This IS Chester County:
Reject the Mariner East 2 pipeline! (click on hyperlink to go to Sierra Club initiative)
Normally I do not pass these things on. But I hate Sunoco (and am not enthralled by the other gas line companies either, but they are more polite to deal with if you have to call and ask questions like I did today). Out here we are on wells and they put us, our families, our pets, our neighbors, our wildlife, our environment, our drinking water and more at risk.
Sunoco thus far seems to bully, lie, and intimidate their way through Chester County and elsewhere, raping the landscape as they go.
None of use should want them stealing any more land belonging to anymore individuals thru their B.S. Eminent Domain practices because they are not doing any of this for us….ever. With big oil and big gas, it is always and always will be….about them.
They put toxic, highly flammable, and highly combustible products too close to homes, and they are NOT protecting water sources or wildlife, let alone people.
This is NOT about us and our energy supply. They are just stealing it for other people. They don’t even adequately compensate people for what they do if you want to make it solely about money and it is so much more than that. And thus far the majority of local officials just bend over and give it up without much of a fight.
In the past two days I have had conversations with people from East Goshen and West Goshen Townships who both do not know each other and their experiences as related to me were virtually identical.
They were threatened with eminent domain and they felt they had no choice but to give them an easement; and both hired attorneys that cost many thousands of dollars!
They feel the worst is yet to come as they haven’t started the pipeline invasion yet. They have heard that townships may give them rights to work 24 hours a day, which if true is insane!
So much for East Goshen and West Goshen townships… These folks both tell tales of strange men and women with Texas and Louisiana car plates on their properties TRESPASSING before they even had legal easements.
It just isn’t right and the elected officials are of no help at all.
One said to me (and I quote):
What many don’t know is how in the end our property values will be affected and it is my belief that my property value ( and all on the pipeline path) will go down because of the easement… But the same monies will be needed to support the town budget so everyone else’s taxes will go up to provide the same tax base . We are all losers.
We are all losers. Yup. I received a pamphlet recently from Spectra Energy about pipeline safety. I have not previously received any pipeline info before where we currently live. So I called. I spoke with a very nice man named Don in Gas Control. And wow, we do not have a gas line on our property or in our immediate neighborhood, but wow, pretty darn close.
Another election year issue on a national scale. Please sign the above petition and add your voice. And for those of you tired of trespassers, call Andy Dinniman’s office in West Chester . There should be rules as to when they can access easements and they should provide advance notice.
Anyway, that’s it. I hate pipelines and I hate what they are doing to our area. And for what?
Called Courts at Chester Springs and located at 770 Birchrun Road ,Chester Springs,PA as per Pulte website, this is the latest in developer-grown plastic house crops.
This is located in West Vincent Township, Chester County.
How many families does that add to the school district, I wonder?
Wake up Chester County. It’s time to slow down development across the county before it truly is too late.
Oh and that raggedy grove of mismatched trees in photo above is conservation I am told? Really?
This urbanization of the country does what exactly? Besides eliminate open spaces and the agricultural heritage of the county? How is this beneficial to all residents?
Hey now, it is not just me. Check out:
If you love to hate the ugly houses that became ubiquitous before (and after) the bubble burst you’ve come to the right place. Be sure to check out McMansions 101! Got a question or comment? Contact me at email@example.com
I actually have photos of 99 Church Road but don’t have time to dig through them (but I will later). This property (photo above off Google or Bing) is up for discussion tonight in East Whiteland:
Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan – 99 Church Road – APG – Proposed construction of 43 new single family residential units and the restoration of one existing historic home on the east and west side of Church Road. The property is zoned R-1 Residential and is approximately 41.5 acres and a motion to adopt Resolution No. 23-2016 granting approval of the Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan.
Come on, East Whiteland. I know you can’t stop every development, but 43 new “residential units” on 41.5 acres? Lord above people, can’t you find any developers who will develop large lots to conserve some open space?
Oh and the house on it is apparently a “Class 1, historic property which dates to pre-Revolutionary time” (See 5/14/2015 East Whiteland Supervisors’ Minutes)
So it is being marketed with information on the local schools , so the potential is to add 43 new households with kids here, right? Add that to all the OTHER development in various stages of planning in East Whiteland and elsewhere in the Great Valley School district and is someone going to say with a straight face that these developmnents will NOT impact the schools, will NOT impact our infrastructure, and will NOT affect things like police and first responder coverage?
