The Lloyd Farmhouse photo above is from 2019. Actually most of the photos I have access to are old photos. Also known as Valley Brook Farm, this should be a historic asset has been rotting for years. I haven’t written about it in a couple of years. There is still a developer who owns it and there’s still I guess a development planned? No one really knows much.
However I learned something this morning: apparently it has been reported that Lloyd farmhouse has a squatter or squatters? How is that even possible and does Caln Township give a crap?
Caln Township is an example of Pennsyltucky at it’s finest the way it is run, is it not? It has some new commissioners now but apparently they’re just as bad as the old supervisors they replaced, and that does include Democrats and yes I did say that out loud. Oh and I can have these opinions. They don’t like the first amendment much out there, but it’s allowed.
The site is still not secure which is something I just don’t understand on so many levels. From what I understand the developer at one point in time put logs across the front of the driveway I guess up to the farmhouse and now that is all just grown over, which makes this farmhouse even more remote so if there are squatters, in the case of a fire emergency or a medical emergency how difficult will it be to get first responders there?
And I thought abandoned/empty buildings were supposed to be secured? Why doesn’t Caln Township see to this? Why can’t police go out there are get rid of them? I mean it’s not like there is electricity, sewer, running water, anything out there in this abandoned 18th-century farmhouse is there?
And let’s talk about the fact that there is no running water or sewer etc. what happens if there are squatters and they go to the bathroom? Are they using camp toilets? If they are using camp toilets are they emptying them into nearby local creeks and water sources? It’s a valid question isn’t it? It doesn’t that go to a potential health department situation? Chester County has a health department so are they aware of this potential situation?
Is Chester county in general aware that this is not a secure site, that it’s a rotting historic asset, and because it has been left open and unsecured could be a danger?
In 1991 there was a movie called The Super with Joe Pesci as a slumlord a judge made live in a run down building he owned. So in the Walter Mitty state of mind wouldn’t it be nice if some judge suggested that the Caln Township Commissioners had to live in Lloyd Farmhouse the way it is right now?
If there are squatters living in this farmhouse, it’s not the first abandoned structure in Chester County to have squatters. But in other townships they seem to take action and deal with these situations. Will Caln actually do anything? Who knows.
Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the old photos that exist over the past few years of the Lloyd farmhouse.
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:
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.
Now, I am not accusing any particular neighbor over this website since I don’t know YET who created it, unless any of you do perhaps? Also, there is also a flyer that has been distributed. Physically mailed to residents like one of those tacky campaign glossies.
I know, I know, it is a little crazy. Especially since when you heard recently from these neighbors, it was to say “Oh gosh, oh golly, we don’t want to ruin their lives!” (paraphrasing, but here READ THIS).
(If you think an image is too small, click on it to bring it up on your screen larger)
Let’s talk vilified since those farm hating angels feel put out and/or misunderstood, OK? How about this little website recently developed?
Wildflower Farm is a farm. They grow flowers. Oh my gosh, such a threat to humanity, can you imagine????
The “review” they posted in Wix land was a FRIEND for whom they had a birthday party. NO MONEY changed hands. It was two years ago – and the friend thought she was helping by posting a review.
Next the Friendly Sons thing is a NON-PROFIT Ryan Heenan is part of and is a past president of. That was a private event that anyone could host on their property. The Friendly Sons is an Irish organization which is well-respected and has existed since the 18th century in Philadelphia, so do the neighbors have a prejudice against the Irish I wonder? Could this be a modern spin on “Irish Need Not Apply”???
And the winery license thing has to do with HONEY, as in bees make honey. If you want to make mead, you have to have a permit as far as I understand. Maybe I don’t have that completely right, but that is what that is about. It’s not about having keggers for profit.
The “brochure” was a mock up from years ago when they had not done anything and were exploring what to do with the farm. Some web person put together a mock up of a brochure that was never formally developed or distributed and apparently left it on her website as an example of work product. It wasn’t actually a real thing. Did they explore options? Sure, who doesn’t today with a farm if they want to survive? There are actually plenty of fabulous farms in Chester County you can rent space from, so it makes sense they would look into it, right?
The Mother’s Day event last year was their grand opening. Done with permission from Willistown Township.
