I love old maps, don’t you? This is an 1870s map above and at bottom of the post, is one from around 1912. Both maps are of Easttown Township. I have several good friends who live there and many others who used to live there who are concerned about the pace of development and things in the Easttown Township, Chester County. Everything seems shall we say, developer driver and hey is term limits something they should consider for certain boards and elected positions?
Anyway, there is a renewed effort to save Easttown from itself…err I mean the township and connected parties, if I am being delicate enough? I am just posting this and interested parties can draw their own conclusions. It’s a shame that all of the investigative reporters seem to have evaporated because at a minimum Easttown’s government and boards make good theater. They also don’t seem to like recorded meetings, sunshine, or any resident who disagrees with them or doesn’t suck up.
Easttown seems to be a township governed by petty tyranny and those with limited imagination. Oh and they won’t like this opinion but thank you Baby Jesus and the First Amendment for allowing me to be bitchy when the spirit moves me. (The spirit is moving me.)
If you would like to join these concerned residents to #SaveEasttown, please do.
Here are pertinent emails for Easttown: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t know who the township manager is right now, website says email@example.com
Here are the names of the members of the planning commission and when their terms expire:
So…. I am trying not to be like totally “what the hell are they doing to Ashbridge House at Indian Run Farm” but is this a historic reservation? I ask because given the storms this summer and the age of this historically classified structure, what in the hell are they doing? I can understand rotting wooden porches being removed and it looks like concrete is being used to shore up walls, but wow this is startling isn’t it?
I grew up in old, occasionally historically classified houses (the house I was born in was built in 1811 in Society Hill and was historically classified in Philadelphia). West Whiteland has said all along it is to be preserved. So I am still going with that, even if it looks terrible right now.
Now picture another moment. A small group of scrape-kneed youngsters sat on a vantage point overlooking that same valley, many years later, pondering their destiny along with other important matters such as, perhaps, how to avoid the chore of picking the cherries ripening on the trees for their ambitious and hard-working father.
These children looked down on a two-lane Route 30 close to where it crossed Route 100, from a hilltop that no longer exists. And where there is now a new Nissan dealership, they once ran a cider stand without any particular parental oversight, selling the sweet juice from their own orchard along with vegetables from their garden, and lived carefree lives of exploration and discovery in a time when, “there weren’t any rules.”
Would that we could all be granted a childhood such as these children shared.
Then walk with these same children, now adults, among the shrink-wrapped architectural remnants of their youth, and share the memory of that time in that place on a bitter and wind-whipped day that fails to wrest from them any of the joy of those times spent together there. The centerpiece of that time was this collection of stone buildings; that springhouse, the great barn, the animals that lived, were loved and died and were buried here; those special trees; all are almost holy to them, and all will continue to speak to us of the way things were, once upon a time.
Because, whatever feelings any of us may have about “development,” we can’t be sorry that this pocket of history will be preserved much as it was in the thick of the present, so that busy shoppers can pause and view it, walk within its whispered past, and perhaps grasp something of what it all means.
I have been watching this house a few years. I have photos of 2018, 2019, and the generously shared 2020 photos. The reason I am concerned is because of how exposed everything is. However, it also looks like things are being shored up with concrete. So I am going to hold my breath and share photos. I will remind people I covered this in March 2018 and March 2019.
I remain curious as to what was saved or will be saved on the inside. Thanks for stopping by.
The photo I am opening this post with speaks volumes. The first thought is aren’t we all lucky to have such great first responders in this area? But it’s the second thought that bothers me and makes me ponder. The location is on the photo. Route 30 and Route 100 in Exton, West Whiteland Township.
If there was LESS development would perhaps there be LESS flooding when a big storm rolls in?
It’s kind of what came first the chicken or the egg kind of a conversation, but Chester County, we need to have it. Yesterday is a clear indication we need to have it.
A disclaimer: I am using flooding photos sourced off of Facebook. Some from the Classic Diner folks, a friend, and just photos that have been publicly posted. People captured in the moment storm flooding images yesterday and I want you all to look at the photos and think.
Think about our communities.
Think about our safety, the safety of our first responders during storms like this.
Think about the pace of development out here.
Think about the need for better stormwater management and less density.
A friend of mine took the photo above yesterday. This water is insane. I haven’t lived here long enough to know if it ever flooded like this before. They also took the next photo. It sure looks like those boats were ready to launch, right?
However, it still renews my suggestion that East Whiteland Township is but one of many municipalities which needs to look at their stormwater management codes/rules and reevaluate immediately due to the constant development around here. I also think that East Whiteland and her neighbors to the east and west (West Whiteland, Easttown, Tredyffrin for starters) need to revisit the pace of development, period.