Marketed as a “development opportunity” by these folks as per broker cloud:
These folks captioned above are locals? And apparently a couple of these folks above are part of the family that owns the National Bank of Malvern? That is what an article in The Hunt Magazine said circa 2009. Heavy sigh. These folks are legendary in equestrian circles, so one would think they would be able to market this property to other than a developer who wants to build quite so many homes on this parcel?
Some will say it’s “only” 41.5 acres. Well if you can do basic math, all the acres add up. Who knew when I wrote my development post earlier, I would be following it up with yet another East Whiteland Development project.
It’s too late to fight city hall on this one unless there are bog turtles or Revolutionary War Soldiers buried there, or something similar, but Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ East Whiteland hit the pause button somewhere, anywhere.
And speaking of the Revolutionary War, how does anyone know this potential development site is clean of artifacts given it’s proximity to other places?
Every time you turn around somewhere in Chester County is yet another GD development being proposed. And once again you have one where the “promise” to restore the historic asset. Umm East Whiteland, we are still waiting for the developer who “promised” to restore Linden Hall to make good on said promise. And we all know that if push comes to shove they can’t make these developers do anything, correct? So telling them they have to do something basically doesn’t mean squat, does it?
So we are seeing the slow death of more open space. Fabulous.
Here is the report from Chester County in the fall of 2015 regarding this plan. FYI only because this plan is essentially another done deal.
Again I state that we should really pressure all state level elected officials to do a comprehensive update of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
After all, the MPC is the bible that guides planning and zoning across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Maybe if it was updated to protect and enhance our communities with more control over development and help for historic preservation and land conservation we would all stand a fighting chance?
Just a thought.
Thanks for stopping by. Sign me development depressed.
Oh and before I close off this post, here is this little something concerning Linden Hall:
Updated: AUGUST 9, 2016 — 4:34 PM EDT
New stores and apartments are boosting tax collections, and have given Chester County’s West Whiteland Township (pop. 20,000) a rare distinction: Yesterday Moody’s Investor Service boosted its credit rating to AAA, a rare distinction shared locally with Tredyffrin, Whitpain, Upper and Lower Merion, and Whitpain townships…..”We didn’t used to be known as developer-friendly,” Soles told me. “The current board has changed that. We want to attract development. We are a retail-based township. We have to stay ahead of the curve.”
The township’s presentation to Moody’s lists more than 1,000 new apartments, including 410 units approved for Main Street Apartments, 276 for Parkview at Oaklands (where residences are replacing office/industrial zoned space), 240 at Marquis at Exton; plus 108 “new carriage homes” (rowhouses) at Glenloch (where the township fought to keep out a trailer park), plus 86 at Waterloo Gardens, and several smaller developments….”Those develoments are going to have minimal impact on the school district,” Soles promised. “The primary market that developers are going for is the millennials and the empty nesters.”
Mmm O.K. That is a really nice BUT regular residents don’t want townships to be so “developer friendly” – we as normal, everyday residents of Chester County are in fact looking for BALANCE and RESPECT for open space and the county’s agricultural heritage. And some historic preservation. And community preservation.
I learned something very amusing the other day. An executive of a large developer active in local township meetings where they live doesn’t exactly live in one of the developments that supports their salary, does he? Does he not in fact own a lovely property that is private and part of the beautiful rolling hills of Chester County? If even the developers and their employees don’t live in these cram plans, why should we want them in our communities?
All of these developments have an impact on every single resident and that also means they do have an impact on the school districts.
They can’t say in West Whiteland (or elsewhere since it is a common mantra) every single one of these units being built is going to go towards millennials and empty-nesters. And as for that younger generation just starting out out of college they don’t necessarily want to be all the way out here – they want to be closer to an urban area because they’re single and social. That behavior pattern extends to empty nesters and retirees too – not all of them want to be so far out. And a lot don’t want to be so far out living in cheaply constructed projects.
Come on, these projects are plastic city and built for the masses to do ONE thing: show a profit for the developer. These developers shove in as many projects as possible and move on to the next area. These developers are not building for posterity, only their own prosperity. They get in, and they get out.
IMHO Steve Soles (the article calls him Rick, quite amusingly – see screen shot.) owes his constituents better. Of course given his day job as a lawyer lawyer for a hedge fund, I never would have voted for him in the first place if I lived in West Whiteland.
And so we know who is who in West Whiteland (and do not forget the Township Manager is the former Township Manager of Tredyffrin who was just going to “retire”, Mimi Gleason), here is a screen shot of the supervisors:
Really? Seems to me that West Whiteland Township has ambitions to become another King of Prussia. (But what do I know, I am a mere mortal and a female and not a lover of malls.)
