really east goshen? you are going to play the eminent domain game?

I read local municipality agendas. It’s a very easy way to learn what’s going on around you. and when I read the most recent one for East Goshen Township warning bells went off in my head.

https://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-15_Board-of-Supervisors-Agenda.pdf

So….let’s get to it. Has anyone looked at East Goshen Township’s upcoming BOS Agenda? There is some special and interestingly worded language about a potential “right of way land acquisition” for the Paoli Pike Trail and the Hicks Farm. (Item 11 “New Business”)

When you read that after reading item 5B which refers to “Executive session” and “legal matter pertaining to the Paoli Pike trail”, if you have ever followed eminent domain cases it makes you wonder what East Goshen Township is up to precisely doesn’t it?

East Goshen are you playing at eminent domain???

https://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-15_Board-of-Supervisors-Agenda.pdf

Read the agenda and ask those supervisors some questions….at the meeting.

At what cost do trails get built? And is this where they were talking development a while back?

Eminent Domain is something I despise. I helped find it successfully many years ago in Ardmore thanks to our groups help from the Institute for Justice in Washington DC. I learned about both kinds of eminent domain, private gain and public purpose. And municipalities love to say public purpose is for the public good but is it always for the public good?

Since I saw these items on the agenda I have been asking around. And I was told that indeed residents did receive an eminent domain letter from East Goshen Township. And then I saw this:

I went through the public meeting packet for East Goshen Township for their upcoming meeting. And there is nothing like taking letter included in the packet and that should be publicly posted. Because if they’re doing it for the public good, don’t hide it in executive session agenda items which I have to ask is that what they’re trying to do?

Here is this Op-Ed I saw in Patch and Delaware Valley Journal:

📌‼️Chester County’s Eminent Problem
Posted to Politics June 11, 2021 by Stephen Wahrhaftig

Imagine a knock on your door, and somebody announces that they intend to purchase your home, and that you will need to vacate it shortly. Imagine, also, that you are told that the value of your home will be established by the purchaser, and that you must accept the offer without objection. Sounds like a nightmare scenario.

This nightmare has played out time and again here in Chester County. It occurs when a local government decides that they want to take someone’s property for public use that is deemed more important than the rights of the property owner. It does not matter how long the property may have been owned, or how the owner feels about being forced to give up their land. If the locality wants it, they can take it at a price they feel they should pay. The process is called Eminent Domain, a somewhat gray area of law that has been in constant dispute for decades.

In the recent past, there have been examples of localities using Eminent Domain to seize private property for values that owners have felt unjust, and for reasons the community has sometimes found inappropriate….The latest threat of Eminent Domain use is happening in East Goshen Township. The victim in this case is Goshen View Farm, owned by the Hicks family. The ancestors of this family settled in Chester County back in 1769. According to a family member, this farm was purchased by William Huey Hicks in 1909. William was interested in the land because of the new system of electrification along Paoli Pike. Hicks bought the farm from the Sharpless family the old-fashioned way, by offering the owner a fair price and having the seller agree to the transaction in a free and agreeable sale….You may ask what the critical need is for taking a strip of land from a farm along Paoli Pike? Is there a hospital being built? Perhaps some emergency access is needed for a fire department? In fact, this property is being seized for a possible walking trail no more than two miles long, according to some local residents.

Sometimes referred to as “The Trail to Nowhere,” this strip of property is supposed to meet up with other township trails that may or may not ever exist, or even meet with this section of the trail. Perhaps the prospect of millions in government grant money is affecting the decision to invoke Eminent Domain. By some estimates, the township is spending about $5 million per mile to build the trail, $10 million in total.

The family that owns the property is not only unhappy with the threat of Eminent Domain but is also concerned about how visitors may impact their valuable horse stabling business, and about liabilities that may ensue when bikers and hikers cross the vehicle traffic on the farm lane exiting to Paoli Pike.‼️📌

Ok East Goshen there is building a walkable community and then there is bullsheit. This,East Goshen, is bullsheit .

I am all for walking trails. And I love the trails that East Goshen has in their park down the road. But this this is crap. I mean what are they going to do connect their trail with West Chester Borough? I mean do they want to connect their trail to 202 or something?

