yes this is a rant.

Development should be a four letter word. Nothing has architectural style and human scale is non-existent.

Nothing being proposed on the Main Line or into Chester County and further out even complements the surrounding areas developers want to build in.

Everything is about maximizing density for developer profit.

The problem with that is there are a lot of moving parts and why is it residents can see the holes in the planning process and the zoning process and the development process and the political part of the process yet no one else seems to be willing to?

Everyone always thinks I am 100% against development. I’m actually not, but I cannot stand what is being shoved into our communities today.

The municipalities get all hot and bothered over the short term high of ratables but are incredibly short sighted as to the future. They don’t even look to protect the basics like stress on infrastructure, stress on first responders, stress on school districts which are all getting SO big.

It’s always QUANTITY instead of QUALITY.

And don’t forget the conditions of approval that they could ask for and sometimes they don’t even try. If these developers want to be in our communities then they can build the roads that will support their development. They can help pay for the schools that their future residents will put children into. They can finish the parks the townships don’t ever seem to have the money to either start or complete yet they have the land. And occasionally, these municipalities could learn to say “no give us a better plan.”

And in some municipalities you have to wonder for whom the township staff actually works? For whose benefit do the politicians work?

Years ago several members of the Pennsylvania legislature put forth an idea for a law. That law was simple it would’ve provided a short term moratorium on development. Just enough for Pennsylvania municipalities to hit the pause button to try to get better plans – like 90 or 120 days or something. The lobbyists for parties who objected to this being put forward killed this thing at least twice.

Also the Municipalities Planning Code of Pennsylvania? When was the last time that was comprehensively updated? Wasn’t it either the late 1960s or 1970s?

And here in Chester County why is it everyone thinks the Chester County Planning Commission’s Landscapes is so fabulous? All I see is a blueprint for over-development. We live in Chester County and we don’t live here so we can feel like we live in Bensalem or King of Prussia correct?

And while on the topic of our Chester County Planning Commission why is it our county level planning is being driven by an executive director who does not live in our county? To me that is just nuts and the worst kind of politics. That in my humble opinion is a person not truly invested in our communities and how can he be, he doesn’t live here does he?

We need change or we are going to continue to lose what makes where we live special. I don’t know about you but every time I look at a plan it is homogenous, boring, uninteresting and not community minded in the least for where ever it is proposed. It’s mall architecture. Bleck.

Once open space is gone it doesn’t come back. From Lower Merion in Montgomery County through to Caln in Chester County and everywhere in between, something has got to give.

And the history and historic preservation also doesn’t seem to matter. And it should.

I have never believed in “build it and they will come” as a reason to develop. And I’m not saying there aren’t areas that are in need of sprucing up. There are. Only the planning and vision that is realistic doesn’t seem to exist does it?

And the zoning? Why is everything high density? And all these special zoning overlay districts? Who benefits besides developers?

But everything is the same: ugly apartment buildings, cheap townhouse communities, fake carriage house communities. Density, density, and more density.

And in a lot of areas people are asking about low income and affordable housing. And we’re not talking section 8 here we’re talking about where do the single mothers go if they want to live in a safe community and raise their children? Where do our seniors go who can’t afford ritzy retirement communities? Where do regular people go who can’t afford McMansions?

And is there the economy to support this development? I was talking to somebody last week who remarked about not being able to work close to home. So are the jobs really here locally that will support the development? In my opinion, no.

Yes this is a RANT. And developers aren’t going to like this post, but none of you were being singled out. I am disgusted with all of it.

We deserve better. We need to demand better.

Development is an epidemic and we need a solution.

are traffic accidents a symptom of over-development?

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August 14, 2019 PM accident at Route 30 and 352/Sproul Rd in East Whiteland.

WARNING: RANT AHEAD. TURN AWAY NOW IF YOU AREN’T INTERESTED.

There was ANOTHER accident at Route 352/ Sproul Road and Route 30/Lancaster Avenue in East Whiteland Township again earlier this evening. Right after I came through the intersection basically.

There was an accident at a similar time LAST evening. Same location.

Are traffic accidents a symptom of over-development due to stressed overcrowded roadways?

