toxic nightmare site bishop tube goes back to zoning…

This photo was taken in 2010, long before I lived in Chester County. It was taken by d.coleman in June of 2010. I found it on Flickr. This is a screen shot of photo with attribution and description as found in yellow. Photographers have been photographing Bishop Tube for years and I hear that high school kids find their way onto the site as well?

This photo was taken in 2010, long before I lived in Chester County. It was taken by d.coleman in June of 2010. I found it on Flickr. This is a screen shot of photo with attribution and description as found in yellow.  Photographers have been photographing Bishop Tube for years and I hear that high school kids find their way onto the site as well? I will note I have only ever taken photos from OUTSIDE the chain link fence.

Bishop Tube is a toxic site. It has been through remediation to a point, but I can’t find anything for 2015 in as far as a public accounting of where the clean-up is. Now maybe an update exists, but is it posted publicly anywhere that is easily accessible?  I am including a letter from Chester County Planning Commission from 2014 I do not think I shared before ( chester-county-planning-on-bishop-tube-march-2014 ).

Something that jumped out at me from said letter:

RECOMMENDATION:    While  the  County  Planning  Commission  supports  single-family  attached and multi-family residential development in the Suburban Landscape where infrastructure capacity can support such development, along with the implementation of adaptive reuse and infill strategies to redevelop abandoned industrial brownfield sites for moderate to high density multi- family housing designation, it does not appear that this location can support the density being proposed due to its existing physical and environmental characteristics.  Additionally, the amendment petition does not appear to be consistent with the Township’s Comprehensive Plan and its vision for Community Mixed Use.  The Commission recommends that East Whiteland Township deny the applicant’s zoning ordinance and zoning map amendment petition.

 

So that was 2014.  We are now in 2017.  East Whiteland has had Bishop Tube as a guest star topic at many meetings since then.  So truthfully, I don’t know which iteration of Constitution Drive Partners LP anyone is looking at.  Constitution Drive Partners = Brian O’Neill, remember?

Well, this plan is up in front of East Whiteland Zoning NEXT week January 23:

bishop-tube-zoningHERE in case you can’t see all of the fine print:

LEGAL NOTICES

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the East Whiteland Township Zoning Hearing Board conduct a continued public hearing at 7:15 p.m. on Monday, January 23, 2017, at the East Whiteland Township Municipal Building, 209 Conestoga Road, Frazer, Pennsylvania, to consider Appeal No. 2016-24 Application of Constitution Drive Partners, L.P. and 9 Malin Road Development, LLC (collectively, “Applicant”) for a variance from Section 200-57.C.(6) of the East Whiteland Township Zoning Ordinance to permit single-family attached dwellings and townhouses in rows of more than six units, with associated driveways and grading to be located in both steep slope and very steep slope areas of the property formerly the site of the Bishop Tube complex (which is currently a brownfield site improved with dilapidated industrial buildings), located at 9 South Malin Road, 10 South Malin Road, and 1 South Malin Road (Tax Parcels 42-4-321, 42-4-321.1 and 42-4-321.2) (collectively, “Property”). The Property is located in an RRD (Residential Revitalization District) Zoning District. The public hearing was opened at the Zoning Hearing Board’s November 28, 2016 meeting. The Applicant has subsequently amended its Application to request a variance from Section 200-93.B of the Zoning Ordinance to permit the proposed retaining walls to exceed the permitted six (6) feet in height. On the above date, the Zoning Hearing Board will continue the public hearing and may render a decision on Appeal No. 2016-24. Anyone with a disability requiring a special accommodation to attend should notify Joseph T. Leis, Zoning Officer, at 610-648-0600 x 268. The Township will make every effort to provide a reasonable accommodation. Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco Attorney for Constitution Drive Partners, L.P. DL-Jan 10, 16-1a

Steep slope and very steep slope.Still the key here. They want to increase site density if they want relief from steep and very steep slopes, right? How many hundred units do they want?  Last count was what, 264? And before that over 300?

Bishop Tube is what they call in crass terms a potential flipper baby site still, correct? Will super high amounts of residential density built on slabs with no basements solve all problems? Or is another use better for the site?