I have not seen the eminent domain taking letter, only told by a few sources that it exists. If the owners want to make it public I am happy to publish it because Imms always going to have a problem with eminent domain. And I don’t think this has anything to do with public purpose I think this has to do with legacy building on the part of some of these supervisors and that is WRONG.

And when I saw this editorial, it did make me realize that Chester county does have an eminent domain problem from time to time and this is one of those times.

East Goshen should learn from the mistakes of others. We will start with Coatesville when they tried to take the Sahas’ Farm for a golf course. Then will move right along to West Vincent Township when they tried to take the Ludwigs Corner Horse Show via eminent domain. In both cases this ended quite badly for these municipalities and at quite an expense.

And East Goshen? Time to be public about this. And stop the madness. Why is it farms especially farms with horses have to be subjected to eminent domain takings? Aren’t enough things like overdevelopment threatening the equine and agricultural history and traditions of this county as it is???

Other things East Goshen is NOT considering is the impact this would have on a working farm or how this not might but would affect their liability and liability coverage.

Trails are like a shiny new bauble for municipalities but they have to be done and created for the right reasons. If East Goshen wants to use eminent domain it’s the wrong reason.

Farmers and equestrians I am asking you to stand with concerned East Goshen residents and the Hicks family Tuesday , June 15th at this IN PERSON meeting at EAST GOSHEN TOWNSHIP located at 1580 Paoli Pike West Chester, PA 19380. The meeting starts at 7 PM. If my friend the late Dick Saha was still on this earthly plane I know for sure he would be there with his farmer friends.

Also, I encourage people and media to FLOOD East Goshen with emails and calls:

Eeast Goshen Township Building
East Goshen Township
1580 Paoli Pike
West Chester, PA 19380-6199
Phone: (610) 692-7171
Fax: (610) 692-8950
Office hours 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Please note that you must wear a mask when entering the building.

dshuey@eastgoshen.org

mlynch@eastgoshen.org

jhertzog@eastgoshen.org

mshane@eastgoshen.org

mtruitt@eastgoshen.org

Interim Township Manager: ddavis@eastgoshen.org

Outgoing Township Manager: rsmith@eastgoshen.org

Giddy up folks. This farm needs our support. And East Goshen? While I respect a lot of what you do, I don’t respect this and I am entitled to my opinion.

Thanks for stopping by.

#PACKTHEMEETING

the potential willistown development project that needs people on a zoom call for is tonight! rock hill farm which is 222 acres!

I do not have a horse in this race but this is one of these properties that if it all gets chopped up for development it would be horrible. This property is in Willistown Township and Great Valley School District. The Great Valley School District is bursting at the seams already, so all of these developments add up.

So according to what I saw posted in Willistown Community Page it is like 14 houses. Big questions include: if the property is 222 acres per realtor and media descriptions are these homes all going to be on like 15+ acre lots? Or will these McMansions be built on smaller parcels and what happens to the rest?

If you are interested in this meeting the Willistown Planning Commission is TONIGHT June 9 at 7:30 PM. It is a ZOOM meeting and you can register for it here:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kV9E5WFOTL65buU3aNCCrg

Hopefully a good chunk of this land is in conservation, but given what we have see happen with other large parcels including what is still being fought over at Crebilly in Westtown, the devil is in the details. Tune in!

People should be tuning into Willistown now anyway given all sorts of things like….why are there only TWO supervisors now????

a good old fashioned crawfish boil…in chester county

It was a hot and steamy, but beautiful day. We went to a crawfish boil at Chef Paul Marshall’s house. Yes, it was the annual Marshall’s Half Hill Farm crawfish boil. And like everything else Paul and his wife Julie do, it was awesome!

People know Chef Paul Marshall locally because of Farm Boy Fresh. But he is a chef with incredible credentials.

From his childhood on the bayou in rural Louisiana, Chef Paul Marshall always showed a passion for cooking. During seven years under the watchful eye of Fernando Oca he learned classical French technique.