This intersection in East Whiteland is much like a couple of problematic intersections in West Whiteland.  Take for example the West Whiteland intersection at Whitford Road from the train station side and Route 30/ Lancaster Ave/Lincoln Highway. Maybe there should be NO right turn on red and whatever else can happen to ensure better safety on the roads? I go through that particular West Whiteland intersection at least twice a week and people run that light there and just dive into the intersection.  This afternoon at a little past noon as a matter of fact, a BIG truck was what dove onto Route 30 West towards Downingtown from Whitford Road.  The light had changed. It was red for Whitford on all sides, but it didn’t matter people were diving left and right. 

But I digress, back to East Whiteland.

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From the people in Linden Hall  (which sits at 30 and 352) I have learned there are at least 25 kids in that development. Ages are infant though high school. Plus all of the adult residents.  Are there lives to spare, East Whiteland? I don’t think so.  (And don’t get me started on the sloppy ugly construction site left by Linden Hall as in the historic structure. Has anyone from East Whiteland bother to swing by to see the “parking lot”? Would you be happy as residents to see that site?)

Now BACK to the traffic at the intersection of Route 30/Lancaster Ave and Route 352/Sproul Road in East Whiteland. Can we talk about the people turning LEFT from Lancaster (westbound direction) onto Route 352/Sproul Road sit in CENTER of intersection even through signal changes effectively blocking ability of Linden Hall residents to safely exit their development— this development which East Whiteland approved and allowed to be built. And someone keeps denying them a left turn signal  they have requested of the township (or PennDOT?) so they can exit  more safely.  They are crammed in like lemmings in that development so why aren’t there enough people to justify it?

Can’t have it both ways. If East Whiteland Township (as well as neighboring townships) are going to cram every square inch with development they have a responsibility to ensure the safety of residents. For goodness sake, make these developers pay for sufficient road improvements and for installing township parks and stuff. It’s called conditions of plan approval, right????

But hey, we all know how traffic concerns in East Whiteland from Carol Lane and Summit residents got translated by certain East Whiteland supervisors the last time, remember?  All of a sudden, their traffic issues became the impetus for a traffic circle at Route 352/Sproul Road/North Chester Road and King, correct?

So…once again Carol Lane and Summit Road neighbors are attempting to have a meaningful conversation with East Whiteland to get what they feel are much needed traffic corrections to Summit, Carol, and those streets in THAT neighborhood.

WHAT THE RESIDENTS ARE TRYING TO MAKE EAST WHITELAND TOWNSHIP UNDERSTAND IS THAT THEY WANT IS TRAFFIC CALMING ON SUMMIT AND CAROL, PART OF SUMMIT FROM CAROL TO MADELINE AND SUMMIT BETWEEN CAROL AND WOODCREST.

I have born witness to the speeding on Carol and Summit myself as recently I drove through there to just see if I could get the idea of what goes on. What goes on is people cut through and speed. I had someone on my tail and for a couple of moments I actually thought they might pass me for doing speed limit. My friends over there tell me they have had cut through speeders pass them for going the speed limit.

This neighborhood has at least 20 children on Summit from Carol to 352, 10 on Carol, 8 or 9 on another connecting street and dog walkers, walkers, and joggers. Are there lives to spare here at this location, East Whiteland?

People living in East Whiteland and neighboring townships are really struggling to co-exist with the insane amount of development. Residents should matter more than the ratables and ill-advised development saturated comprehensive plans on a local or county level. But do residents matter?

After all residents in East Whiteland have expressed concern about the number of living units for what they call “Frazer Lanes Redevelopment“. Everyone agrees the site could stand to be improved BUT what will life be like when 227 units in 4 stories on 5 acres is built with 330 total parking spaces across from the Wawa at the corner of 30 and Planebrook?

What will life be like as you go west on 30 and hit the intersection of Ship Road if that development gets built?

Inquirer: Another Wawa may be coming to Chester County after town officials change zoning rules
by Katie Park, Updated: May 23, 2019

A Wawa may soon be built next to a centuries-old chapel and tavern in Chester County after officials approved a zoning change that cleared the way for the convenience-store giant.