And as far as the creek issues go, I have been on their property – NO WETLANDS. They did rebuild a stream and put it back that a prior property owner had done stuff to in order to create a winter skating rink thingy, and why didn’t the neighbors complain about that? And how did they get those photos without trespassing? Here I have photos, that I was invited to take (as in I did not have to trespass to get them) :
They do use the barn for things like family parties. But people are allowed to entertain. They even had Santa Claus for a few friends with little in November, 2020 because Santa experiences were scarce due to COVID-19. Yes, there was a photographer, so the kids had their Santa photos. NOT a public event, just doing something nice with a few friends after a horrible year so kids could have some normalcy at Christmas. How is that a horrible thing? The answer of course it’s not, but I would say the Scrooges of Castlebar Lane probably would say otherwise, yes?
It’s time to take a stand against NOFIMBY people in Chester County And to be clear, these people are not doing anything for the benefit of all in Willistown.
This is only about THEM.
And yes Ryan Heenan and family members are in real estate. Real estate investors. So what? So are lots of people.
Wildflower Farm is this family’s HOME. And they grow freaking flowers.
Would the NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane be more comfortable with say an actual developer carving up their ‘hood? Maybe they would like some townhouses or apartments where all are crammed in like lemmings?
And nothing being done on Wildflower Farm goes against state agricultural/farming laws (ACRE law). Local ordinances from what I have been told are supposed to conform to state laws?
I know Willistown people to be BETTER than this. BE better than this. Please contact Willistown Township and politely ask them to stop this madness. Their zoning needs to go along with state law. If it isn’t, they respectfully need to change that. They also need to consider the fact that one of their planning commission members is one of these unpleasant neighbors on Castlebar, and has shown up on stuff about this filed against township, hasn’t he?
And lest I forget to post photos of it, someone indeed paid for a campaign-like glossy mailer to go out about Wildflower Farm. Nothing like harassing your neighbors because you want the advantages of living with agricultural districts which give regular homeowners perks but not living near actual farms, right? And I have to ask again, do they have a publicist doing these flyers and placements? That would be nice to know so people can avoid giving them business in the future, right? And that mailer requires a permit so who got the permit?
And OMG BUS TOURS? 😛 😛 COME ONE. What do you think they are The Barnes Foundation or maybe Dorney Park or Dutch Wonderland? 😛 😛
Here is a mash-up of little video snippets from when they opened last year. Tell me you think these neighbors are normal in the way they treat the Heenans?
I mean dayummmm, it’s almost Good Friday and Easter is Sunday. Way to nail the Heenans to a proverbial cross or try to, right?
You literally can’t make this stuff up: The NOFIMBY Neighbors Who Want To Crucify Their Neighbors For Easter.
Radnor Township hates when you ask questions about Ardrossan and so does a certain Delaware County Commissioner and former Radnor Commissioner, right?
We will start with Radnor Township is just an odd place. Betwixt and between. They want to be super Main Line and forget they are part of Delaware County. (Of course people in other parts of Delaware County have always said they wished they could forget about Radnor, so it is a push me pull you, I suppose?) They were super slim shady politically until it came to a head years ago and the former manager was removed and elections (and scandals) bit by bit got rid of shall we say…interesting commissioners? Then they got another manager who didn’t use a Radnor credit card to buy stuff (like $400K was misspent or something? See this old report also embedded below) and there was a brief renaissance where things in Radnor veered away from slim shady into the sunshine.
But as with all things political, it was cyclical, and now the pendulum seems to be swinging slightly back slim shady or teetering on it, right? The current township manager is the last manager’s finance guy, not really suited to be a township manager either by education or temperament. Nice guy, very intelligent, but doesn’t seem to like to interact with the public much, does he? His assistant is the proverbial gatekeeper, and oh don’t necessarily count on a reply if you email. Control is the name of the game, I think, only who is actually in control these days? A lot of the commissioners are new and they don’t seem to get the basics like of course they might not get a quorum to have a commissioners meeting April 11th (today) which is undoubtedly why they cancelled it…Easter week.
But back to Ardrossan….
Adrossan was the estate legends were literally made of. The inspiration for A Philadelphia Story and High Society. A literally gorgeous and amazing estate. But once Bobby Scott, Hope’s son died, you knew it was only a matter of time until the march of McMansions really arrived. And McMansions were born.
