more historic properties that aren’t so historically cared for in west whiteland? take a peek at 105 s. whitford road, for example.

105 S. Whitford this morning June 17, 2022

Driving by you wouldn’t know that this place in photo above on South Whitford Road actually had a historic house back there. All you would see were really, really high weeds. And this photo doesn’t even do how high the weeds are in places justice.

The address is 105 S. Whitford Rd.

Here is a 2019 Internet photo:

Apparently this house is something that the historic commission of West Whiteland Township is aware of. It appears to be on their inventory. Interestingly enough the supervisor who is the liaison to the historic commission is none other than Saint Theresa Hogan Santalucia. So is she aware of the condition of this property?

Apparently it changed hands recently or within the past few months?

It’s like the grass hasn’t been cut and I’m not exaggerating, it hasn’t been cut since who knows when if at all this year. So if this is a historic house, what is going on? I mean there’s already some wicked demolition by neglect going on at the Joseph Price House, on the same stretch of road, right?

So another question would be West Whiteland has a codes department right? I don’t know the Director of Codes (Codes Barbie) who is also the Fire Marshall but I always see her on the West Whiteland zoom meetings with lots of make up and flipping her hair …. so is she aware of this? What’s her name? I have to ask in her dual role why she does she look at or inspect these properties? Or does she? Or is she just a selective stones buster? I mean you would think that properties like this or the Joseph Price House would be an issue given shall we say certain conditions? So does demolition by neglect count for anything according to these people?

I mean we’ve got Bossette Tweed posting her merit certificates publicly on social media but ummm what else???

Wouldn’t you say that the way certain properties are treated with historic value qualify as a “difficult situation” in West Whiteland Township? Again, this address in on the West Whiteland historic resources map?

And then there are the two business entities I found on the deed file:

And then you go to the property records:

And then you pull the things uploaded as deeds:

So obviously someone owns the property actively, so what is happening there? It’s 9 acres give or take, right? Will house be preserved? Will a business go there? Will it be subject to development? I ask about development because of an old listing for the property from a couple of years ago. Showing screen shots below this, and another embedded document.

So what’s the plan? Demolition by neglect until someone submits a plan? I was told the house had tenants until not THAT long ago?

What started me being curious? A note and photos I received. I already have inserted a couple of the photos, but here’s part of the note from one of my readers:

What is West Whiteland now doing with historical properties? The house at 105 S. Whitford road was just recently sold. It’s been months the grass is very high. This house was not too long ago inhabited. It is now owned by 105 Whitford Rd llc. If you Google can’t really find much. The only mention of it was when the daycare was being built and if there was any impact….It’s a historic house and WW recognizes it as that….They sold it and it hasn’t been taken care of since January…the grass looks like it would be way above my knees, maybe close to my waist in spots!!

~ West Whiteland resident who drives by location often

So I realized I literally drive past there at least once a week en route to PT. I can tell you it’s overgrown enough that I forgot there was a house there. Personally I keep noticing trash along the curb of what may or may not be part of the property. There was also a car repair place at the corner with a sale sign.

In any event, West Whiteland is NOT the only township that turns a blind eye to neglected properties and/or empty or seemingly empty but falling apart historic properties. It just is always a puzzle when these townships act like they can’t SEE some of these properties.

West Whiteland is a mess, and it will be for a while given what they have been through. But people hired by the last manager maybe should be trying a little harder now? And politicians who love to talk about how they love the historic properties in their township who can’t seemingly see things like this? Or when they are pointed out, “didn’t know”? I mean COME ON, you are an elected official in this township and you live there!

This parcel is seemingly the old tenant farm for “Oaklands”. It is referenced in the Revised History of West Whiteland I found uploaded on the West Whiteland Township website that I downloaded to read.

If you live in West Whiteland, please get familiar with your history. It’s not all commercial and a sea of new apartment and townhouse developments. And this post is most definitely NOT a criticism of the West Whiteland Historic Commission because they do a very good job. Their supervisor liaison, not so much a good job doer, and this post is also an additional criticism of her. In my humble opinion, she one of the wonkiest local politicians out here and an embarrassment to her township as well as Chester County Democrats. Why doesn’t she just resign already?

This post is also quite simply a “what is going on here and what will happen to the property and structures on it and why?” That is very important. I am a realist, and not all historic properties can be saved. But when you see demolition by neglect that has been ongoing (Joseph Price house corner of S. Whitford and Clover Mill Road) and newly emerging issues with 105 S. Whitford Rd and identified as the tenant farm to Oaklands, there should be a community conversation sometimes, shouldn’t there be?

Well who knows, but this is what intrigued me today in the ever evolving As The West Whiteland Turns.

Have a great Father’s Day Weekend everyone!