We are starting to drown in development from one end of Chester county to the other. It’s ridiculous. I also do not believe that the economy can in the end support so much development and remember there actually is an ample housing supply already. Sure there are lots of retail and minimum-wage jobs, but those people are not going to be affording these developments. This is the whole emperor’s new clothes story of the New Urbanism fairy tale of development.
There are all sorts of things that no one thinks about when salivating over ratables as an elected official.
They definitely don’t think of the impact on the schools and they don’t take that into consideration. Mostly because school districts are autonomous from local governments and they don’t play well with one and other.
Also elected officials are NOT telling you another reality of getting rid of more and more farmland: it will drive your food costs up.
It’s a snowballing effect. We have lots of housing but we simply don’t take care of it. Our elected officials just approve more and more projects.
Someone said to me yesterday “I’m not really sure if a lot of local officials have the capacity to comprehend all of this and see the future and think about ecosystems etc.”
I think that is correct.
We have the power to change this and we need to pressure state elected officials to comprehensively update the Municipalities Planning Code to PROTECT us and actually plan wisely, not just literally give away the farm to developers.
It is an election year, which means we do have the opportunity to be heard by exercising our right to vote. We need to make our open space and agricultural heritage a huge election issue in Chester county and elsewhere in Pennsylvania.
And remember Moody’s is issuer paid. Municipalities get what they pay for and given the hot mess Lower Merion Township is due to developers (and is Tredyffrin with all it’s issues and the mother of all open space killing developments Chesterbrook from time to time far behind?) I wouldn’t be so bragging that my municipality was right up there with them as AAA. But again, a municipality is getting what they pay for. And what will it mean when developments empty out because they are older and falling apart?
And I love when local elected officials in Chester County brag about stopping mobile home parks. I do not think anyone really gets how many of those are in Chester County, or that they are kind of one of the few sources of truly affordable housing for what defines affordable housing. They approve building of huge projects with zero truly affordable housing. Or a developer will toss out there that they will make a few units of something affordable, only it’s never truly affordable for say the family of four or six or even larger that might actually NEED affordable housing.
Now see what I think would be a great idea is if these developers who are salivating over Chester County’s open space would actually restore some of the actual run down housing supply that exists in areas that suffered downturns when factories and manufacturing left their towns. Think Phoenixville, Downingtown, and Coatesville and any of the number of small cross roads towns you find scattered throughout Chester County. Heck if they did this more in Phoenixville and Downingtown they would probably see a positive result fairly quickly given how hard these two places have been working to rejuvenate their towns and business districts already. But it takes talent and patience to restore older homes or do an adaptive reuse of a mill or factory, doesn’t it? And again, these developers aren’t about communities, they want to get in and get out.
But that is another idea: if elected officials and county level planning commissions pushed for an overhaul of Municipalities Planning Code that could be made part of the approval process legally: if developers want in, then they need to contribute more than traffic signals. Let them contribute a certain amount of rehabilitated existing housing as a condition of approval. Come up with a formula that for every new unit they want to add, they have to restore a certain amount of existing units in areas that could use the help, thereby actually helping provide actual affordable housing.
But that’s the other thing – Pennsylvania does not make it attractive for people to preserve anything.
Here are the Westtown Supervisors again:
Again, of special note is the Chair, Carol R. De Wolf. How ironic is it that she works for Natural Lands Trust as the director of the Schuylkill Highlands???? Are residents asking her some tough questions? Has she tried to get any of the land that is Crebilly conserved?
Ok and when you are speaking of development you need to consider the Herculean efforts some put into land preservation. I have a friend who put four years of his life into obtaining Federal land conservation. He got a USDA Easement on his farm. The easement is a conservation easement for the preservation of a thriving bog turtle colony. It’s locked up in perpetuity I think that is wonderful. His name is Vince Moro, and you will now read about him in this article on ChaddsFord Live:
As the area’s open space continues to shrink and conservancies fight an uphill battle, a Pennsbury Township resident is offering an assist.
Vince Moro said he has been distressed by recent headlines showing that development is continuing to swallow up open space in the area. For example, Toll Brothers not only plans to put 91 homes on the 86-acre Tigue tract off Route 52 in East Bradford Township, but it also envisions more than 300 on the Crebilly property at Routes 202 and 926 in Westtown Township.