So one has to ask since the McMansions seem to enjoy farming and agricultural perks although none of those people probably even cut their own lawns. The Ardrossan Farm development was approved in 2014. But what I can’t find is if the roads within the development suddenly became private roads? Why do I ask? That photo above. Taken at an entrance point into the nouveau development so are those roads publicly dedicated streets or not? If they are public with Radnor doing plowing, etc, why the “Private Community” sign?
Now in 2013, Radnor inked a deal to buy 71 acres of Ardrossan for $11+ million. Wheeler Field, Quarry Field, Rye Field. “Everyone loves the cows” was a catchy phrase back then attributed to a commissioner then who is on Delaware County Council now, and some say has higher aspirations still. The farmer is also on two other fields nearby supposedly, correct? Not owned by Radnor Township but old Ardrossan Land?
“I believe a license agreement with the current farmer will be on the agenda for one of our next meetings, so we will have the opportunity to hear resident comment and discuss all the issues involved,” said Schaefer. “The current farmer has been farming the Ardrossan land for over 25 years, and his father farmed it for the generation before him. I believe that most residents would like to see this farmer continue to farm the land, as his very unique operation provides the beloved cows that beautify the landscape. As I understand it, the proposed license will require that the farmer utilize best management practices and adhere to the NCRS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) approved soil conservation plan.”
So, I think it’s wonderful part of Ardrossan is still farmed, don’t misunderstand me, but well, what chemicals are being used on the fields? Especially since the farmer who farms there (his farm is called Fern Valley Farm, correct?) also has the cows/steer he tends to, the last of the famous Ayrshire steer, right? So if he is raising feed corn etc. for said cattle, what are they ingesting? Way back when Radnor inked this deal with the farmer, people urged the farmer to be as organic as possible so what today, in 2022 is happening? Is there a correct list of chemicals? You know like Round Up and Round Up laced engineered seed?
Look, there are natural water sources everywhere, so isn’t it important? There is a sign outside the farmer’s farm that says “BEEF” so if he’s selling, wouldn’t you like to know what chemicals the butchered beasts were exposed to? This is why so many people like to buy organic meat today, correct? And people pay big bucks gladly for organic meat, poultry, fish, produce, yes?
So Radnor, where’s the beef? And is there an official farm store, USDA and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture listing for Fern Valley Farm? I looked and can’t find it. Truthfully, I think it’s great if the farmer can sell his products, as long as it is done right and isn’t meat it’s whole special category? How it’s butchered, stored, etc?
Back to field chemicals. Trout season is now open, right? So wouldn’t fishermen like to know what chemicals the Ardrossan farmer is using right now in 2022 and what they have been using in years past? Again, I looked to see if I could find it listed anywhere and came up empty.
So in addition to trout and the famous Ardrossan “cows” isn’t there a bald eagle now at the Willows nearby and there used to be big blue herons too, right? So what is the beautiful wildlife ingesting courtesy of whatever Radnor’s farmer uses? And kids are all over that area and isn’t that Quarry field slated for being part of the trails there or something at some point?
Sadly, public land requires public answers does it not? So what chemicals are being used on the land where the farmer farms that is owned by Radnor? I am of the opinion that Radnor Township can’t just be environmentally friendly for show, and it’s great they want to ban plastic bags too, but what about this? Why is it such a big deal for their tenant to produce a list of chemicals used?
So this isn’t the only curious part of Ardrossan tales of today is it? The other part is whatever benefits from farming the McMansion dwellers who have bought on Ardrossan land get? This has all swirled in the media for years. In November there was a movement which was defeated to cancel the farmer’s $1 a year lease:
An elected official in Radnor is pushing for the township to cancel its lease with a cattle rancher on publicly owned land that had once been part of the sprawling Ardrossan estate, saying the deal helps wealthy landowners on other sections of the former estate take unfair advantage of tax breaks for agriculture.
Richard Booker’s motion, which he plans to introduce at a Board of Commissioners meeting on Nov. 22, would end the agreement that lets rancher Richard Billheim’s Fern Valley Farm use 71 acres of township-owned property for its beef cow operation in exchange for $1 a year.
Booker said in a memo with his motion that he decided to take action on the lease after reading an article published earlier this year by The Inquirer about the tax breaks at the former estate enabled by statewide agricultural-conservation programs under Act 319 — better known as “Clean and Green” — and Act 515.