And there needs to be a conversation with the Chester County Planning Commission and their Landscapes quagmire which has this part of Chester County becoming the next King of Prussia. Come on now, I am not exaggerating see this screenshot from Landscapes:
This man has always been development first oriented and he lives in Lower Merion Township in a densely populated area. Don’t misunderstand me, he lives in a lovely area, but it is extremely unlike out here. And as per bios of him I have read, he grew up in an area even more densely populated than where he currently lives. So how can Brian O’Leary really get Chester County? Sure he works out here, but he doesn’t live out here so how can he get our day to day 24/7/365 experience? So when I see the density the Chester County Planning Commission says in hunky dory for certain parts of Chester County, it literally makes me queasy. Brian O’Leary is captain mixed use, high density. There already is one King of Prussia. There already is one Bensalem.
So Brian, what do you have to say today for the flooding in some places? Can you kindly put your planning brain to use over stormwater management and perhaps a density slow down? Yesterday’s flooding shows we desperately need another plan. A better plan. The more development which occurs, the fewer places for water to go. Common sense.
So many people are without power. So many people lost so much due to flood waters. People also lost homes due to falling trees. Yesterday was a very bad storm. But as temperature and weather patterns change due to climate change, we have to adapt. And we have to change. We can’t keep doing what we have been doing. Or more specifically, we can’t keep allowing the same patterns of development to continue.
Change won’t be easy. Change won’t happen overnight. There are a lot of politics involved to say the least. But I am tired of politicians also driving how we should want to live in our communities. We need more open space, less development. We need less high density development and some real/better stormwater management plans. Municipalities can’t just play lip service to this any longer. They also need to put existing residents first and quit drooling over the quick fix one-time hit of ratables when a new development occurs.
Critics of my thought process will undoubtedly say I can’t tie this storm and over-development together. But I can and I have. Because if there was MORE open space, LESS development, BETTER stormwater management plans, and LESS high density development would some areas have potentially had LESS flooding yesterday? Now I know that doesn’t mean everywhere that flooded yesterday, but in some places I believe people might have fared better.
But until we try as communities to do things better, we will never know if we can do better, will we? So how about it residents of Chester County? Can you ask your elected officials for change?
📌”Dec 27, 2019 · Bentley Homes heads back to the Main Line, buys land from Valley Forge Military Foundation. Valley Forge Military Academy Foundation has sold five properties adjacent to its Wayne campus to Bentley Homes for $1.65 million.”📌
I realized where it was yesterday on my way home from a skin cancer procedure at Penn Medicine in Radnor. That corner where Upper Gulph Road meets Radnor Road (Radnor Street Road when down the road a piece in Radnor Township, Delaware County.)
This location is Tredyffrin Township, Chester County.
Now Valley Forge has been selling and or leasing land since 2010 according to an old article I found in the Delco Times. So it shouldn’t be a surprise. Except in 2010 this deal was with a neighboring academic institution, Eastern University.
Valley Forge is one of the academic institutions that people wonder if they will survive COVID19. There are a lot of schools across the country that may or may not. This global pandemic affects enrollment (see Forbesarticle from April, 2020 and Deloitte.com for example.) Schools were already rocked by student visa issues given the current isolationist tenor of this country which is affecting the ability to host foreign students. Coronavirus just puts them more into uncertain times, financially.
But a development on this corner? High up on a hill? Will everyone around them be their storm water management program? And why does another Main Line McMansion project need to occur?
The irony is in a time when people are starting to question whether or not they want to live on top of one and other as we are still experiencing a global pandemic , development is not slowing down. It seems to be at a fever pitch. And this development will also impact the Tredyffrin Easttown School District which seems to be rather crowded already?
Now someone will snap these homes up I suppose, except it all depends on the economy in general which has been rocked by COVID19 if we’re honest.
📌”Valley Forge Military Academy Foundation has sold five undeveloped lots along Radnor Road at Upper Gulph Road to Bentley Homes for $1.65 million, writes Natalie Kostelni for Philadelphia Business Journal.…“I was building on the Main Line for years and the market died,” Tom Bentley said. “Now, we’re coming back to the Main Line. We return.”
During the Great Recession, Bentley built smaller homes, townhouses and multifamily properties further west in Kennett Square, Chadds Ford and Exton…..Bentley has also accumulated three lots on the east side of Radnor-Chester Road not far from Lancaster Avenue in Radnor and a dozen lots off Newtown Road in Easttown.”📌
Development keeps on rolling doesn’t it ? Are there really people to fill all these developments from single family to townhouse to apartments?