So when Moro heard that The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County was working with the Barnard family to place an agricultural conservation easement on its beloved orchard in Newlin Township, the project seemed like a perfect match for Brandywine in White, an elegant, pop-up gala that raises funds for area nonprofits and will be held on Saturday, Aug. 27.
Gwen Lacy, TLC’s executive director, said the conservancy needs to raise the remaining $27,000 of the project’s $901,000 cost before the fall to qualify for matching grants. She said if the conservancy reaches its goal, Barnard’s Orchard and “its 74 beautiful and productive acres” would be saved permanently from development.
Read the rest of the article, but you get the point. Here is more on the orchard at risk:
Project Update:TLC is working to conserve Barnard’s Orchard and its 75 beautiful and productive acres. To date TLC has raised$863,000 toward the $901,000 total project cost, leaving a balance of $38,000 (less than 5% of the total project cost).Securing these funds now will successfully conclude this important land conservation project and keep intact a 1,200+ acre corridor of vital lands.Here’s what is at stake, and once plowed under, irreplaceable:
- 74.3 acres of important agricultural soils across two parcels
- Fourth generation family owned farm established in 1862
- Orchard and orchard store are a community staple with generations growing up visiting the property
- 32 varieties of apples
- Apple cider
- Snapdragons and freesia
- Additional fruits and veggies grown on site
- Produce donated to the area food cupboard when possible and collection taken at the counter
- Hosts school groups at no cost to educate children about the orchard
- Rural vista along Rt. 842 for public enjoyment with ½ mile of road frontage
- Protects prime agricultural soils and keeps them in active agriculture via the agricultural easement
- Protects portion of a first order stream and wooded, steep slopes
- Protects the groundwater recharge abilities of the woods
- Maintains the existing riparian buffer to protect the watershed
- Protecting the stream corridor benefits downstream neighbors-over 500,000 people depend on the Brandywine Creek watershed for public and individual water supplies
- Protected woodlands are part of an unbroken corridor extending north onto Cheslen Preserve
- Stream corridor and woods are home to multiple endangered and threatened plant species
- Farmland and open space benefits everyone – keeping the costs of community services under control: For $1 of tax revenue from farmland, only 2-12 cents of community services are required. Residential costs are $1.33 for every $1 of tax revenue.Donate online here OR send check payable to TLC to:The Land Conservancy forSouthern Chester County541 Chandler Mill RoadAvondale, PA 19311
TLC also accepts Gifts of Stock; for details click here or contact610-347-0347.All donations are 100% tax deductible.If you have questions about this project, please contact TLC today.Thank you,Gwendolyn M. Lacy, Esq.Executive Director(610) 347-0347 x 107(610) 268-5507 (c)
The West Chester Growers Market is the mother of all the locally sourced, outdoor farmers’ markets we know in this area. (Or that is my opinion.) They started right where they are now, at the corner of Church Street and Chestnut Streets in downtown West Chester Borough. They are, save one exception I will get to, a producers only market. As the market says on their website:
Producer-only requires that the fruits, vegetables, herbs, plants, beef, pork, eggs, flowers we have to offer you be farmed by the farmer that you meet at market; that the cheeses, salsas, sauces, pies, jams, pasta, honey, breads be sold to you by the local artisans who make them.
I was honored to be asked to be part of the West Chester Growers Market’s July 30th “Know Your Farmer: Chef and Media Event”. It was great to be among the ranks of local chefs, food writers, and well-known local food bloggers.
Last Saturday was brutally packed, but as I arrived for event check-in a little after 9:00 a.m., the market was already jam packed with customers. As I walked down a rear alley that T-bones the alley directly behind the market, the happy cacophony of people enjoying their morning, the market, and chatting with the farmers and artisan vendors could be heard floating in the morning air.
I will be honest, parking was a challenge. That is not the fault of the market, that is a chronic problem with the Borough of West Chester, unfortunately.
My first stop was a place that isn’t yet a place which is new to the market. The “West Chester Food Co-Op.” They are the non-producer with a place at the market.
Yes, I have been open about my skepticism. Can’t help it, given the chair of the “co-op” board and her position as Secretary of the West Chester Borough Planning Commission. I mean let’s get real: if it smells a wee bit political, it may well be political, right? I didn’t get when I commented way back when how they were asking for “donations” when they were not a non-profit and that is perfectly reasonable. If you are asking for money, and you ask for “donations”, it is what people naturally think.
