It starts with someone sending me a public notice. And once again, I am down the rabbit hole of Chester County history at risk.
This is a public hearing to be held in Caln Township on Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. at the Caln Township Municipal Building located at 253 Municipal Drive, Thorndale, Pennsylvania 19372. Now I aslo found this notice of this meeting on PA Public Notices , but I’ll be damned if I can find it on Caln Township’s actual website so either it’s just another bad municipal website that looks kind of sort of pretty but doesn’t function easily, or it’s not there. (But I digress)
This notice which looks like it is for some kind of extra special zoning overlay (you know those things municipalities do to appease developers and special interests? And hey you do not have to like my opinion, but it’s not my first rodeo with zoning overlays and I am entitled to how I feel) for 5030 Horseshoe Pike.
That is when I really went like Alice down the rabbit hole.
Super historic. Known as the “Lloyd Farm”, “Valley Brook Farm” has a fire I would call mysterious a few years ago. Seriously. Here is the screen capture from the Downingtown Area Historical Society May 2014:
Then I hit Google and oh the things I found including this amazing history compiled by someone named Edward G. Lendrat on the West Chester University Old Caln Historical Society Collection. Caln Township has this buried on their website.
Pretty crazy historic, and I understand there was a fire, but a zoning overlay like this is all Caln Township can think is right for this property??? I am told the developer who has bought the “Lloyd Farm” is proposing 5 story apartment buildings, and commercial where there is NO zoning for it? Hence the need for an extra special zoning overlay at Christmas? And this Public Hearing which takes place Dec. 13th. is it for discussion? Then the Commissioners will vote at their next meeting and NO CHANCE to change it will exist after that?
WTF Caln Township Commissioners? Have you no sense of place? No sense of history and what is appropriate? How many freaking apartment buildings and mish mosh retail and more does Chester County need popping up like crappy weeds? Is this how you celebrate 150 years of history in your municipality? WOW.
(I will note TWO Commissioners are up in 2019 – Jennifer Breton and George Chambers. Residents should replace them if as President and Vice President of the Board this is what they think is fab. Just my opinion of course, but sometimes to change goverment you have to change the faces of who governs you.)
And oh the history….
So if I read the history of the property correctly, it dates back to the late 1600s and a Penn Land Grant? And by 1996 it was owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia? (Now I make no secret of my disdain of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and their pedophile priest problems of recent past. Sorry, I digress again…)
Ironically something I wasn’t looking for with regard to this property but seemed to have stumbled upon is a 2015 pipeline easement between the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Columbia Gas. So umm, high density development being proposed and a pipeline? NICE.
Yowza and here is the deed of transfer I guess? Dated April, 2018? The Archdiocese of Philadelphia made over $4.5 cool million on this? NICE. That will settle a bunch of pedophile priest lawsuits, right?
So who is Wild Meadows LLC out of Delaware? (You can search for Delaware entities HERE.)
But back to this very cool history. It is intriguing enough I found it on Twitter:
Here is what it looked like on LoopNet:
Also discovered this place on imgur with these two images from 2015:
It also appears archivally on reddit. Some comments were fascinating.
“Have you been here? I went to Lloyd dog park and found this when I walked up through the field. I really wonder what the story is on this place. Someone at the dog park thought the property is currently owned by a church.”
“This was known as the Lloyd House. It has since been torn down.”
Now I have never been on this property. I have no idea what is stll standing on the property or not. If you have photos, please feel free to send them in a message via this blog’s Facebook page.
Do I have the answers as to what to do with this property? Sadly, no. Don’t know that area well enough. But if there is a pipeline easement, maybe the developer should go light on the development?
Again, how many cram plan developments does one county need? Who is driving this?
Historians and residents might wish to go to this meeting. Remember residents, zoning can affect more than one spot, correct?
Chester County, we can’t just keep sitting idly by as chuck after chunk of land gets carved up. Once open space is gone, it’s gone. Once history is gone, it’s gone.
Here’s hoping the residents of Caln and their municipal neighbors have some Christmas Chutzpah (I know is that like a mixed metaphor or what?) and slow this freight train down.
So much to learn here and I will close with I am marveling at how Caln Township knows the history of this property and they think this is a good idea.
It’s stupid. But I can only express my views as a resident of Chester County. It’s up to the residents of Caln to turn it up and turn out on December 13th.
Tick tock, there is not much time.
I would say if you have historical questions to seek out the Downingtown Area Historical Society and the Old Caln Historical Society.
Thanks for meandering with me.