Pay attention to Tredyffrin’s neighbor Easttown. They also have development looming. Which will also feed into Tredyffrin Easttown School District. And then head west. More and more development.
3:30 PM UPDATE: From the chair of the East Whiteland Supervisors Scott Lambert (who like many others is having a hard time posting to Facebook today):
📌The original requirement of the builder was to renovate portions of the wall that had fallen in disrepair and remove a few trees that could endanger the wall in the future. However,with the wall now leaning badly and in danger of collapse, the builder agreed to rework the wall and replace broken sections to return it to original condition. As with the initial work review the descendants of people buried in the cemetery were consulted as was our engineer and historical commission representation. An agreement with the contractor concerning the scope of the work was also executed.📌
There is a historic cemetery on Flat Road. It seems to be in peril. East Whiteland Township approved a development plan there and wasn’t one of the things supposed to be that this cemetery (which I believe is Amish) would be protected?
I don’t have the answers. And someone said well maybe they’re doing work on it. And this doesn’t look like work to me this looks like a wall collapse. A lot of these walls do collapse and I saw one not that long ago at a church in Upper Uwchlan and then they rebuilt the wall. When they rebuilt the wall then you could see they were telling people to stay away from it and using caution tape until it was set.
The other thing to consider is a development is being built next door and vibrations from heavy equipment can affect old structures and that includes walls and headstones etc. doesn’t it?
I don’t have the answers, but I do know that East Whiteland needs to go look at this. This is literally a historic site, and it matters. #thisplacematters
Walls fall down. But this is a historic site. So again, something needs to be done sooner rather than later. This is a sacred place. And our historic sites should be as respected as much by municipalities as the developments they constantly approve.
Stay cool it’s so darn hot out there.
PS: I am adding more photos here at the bottom that were just sent to me by concerned residents!
I am not deliberately trying to pick on East Whiteland Township no matter what some may think. But unlike many other municipalities (and I have been checking), East Whiteland does not have a person or people to regularly and routinely inspect rental properties in this township. They do not even have enough fire personnel to do all the life safety checks on rentals do they? (Asking the question because I heard there were people paid to do that I thought once upon a time out of the fire department or something?)
West Goshen (for example) has a rental property ordinance online. They have someone dedicated to rental inspections. That is in addition to the guys in the zoning department who inspect when the township gets complaints on rental properties.
East Whiteland has a Rental Occupancy Report from 1992. I also found a form to fill out if you have a rental property. It mentions life safety, which is great and necessary. But I do not see anything about specific ordinances pertaining to rental properties and inspections of rental properties. And it is long past time to have that. East Whiteland is growing as a township and has grown exponentially in recent years. Does this township even know out of ALL of the new construction that is complete how many are rental units? And with ALL of the development still in the works and in various stages of construction, let’s get real, they are not all going to be owner occupied, aren’t some of these places going to be rentals? And what about the hotels? Are some of those like long term rentals at times? Sometimes when people can’t find housing they live in hotels/motels don’t they? Motor home parks? Trailer parks? No matter where the rental, shouldn’t people be safe?
The stretch of Lancaster Ave/Route 30/Lincoln Highway where these rentals exist is a no man’s land. No one sees the people who live there, not because they aren’t visible but because people don’t want to see them. Mostly immigrant, with little choice in housing. And by culture, used to living in close quarters. So one would think rental inspections along that strip and elsewhere would make sense, right? So everyone was safe?
According to Patch, “The apartments used were at street addresses 483, 577 and 609 Lancaster Ave. in East Whiteland Township…”
Someone sent me screenshots off ChescoViews and Google Earth I guess it was (I am not very good at using Chesco Views):
This stretch of Lancaster is the one that looks so desolate and run down when you drive by except for the too many cars on the D’Ambrosio property (one of the sites of human trafficking right?):
People always ask how East Whiteland can be focused on this grand future of over-development without “seeing” these properties or their residents. During COVID19 especially when we were all at home, you couldn’t help but see as soon as the weather warmed up how many people live in these rental properties alone. I have also had people tell me in confidence that there are some awfully crammed rental properties in some of the townhouse developments.
So….maybe it is time for East Whiteland to look at this differently? They need an updated local ordinance on rental properties right? And I think they need a full time inspector of rental properties and possibly more staff, like maybe a part time one.
East Whiteland needs this NOW, yesterday and into the future. They have to find the money to have proper inspectors because I doubt there enough in the Fire Marshall category, and how much work are they supposed to do anyway? Aren’t they already stretched thin?
