loch aerie sold again


Ok it is no secret how much I love Loch Aerie.  I last wrote about her April 21, 2016 when I thought she had sold.

I had wondered what was going on because no one had heard anything.  I saw lights on a few times at night over the summer and the lawn was getting cut.

I had found there two deed related documents on Chester County’s website (see highmount-1 and  highmount-2 ) but that was it.

Well guess what?

As per Vista Today Loch Aerie has sold again.  Apparently they are reporting that the deal fell through and their real estate agent from Berkshire Hathaway Mike Diggin submitted an offer on behalf of Steven and Dana Poirier of Downingtown and it was accepted.

I was able to confirm Vista’s story via, what else? Social Media!



Why yay? I do not know these people but they want to rehab it and have a wedding venue and maybe it sounds like the husband’s office as well.

I remember them from auction day, they were across the room from me.


Anyway, that is all the news fit to print on 700 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern, PA.

Tip of the hat to Vista for getting the scoop. I enjoyed my brief stint writing for them, I just couldn’t do it for free so  that writing experience was unfortunately short lived.

I see this as positive news for Loch Aerie.  I look forward to their opening day.

Selfishly I hope the consider Frens & Frens out of West Chester for an architecture firm – they are the ones who restored Beechwood House in Bryn Mawr.  I was on the Committee to Save Beechwood years ago – it is how I fell in love with Addison Hutton houses.

I will close with a  video done on Beechwood for the restoration so people can se a modern adaptive reuse of an old mansion/home can work!

the announcement: natural lands trust regarding saving bryn coed

Alessandra Manzotti photos courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

Alessandra Manzotti photos courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

Now that it has been announced, I can say that I have known for a few years that Natural Lands Trust was working on saving Bryn Coed.  I was asked to not say anything, so into the proverbial vault it went.  But I can’t say it is untrue that developers were sniffing around Bryn Coed’s 1500+ acres can I ?  After all, it is a magical piece of land that is almost mythical, isn’t it?

Here is the official press release:

One Step Closer to Preservation of Bryn Coed Farms

Media, Pa. – Natural Lands Trust announced today a major milestone in the non-profit land conservation organization’s effort to preserve 1,505 acres in northern Chester County known as Bryn Coed Farms.


On September 28, 2016, Natural Lands Trust and the current property owners, the Dietrich family, executed an Agreement of Sale for the property. Natural Lands Trust now has six months to conduct due diligence, including Phase II environmental testing.


The fate of the property has been the subject of much speculation over the years as development pressures have increased in the region. Located primarily in West Vincent Township, Chester County, with portions also in East and West Pikeland Townships, the property is one of the largest remaining undeveloped, unprotected tracts of land in the Greater Philadelphia region. Under current zoning, nearly 700 homes could be built on the property if it is not placed under protection.


Natural Lands Trust has been working with the Dietrichs for more than five years to conserve the land.


“It is too early to celebrate, but we are optimistic that much of this iconic property can be conserved,” said Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust. “It’s a complex deal with many moving parts, but Bryn Coed is certainly worth fighting to save. It’s a community and ecological treasure.”


If successful, the deal would result in a 400-plus-acre nature preserve with eight miles of hiking trails that will be owned and managed by Natural Lands Trust. The preserve will be open to visitors, free of charge, just like other nature preserves owned by the regional conservation group—including the 112-acre Binky Lee Preserve in nearby Chester Springs. In addition, West Vincent Township is considering Natural Lands Trust’s offer to establish a 72-acre municipal park on the property.


The remainder of the property would be divided into large conservation properties, preserved by conservation easements, and sold to private individuals.


“The amount of land that can be permanently protected as a Natural Lands Trust preserve is dependent on the amount of funding we can raise. The cost of preserving the entirety of such a vast and valuable property is beyond the currently available resources. We will be seeking support from the public in the weeks and months ahead,” Morrison added.


In 2003, the Dietrich brothers decided to divest themselves of the property. Various conservation and development options were explored but never came to a successful conclusion.


In recent years, several developers have been in negotiations with the Deitrichs, including Toll Brothers, which had proposed a 254-unit development on about one-quarter of the property.


Much of the property is actively farmed or in pasture. There are nearly 500 acres of mature woodlands on the property that are home to a myriad of songbirds and other wildlife. Generations of residents and visitors have enjoyed the pastoral views of Bryn Coed Farms.


The land also contains the headwaters to Pickering Creek, and is a high priority for source water protection. Bryn Coed Farms alone constitutes 17 percent of the remaining unprotected high-priority land in the Pickering Creek watershed.