Forget about the problems with the site in the DEP and EPA categories and let us talk traffic, infrastructure, schools, basic township services.  Why does East Whiteland want to be King of Prussia or Bensalem? Is that what the majority of the residents want? Or do residents actually want thought and carefully planned growth versus one construction explosion after another?

How many 1000s of living units are planned, approved, or are in various stages of approval in East Whiteland at this point? That also affects neighboring municipalities and anyone in the Great Valley School District.

And do not forget this interesting developer O’Neill article from December:

Former O’Neill site on Rock Hill Road goes up for sale; was to be part of area’s transformation

Former O’Neill site for sale; was to be part of ‘gateway’ to Lower Merion By Richard Ilgenfritz rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com @rpilgenfritz on Twitter Dec 2, 2016

Bala Cynwyd>> A long awaited building project that was supposed to be part of the transformation of an old rock quarry along Rock Hill Road in Bala Cynwyd has officially gone back on the market. Except for a groundbreaking and some preliminary work a couple of years ago, the approved project never moved forward.

 

The site was to become a mixed-use development proposed by Brian O’Neill, owner of O’Neill Properties.

Monday, Kevin Flynn Sr. of The Flynn Company confirmed that his company has the property at 131 Rock Hill Road up for sale.

According to Flynn, the 8.2-acre site was approved for four buildings of four-stories each with parking decks underneath. There would also be a surface lot and numerous other amenities.

 

O’Neill owned the site since 2004, when it was purchased for $3.5 million, according to online Montgomery County records. In 2014, the site was sold to an LLC called Alexander Street, for $11.122 million as the preliminary work was being done. They were to be the financing arm of the project.

 

Another site across the street on Rock Hill Road had also been owned by O’Neill and had been sold in 2010.

 

It’s not clear why O’Neill is apparently divesting himself in his holdings in that area. Calls to the company this week were not returned.

In Lower Merion Township people went through YEARS of awful meetings over steep slopes and a developer driven zoning overlay known as ROHO.  Has anyone asked Brian O’Leary of the Chester County Planning Commission about this as he would be very familiar with this plan given his time on Lower Merion Township’s Planning Commission?

I can’t see Bishop Tube from my window.  But if I could I sure as heck would turn up at this meeting.  Or if I lived at the edge of Malvern Borough where traffic here would become an issue. If I was a neighbor or affected by Bishop Tube, I would see that board room was packed.

Here are some of the old articles on Bishop Tube:

crebilly news

crebilly

I have nothing to do with this, I am merely an additional conduit of information. But I have been getting messages regarding what was new, so I will post what I received. E-mail mindyrhodes1 <at> gmail.com to get on her Crebilly updates list.

Here is what I received from Mindy today:

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your continued support regarding the pending development of Crebilly Farm by Toll Brothers.  I would like to reiterate what I have stated in previous emails:  I encourage all of you to forward this info to your friends and at any time you wish to be removed from this list, please let me know.
 
NEXT PLANNING COMMISSION MEETINGS:
 
Tuesday, January 10th, 6:30PM Rustin High School
Agenda:  traffic and sewer
 
Tuesday, January 24th, 6:30PM Rustin High School
Agenda:  engineering, fiscal impact and PC recommendations
 
NOTE:  The PC is going to ask for an extension from Toll to split the last January meeting into two separate meetings because they have been so long.  I will let you know when I hear more.
 