105 S. Whitford circa 2019.

only the crème de la crème leave nasty notes for their neighbors

File under things you just can’t make up in Chester County, PA. Apparently there is a veritable epidemic of anonymous development and non-development letter writers.

Now this letter writer, is the crème de la crème, they are writing in ALL CAPS WHICH MEANS THEY MEAN BI BIZNESS, RIGHT??????

In this development, if you don’t comply, surveillance cameras will big brother you out of the development? Really? This letter hails from a townhouse development in West Whiteland/Exton. I am not exactly sure which development it is but have my suspicions.

Why do I say Exton/West Whiteand? Simple – trash bags. West Whiteland for some dumb ass reason has a trash bag thing. One supervisor, Brian Dunn, is trying to change that. Can it be said another supervisor Bosette Tweed is against it?

So maybe just maybe if West Whiteland had regular trash cans this might not happen in their developments? One can hope but humankind keeps losing humanity so if not poison pen letters over trash bag placement, it would be something else, sadly.

But back to this particular nasty gram. This is unfreakingbelievable. I can’t believe I literally write about this whole “welcome wagon” topic as it happened in East Whiteland, and like COVID this nasty neighbor virus has popped up in another municipality. And I am sure it’s going on in lots of developments. HOAs and condo associations are breeding grounds for petty tyrants.

Yet this behavior isn’t limited to the developments with associations because when I wrote the other post it was a poison pen letter from a non-HOA neighborhood. This stuff is so puerile and unacceptable wherever, right?

Time to retire the nouveau welcome wagon already.

rotting 18th century chester county farmhouse in east whiteland.

This is the farmhouse at the Clews and Strawbridge boat dealership. I have written about it off and on for years. I started taking photos of it around 2011. ( see here, and here, and here)

This was a once lovely 18th century farmhouse. If my research is correct, it was built in 1734. According to the Tredyffrin-Easttown Historical Society, Lincoln Highway, Lancaster Pike, Lancaster Avenue was laid out in 1732! (Now I know the place has to be on a historic resources inventory list, but I can’t find that on East Whiteland’s website, although I can find it on one of the little maps on the comprehensive plan.)

This is so freaking sad.

It just rots.

Talk about demolition by neglect.

just another dying farmhouse along 202

When you are headed on 202 south, just before the light at 926, there is a farmhouse or two. The one right on the corner of 926, still looks inhabited but the one before the corner ? It’s falling apart literally.

I thought maybe this old farmhouse was a Crebilly house. My sources however tell me that it is not part of Crebilly but at one time Crebilly did try to acquire it.

I would love to know the history if anyone knows. It’s in really bad shape.

Here is it’s barn or similar kind of structure:

Here are some closeups and other photos I was able to get of bits of the house as a passenger going by:

sharing a few words from wildflower farm…

I have been writing about Wildflower Farm in Willistown for a while now. Why? The unending the nonsense they are put through by the NOFIMBY (No Farm In My Back Yard) folk.

I am not and never have been the Wildflower Farm spokesperson, but they are my friends and what they are going through is just awful. And unnecessary.

Recently I have been taking a lot of flak from those I presume to be the friends of the NOFIMBY neighbors. One person in particular kind of just takes one’s breath away. You would think she was the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey, but no she’s just from the Main-gy Line originally. She’s very big on assigning people their place. To her I am one of “those people”.

Not sure what “those people” entails. Fabulous, maybe? (LOL 🤣🤣) This person is significantly older, so I never encountered her (thankfully) before now. Her affect is rather amusing. Maybe I should genuflect and kiss the ring?

Anyway Ryan from Wildflower Farm decided to speak to Willistown neighbors via a local group. I have his permission to share with my readers. I am also sharing a couple of comments from the Democrat who ran for Supervisor in Willistown and failed. As a now former candidate for public office she made herself a public personage by doing this. Some say she will run again, hope not, but if she does I hope she gets a basic grasp on the issues and the basic way government works, other than her interpretation of what is somewhat supercilious / self serving.

Next in screenshots is what Ryan had to say to his extended neighbors. And in part this vindicates his friends and supporters as we are basically called nasty names etc for sticking up for them. Willistown has issues, and it’s too bad a lot of the Grande Dames are gone because they used to settle peoples’ arses down quite nicely.

So there you have it. Hopefully you find the information helpful.

#TheMoreYouKnow

#SaveSmallFarms

#SaveWildflowerFarmWillistown

what would nancy drew think about the historic farmhouse inside liongate in chester springs (uwchlan)?

3811 Davis Court AKA the Circa 1809 Farmhouse in Liongate Development.
Supposedly parts of this were built in 1780.

If you don’t want to read this turn away now.