Chef Marshall then returned to his New Orleans roots to work under Emeril Lagasse at Commander’s Palace. There he further developed his passion for “the new” New Orleans cuisine; a melting pot of French, Spanish and American flavors.

Chef Marshall was part of the team that opened the Four Seasons in Florence, the Executive Chef at the Hong Kong Sheraton and Chef De Cuisine of Oscars, the French Brasserie in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel…and now he calls Chester County home.

My husband and I have been really lucky, and have been a guest of the Marshalls at their home. Paul’s wife Julie, has her own amazing credentials in world of food, having been with the James Beard Foundation for many years. She is also a terrific gardener.

So today was all about fun and food and friends and family. It was just so nice. And the food was, as always, off the hook.

The crawfish were flown in live and fresh from Louisiana. They weren’t those frozen little tasteless things that are called crawfish other places. These were fresh and succulent. Lobster’s little freshwater cousins were enjoyed by all!

Thanks for stopping by.

spring has sprung at life’s patina!

One of my favorite things to do in Chester County is attend a Life’s Patina event. Meg Veno and her team of designing women have an amazing eye and flair for putting things together.

When you walk into the big barn, you are always greeted immediately by a lovely tableau in the center. You move from space to space within the barn which is two levels and quite large and your imagination just goes wild!

There is so much to see so many great ideas and every nook and cranny is filled with something you either know you need, you didn’t realize you needed but want, or would make a perfect gift for someone special in your life.

Spring event which started today with the preview my friend Amy and I attended this morning, was just lovely. After a long winter to go through those big barn doors into the magical scenes which unfolded for us every step we took, made even a gray and rainy day sunny!

Life’s Patina does NOT allow walk ins. You must have a reservation. Go to the Life’s Patina website to inquire about a time slot. I will warn you a lot of the slots are already sold out, but I am sure you can email to see if there is a wait list.

push push push

I make no secret over the fact that I am completely over the push push push of realtors/real estate investors of all forms soliciting business since COVID19 hit.

First you have the slimy ones that send the postcards announcing they’ve been trying to reach you 95 times by postcard but they can’t find your phone number.

Or they are robocalling you via off shore call centers with heavily accented individuals reading from a script. And whether it’s postcard or robocall they all have friendly names like “Dan” or “Steve” or “Brian”.

Next come the regular residential realtor variety from the various and sundry companies you recognize. Like today’s solicitation which came addressed to both our name and “occupant“.

Dear occupant and she wants our business no less?

Of course there were other amusing things about today’s postcard from someone at Compass in Devon. Like for example it says it’s from their “Upper Main Line” office and lists a phone number. I tried to call the phone number on the postcard listed as the main office number because I want to be put on a do not solicit list. Only the number on the postcard isn’t a valid general office number and you get the recording from the phone company that this number doesn’t exist.

Now that’s just sloppy marketing and lack of proofreading, which if I was in the market for a new home or a realtor, this would knock this person out of the running right then and there. Details matter.

Then there’s the house that’s on the front of the postcard that says “just sold“. It’s one of the McMansions crammed in off of 352 on Shirtz Farm Lane…. which once upon a time was an actual farm. I made no secret of how I loathe farm to development conversions.

I guess our comparables are all going up in the area because this woman claims to have sold this house which is on a postage stamp sized lot for over $1 Million. And again…if you saw where it was it’s right there on 352 after the railroad underpass! It’s a marvel, those prices.

This is a development that once it finally got started if you blinked, you missed the houses going up. And it’s still got piles of dirt everywhere, it’s rather unattractive. Million dollar Lickety Splits.

Just so we’re clear, I have quite a few dear friends who are realtors whom I respect immensely. They don’t send out things like this. And they would never refer to someone in a mailer by name and then occupant because that’s just kind of insulting. If you need a realtor I’m happy to refer you to one of the many fine individuals I know. And they are actually truly local to Chester County and live here.

As I have said on other posts I have written about the sleazy real estate investors (house flippers) sending postcards to buy your house for cash, this is one of the byproducts of the COVID-19 global pandemic. As happened the last time there was a pandemic at the turn of the 20th century, it made people want to get out of cities and move into suburbia or less populated areas. Only I think circa 1918 they weren’t bombarding people with post cards.