The West Whiteland Township Board of Supervisors voted 2-1 on Wednesday to allow Wawa to move into a yet-to-be-built 5,600-square-foot building — complete with eight gas pumps — at 690 E. Lincoln Highway, once home to an Entenmann’s pastry factory and outlet store….As a result of the supervisors’ decision, developer Eli Kahn, the owner of eight acres at 690 E. Lincoln Highway, said he would likely not go forward with his original plans to build 130 apartments and a three-story office building there in favor of about 80 townhouses, the building he plans to lease to Wawa, and two other retail buildings that he could also rent out.

NVR Homes, which teamed up with Kahn, has also indicated it would not build more than 400 apartments and townhouses on 52 acres at 500 E. Lincoln Highway — the former home of the Laborers’ Training Facility — and instead opt for about 90 single-family homes and 65 townhouses, West Whiteland officials said.

Is it just me or is the Ship Road Couplet and development insanity…well, crazy?

Here is where you click to see most of what West Whiteland has going on development-wise: Spring 2019 Present & Proposed Developments Map

Here is where you click to see most of what East Whiteland has going on development-wise: Subdivision and Land Development Plans.

And we can’t leave East Goshen out of the equation given the Paoli Pike debacle can we? You see, the East Goshen Board of Supervisors will meet to discuss the proposal from The Hankin Group on further development of 1351 Paoli Pike on Tuesday, August 29, 2019 at 7:00 pm.

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And don’t get me started on West Goshen and that hideous development at Greystone (I tell you what I sure wouldn’t be a bride paying for a pricey wedding at the Greystone Hall venue now.)

And there is what? Another elementary school being built over there? (But hey now development doesn’t add to the burdens of a school district, right? )

Back to East Whiteland (and anyone else in Great Valley School District).  I still think in my humble opinion it is not a question of IF but WHEN the Great Valley School District will be dealing with a Great Valley East and Great Valley West situation.  Whose land will they take to deal will the growing population and a need for larger if not additional schools?

Back to what inspired this post: stressed out infrastructure. In this case roads and intersections ill-equipped to effectively handle traffic. And it’s only getting worse.  In East Whiteland every which way you turn there is yet another development.  Much like West Whiteland. But the roads? The roads are essentially the same and how can they be?

Can I say planning in these townships and at the county level just sucks? It does. It just sucks.  Chester County Planning Commission has a NON-resident as it’s Executive Director and it shows. That guy is not invested in our communities. He is a non-resident carpetbagger the taxpayers are paying for.  Landscapes is a joke as well. The “vision” message is clear: development, development, development. Seriously. LOOK at the interactive development map.

Zoning in townships like East Whiteland and West Whiteland should benefit the residents. But can it be said zoning benefits special interests and developers mostly?

Oh I know, I know.  This is indeed a full-on rant but something has got to give.  And I say a side effect of development are accidents since I feel traffic accidents a symptom of over-development due to stressed and overcrowded roadways.

We as residents deserve better. We also need better representation in local government.  As residents, we need to take our power back collectively. After all did any of us move to Chester County so we could live in King of Prussia-lite or Bensalem-lite?

NOPE.

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August 13, 2019 PM accident at Route 30 and 352/Sproul Rd in East Whiteland.

civilian bravery followed by questions in the wake of yesterday’s fire on pottstown pike.

Ginny Kerslake photo.

This morning the Daily Local has an article about a vicious fire that could have been deadly yesterday along Pottstown Pike/ Route 100.

Daily Local: Firefighters battle apartment fire in Uwchlan

By Pete Bannan Pbannan@21st-Centurymedia.com 7 hrs ago Comments

UWCHLAN — Fire erupted at an apartment house in the 500 block of N. Pottstown Pike Wednesday.  

Lionville Fire Company was dispatched just before 3 p.m. for the report of a possible subject trapped in the former two-floor motel annex.

Firefighters reported heavy fire on the second floor of the building….The cause of the fire is under investigation

I think at least FIVE fire companies responded. And given HOW busy 100 is, many, many kudos to the first responders because that is difficult location no matter how you slice it. I am also told access to this property is somewhat dicey? I wonder if they could even get fire trucks across the little driveway bridge off Route 100 that I am told crosses a creek there? People say it’s not great?