Ok, the wild the weird and the wooly seem to be fining me these days. Something is going on with the historic farmhouse inside the Liongate Development off 113.

I would not have paid attention except this was the development that found itself in a bit of a situation in 2010 over flying American flags:

HOA threatens heavy fines for flying American flag
By John Shryock

Published: Apr. 19, 2010 at 6:16 PM EDT

(NBC) – A Chester County, Pennsylvania community is embroiled in a flag controversy after several homeowners were told they couldn’t fly any flags on their property, including the Stars and Stripes.

Several residents of the Liongate community in Uwchland Township, PA say they were delivered letters from their homeowner’s association threatening “heavy fines” for hanging flags outdoors.

Wentworth Management Company, who runs the HOA for Liongate, told homeowners the flags violated a bylaw put forth in the community’s agreement.

Debra Heath wrote Tuesday Wentworth has barred her from flying seasonal flags for years, but was even more angered to learn her neighbor was told he couldn’t fly the American and POW flags.

“I am infuriated that this joke of a management company is once again harassing this man who has gone to Iraq to fight for our country and watched his comrades be killed and captured,” Heath wrote.

Heath said this is the second time she and her neighbor were cited for the flags. The man’s wife was warned to take the American flag down days after he shipped of to the Middle East in 2006, they say.

“Regardless of what may be in the bylaws, I’m gonna fly it regardless,” the man, who asked to remain unidentified, said Thursday.

The neighbors say they’ve contacted Pa. State Rep. Curt Schroder about the situation.

But it seems they’ve got the law on their side. While the HOA’s bylaws may prohibit flags, Pa. State law bars such organizations from enforcing such a rule when it pertains to the American, Commonwealth or military flags.

NBC Philadelphia took a copy of the law and the letter delivered to the neighbors to Wentworth Management to discuss the issue.

We were met by Rebecca Rambo, the same woman who signed the warning letters to residents.

Rambo refused to comment on the situation. We also left messages for Wentworth’s CEO, but have not heard back.

WFSA 2010

I was not in Chester County then, but I remember this being on the news. So here is this development again. I am about to post documents in the public record, so I am breaking no laws. I am asking what is going on. Then I will share some photos and stuff I found on the web, indicating this was listed fairly recently somewhere/somehow for sale? (The property description “care” speaks for itself because when is a farmhouse a carriage house? Two different purposes historically, correct?)

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/3811-Davis-Ct_Chester-Springs_PA_19425_M31966-87143

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3811-Davis-Ct-Chester-Springs-PA-19425/2136868605_zpid/

http://dla.library.upenn.edu/dla/pacscl/ead.html?fq=top_repository_facet%3A%22Uwchlan%20Township%20Historical%20Commission%22&id=PACSCL_SMREP_UTHC01

So what is going on with THIS farmhouse? Seems like another mystery buried in HOA or development, doesn’t it?

I do not know what to make of this, other than this started in the 1980s with a Rouse Chamberlin Development that we can find today near Gardners Landscape on 113.

benjamin pennypacker house, exton: future unknown

Big, deep breath. That moment when you see a historic asset go up for sale with mistakes in the listing, surprisingly undervalued, and you feel like it has the same weight as listing a fast food restaurant and pad…only it wouldn’t be only $450,000. Is this being marketed as a RESTORE or a TEAR DOWN? Hard to tell.

Let’s start with WEST WHITELAND AND EXTON aren’t MALVERN.

Details matter.

This realtor is an unknown, doesn’t seem to to have the chops for this property. I am sure he will be offended by this, but that is my opinion, and allowed.

This is a historic asset. Whom would he know at Church Farm? Maybe it would be that person who was the former finance director at Easttown Township and now Director of Finance and Operations, perhaps? And did they get to know each other at Caln Township? (Also see this link and isn’t that interesting?)

This listing says “Malvern”. To me that screams Realtor FAUX marketing…you know like saying Downingtown listings are “Chester Springs”? This property is in EXTON.

The listing describes this house as a “COLONIAL”. It is not. And ALL you would have to do is look up the Pennsylvania Historic Resource Form which is publicly available in the Internet with a super quick search and embedded here. The style of this FARMHOUSE, which is neither COLONIAL nor a FRONT HALL COLONIAL it is FEDERAL or FEDERAL TRANSITONAL. Also referred to as RURAL FEDERAL STYLE.

I adore Church Farm School, but I am concerned at WHO the Realtor is for the property and the fire sale price for a historic asset on 2 acres. I mean $450,000 is like tear down pricing isn’t it? Is this really being marketed as such? And let’s talk it’s February, this is a house in need of serious work, and the snow and ice aren’t really 100% removed to make it safe to go see? That would now be a potential liability on this wonderful school, since it flipped back fairly recently from West Whiteland, wouldn’t it? (I mean even ChescoViews still has West Whiteland as owner as of today, right?)