I appreciate that realtors I’ve never heard of or are not particularly local love our area. I just wish they would stop soliciting me. Obviously I love where we live that’s why we’re here.

Happy weekend!

soak in the beauty of chester county

Along 401. Awesome Halloween display!

Last evening on the way to an outdoor socially distanced dinner with friends, I was struck again by the beauty of Chester County. And why we need to preserve more of it and develop less all across the county.

That is all.

when smoked brisket is like a religious experience…

So it’s no secret I love Chef Paul Marshall‘s food at Farm Boy Fresh. But seriously? His BBQ brisket is like a religious experience. I never understood why people love BBQ brisket until I tried his.

And even in the rain, the brisket sandwich is off the hook. I like mine messing with tradition on a brioche bun. My husband prefers old school white bread.

Farm Boy Fresh is located at 7 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern at the Sunoco Station. You can place an order through Toast Tab and pay in advance if you like. I recommend that because this barbecue is extraordinarily popular and they do run out.

If you go don’t forget to taste the little pies. My new favorite is the mini pecan pie! Oh and I hear he might be smoking his own turkeys at some point.

And what you see in 1st photo above? That was my sandwich today!

peter’s peasant soup

Every time around this year and even into the winter my late father would make a soup. It was a pure peasant soup. It would be based around what he found fresh down on 9th street at the Italian market and from the local merchants there.

The soup would have cabbage, potatoes or turnips, onion, celery, carrots, tomatoes, fresh herbs, beans, and something cured like a small salami – a cured sausage. He liked soppressata. He would cut it into little chunks or rounds.

We were over at a friend’s house the other day and they have this amazing kitchen garden like I dream about but have no room for. So they gave us a bunch of fresh vegetables including Swiss Chard and fresh kale. Today’s vegetable box from Doorstep Dairy had a beautiful purple cabbage. So I knew I was making soup even though it’s somewhat humid out.

My father would often use a beef stock base but a lot of the time it was a chicken stock base. So last night’s roast chicken carcass went into the instant pot this morning to make bone broth. I also tossed in a little salt and pepper and zaatar spice blend.

While bone broth was cooking and cooling I chopped up all the vegetables. I threw them into my big Great Jones “Big Deal” pot. I really love their cookware and I have a few pieces now. I added a few cups of water, maybe four. I added salt and pepper and some fresh herbs. This morning I had picked basil, thyme, sage so that is what I used.

I left the vegetables almost completely covered on low and just let them cook down for probably 60 minutes. The tomatoes I used were a bunch of fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden. Probably about enough to fit in a pint container but I halved them. When the bone broth was finished (I just hit the setting for broth or soup) I fished out all the bones and the gizzards and disposed of them and added the broth to the pot.

Then I added a chopped up a small whole dry salami that I had purchased at the Tasty Table Market & Catering in Berwyn. After that I drained two cans of beans and tossed those in. You can use whatever canned beans you like. Things like cannellini beans, pinto beans, even black-eyed peas.

Now the soup sits on a simmer until some point this afternoon when I will start to cool it down and put into containers. Some I will freeze and some I will use now.

I have to tell you the soup smells really good. And it’s also a smell that I have memories of. Of course I’m a little more about cleaning up the kitchen as I go along then my father was and when he would make one of these soups it would look like a bomb exploded in the kitchen afterwards.

This soup is always best when it sits for a couple of days and then you heat it up because it gives a chance for the flavors to completely meld . All you do is serve it with a little crusty bread for the table and some grated cheese on top. It’s a basic peasant soup and it’s loaded with vegetables and you don’t really need anything else.

I hope you can follow along as to how I made this. There is no formal recipe it’s just some thing that my father made and his mother made and who knows how many other relatives in his family made.

I used my small Instant Pot to make the bone broth if you are curious about how much chicken broth to add. The small Instant Pot makes 3 quarts of broth. Now the soup condenses and cooks down because I let it simmer on a very low setting for a few hours.

Buon appetito!