So you know how the fire by the Wawa was December 2016? How about that building which is uninhabitable has just sat there and rotted since then? Seriously here are some photos taken over the past few years (a real slum lord special, right?):
I was a renter for years. Face it, a lot of us were, and some still are. Would you want to live in any of these properties? What if you had no other choice? And were these landlords in the human trafficking locations 100% oblivious as to what was going on?
I also want everyone to know as per my sources, the East Whiteland Police Department truly went above and beyond the call of duty with this. It wasn’t just this girl messaging family that went into this. For a smaller department by comparison to large cities and boroughs, they put lots of man and woman power into this.
East Whiteland Police Department did exhaustive investigation and follow-up and coordinating with all different kinds of other agencies and states and it really does show their dedication to our community. These men and women should be publicly recognized for their efforts. In a time when police departments are being criticized, these men and women deserve to be commended. Ok yes, this is the job they sign up for, but this is huge. Or in my humble opinion it is. And kudos to our Chester County District Attorney as well.
I have many questions regarding human trafficking an how it happened. I will be curious to learn if the families of these girls who were rescued had ever reported them missing? If they did not, why not? Immigration fears or something darker? I ask because if my kid was missing I would leave no stone un-turned.
However I think we need to work as an extended community to prevent these things from happening and I think that means they need to have a system in place in East Whiteland Township and elsewhere in which rental properties are routinely and regularly inspected. Everybody’s been talking about this strip of rental properties in particular for years it’s nothing new. And East Whiteland like many other municipalities in Chester County are experiencing crazy amounts of development and growth. Why not have developers who want to be in our communities chip into programs like this? Isn’t it kind of part of infrastructure and municipal services? I mean it’s all great that mythical theory of build it and they will come but who keeps track once the developers have gotten their money out of sites and moved on?
I am calling on people in East Whiteland and Chester County to contact East Whiteland Township and ANY OTHER TOWNSHIP that does not have proper rental property ordinances and inspectors to catch up with the times. A lot of municipalities like East Whiteland are experiencing growth that is off the charts. Renters deserve safe places to live. Low income residents deserve truly affordable housing and safe housing.
Development is a funny thing. I see all of these amazing adaptive reuse and other projects everywhere but in the area we call home. Chester County is overrun with bad and/or inappropriate plans. And yes there is one that concerns me in Malvern Borough. But first we need to talk about the last development which caused me concern there before due to it’s hulking nature: Eastside Flats.
And at the end of the day one of the biggest problems STILL with Eastside Flats is lack of human scale and inappropriate design for the area. They tower over everything and citify a small town in a way that is architecturally inappropriate. And I would still like to know how fire trucks can navigate this site completely in the event of fire?
Eastside Flats still is in my opinion, architecturally unimaginative and looks like hulky, looming Lego buildings that created a canyon effect in tiny Malvern. That is NOT a reflection on the businesses there which I love and patronize. Nothing about these buildings ties into the quaint Borough of Malvern or it’s history. I said this in 2013 and I still think that.
And again, this has NOTHING to do with the businesses. It’s the aesthetics, lack of human scale and even the crappy scored-to-look-like-brick-concrete-sidewalks which are a slip and fall and trip hazard. And the fact there is STILL no curb cut from the public parking lot so you don’t have to walk over MULCH. I mean how many years will it take to correct that? And there is little room for delivery trucks, so it’s not uncommon to find UPS and other trucks blocking a pedestrian’s path from parking lot to sidewalk. The finishes on the facade of the buildings are also already showing wear.
The consequences of Eastside Flats caused an election upheaval in 2013. Yet, Malvern Borough is still facing inappropriate development that will be completely out of scale again, in my opinion, if built. And no, I don’t have a horse in this race. I will merely be around to say I told you so if it gets built the way it looks now in the plans.
What was torn down a few years ago….
Here are the documents you can peruse that were sent to me by concerned residents in Malvern Borough (screenshots below are from these documents – it shows the evolution of proposed plans and note it doesn’t look like it’s Malvern at all):
“So much local development that happens before people are aware of it, and then the only thing people can do it complain after the fact. It would be great to get public input on this before it’s an inevitability.