And let’s talk West Whiteland for a moment. This farmhouse sits on a property that was supposed to be a park years ago, correct? Yet only recently began that transformation truly, correct? Now former Manager of West Whiteland Mimi Gleason was manager from 2014 until recently correct? West Whiteland got this property when? 2006? It was totally before her tenure, Michael Cotter preceded her, and then Michael Cotter next went where? West Chester Borough or something until he resigned in 2017? Who was the West Whiteland Township Manager prior to Cotter? It was a woman maybe named Christine Smeltzer (she shows up in Foote Mineral stuff)? Before that Steve Ross maybe?

So this house was in West Whiteland’s custody FOR YEARS, so why did it literally sit and rot? Why did it take so long for the park to actually happen? Why did this property essentially go from Church Farm to West Whiteland and now ALL THESE YEARS LATER goes back to Church Farm? Just so weird, huh? I mean why didn’t West Whiteland use the farmhouse for something? Even having to do with the park? Why now send it back to Church Farm?

Property was originally acquired around 1918 by Church Farm School. Originally they used it as the farm manger’s residents. So when did West Whiteland take custody of this property? 1990s maybe? I found reference to the Church Farm Property in a little book about Exton called “Little Bobby Reese Growing Up in Exton” – I found a copy of that book and will be writing about it soon.

And in this “History of West Whiteland”, you find reference to the Benjamin Pennypacker House:

So the description describes an eat in kitchen. OK it would have to be fit for habitation to have that, right? Is it? Look at the listing photos – doesn’t it scream demolition by neglect as a structure? Why didn’t West Whiteland maintain it better while they had custody?

Sign me very concerned about the future of this property. I wish it had a Realtor who did these kinds of listings more regularly, and umm, given the condition of the house and the weather, why not list it in the SPRING? Church Farm is a school, so they aren’t real estate magnates. But this property should have more experienced Realtors and at least an attempt a listing more appropriate to preserving this house and property. And who decided this was the listing price?

Chester County is losing too many historic assets and open space. Please let anyone you know looking for a historic property. If this gets torn down, it will literally be criminal to historic preservation.

I don’t give a rat’s ass if this is sold, but I am questioning if it is being sold as land and a tear down, or as a rough gem to restore? I am also questioning why West Whiteland seemed to practice demolition by neglect while they had this property?

Curious and curiouser.

easttown’s epic fail with new development

This is not a long post. Mostly visual. It shows a plan that is all wrong for this area.

When the plan first began in Easttown along Lancaster Avenue, the structure was purely penile.

Now it is hulking thing with a complete lack of human scale. The design aesthetic is also lacking. Given where it’s going it will remain lacking and look like an ugly institution when complete. And would anyone feel safe walking on the sidewalk in front of this building? How could you?

And these aren’t places people will stay in and raise families. This is housing that is transient, people stay a while and then move on. And none of these places are inexpensive, either. Once again it is yet another Chester County development project without any affordable housing units. And once again, I will remind people that affordable housing isn’t just subsidized or “section 8“ housing, affordable housing is also where people begin their lives with their first homes often in communities where they grew up, and move into when they want to stay in their communities as they age and have decided to downsize.

This project along with whatever gets built where Handel’s currently is will create a truly cavernous effect. Neither of these projects will reflect the community they are in, none of these monstrosities do anywhere. Urban canyons don’t belong in suburbia.

Did I mention how ugly I find them? Of course I have. And I know this post will provoke some comments of why do I think I can say anything about this etc. etc. To them I reply, I can say something because we all can express ourselves on these projects good, bad, or indifferent.

I have to say it’s no wonder Easttown Township doesn’t want their meetings televised or recorded. Then everyone would hear how the residents object to these plans and this township just does not even listen even when it comes to design standards.

Thanks for stopping by.

farms were once revered in chester county, and were her lifeblood, but now they are under attack?

Look. A young family, their farm, excited to be farmers in Chester County. Apparently East Coventry sees this as a problem and isn’t that horrible?

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Farms being targeted as bad things in Chester County? But is it crazy? No —- this is not about Wildflower Farm which is under siege in Willistown Township by NOFIMBY “neighbors” on Castlebar Lane. This post is about Kolb’s in East Coventry. This farm seems to be under siege by their municipality, so it makes you wonder what the municipality really wants, doesn’t it?

NOFIMBY = No Farms In My Back Yard.

So I saw this GoFundMe posted about helping Kolb’s and it stopped me dead in my tracks:

📌📌‼️Allow Kolb’s Farm Store to Continue Hosting Ag-Supported Events at the Farm!