There are 850 seats in Rustin’s auditorium.  It is imperative we rally together and fill these seats.  Please invite your friends and neighbors to join you.  I recommend we all plan to sit forward this time.  In a much larger auditorium than Stetson Middle School, I believe it will send a message from all of us to the developer that we are united and strong.  As many of you already know, these meetings have been hours long and public comments are not permitted until the end.  Consider bringing a snack, a drink, your knitting:)  Take a break and come back, but try to make it for the long haul if you can.  Public comments are invaluable and need to be on record.  The more we can pick apart the application from the developer and speak on record, the better.  Though everyone has a voice and may speak, comments from Westtown Township residents and nearby Thornbury Township residents will have the most impact.
If you have not had the chance to view the beautiful and historic land of Crebilly Farm, here is the website:  www.crebilly.com
Attached is a map of the plans by Toll Brothers.  Their original map was green.  We had this one colored to clearly define the building lots (orange), waste water disposal and storm water retention (brown) and wetlands (green).  The terrain in the central part of the property, where the bulk of the building has been proposed, has many streams, valleys and wetlands.  The streams on the property flow into the Brandywine river.  This proposed development will impair the eco system and wildlife miles away.
I have had some inquiries with regards to donating money.  In my opinion, now is not the time to donate money.  Pulling funds together should happen if and when there is a call for buying down the development rights or Toll decides to pull out.  Until then, MASSIVE PUBLIC OUTCRY by attending the township meetings, along with raising awareness among local and national conservancies, county officials, state officials and historic organizations is where I believe we should be focusing our efforts.
Thank you again for your continued support.  I believe it is possible to respect land owners rights and also achieve a thoughtful development plan.  Without all of your participation, there would be no fight to preserve the integrity of this beautiful open space and the Brandywine Battlefield.  Together, we are making a difference.
Leave no stone unturned.
Mindy


Mindy Rhodes
Proprietress
WhisperWind Studios
(610)563-8788
www.whisperwindstudios.com

 #NoMoreTollberhoods

things that really aren’t so invisible 

By now most of my readers probably know about a story I have been following since Christmas. It is the story of the mom and two sons who live next-door to the Wawa in Frazer.

While there were at church for Christmas, their apartment burned. NBC10 Philadelphia and reporter Deanna Durante covered it yesterday (CLICK HERE) and the Daily Local has covered it and I am told other media outlets are in the process of covering this story as well.

If you live in the Malvern area it was the second such fire in a little more than 24 hours. But where this fire was different is that most people do not realize people live back there where the fire occurred.

In East Whiteland along Lancaster Avevue starting on just the other side of the Wawa at the corner on Planebrook, and stretching up a piece on Lancaster Avenue there are a combination of small houses and apartments above commercial structures and so on.  I mean no disrespect to the people who call these places home, but they are rentals and a lot of these landlords for years should have probably been taking a good hard look at the rough shape some of their rental properties were in and not just collected the rent.

But for the grace of God go all of us when it comes to house fires. The Rodriguez family could have all perished had they been home and not at church worshiping for Christmas. 

 I am told their landlord owns other structures right around there. I am not making any disparaging comments about said landlord because I have no personal experience with them. What I will say is I hope he does right by this family and I hope he takes a look at everything else he owns to make sure something like this won’t happen again. 

But it was sad for me to watch contretemps occur on a page on Facebook where people we’re arguing over which family who lost their home at Christmas was the most important.

The simple answer is each family in Chester county that lost their home to fire a Christmas is important.   But the not so simple answer and one that most don’t want to hear anything about is the fact that sometimes some of the families that experience these losses are generally speaking invisible to most people on a day-to-day basis. So they may need more support than others.

The people that live in the slightly ramshackle community along route 30 starting just on the other side of the Wawa aren’t living there because they have any other choice. It’s what they can afford, and in fact it’s probably the only actual “affordable housing” supply right there in East Whiteland.

Lots of communities don’t want actual affordable housing within their boundaries because people see section 8 tenement housing in their mind’s eye and are terrified. (Does anyone remember way back when the late Willard Rouse threatened to put in a trailer park and basically then got what he wanted?)

And every time some developer goes in front of the local municipality talking about how if you let them build X number of hundreds of houses and they will give you a couple affordable housing units, demand that they define “affordable.” Because I don’t think this family that lived next-door to the Wawa is the kind of family you’re going to see renting a $2000 a month one bedroom condo apartment do you?  
People talk about referring people over to the William Henry apartments on King. All I ever read about are horror stories of tenants who live in those apartments.  And are they really affordable to all?

Every community has a small segment of residents who are literally invisible to the majority of other residents. And it takes a tragedy like a total house fire for people to get it.