The reporter/photographer for The Daily Local is someone I have known for years. He covers a lot of fires and one time he covered a house fire next door to where I lived many years ago. I will never forget that fire because the firefighters had to work so hard to keep the flames engulfing an old Victorian house owned by an absentee landlord from jumping to the roofs next door, including my own.

What the reporter/photographer doesn’t mention is a selfless local Chester County resident who stopped to help BEFORE first responders arrived on scene.

And I am NOT saying this as a chide, I am not sure anyone knew. But I know so I am going to tell you.

The person who stopped and risked her own safety was my friend, Ginny Kerslake. Yes, the same Ginny Kerslake who ran for Chester County Commissioner in the recent Democratic primary this past spring that the Chester County Democrats chose NOT to endorse. (And yes THAT is most decidedly a dig at the flawed endorsement process of a major political party.)

This is what my friend Ginny shared with us yesterday shortly after the fire erupted:

Avoid route 100 just north of Township Line Rd.

As I was driving past I saw black smoke and then the flames. Called 911 and banged on the apartment doors right next to the house to alert residents. A woman used my phone to call the woman who lives in the house – luckily she was out somewhere but her husband who smokes may be inside where the fire is. I really hope he’s not. First responders on scene. It’s frightening to see.

I left once there was nothing for me to do but get out of the way. I’m home now hearing lots of sirens and hoping for the best for everyone there.

Ginny acted in a selfless and heroic manner in my opinion. She put herself in danger to try to help others before first responders arrived.

Ginny is a modest woman and doesn’t seek accolades or personal glory for the amazing things she does. However, yesterday what she did was brave and heroic and she deserves our praise and thanks. In a world where so much is ugly, I am honored to have a friend who truly will put her own needs and life aside for the greater good. Ginny exhibited a selfless act of bravery in the true spirit of community.

I don’t think Uwchlan Township even realized what she did.

That above was the Uwchlan Township Police Department press release post incident. They obviously did not realize that Ginny Kerslake was in part responsible for getting people out of the structure(s).

I remember yesterday when PulsePoint reported the incident. They said “commercial structure” so I was not sure where they meant.

You undoubtedly have driven past this now fire location before if you are traveling Route 100.

The above photo with the arrows is one I shared in the fall of 2017 when a billboard was being proposed for the derelict and boarded up farm market or whatever it is next door. I used the arrows to remind people of not only the location on Pottstwon Pike/100 but also the proximity to the location which had the fire yesterday.

And this location is what was once known as the Dogwood Motel. Now it appears to be apartments of some sort. And this location once again represents the very limited supply of “affordable housing” in this part of Chester County. Like the mobile home parks we see scattered about including in townships in close proximity like East Whiteland and further away near or in other municipalities like Wallace Township, Honeybrook, Phoenixville, and the Downingtown areas, the old Dogwood Motel represents a very limited supply of affordable housing.

And as Chester County continues to get bombarded with new developments, the affordable housing supply continues to dwindle. And we are not simply referring to section 8 housing, we are referring to low income housing for those of modest means in all categories including our elderly who live on fixed incomes in a lot of cases. With all of this new development, taxes and rents increase often pricing life-long residents quite literally out of their homes.

No, I am not being a drama queen, it’s true. And people of low incomes and modest means are the invisible people society doesn’t wish to see.

This location at 514 N. Pottstown Pike is run down and has been for years. A search through Chester County records indicates the property is owned by people who seem as if they lived locally at one time, but now reside in Florida. I am not positive but if I am reading old deeds correctly they bought it possibly in a Sheriff’s sale decades ago? Here is are screen shots from Chesco Views:

The Daily Local indicates there is some sort of investigation post-fire. That is normal. Of course other questions would now include if the property owners are the equivalent of absentee landlords who is responsible for day to day maintenance on this property? And who at a township level and county level is responsible for seeing that this structure and other low income rental properties are safe and up to code?

It is thanks to first responders and ordinary people like Ginny Kerslake who is not a first responder that no lives were lost.

But what happens now to all of the residents who call this location home? I can’t answer that question but myself and many others are wondering.

If anyone does any LEGITIMATE fundraisers for the residents here, please post a comment on this blog’s Facebook page.

But for the grace of God go any of us in a situation like this.

Ginny Kerslake photo.

are we safe co-existing with sunoco/energy transfer?