The programs tax land for what it is worth as a working farm and not what its value would be if sold on the open market for housing, strip malls, or offices. Under Act 319, by far the most commonly used of the programs at Ardrossan and elsewhere, the land must produce $2,000 a year in farm goods.
At least two dozen parcels on more than 260 acres are successfully enrolled in the programs, accounting for more than 40% of the former Ardrossan estate’s acreage sold over the last quarter-century, according to an Inquirer analysis of Delaware County records….Properties covered by the tax breaks include homes of a leader at a major real estate firm, members of the family that cofounded the Apple Vacations tour business, and the top-ranking member of the County Council for surrounding Delaware County.
The only known agricultural products coming from the enrolled land are the corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay grown there to feed Fern Valley’s cows...While cows do graze on a portion of that land, most of their grass-munching is done on the township-owned property. To Booker, that means Radnor is helping private property owners get their tax breaks because those cows wouldn’t be there absent the generous lease.
Officials in Radnor have defeated a measure to cancel a lease on township land for a cattle operation that also helps residents on parts of the former Ardrossan estate save hundreds of thousands each year on their taxes.
In a 4-2 vote with one abstention, the township’s Board of Commissioners on Monday rejected member Richard Booker’s motion to terminate Fern Valley Farm’s $1-a-year lease to use 71 acres of publicly owned property for its 60-head Black Angus beef business.
The decision leaves in place an agreement that Fern Valley has said was vital to its 10-person operation, which also relies on feed crops grown on sections of the former estate that are now private homesteads.
Because of this reliance, Booker has argued that the lease is helping some of those private property owners claim property breaks available to land that is farmed.
Thanks in part to 60 cows that they don’t have to wrangle, many of the wealthy homeowners who dot the sprawling acreage of the former Ardrossan estate have found a way to qualify for local tax breaks along with federal reductions.
That’s because the owners are taking advantage of state laws that permit them to pare down the property taxes owed to Delaware County, Radnor Township, and Radnor schools by registering their land as farms.
The tax breaks under state law are open only to parcels at the former estate larger than 10 acres. For lots under that size, the nonprofit that owns the land is arguing in Delaware County Court that it shouldn’t be taxed at all because restrictions on development have stripped it of all value….at least two dozen parcels — accounting for more than 40% of the former estate’s acreage sold by Eddie Scott’s businesses — are successfully enrolled in state agricultural-protection programs that qualify owners for tax cuts, according to an Inquirer analysis of Delaware County records obtained under the state’s Right to Know Law.
Those owners have seen their realty taxes reduced by an estimated total of $490,000 this year, a 30% reduction from the $1.6 million they would have owed without the discount, the analysis shows…
Yes, there were a LOT of Ardrossan related or touching articles in 2021. It kind of made me sad, in a way. Almost like the whole allure of that amazing estate were being tarnished in some way.
That is the problem with a lot of these large parcels of land. We see it here in Chester County. Not all are under any sort of conservation easements which is causing eruptions in many places in Chester County right now. You can’t make people conserve land, and then there is how do you make it attractive to conserve/preserve land? And developers just salivate at the prospect of these properties everywhere, and what developers can afford to buy versus what farmers can afford to buy versus what land and nature conservancies can afford to buy are all very different and difficult conversations, correct?
But the most bombshell of the Ardrossan related bombshell articles to me was the in depth Inquirer report:
In an effort to bring this post full circle, many people always wondered how things with Ardrossan and what is left of this estate got here to this point today. And I think that is in part because it has always felt dually shielded in secrecy and controversy, right or wrong.
BUT why else would it behoove Radnor Township to lift the veil? It makes it easier for other people, other municipalities, other farmers trying to farm in the tri-county area. Farming is so under siege, and ironically, most often the farmers under siege are the one who play by the rules, correct? No one is saying farmer don’t farm, they just want to know about the chemicals in the fields and the beef of it all, right? However, people are asking questions about McMansion owners doing a modern spin on the whole feudal thing of it all including ag benefits, correct?
Come one Radnor, set the record straight, and is it really that hard to do these days?