I heard about them seeking a building and location and so on, and more asking for “donations”. So if they are NOT a non-profit, does that make those who invest shareholders with ownership rights in the new business? If the business goes nowhere, are people refunded their investment? And again, why call it a “donation” if you are in fact some sort of shareholder investing?
Anyway, when I last expressed my opinion on a co-op that doesn’t really exist the knives and scissors came out from some. So, sigh, I expect it again. But I have to ask are my questions/concerns so extraordinary? Seems to me a lot of people have them.
So, anyway, I thought I would be fair and give them a shot to tell me about themselves and answer my questions. I wouldn’t be rude, but they are part of the market as of 2016, so I figured why not talk to them? (I will note they did not seem to participate in this market initiative, but benefited from it.) I went up to their table which was in the alley next to Queens Farm.
They had sweet kids as volunteers and the woman in charge of the co-op who is on the West Chester Borough Planning Commission was in attendance.
The kids volunteering couldn’t answer my questions (including how they came to be at the market when they were not well, an actual producer) and I was told she was too busy to speak with me. The kids were nervous seemingly to tell me that, so I thanked them ans said another time then.
O.K. so I went about my business but will also note that I brought people with me to the market on Saturday who don’t blog, they don’t know about the co-op and one person said when we were in the car leaving that they wished the food co-op luck because the people at their table were rude to them. These are people that were completely unbiased and open to the concept of a food co-op as they have been exposed to them in other stages of their lives.
The make-believe food co-op was the only negative of this whole event. I remember a food co-op from when I was little. It was a really cool place. I like them, I just don’t get these people and what their eventual end game actually is. And Saturday would have been their ideal and perfect opportunity to change MY mind. They did not achieve that, sadly.
The West Chester Growers Market event was incredibly positive, so back to that. Sorry, I just feel badly that actual producers put their hearts and souls into their products that they bring to market to sell. The space that “co-op” takes up could go to another farm. To me that is depriving the general public and taking money OUT of a farmer’s pocket.
Some of my personal favorites include Yellow Springs Farm, North Star Orchard, Blueberry Hill Farm, Applied Climatology, A Taste of Puebla, Queens Farm, Lizzie’s Kitchen, Fahnstock Fruit Farm, Big Sky Bread, Maiale Deli and Salumeria, Big Hill Ciderworks, Read Earth Farm, Maple Hill Farm, and Chile Spot. I know, I know that is like most of the market. But these people are awesome, and they remember their customers which is something in today’s world I personally love. That added personal touch, remembering what you like.
Take Lizzie the Amish Lady from Lizzie’s Kitchen, who said to me “You are one of those people too?” meaning I was one of the writers/bloggers. I smiled and said yes and then we spoke about what she was preserving and baking. We spoke about Shoo Fly Pie, because hers is one of the only ones I actually like and will buy. My maternal grandmother was Pennsylvania German so I am picky about my Amish/Pennsylvania German Foods. We had a conversation about canning, something I have taken up again on a limited basis (I know my limits!) and the milk delivery service I use (Doorstep Dairy – they are awesome!)
I also hung out with the North Star Orchard folks. Lisa Kerschner and her staff are as nice as they are knowledgeable. Their products are amazing, and on Saturday they had their beets. They grow these multicolored beets which are as spectacularly flavorful as beautiful. These beets are their own home grown/ developed variety. I love when they are in season because I especially love roasting them and serving them in a salad with Chèvre from Yellow Springs Farm.
And yes, one of my next stops was to visit Catherine at The Yellow Springs Farm Booth. Yellow Springs Farm is one of my favorite places on earth, and I also patronize them at the local markets. I have known Farmer Catherine for many years at this point – we knew each other before her farming days began and she is one of my favorite people and her husband is such a lovely man. I not only buy their cheese, but their yogurt, soaps, and many of their native plants grow happily in my garden! (And they let me photograph the mama goats and the new kids in the spring!)
I also have to give a big shout out to Vera Pasta. I make a lot of my own pasta but their artisan pastas are divine! Their ravioli in particular!
And did I mention the most adorable Jack Russel puppy ever? The West Chester Growers Market is pet friendly, so if you are a dog lover, you see some amazing pups.
And now some photos. Enjoy them. And support the West Chester Growers Market. It is an amazing group of people. I look so forward to being a regular customer for decades to come! These are our farmers, and in Chester County we need to support our agricultural heritage. You can’t get fresh produce from a row of plastic McMansions, after all.
The West Chester Growers Market is one of the finest local examples of what the locavore movement is all about. Know your farmers, know your producers. Support them and shop local.
Thanks for stopping by!!