Since November of 1975, Kolb’s Farm Store has been a fixture in the East Coventry and greater Chester County area providing farm fresh milk and other essentials to the community. In July 2021, the Farm & Store was sold to Bob & Casi Long (along with their 18 month old son). When Bob & Casi, a young couple in their mid 20s, took over the farm it was clear that they needed to increase revenue to support the rapidly rising cost of feed for their cattle as well as the overhead costs to run the farm & store. Casi came up with creative, Ag-Supported, events to be held at the farm. The gatherings would bring together local vendors, other small businesses from our area, community members and the farm. People would learn more about the farm, pet the cows in the barn and enjoy good food. While these things are all absolutely wonderful and supportive for the surrounding community, these Ag-Supported events expanded the Long’s market reach and drove traffic (thus sales) into the Farm Store. Last week, Casi was served papers from East Coventry Township, including screenshots from Facebook posts, detailing her Ag-Supported events on the farm. After a meeting with the township, it was determined that the Long Family would need extensive legal counsel as well as several thousand dollars to apply for the zoning variances and fees associated with this.

This is where you come in. Supporting the Long Family through a donation to their GoFundMe not only supports keeping a local dairy farm in East Coventry Township, it means open space remains open. It means your food sources remain local. It means supporting the backbone of America: Small Business & Farmers. We will continue to update on this page as things progress with East Coventry Township. Please also follow the Facebook page (Kolb’s Farm Store) for meeting dates with East Coventry Township officials. The time to show support is now.

Thank you, Long Family, for continuing to fight the good fight to grow your farm and continue to feed the greater Chester County area.📌📌‼️

So this again is a farm which transitioned to younger owners who kept the name and now a Chester County municipality seems like they want to shut it down? So Kolb’s has been part of the fabric around there for decades, right? I know nothing much about this municipality but don’t they have a supervisor named Ray Kolb? Relative of original owners or just same name?

But anyway. Check out this article from Lancaster Farming:

Kolb’s Farm Store Transitions to Young Farm Couple
Eric Hurlock, ehurlock@lancasterfarming.com Jan 6, 2022 Updated Jan 6, 2022

📌📌SPRING CITY, Pa. — The Kolb family had been farming in East Coventry Township, Chester County, for generations. Roy and Alice Kolb moved into the farmhouse on Kolb Road around 1960. They began milking cows and raising a family. In 1975, they opened up a small milk store at their farm to help bring in more revenue to support their seven kids.

Paul Kolb, who does the milk processing now, remembers his dad Roy asking him and his twin brother what they wanted to do after high school. Did they want to stay on the farm?

“Because if we wanted to stay on the farm, he had to try and come up with some other income to support us. So that’s what happened. And that’s how the store got opened,” Paul Kolb said…..The farm and store were run by various members of the family over the years, most recently by Leroy and Sally Kolb. Sally ran the store and Leroy ran the farm, but in March of 2020, Leroy died unexpectedly.

The family had been trying to figure out how to transition the operation to the next generation. But the next generation of Kolbs weren’t that interested in taking it over.

The family knew it was time to sell the farm….A farm this size in northern Chester County would fetch a hefty chunk of change, if split up and developed, but the Kolbs had different priorities.

“Obviously, developing (the land) was an option, but we decided that we would rather sell it as a working farm,” said Paul. “That was our first priority. We knew the neighbors would appreciate it tremendously. And so that was the reason that we sold it as a farm.”

But finding the right people was sort of a long shot.

“And fortunately, we were able to find somebody who was interested in keeping farming,” Kolb said….Bobby and Casi Long were married in 2019. They met as teenagers at the 2014 Kimberton Fair in Phoenixville where they were both showing cows.

As the couple planned their future together, they knew they wanted to farm….The couple financed the sale through Mid Penn Bank.

“The Kolbs and the bank and us — we all got to have a conversation and all of our goals aligned. And so that’s kind of how that whole partnership kind of blossomed,” Casi said.

By June of 2021, the Longs were working with the Kolbs to transition ownership. There was a lot to learn and having members of the Kolb family on hand to show them the ropes was an absolute blessing.

On July 1, 2021, Kolb’s Farm Store officially opened under the ownership of Casi and Bobby Long.📌📌

So why does this township want to shut these people down? Does this seem as crazy to you as it does to me? Here is how you contact East Coventry: info@eastcoventry-pa.gov – : 610-495-5443 – 855 Ellis Woods Rd., Pottstown, PA 19465.