Photo taken by my friend Tom last evening after explosion or whatever it was from Energy Transfer/Sunoco

Last evening around 8 PM social media exploded from Facebook to Next Door with Chester County residents concerned about an explosion.

A friend of mine said today:

“It’s no longer about feeling angry and powerless about these pipelines, today I no longer feel safe in my home.”

What do you say to someone who is your friend when they say this? How do you console them? The short answer is you can’t.  How can you?  These pipelines are one problem after the other. Inadvertent returns or whatever you want to call it when drilling fluid rises up and floods a street, gets into a water well, and so on. Sinkholes. And now an explosion?

Residents of streets like Mary Jane Lane and in Hamlet Hill in West Chester actually felt their homes shake. Shake.

Oh and how dis Sunoco/Energy Transfer respond? See here:

For real? That’s it? That is the best they have got? Do they really think we are such rubes? I think we all know the difference between say an electrical transformer blowing, a car backfiring, and and actual explosion sound where HOUSES SHAKE????

It’s appalling. And will someone kindly explain how when people called this noise into 911 it didn’t even end up on PulsePoint? And only a lone police officer responded? There is a fire station right there, correct? With first responders who are response trained? Was this officer also trained in responding to pipeline emergencies? And before ANYONE FLIPS OUT I am not criticizing the fact this officer showed up, I am GRATEFUL he at least arrived on scene but where was everyone else? And now as the dust settles, I am being told by residents that the county says it is West Goshen’s responsibility yet supposedly the West Goshen Emergency Management Coordinator who is also purportedly the fire marshall over there did NOT know a thing until they saw it on social media this morning?

Who is playing God with the potential safety of residents?

All day long helicopters have been circling over there. My friends recorded them above their homes and I saw them myself when over at the Giant on Boot Road. They all can’t be from the helicopter museum, so who were they?

Saw this earlier:

And this:

Once again I am struck with the fact that residents and homeowners and even people who are just driving by pipeline sites are just constantly exposed to risk.  We can’t live our lives in fear, but how about credible information?

Yes no one was hurt BUT this is scary, scary stuff. And as residents we seem to be forced to absorb an inordinate amount of potential danger when it comes to these pipelines. And we don’t benefit. There is no reward for the risk, just risk.

We have friends who have left this part of Chester County because of the pipelines. We have other friends who received NO as in ZERO disclosure of the pipeline easement when they bought their home in West Whiteland. They only found out purely by accident. Now they have their dream home and not so dreamy pipeline in their front yard.

Officials claim they are looking into all f this and to them I say try harder, look faster. Last night was an unwelcome reminder of the risk of those pipelines. Every day we see the destruction.

Sunoco says Mariner East 2 system ‘backfired’ during maintenance but no risk to public. Residents report loud explosion; company says no liquids leaked from line By Jon Hurdle

coatesville

I rarely go through Coatesville. I know people in Wagontown, Modena, and other places around Coatesville, but not the City of Coatesville.

We were out in Wagontown and went through Coatesville to get gas on the way home and ended up on regular Route 30 so I snapped some photos.

There are some really cool houses in Coatesville. It is a kaleidoscope of architecture. And there are lots of churches too, which I never knew.

how MANY freaking bad development plans are going on in easttown?

Who doesn’t love Handel’s in Berwyn? It’s an old fashioned ice cream place like you only normally see at the beach. This time of year people can always be seen all lined up for a scoop of ice cream. It’s a great tradition.

But apparently Easttown Township is pondering the supersizing of this location? As in Handel’s will still be there BUT also 120 apartments potentially? Four stories tall, if the zoning board in Easttown approves?

SERIOUSLY?? What in the Sam Hell is wrong with Easttown Township? First of all the township is like the supersecret people with no meeting recordings that I can find and every time you turn around there’s another development plan between Devon and the end of Berwyn, isn’t there?

Sure Easttown “discloses” development plans via public notices but do they really want a spotlight on the crazy development plans there ?

I am down near this particular stretch of Berwyn a fair amount and I can tell you Lancaster Avenue is already infreakingsane with what’s there, so what happens when you add more insanity?

A source tells me one zoning hearing was held already. The next one appears to be August 5 — except I haven’t found a public notice yet. If I understood correctly what was said at the recent zoning meeting, the Easttown Township Planning Commission has already approved this crap?