The residents who attended the last PC meeting raising the several concerns about this project are: * Height – it will be out of scale and character with the surrounding buildings and neighborhood behind. They are requesting a variance for height. * Traffic – The proposed design will have people entering leaving at the intersection of King and Bridge, adding to our current rush hour traffic woes. * Construction – How are they going to stage this kind of construction on our overcrowded streets. They are refusing to consider another entrance off of Woodland, which would make this easier. To get the Woodland entrance they would need to purchase 2 parking spaces from the current owner. * Aesthetics – This is a gateway to Malvern. Do we really want a corporate monolith looming above the street as our welcome to Malvern?“
Another resident said:
“I think the applicant should turn his building 90 degrees on its eastern axis nearest Woodland. The short side of the structure takes up only half the King St. frontage of the current proposal. Run the remainder of the building back to the property’s 160′ depth, ending up with the same size building. Plenty of window light all around because the Woodland and King neighbor is small and not deep anyway (which the applicant should buy if possible, anyway). A now 65′ wide frontage (by 43′ high) is far more compatible with the current scale on King. Now, what do you do with the remaining half of the lot to the west? You put in a beautiful hardscape (cobblestones, bricks, maybe even pervious, etc) all the way to the property depth, studded with lots of trees (diminishing a couple or three parking spaces, for sure, but that’s all, and don’t forget, trees reduce bare ground temperature by 30%). Maybe the drive comes in from Bridge or maybe it goes in from Woodland, but that doesn’t matter to the concept. (Woodland is clearly better for traffic, though.) Office parking on the hardscape during business hours. The Borough gets the parking in the evening, without security concerns because no one has to go through the off-limits parking under building.On special occasions we would have a new park-like hardscape area for public events. And most critically, we all enjoy the view from Bridge, seeing lots of trees and openness at Our Town’s last main entrance.” It’s a creative solution instead of a box building that checks all of the bureaucratic boxes. In Malvern it seems we use our ordinances to justify buildings that no one wants. “
I am told that developer folks are asking for like 4 variances: height relief, parking relief, buffer relief (going from 20 ft. to 5 ft.), relief from having to install some kind of parking island? So, if these variances are granted without conditions, such as making them subject to PC recommendations based on SALDO issues, there will be very little the Borough can do to require changes to the plan, right?
Ok so I wrote about the site in 2015 when the original buildings were coming down. I felt back then that although I understood there probably there was no way to save the 19th century storefront and other structures given the decrepit buildings they was attached to. But this is the kind of waste that makes me crazy because someone had seemingly sat on this land for the better part of what? A decade or better?
Still lost? Remember where the lovely store UpHome had their first home? Across King from The Flying Pig? What was reported to have been Malvern’s last 19th century store front? There.
So Malvern Borough, you got rid of Malvern Victorian Christmas for something not quite as memorable, although nice. Are you slowly going to be overtaken by things too large and hulking for a small Main Street oriented town? Please consider better.
And Malvern Borough residents? Some of you will send me nasty comments or post them because I am expressing concern here. That’s on you. You can be ostriches or you can get involved with your borough again.
If I lived and paid taxes in the Borough of Malvern I would want better for my community. I would want new construction to fit and reflected the character of the borough. So ask your borough folks when meeting will occur for this plan. Or not. Again, it’s up to you. I am merely expressing my opinion and concern.
With all residents have been through with this AND coronavirus, this is the plan? Wow. One would think that with all the money the developer and family selling would stand to make one would think they could rent a ballroom in a hotel like the Desmond, right? Or hold it when all could gather safely, right?
But nooooo, it’s a saddle up occasion and here is whom to contact ASAP:
I am going to plant a seed here: I believe concerned residents of East Whiteland Township need to contact Township officials to make sure they take a position and protect our interests when it comes to the proposed development of the Weston Tract on West King Rd in West Whiteland.
If you are concerned like I am please contact the supervisors and or township manager John Nagel ￼￼
In West Whiteland, the emails for supervisors and the township manager Mimi Gleason are:
The reason I say this is quite simple: this development will negatively impact our stormwater management which is already an issue down King Road past the Little League field and beyond? (there are residents who have actually videotaped and followed the water who live on Collegeview.)
It will negatively impact our infrastructure and W. King Rd. is already like a highway. With the addition of over 100 additional high density houses, how long will it take people to get out of side streets? How will people be able to safely cross the road to get to Immaculata? How will Immaculata be impacted?
Then there is the impact to the ecosystem in the area. That has always been a heavily wooded area what happens to the heritage trees and wildlife?
It comes down to how many developments do we need in this area? Also why can’t we move to 2 acre lot minimums to preserve more open space? High density housing is destroying Chester County. And mark my words it will not be sustainable into the future.
Another fact to be considered with development of this site are the pipeline easements. How many pipelines are going through this property dead or alive? And is that creating another issue down the road and don’t we have enough pipeline issues already?
It’s time for East Whiteland Township to step up and not just approve developments and turn a blind eye to developments but to protect the interests of the residents here.
I also encourage any of you who are concerned to send an email to West Whiteland Planning Commission: firstname.lastname@example.org