These people aren’t invisible and where they live is not invisible either.  But it behooves us as a community when we can come together to help our neighbors.

This family of three who lost their home and all their belongings in the Christmas fire need a new place to live. The two sons are in the Great Valley School District. If you can pay it forward for this family please do. They don’t just need donations they need a place to live.

Here is the link to the Go Fund Me Page:

https://www.gofundme.com/frazer-house-fire

more litterbug shaming 

Dumped on Three Tun Road in Frazer, East Whiteland Twp., including into the creek that runs under the roadway. My friend who took the photos reported to the property owner, yet it still sits.

#LitterbugShaming #SlumlordShaming

dear ryan homes….

Dear Ryan Homes,

Please pardon me while I barf all over your saccharine sweet ridiculous glossy postcard you mailed me today. My apologies, truly, part of it is because I am sick and part of it is because, well, I simply can’t stomach anymore developer drivel.

Who are you to judge the living I “deserve”?  I live quite nicely in Chester County.  I have an actual home that isn’t made of plastic and plywood.  

Why on earth would you think I wanted the urban Stepford plasticness of a non-organic fake neighborhood next to a highway?  Especially  because I live in a real neighborhood with real people?

I know, I know you want to sell everyone on the plastic houses that would be so lovely next to the elite blue lagoon of the old  quarry lake.  You know the one that no one has sufficiently fenced around yet?

The East Whiteland supervisors and staff like the director of building and planning are salivating and counting the ratables before they are hatched completely ….I get that. But it doesn’t necessarily mean build it and they will come. Of course they might all come and then it’s going to be like part of Chester County has turned into King of Prussia West. Or Bensalem, pick your  development.

Your “lake views” are as fake as the architecture you are touting here. That isn’t an actual lake it’s a toxic body of water left over from the days of quarries. If you were smart you would have fenced that in properly by now, but I predict it will take something awful happening before you actually do – presuming you guys own that since I don’t know who actually owns it. 

As far as I’m concerned everything being built over at Atwater is just developer blight on the horizon and density that we aren’t going to be able to handle in a few years.  And the schools certainly will bear the brunt of this and municipal and other services as well. And the roads are already groaning. 

But hey like everyone else’s development plans, it’s like all of yours exist in a tiny bubble with a green Elysian field surrounding it…. And in this case also bordering an unnaturally blue, toxic “lake”.

I’m sure by now you’re sorry I am on your mailing list. Trust me the feeling is mutual.

Signed ,

Just me, mocking  bad developments proudly for decades.

carpe diem or crebilly will be lost forever!

I was asked to post this flyer.  They are so right.  People if you want to save even  a piece of Crebilly, pack the meeting rooms. Speak up! Speak out! Call elected and appointed officials! Call regional newspapers and television stations! #GetBusy #NoMoreTollberhoods

unnamed

dressing up lancaster ave in paoli 

On the corner of South Valley and Lancaster Ave. have always sat these really cool 1920s store fronts. But for years they were kind of run down with apartments above.  When they were sold, people were naturally nervous because well, more tend to tear things down these days. They don’t often choose adaptive reuse.

But my friend from my living in Lower Merion Township days, Lauren Wylonis, had a vision and here we are: an absolutely stunning restoration and adaptive reuse…and an absolutely gorgeous retail store.

Kings Haven Design, another arm of her Kings Haven brand, which includes things like Kings Haven Properties as well.

The store is full of super beautiful and unusual things, a carefully curated collection.  This is a store that individuals just seeking that something special for their home and design professionals. As a matter of fact, you can read all about Kings Haven in the latest edition of my other friend Caroline O’Halloran’s Savvy Main Line!

What Lauren and her team have accomplished is extraordinary, and her taste is marvelous.

Lauren and I both made the move to Chester County from Lower Merion a few years ago at around the same time.  

“We have always shared a love of the cool old architecture of the Main Line and beyond, and Lauren parlayed that love plus her amazing taste and talent for finding the coolest pieces into the Kings Haven brands!

Check out her store! Adaptive reuse can be really really awesome!  I promise you will love, love, love the store!

Opens to the public December 10!