Here are some more articles of a more recent past vintage on Ardrossan:
I love the smell of “placed” media, don’t you ? It’s marvelous spin describing a working farm as “an event venue”.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about a little piece that has appeared in places over the last day or so. It’s about Wildflower Farm. But this time, it’s from the neighbors perspective. And I am of the opinion, and allowed to have the opinion that it smells of professional placement. It’s not even honest, is it?
Yes it’s a clear case of spinny, spin, spin isn’t it?
I mean let’s get real these neighbors will do anything to get this farm and these people out of their neighborhood, won’t they? And you have someone who is portrayed as Mother Freaking Theresa in a sweet little media-esque blip when she has shown her true colors even at public township meetings?
And the Emmy goes to…the NOFIMBY (no farm in my back yard) neighbors of Castlebar Lane.
Oh bless their cold, dark hearts and clap, clap, clap. Cue the tiny violins of pity with a side of barf bag. Sorry not sorry that is how this makes me feel.
By Leah Mikulich Published: 5:30 am EDT April 6, 2022
Wildflower Farm in Willistown Township has been a point of contention for months, as neighbors believe they have been demonized on social media and ignored by township officials, writes Davis Giangiulio for Main Line Tonight.
However, when its opening event drew around 100 people, Gray and several other neighbors voiced their concern, and it ultimately led to a call to the police…
Gray is adamant about one thing.
“We are not trying to shut down the Heenans,” she said. “We just don’t want an event venue in our neighborhood.”
The neighbors have complained to the township about the farm. However, after the Heenans reached what neighbors allege was a “backroom deal” with the township without anybody else’s input, they decided to involve lawyers.
Let’s unpack this: It’s not an event venue, it’s a farm. And is it REALLY true that some affiliated with these people tried to inquire or perhaps set up the farm early on when they made a folksy, friendly inquiry to see if they could host a small gathering there? And was the answer not essentially that the Heenans did not know then it would be possible? They were not told yes, no deposits were taken, and no “event” was planned or held, was it? It was a fishing expedition, wasn’t it? Yes, yes person who asked, I know this happened and I know who you are and I found that very sad that you stooped so low to shall we say, curry favor with whom you perceive to be the popular kids of the McMansion set?
Let’s also discuss Our Heroine of Castlebar Lane. When we last left she was (metaphorically speaking) wringing her hands in a seemingly “placed” puff piece? Their side or just her side? Are we to interpret that the NOFIMBY neighbors aren’t really so bad, they just fear for their PUBLIC road in Willistown Township? That they really aren’t UNneighborly when they call the police on their neighbors? And is this the neighbor with that Brooklyn Bridge project of a Mt. Rushmore berm that always seems to be being worked on whenever I have popped over to visit my friends the Heenans? And that’s a funny thing, Our Heroine always seems to have lots of vehicles in and out? I mean, maybe I am imagining things, but does she have a home based business that generates traffic? Or is that just berm building?
And was it not Our Heroine who said
“It’s beyond comprehension why they would invite the public to come and spend time in the country.”
“Bringing the public into the neighborhood is completely unacceptable.”
And while we are at our revisionist history best, if these are neighbors NOT trying to ruin the lives of other neighbors do we remember them at a township meeting in Willistown December 2021? By all means, explain how they are lovely people not trying to ruin their neighbors’ lives?
My understanding is that a possible settlement has been reached between the township and the Heenans. Again, the neighbors who will be most affected by the traffic, noise, invasion of privacy, liability, and a reduction in the quality of life not to mention our property values have no idea of what has or will transpire through this agreement.
I understand the zoning and the Farmstand ordinance, let’s keep it to a farmstand and not a full fledged business which is what I believe the Heenans intend. You determine the quality of life in Willistown and I urge you to be guided by the long standing nature of what exists here, open space, conservation, protection of the land, privacy, and a quality of life that is the model for other townships.
Letter discovered via RTK written 12/2021
So the Vista piece came out of a larger more expansive “article” from “Main Line Tonight”. They have an interesting “board”. However, I will point out, we are Chester County, and not the Main Line. And Wildflower farm is in Willistown in the heart of Radnor Hunt. Historically speaking, farms were here before any of the rest of us today, yes?
Lonnie Gray wants to make one thing clear: “We are not trying to shut down the Heenans. We just don’t want an event venue in our neighborhood.”
