

Maybe I am old, jaded and distrustful since I have watched what certain zoning overlays and changes have done to certain areas of Lower Merion and other Main Line communities, but developers don’t offer up helpful anything regarding zoning unless there is a derived benefit, correct?

I have written about this Weston site before.

Don’t treat this as just a little change and ignore this. Zoning changes and zoning overlay districts will never ever exist in a vacuum. I know I am repeating myself but this is important. And of course I am really repeating myself when I say this is yet ANOTHER REASON WHY THE MUNICIPLAITIES PLANNING CODE NEEDS AN OVERHAUL!

How many developments do we need?

Now other IMPORTANT THINGS regarding this development which starts with a little bitty zoning change: car volume. That development needs a traffic signal. Otherwise no one, including Immaculata will be able to get in and out from driveways and side roads up and down W. King Road. And don’t let them say oh PennDOT is difficult etc. It can be a condition of plan approval for one thing. And also that is what State Senators and State Representatives are for.

Another important thing here to be considered are PIPELINES. If memory serves I think three run through that property. I live in a blast zone for pipelines in East Goshen and West Whiteland personally. And one of my concerns is because I don’t actually live in the municipalities with the pipelines, I can’t be certain in the event of an emergency I would be notified and the plans for running uphill holding your breath or whatever don’t cut it for residents affected and well this development would create a whole new class of affected West Whiteland residents wouldn’t it?

Other truisms:

  • It will add yet more kids to the overburdened West Chester Area School District.
  • It will stress infrastructure in more than West Whiteland Township which also includes first responder infrastructure
  • It will have potential environmental impacts. Lots of things live int he Weston woods and would anything be considered protected? Either flora, fowl, or fauna?

But first things first, the zoning change. I mean realistically I think Weston is getting developed. I don’t think we can stop that, but I think it would behoove West Whiteland and East Whiteland to discuss the density. After all development doesn’t live in a bubble. It’s time for West Whiteland to add it all up again, especially considering the shit show happening on Ship and Lancaster Ave, right? You have Laborers, you have the other stuff between Church Farm School and Ship, right? I don’t know about any of my readers but all of this development gives me a headache. And related aside? Same developer for Weston has something cooking in Willistown too? And here is LINK for prior plans submitted for Weston property in 2022. And next two screen shots were those plans:

The meeting is Wednesday October 25th in West Whiteland. It is accessible via zoom:


Wednesday, October 25, 2023
6:30 p.m.

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 848 4944 7386 Passcode: 871814 One tap mobile +16465588656
Meeting Packets can be found on Township website
Reminder to meeting participants: Please speak clearly into the microphone

Sign me development and zoning cranky.