Persons interested in receiving more information as the Bryn Coed Farms conservation effort progresses are invited to visit www.natlands.org/bryncoed and sign up for email updates. Those interested in learning more about the conservation properties that will be available for sale should contact Brian Sundermeir, Bryn Coed project manager, at 610-353-5587, ext. 237.


Natural Lands Trust is the region’s largest land conservation organization and is dedicated to protecting the forests, fields, streams, and wetlands that are essential to the sustainability of life in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. Since its founding in 1953, Natural Lands Trust has preserved more than 100,000 acres, including 43 nature preserves totaling nearly 22,000 acres. Today, some 2.5 million people live within five miles of land under the organization’s protection. For more information, visit www.natlands.org.


Alessandra Manzotti photos courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

Alessandra Manzotti photos courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

So, this is not yet quite a done deal. There are three municipalities and a lot of due diligence and environmental testing.  From what I am reading, not all of the land will be conserved (it’s a little unclear) ,  but one can hope and no matter what this is a heck of a lot more than anyone expected.

As I understand it, The NLT-owned preserve will be a “big chunk ” of Bryn Coed.  The remainder will be large conservation lots with easements on them and trail easements as well. The size of the preserve can grow if Natural Lands Trust gets more money towards the project.

To David Robinson and his family who own Crebilly, why can’t you look at something like this? You can afford to.

Ok I just wanted to put this out there as some thought my post from the other evening was fabricated. I do my homework, and it doesn’t get much more official than the press release from Natural Lands Trust. And this is THEIR hard work and no one else’s (because I know some who will try to take credit, and well it is not theirs to take.)

BRAVO NLT!  This is why I am a member and big believer in the Natural Lands Trust, they  do not just talk the talk, they walk the walk.  (Brian O’Leary and the Chester County Planning Commission could learn something here, just saying.)

I am a member of Natural Lands Trust, and proudly so.  Please consider a membership. This is me asking incidentally, not them. Go out and enjoy the glorious weekend this weekend. This surely is an awesome way to start it!

Alessandra Manzotti photos courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

Alessandra Manzotti photos courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

too much development has negative consequences

This photo came to me from a friend with the following note:

People who are interested in all the new construction  in the Chester Springs area should be made to attempt a morning commute during the week versus cruising through on a Saturday or Sunday. 

I felt like I was in Manhattan this morning – cars well past Montgomery School on Route 113 trying to get through the intersection with Route 401, a couple miles worth of hideous, now everyday traffic.  

God bless those who have to get to work OUTSIDE of Chester Springs. And to think of the nearly 250 homes not yet occupied as part of Byers Station Phase 2 and roughly same number of Pulte homes going up near Ludwigs Corner???? 

This is insanity!!!

Perhaps worth a post. Biggest problem when the the massive amount of developing going on is the market for them- the buyers. They have no idea the poor quality of these homes along with what it is really like to get around these 2 lane roads. Uh!!!

And indeed, so worth a post!

Why this is so good to see come to life isn’t so people can be miserable in traffic, it’s instead so people can know what their future holds every time they see one of these plans proposed wherever it is they live.

When these plans are proposed in your municipalities, they are cute little Lego land box drawings on a big flat piece of paper. The drawings are shown with these buildings with nothing around them, so you can’t visualize the reality of these developments for the most part. You get stuck waiting for the developments to be built and then there’s nothing you can do.

And my favorite is the trick that even a curse out here where they talk about how people aren’t going to be using their cars, they will use special Jetson spaceships and public transportation. Everything is going to be “walkable”. Of course how they can say that with a straight face and parts of Chester County were you still have to drive miles to get to a grocery store cracks me up.

A lot of the  “highways”  out here are glorified country roads. They weren’t meant for this volume of humanity. Then you look at roads like 202 which are a nightmare even with improvements.

So anyway, just more food for thought. Especially if you were thinking about areas like over around Crebilly, and that’s not just because of the Toll Brothers proposed building on that land. It’s quite simply put: just adding all the plans up. 

What do you get if you add up all the developments large and small from one end of Chester county to the other? To me that prospect is frightening and very very sad. 

hot off the presses in west vincent: hope for bryn coed?


I have written about Bryn Coed in West Vincent quite a few times. It is twice the size of Chesterbrook, and developers have sniffed around it for years. Bryn Coed is mammoth in size.

Well breaking news from Birchrunville People:



Now someone at Natural Lands Trust did mention this to me a while ago (like I think a couple of years ago), and asked me not to say anything – at that point it was more of an idea.

If this happens, wow oh wow, thank God (once again) for Natural Lands Trust.  I am a member, are you?

I doubt they will be able to afford the whole parcel (1500+ acres) but hopefully a significant amount is conserved.