We need to SAVE our farms. I hope people make it rain e-mails, post cards, letters, phone calls. #HANDSOFFKOLBS #NoFarmsNoFood

On my blog’s Facebook page are posts I have shared with links to small businesses supporting Kolb’s and the Long family. There is also the Go Fund Me: https://gofund.me/833d8a8a

And if I actually knew the Long family and hadn’t just had the awesome milk from Kolb’s I would tell them or any concerned resident to submit a Right To Know Request to East Coventry Township to ask them if there are complaints in any form (oral, written, email, text message, electronic, etc) going back to 2020 against the farm, against them personally, the Kolb family from whom they purchased the property. And that would only be the first one.

And today I realized the irony in Chester County putting out the call for people to help with the semiquincentennial of the United States of America (America250PA) as it will be celebrated in Chester County. Oh the goddamn irony because how many farms will be under siege by July 4, 2026? And Chester County was founded in a big part on the backs of farmers, so WTF Chester County? How about helping actually protect, promote, and preserve farms in Chester County? Like Kolb’s. Like WildFlower Farm. And others like Happy Days Farm that was bought by Vanguard and sold, but at some point will it still be developed?

Ten million plastic townhouse developments, trails to nowhere, nasty NOFIMBY neighbors, a development happy county planner, and duplicitous municipalities aren’t the tradition of Chester County, nor should they be her future. Farms are the lifeblood and heart of this county and we need to preserve them in perpetuity.

Farming is a brutally hard business. Municipalities and neighbors of farms should be lifting up their farms, not slamming them down. Please Chester County residents, and Chester County Commissioners stand up and SUPPORT our farms and farmers. And that also means helping our farmers promote and grow their business to ensure farm sustainability. That means allowing events and farm tours and ways to educate people about farms, farming, It means encouraging people to be Localvores. It means municipalities in PA respecting the ACRE Law too.

Shame on you East Coventry. You suck, actually. Farms matter. Farmers are real people, our friends and neighbors. Shame on you East Coventry.

once again, lower merion school district and her cheerleaders can’t see the forest for the trees….so why not just clear cut the forest?

May be an image of tree, outdoors and text that says 'SAVE THIS FOREST!'

RANT ALERT. If you don’t want to hear it, turn away now.

Traveling back from whence I came, or visiting issues in Lower Merion Township is always amusing albeit somewhat disturbing to always be amazed at the blind devotion to Lower Merion School District especially when once again they are doing something destructive.

The comments from the blind faithful THIS time are over Lower Merion School Board plans to bulldoze a beautiful swath of woodland unnecessarily is truly something which will take your breath away. I am not giving those comments air time because they are always the same thing: when it is distilled and boiled down, Lower Merion School District is perfect.

If you disagree with Lower Merion School District cheerleaders no matter what they are trying to do you are at a minimum a bad person. Or you are NIMBY, which doesn’t apply unless it’s in your neighborhood and even then it is just a knee jerk pejorative term most of the time. These folks want to drive their status symbol green friendly Teslas, but when it comes to actually doing better the environment in other ways, or even just preserving an area to keep a bit of charm, that is far too inconvenient.

And OMG you would think Lower Merion School District was in dire peril if they don’t get their way every single time.

MISPLACED SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT. Lots of school districts excel and thrive on far, far less.

No Lower Merion School District is not perfect and it has decades of issues to prove that. And no I don’t think highly of them.

And Lower Merion Township has contributed to issues surrounding Lower Merion School District vis a vis development. Sure they are separate entities autonomous from one and other, yet they have a weird codependency since what they do as individual entities affects the other. And when you overdevelop and they come, it overcrowds the school district, correct?

A few years ago now, Lower Merion School District had a failed attempt to seize land from Stoneleigh, the 100% preserved property donated by the Haas family to Natural Lands to remain preserved in perpetuity for people (and nature) to enjoy.

Then when Lower Merion Township School District couldn’t get their greedy paws on Stoneleigh, they acquired the old Clothier Estate and it was happy bulldozing. Oh and I forgot, before they attempted to get Stoneleigh, there was that whole situation where they made a play to take Ashbridge Park. Yes a park.

So then there was the whole thing of they still need more land and that old disco song “More, More, More” comes to mind because with Lower Merion School District more, more, more is always their mantra. Nothing is ever enough.

As a school district they could have sent representatives to Lower Merion Township for years to express concern over infill development, but they didn’t. And once upon a time, they had other schools, that they closed. They closed Ardmore Junior High School around 1978, they let the Ardmore Avenue School (elementary) rot and eventually closed it (that caused redistricting back then didn’t it although it was also integration?) they closed Bryn Mawr Elementary School, and the Wynnewood Road Elementary School.

So in my humble opinion, Lower Merion School District has always had issues and always been a crappy neighbor. In the vein of that opinion, their still current and fractured relationship with neighbors over field lights at Arnold Field. And remember redistricting again in the not too recent past and the case Students Doe v. Lower Merion School District which made it to the U.S. Supreme Court although it was not heard?