That “event venue” is Wildflower Farm, a 4-acre property that opened in May 2021 on Castlebar Lane in Malvern. Ryan and Lori Heenan billed Wildflower as a flower farm that would host small workshops and classes. But Wildflower’s grand opening event on Mother’s Day of 2021 alarmed neighbors. “We were in shock,” Gray said. “Over 70 cars, 100 people, a pizza truck, and all kinds of stuff. We’re going, ‘Wow this is crazy.’”
It got crazier. According to the Heenans, neighbors interrupted that Mother’s Day event, causing so much commotion that police were called.
From Gray’s point of view, the commotion was caused by the Heenans’ event. She and a few of her neighbors hired attorney Marc D. Jonas at Eastburn and Gray PC to protect their rights as homeowners. “No one is going to want to live next door to that,” she said. “It’s living in a residential area and then having it become something very different.”….. Throughout Willistown Twp., and especially on Castlebar Lane, privacy is a luxury. That’s one of the things that attracted Gray, who purchased her four-bedroom, three-bathroom, 5,000 square foot home in 2013.
I just feel that this piece I excerpted is placed. And oh, not all of the hyperlinks in this piece work. Here are some things released under a Right to Know. Now that the public face of the neighbors of the poor, poor neighbors who feel demonized has been polished and scrubbed like shiny new pennies, how about reading what has flown around Willistown over this issue:
The above is just a sampling. Do you want me to REALLY believe they don’t want to destroy the Heenans and Wildflower Farm? And they talk about “back room deals” ? Where? Are they confusing public township meetings as “back room” deals? Yet they can send somewhat unctuous emails to Willistown Supervisors essentially saying “hop to”?
I just do not GET IT, do you? I mean, and correct me if I am wrong, but do these neighbors NOT benefit from living in McMansions in an agricultural district? And Willistown is one of those places where farms still exist, so if they had their way would farms cease to exist? What’s their next target? Farms like Sugartown Straberries? Heartwood Farm? Ohana Farm? Windy Hill farm? Canter Hill Farm? Willisbrook Farm? That farm with the “oreo” cows AKA Belted Galloways?
Now a lot of what is going on here is of interest to those who follow the ACRE law, correct?
We’ve been talking about Wildflower Farm and the NOFIMBY neighbors for a long time now. How can people be so determined to all but literally kill their neighbors? Why is a flower farm so bad? I still think this is one of the ugliest examples of misplaced sense of entitlement I have ever seen.
At the end of the day, this just makes me sad. These NOFIMBY neighbors can say they are lovely, caring people but the thing is this: actions speak louder than words. If they want to be seen as good, they can’t just write lovely checks to non-profits can they? They actually have to be good. I can’t help but wonder what they are in fact costing the taxpayers of Willistown with all of this swirling nastiness?
Sadly the NOFIMBY drama seems to go on and on and on. As I said the first time I waded into this topic, I think these people are wrong. Their lives aren’t adversely affected by flowers and a flower farm. They are responsible for this swirling ugliness, not the Heenans.
I am a lover of farms. Small farms matter. All farms matter.
I am also a gardener. Plant more flowers. Stop and smell the flowers NOFIMBY neighbors. Stop this madness, except you won’t will you? So sad.
I get the most interesting tips at times. This afternoon I found out as folks involved with The Haverford School currently (parents, staff, or other) or attended (alumni) that Haverford School has seemingly accomplished what Agnes Irwin couldn’t do a few years ago in Easttown.
Yes I digress, and what makes what I am about to disclose that Haverford School is doing is different because Haverford School was SMART, they sought a property to expand with a land use that was pre-existing and conducive to a school. So it’s apples to apples, not apples to oranges.
Haverford School apparently has had their bid accepted in Radnor Township for what locals remember as the Presbyterian Children’s Village on South Roberts Road. It was once the estate of Samuel Robinson (ACME Markets – same family as Crebilly, correct?) and called “Glencoe”.
Presbyterian Children’s Village (now known as “The Village” if it still exists, not sure) was founded in Philadelphia in the 1870s as an orphanage. (See this article in a Wayne Presbyterian Church Bulletin) In 1926, Samuel Robinson, then President of ACME Markets bought the Glencoe Estate in Rosemont, which had originally been owned by Thomas McKean, Jr who had a similarly named relative who was a a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The estate was the creation of George Bispham Page. Mr. Robinson bequeathed Glencoe to the Presybyterian Church in 1959, and that is how the Presbyterian Children’s Village came to be there.