This was attempted in 2005 but it did not work.

Wow. Wow.Wow. Stay tuned.

****Please note my information for this at this time comes from residents who were at that meeting this evening****

“stakeholder” meetings should be centrally located and convenient for “stakeholders” right?

dsc_8099A reporter asked me what happened to the link for the Chester County Planning Commission’s survey in advance of the soon to be new and glorious Landscapes3, an Exercise in Resident Futility.


Because the original link does NOT work anymore.  Great planning: they send out a link ask all their contacts to distribute within their communities and then they change it. Or make it go away. Of course I have no answer what happened to all of the answers of people who already completed the survey, do you?

So now go to this page Public Participation Opportunities , go partway down the page and see:

Topical Surveys

Developed to gather stakeholder opinions on specific topical areas, these surveys are also being made available to the public. Targeted to representatives of organizations active in the topical areas, interested individuals are welcome to complete these surveys as they become available.

  • Preservation

  • Agriculture

  • Housing

  • Utilities and Infrastructure (available October 26)

  • Transportation (available November 2)

  • Economic Development (available November 16)

  • Community Health (available December 6)


Also of note, the top part of the page:

The development of Landscapes3 will be an open and collaborative experience. The public is invited to participate throughout. The process includes:

Photo Contest

Participants can submit their favorite Chester County place in this photo contest, which is aimed at taking a different approach to identifying what is valued by residents. Prizes will be available. (coming soon)

Stakeholder Meetings

A series of stakeholder meetings will be held to identify issues and challenges facing Chester County over the next ten years. Experts will meet under the following topics: preservation, agriculture, housing, utilities and infrastructure, transportation, economic development, and community health. The public is invited to attend and observe these meetings. Click here to view meeting schedule.


How many of my photos of farms and historic houses would they like to see?

But then we come to the stakeholder meetings. Here is a screen shot of the schedule:


In the middle of the afternoon, in Coatesville? Seriously? Hello people work, pick kids up from school/sports, have farms and businesses to tend, and so on.

But no, Chester County’s idea of most opportune time to schedule these meetings is in a place not quite ideally located and at times inconvenient for the majority of people living int the real world.  Common sense would dictate if they were REALLY interested in what people who live here and pay taxes (as opposed to the carpetbagger Executive Director of Chester County Planning Department Brian O’Leary), they would have chosen a location like West Chester, or done a series of traveling meetings and maybe holding them in school auditoriums or something.

But Brian O’Leary and the Chester County Planning must not really be terribly interested in citizen participation if they choose times that are NOT convenient for average folk, even farm folk and choose a location like this one in Coatesville, that is not really even convenient to anyone.  (Which is why I think they should have had travelling meetings to capture different quadrants of the county more effectively.)

This is not an auspicious beginning to a long process that is supposed to matter, Chester County.

And no, Brian O’Leary I am not going to stop mentioning you are not a Chester County resident and come from a uniquely pro-development township (Lower Merion Township) where I don’t think you listened much at all to residents while on the Planning Commission there, arranged for political pasty “planning” awards be given to politicians who weren’t planners except in the landscape sense of the word, and were employed by Montgomery County which as a whole has been decimated by development in part.

Our chief planner should be one of us.  I find it hard to believe that no such qualified planners exist in Chester County.

Carpe Diem, Chester County Residents.  I know many of you care. Speak up. Please…before all the open space, farmland, and history is gone. This county has a unique history, and it is very much at risk.

saddle up for crebilly, chester county


Photo Courtesy of Chadds Ford Live and Kathleen Brady Shea “With the expanse of Crebilly Farm ahead of her, Mindy Worth Rhodes rides on Dunvegan Road in Westtown Township. Her goal is to raise awareness about Toll Brothers’ subdivision plan for the 330-acre property.” (Photo edited by me to achieve this cool effect)

Sometimes a picture is worth a 1000 words. Kathleen Brady Shea’s photo in her article today did that for me. She seems to be the sole member of the media who cares about the fate of Crebilly Farm.  I find it disturbing that I have not seen anything anywhere else as a matter of fact.

This article is about a woman whom I do not know but wish I did, because she sounds marvelous. Her name is Mindy Worth Rhodes, she is now a resident of  the historic village of Trimbleville in West Bradford Township, grew up in Westtown on General Howe Drive. She is a life-long equestrian and growing up she rode through Westtown neighborhoods to be able to ride on Crebilly.

So on Sunday, like the Pony Express rides again or Paul Revere, she saddled up her horse and distributed flyers about saving Crebilly.

How cool and appropriate is that?  To do it on horseback!