So back to Villanova where the new middle school with the stupid name that means nothing but could have meant something if they had bent their absurd rigidity and allow it to be named after beloved educator, Sean Hughes. Anyway, Lower Merion swoops in and elbows out Villanova University using eminent domain once again to get 13.4 acres on adjacent sites to Stoneleigh at 1800 West Montgomery Ave. and 1835 County Line Rd.

Oakwell. 13 acres of old growth woods and heritage trees, mostly majestic oak trees. HUNDREDS of them. This property was in play for a while and I believe the former owners just dangled a juicy carrot until they had enough people salivating. First it was Villanova University (which would have been just as bad owning this property in my opinion.) But you know Lower Merion School District and their favorite billy club of eminent domain, right?

So now it is to be turf field city, the hell with trees and species like the great horned owl which remarkably DOES live there? This is also still a threat to Stoneleigh in my humble opinion. This is also an enormous environmental threat to the entire area and will affect not only Lower Merion Township residents, but Radnor Township residents who literally are on the other side of terribly narrow County Line Road. And of course one can’t help but wonder, does a new school mean the need for another outpost for first responders? Where would THAT go if so?

This is post is truthfully an addendum to a last-minute call to arms the other day for anyone who grew up in Lower Merion Township or lives there still today.

Please continue to send emails telling the Lower Merion School District to NOT bulldoze down many acres of a pristine old growth oak forest. They want to destroy a valuable natural resource that will affect Stoneleigh immediately adjacent, and neighbors in Lower Merion Township and Radnor Township just so middle schoolers can have a few turf fields.

FLOOD THEIR EMAIL!


I hate to sound as old as dirt but we had plain old grass fields and survived quite nicely. It’s middle school. Of course ironically it’s also the place in school where they teach or used to teach earth science and this property is like a giant living earth science lab complete with great horned owls.


The school board keep trying to do an end run around neighbors who want to have a zoning hearing board meeting on this issue. I think it behooves all of us to support the neighbors and environmentalists on the front lines of this issue.

This property they acquired adjacent to Stoneleigh is irreplaceably special. It has mature woodlands with all sorts of flora and fauna species as well as the oaks. Those old growth oaks in particular are extraordinarily valuable, and not just monetarily. They are also heritage trees.


This property has been evaluated by experts and it is a treasure trove of species. It is home to many, many migratory birds, etc.


Here is whom you address your email to (and YES include LOWER MERION TOWNSHIP):

communitycomments@lmsd.org
publiccomment@lowermerion.org
shouchins@lowermerion.org

drmumin@lmsd.org

mcgloia@lmsd.org

shaferm@lmsd.org

Now including those email addresses because if you have been sending emails their comment email address keeps getting overwhelmed.

Lower Merion Township Zoning Hearing Board Meeting Cancelled 1/25/22

The zoning meeting got cancelled on this topic this week. It is rescheduled. Do not know exact date. Including Lower Merion Township in your email will probably be the only response you get. And it will be from the current Township Secretary and it will be terse and may even feel somewhat rude, but you have put your sentiments on the record which is important in any issue. Don’t expect great things from the Township Manager, Ernie McNeely, and if you don’t believe me just ask folks in West Chester Borough where he came from before he became socially upwardly mobile and moved to Lower Merion, right?

By all accounts, Lower Merion School District finally has a decent superintendent. But he inherited a legacy of bad decisions and bad apples in my humble opinion. This was set into motion by the previous superintendent who was even worse than the one he succeeded.

Middle school kids can play just fine on grass fields and the new middle school has field space too. They could have fields on this latest seized property and save the woodlands. Saving those woodlands gives them opportunities from other than turf fields. Kids could learn from actual nature, not what is projected on a screen as they sit growing like mushrooms while they are looking at their phones anyway. Nature gives kids room to be kids.

Middle school kids aren’t competing for the Heisman Trophy or Soccer World Cup, maybe less playing fields and letting kids still be kids at that age would be more productive? But then the soccer moms and dads in their expensive athleisure wouldn’t be able to drive their giant gas guzzling or environmentally appropriate SUVs through the Starbucks drive thru with casual disregard for other drivers and pedestrians only to scream and yell at the side of a field and because it’s Lower Merion expect others to clean up their Starbucks cups, right?

Hell yea I am on a rant. This is ridiculous. I don’t always agree with Lower Merion resident Phil Browndeis, but his thoughts posted with his video shared above, struck a chord:

This is the last winter for a stand of old growth trees in Lower Merion. The Lower Merion School District plans to clear cut the trees to build new athletic fields for the new middle school. So much for carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat and all the other good that trees provide us.