WTF Easttown? It’s bad enough you are allowing historic Berwyn to get destroyed, but now you want to West Goshen/East Whiteland/West Whiteland Lancaster Avenue through Berwyn and Easttown in general???

(I will also note the Easttown like many other municipalities who don’t like to video record meetings are also kind of behind in their minutes they post aren’t they? And when the minutes are posted don’t they seem so sanitized?)

Traffic is already a nightmare around here. And the thing about Easttown is they like to approve these development plans but it’s like they’re approving plans that are off on their own planet with no relationship to basic things like existing residents, small businesses, and existing infrastructure.

Where Anthropologie and Terrain were built is a favorite nightmare traffic example. Trying to reach these businesses off of Lancaster Avenue if you’re headed west on Route 30 is craziness. And it’s also difficult if you want to go to Handel’s coming from either direction. And they are proposing apartments?

It’s like we keep getting driven further and further west but all these developers up and down Route 30 act like all these municipalities aren’t interconnected! No matter where we go the traffic is heavy and insane and full of impatient drivers and roads that can’t handle the current capacity in all of these municipalities all the way up Route 30 into Coatesville and beyond and they all want are more developments!

I don’t know why they call any of this good planning or smart growth because it just seems well greedy to me. And those of us who live here in Chester County, we don’t matter. Existing small businesses, they don’t matter. Nothing matters except getting these plans built and pick a stretch of Route 30 and how many apartments and townhouses and fake “carriage homes” do we need???

And Easttown sports a lot of ugly density already.

Enough already, Easttown.

And again, another reason why we need a less development happy county planning commission in Chester County. And an executive director of said planning commission who actually resides in Chester County. I mean is it just me or has anyone else noticed how even as you proceed further and further west in Chester County along Route 30 it’s so totally looking like the eastern end of Lower Merion Township, King of Prussia, or DeKalb Pike?

Stop the madness. Attend your local municipality’s meetings wherever you live. Pack the meetings. Elect officials who represent YOUR voices.

#PreserveChesterCounty

happy 25th anniversary to the west chester growers market!!!

IMG_6363I missed all the political fanfare early this morning, but I did make it to the 25th anniversary of the West Chester Growers Market.

State Senator Andy Dinniman and Chester County Commissioners Michele Kichline and Terrence Farrell were there at the opening of today’s market to celebrate with everyone and present citations and proclamations.

But where oh where were the officials of West Chester Borough? Borough Council? I mean it is NO SECRET they have been discussing the lot on the corner of Chestnut and Church Streets again right?  And what developer and hotel owner want in on whatever is discussed, hmmm?  Oh the irony that they just discussed this again, what? This past week?

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And no one from the Borough could come to the West Chester Growers Market in an official capacity to celebrate their 25th anniversary? The County and State felt they should be there, so why not the Borough?

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Photo courtesy of County Commissioner Terrence Farrell’s Facebook Page.  He and Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline presenting a County citation to Paul “Bud” Hauser, an inspiration behind and one of the four original growers who founded the West Chester Growers Market 25 years ago. I think this is fabulous that they did this!!

Oh and my opinions are my own, by the way.  And sadly I think West Chester Borough needs to appreciate the organizations which bring people into the Borough weekly for 25 years, don’t you? The West Chester Growers Market brings people and farms and small food producers together. In a world filled with ugliness, this is something genuine and nice.

Today the market was bustling in spite of the crazy heat.  And the vendors were nice enough to have lots and lots of water on hand for customers. And ice cream!!  And balloons and face painting for kids!

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I love the West Chester Growers Market and it is pretty much the only one I patronize at this point since East Goshen seems to have given up on their farmers market which I think is a huge mistake since they have one of the most awesome locations.

The photos I took today were my own.  I am not compensated in any way for posting about the market. I post about the West Chester Growers Market because I love it and think it’s fabulous.

And if West Chester Borough Council gets their knickers in a twist because I do not feel in my opinion that they appreciate the market in all it’s fabulousness, tough noogies and am I wrong?

HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY WEST CHESTER GROWERS MARKET!! 

WE LOVE YOU IN CHESTER COUNTY!!

 

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