I am thrilled other people are stepping in and stepping up the game to Save Crebilly, or at least part of it.  Community matters and so does coming together on this issue.

As a friend said to me today:

The more letters and emails that go to ANY public officials, including the county commissioners, the better….. Here’s what I know about the previous apartment building: It would have conserved 90 percent of the tract. That is why some, including the supervisors, supported it. Members of the public hated the concept and came out in droves to defeat it;


Here is an excerpt of today’s article:

Saddling up support for Crebilly preservation


I can’t pretend to understand the heirs to and most of the current residents of Crebilly, one of whom resides in New Mexico.  But the person we see mentioned the most when it comes to Crebilly is David Robinson. I do not know what drives Mr. Robinson.  Wish I did. I guess I do not and will never understand how a significantly affluent and influential family can sell to a Toll Brothers?  I get wanting to divest themselves of some of the land because it is an awesome responsibility, but how do you inherit something like Crebilly and not want to preserve it for future generations?

How do you not value the legacy that was dropped in your lap because you were related to certain people? Is it the whole having to work for it versus inherit it? How can you sell to Toll and live in your same homes and watch hundreds of plastic boxes grow up like demented plastic corn around you? Does the man have an overwhelming desire to be the Squire of his very own plastic Toll Village? And since the family has avoided telling anyone anything, no one knows besides the obvious objective of financial motivation and gain what is going on, right?

Now, onto other things. First,  I thought I would mention in addition to my Save Crebilly Farm Page on Facebook, there is now a Neighbors for Crebilly Page on Facebook.  I know the people who started that page a little bit, one is a residential realtor in Chester County and her significant other who is a businessman  is no stranger to conservation and land deals. They are what a friend of mine would term simply as “good people”.  So that being said, while they are not neighbors in close proximity to Crebilly anymore than I am, they are smart people whose heart is with Crebilly….you can’t go wrong with that now, can you? Maybe give their page a like too please?

So while I am on the topic of neighbors, I know people in Westtown Township are upset about Crebilly, but they are not going to Westtown Meetings to discuss it with their Supervisors.  Supervisors might be local politicians, but they are also human beings and not clairvoyant.  People with actual standing, who live in Westtown, need to speak up now before it is too late to have a voice, any voice in the eventual outcome. And whomever started the latest petition should probably come forward as I assume they wish to present their petition to Westtown?

I get the need to have anonymity when voicing opinions on certain local topics, but whomever you are, you inspired me and others to raise our collective voices regarding Crebilly with your simple message to go with your petition:

Help join the cause to save Crebilly Farm, a prized open landscape that represents Chester County’s unique history and natural beauty. There are currently plans installed by real estate company Toll Brothers to develop the Crebilly property. If you oppose these plans, please show your support. Together we can preserve Chester County’s historical significance and natural integrity that are central to our community’s identity. Let’s keep our home an enjoyable place to live in.

Here are some of the comments left by petition signers:

1-more another-1 family history memories more regrets

I hope someone hears their pleas. Eloquent and simple.

I hope Westtown residents express themselves soon so their township hears from the residents in time.

I hope people from ALL over Chester County bombard the Chester County Commisisoners with phone calls, e-mails and letters over Crebilly and the state of development in Chester County in general.  It would be nice for example if they could tell us the taxpayers and residents of Chester County why it is that our county planning is headed up by a hired gun who does not even live in Chester County? Why is the Chester County Planning Commission led by Brian O’Leary who lives in super pro-development Lower Merion Township, used to be on their planning commission and accomplished nothing really to combat over development and sprawl during his tenure in Montgomery County? Why does a pro-development Auslander the best choice? Are there no qualified planners who reside in Chester County? Really?

Other Crebilly posts:

before crebilly gets developed westtown, let’s talk traffic

is it possible to STOP toll brothers from destroying crebilly farm in westtown? sadly, probably not.

a love note to the chester county planning commission

Oh and one last thing. In order for Chester County Planning Commission to be as confusing as humanly possible they have split the survey they recently sent out into different sections. You can now take a survey on just certain sections like Preservation or Agriculture, for example.

I will note their original survey seems to be not load right (maybe it’s just me, not sure and it could be Survey Monkey which gets hung up if some thing is busy), so   FOLLOW THIS LINK. It will lead you to the split up sections page.

Carpe diem folks! Once places like Crebilly are gone, they are never coming back.  It is up to us collectively to step up and demand better.  Historic preservation, equine and agricultural preservation, meaningful open space preservation.

I would like to think when it comes to Crebilly, the ghosts of American Revolutionary War Soldiers would want us to speak up don’t you?  They died to keep our land free from invaders, right?

Thanks for stopping by.