Allow me also to share verbiage from a petition about this (and sign that too while you are at it!):

THIS PETITION IS SPONSORED BY CLIMATE ACTION LOWER MERION (CALM) https://www.climateactionlm.org/ contact us at climateactionlm@gmail.com

Lower Merion Township is facing a great challenge which must be addressed with urgency: the Township is under tremendous development pressure which is being allowed to continue under old building and development and land use codes that do not protect and preserve the Township’s shrinking remaining environmental assets. This is a matter of grave concern: our tree canopy is under attack. Our waterways, already polluted, are being further compromised. Our cost to correct the adverse impacts of this type of development may greatly exceed whatever short term benefits may be derived.

An environmental tragedy is unfolding. Over 482 trees over 6” in diameter (which probably understates the number of mature trees) including 26 giant oaks, a magnificent oak savannah, and a densely treed mature woodland are slated for removal according to a proposal before the Township for their approval. It would be hard for this proposal to be enacted under the current zoning code, but this proposal is sadly grandfathered under old rules.

Due to an unfortunate set of events that occurred a few years ago, a wooded parcel was acquired by the School District for playing field development. This parcel is located at 1800 Montgomery Avenue and 1835 County Line Rd in Villanova. The plan involves an almost complete deforestation of the parcel including a clearcutting of vast swaths of trees. Neighbors say it is a stopover for migrating birds including snowy owls.

At the same time that this project is moving forward, the Township is in a planning process to write and implement a Sustainability/Greenhouse Gas Reduction plan and is considering adopting a Net Zero Carbon Emission resolution. The destruction of the woodland would be a self-inflicted wound making it far more difficult and costly to achieve the sustainability and carbon reduction we so desperately need. In addition, the children cannot walk to the proposed playing fields. They will have to be bussed. So we hope another site could be equally viable.

We are simply asking the Township authorities and the School district to work together to exhaustively and completely explore all other options. We must be stewards for our children and our children’s children. We can do the right thing, its not too late.

I don’t hold out great hope here, I am a realist and this school district is always selfish and so are the majority of their narcissistic blind faith devotees. However, you just don’t know and if we can save these woods, it is so crucially important to the are and to nature herself.

Thanks for allowing the rant, you know I love my oak trees and owls and woodpeckers and other critters. Visit Save Oakwell Sister to Stoneleigh on Facebook to keep up with what is happening. I guess I am a tree hugger after a fashion. And I definitely don’t agree with yet another bad plan by Lower Merion School District.

Maybe this in the end is just another Don Quixote tilting at windmills issue, but I still think it is something to talk about, and why not object to the plan? After all WHY couldn’t they preserve these woods and use other open space on property for fields? Why CAN’T they be part progress part preservationist? These trees are actually important and I am completely unapologetic to those who cannot see that.

Photo Courtesy of Save Oakwell Sister to Stoneleigh.

Interesting reading on Lower Merion School District:

Inquirer: “Stoneleigh garden may be saved from Lower Merion school district by new law”
June 25, 2018

By Natural Lands

WHYY ‘Disconcerting to be a taxpayer and not be heard’: Lower Merion residents rebuke school district in open space battle
By Kenny Cooper October 14, 2021

6 ABC Save Stoneleigh supporters storm Lower Merion School Board meeting
By Annie McCormick

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Philadelphia Magazine: Lower Merion Schools: OK, We’ll Leave Most of Stoneleigh Alone By Claire Sasko 2018

Inquirer: “Is Stoneleigh safe? Lower Merion district buys nearby property for middle school”
July 20, 2018
By Natural Lands

LMHS Newsroom
UPDATE ON PROPERTY ACQUISITION (2019)

UPDATE ON PROPERTY ACQUISITION (2018)

MOI: A Closer Look
The Moment of Integration – Project Description

http://www.lowermerionhistory.org/photos/wynnewoodnew.html

Lower Merion The First 300: Public Schools

Postmortem: Redistricting battle in Lower Merion
A week ago, the Supreme Court declined to hear Students Doe v. Lower Merion School District, ending the legal debate over the Lower Merion School Board’s redistricting plan
.

by Adam Bredenberg
Published Jun 28, 2012

NOVEMBER 16, 2021 Lower Merion community wants new middle school named after late principal Sean Hughes
Students and parents have started an online petition to honor the longtime educator, but district policy explicitly prohibits naming buildings after people
BY HANNAH KANIK

PhillyVoice Staff

IT run amok: Pa. school allegedly spied on students via webcams by Bill Detwiler in TR Dojo, in Hardware on February 19, 2010, 6:03 AM PST

Great Horned Owl Nest. Photo Courtesy of Save Oakwell Sister to Stoneleigh.