In recent years, until it closed, I vaguely recall negative press when it came to the Presbyterian Children’s Village. I found this: click HERE, click HERE, click HERE, click HERE. I actually knew someone once who was a children and youth social worker. Worked at Presbyterian Children’s Village for a few years. Did not like it and left
It is remarkable Glencoe has survived. And no matter what my mixed feelings about The Haverford School are at times, one can definitely say they respect the historic structures on their campus in Haverford, and I think they will undoubtedly continue to do so. Expanding their campus here I feel is a good thing. They are landlocked in their current location and that has always been a burden to their neighbors among other things.
I found a cache of the listing when it was on the Financial Times website. See screenshot:
I also found the listing lingering HERE , HERE, and HERE. Mostly the listing appears taken down. So here are screenshots of what I got a copy of (or you can refer to embedded PDF above):
Hopefully Radnor Township residents around this location on South Roberts Road are pleased. They should be. They have been saved the unpleasant fate of a housing development, apartments, condos, townhouses, etc.
I wonder how they will weave in the existing campus in Haverford, which sits in both Lower Merion and Haverford Townships. Hopefully it all works out.
I make no secret about how I feel about the nasty NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane in Willistown.
NOFIMBY = No Farm(s) In My Back Yard.
These people treat their neighbors horribly. They have waged a campaign of terror against the Heenans. The Heenans crime? They came to Willistown with a dream: to create a beautiful small farm and grow flowers.
I have written about this several times now. Truthfully, I am somewhat astounded at how hate for their neighbors drives these NOFIMBY neighbors. How their hate for farms in a township that grew on farms seemingly drives them. I mean what is the public supposed to interpret from their actions? Apparently they would prefer a townhouse development or some other form of plastic mushroom development instead of a FLOWER farm?
Of course I am also astounded that I still don’t see Willistown Conservation Trust coming to the defense of Wildflower Farm, aren’t you? But given how many great swaths of land are in play in Willistown in general these days, I wonder what they are doing? How can they stand idly by and not truly take a stand for small farms at least?
But I digress.
Wildflower Farm needs our help. Please write to Willistown’s Township Manager Sally Slook at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please tell Willistown to amend the zoning so farms and agricultural uses of land are protected. It also can’t hurt to tell the township that you specifically support Wildflower Farm and the Heenan family specifically.
I will also point out that Willistown Township has been very supportive of Wildflower Farm. This crap is NOFIMBY neighbor driven IMHO.
Below are screen shots of how this Realtor went live with the listing. How it was in Malvern, that it was a Colonial, etc etc. I said calling a house in Exton Malvern is just as bad as calling a house in Downingtown, Chester Springs. None of these places are bad, so just market truthfully, right?
Well I noticed today that the listing had ummm changed. Still not particularly well written but at least it reflected the correct town and that it wasn’t “colonial” in style or architectural classification. I mean come on, if you take two minutes to read historic resource survey forms on the property (in yesterday’s post) they tell you all about the style, etc.
But I digress. Now it’s better, but now some I know remarked was it historically hysterical or hysterically historical?
So now I have to ask if Church Farm School condones the behavior of the screen shots I am going to share at the end of this post? Because this Realtor is representing them and this property correct? So whomever provided the introduction to Church Farm, they would also have some culpability perhaps?
Church Farm School is an institution I believe in. But this behavior runs contrary to who they are. Church Farm didn’t send the “enlightened” to troll my blog’s Facebook page but because now a smudge and swirl surrounds this property and the listing, well do those of us who support this fine school in small ways need to re-think said support? I don’t think so, but it gives me pause.
Now the next things is this, Chesco Views still shows the property in possession of West Whiteland (screen shot at top of page) so did someone jump the proverbial gun here? I mean I know West Whiteland voted on it around the 26th I guess it was? But if the property still shows one thing can you list a property until that dust has settled and it reflects current ownership? (I don’t know which is why I am asking.)
So this is a curious tale, now getting more curious and there is probably much more attention on this now than Church Farm School wants. But when they are teaching their wonderful boys to be upstanding young men, and buddies of their realtor, egged on by said realtor behave oddly and unfortunately, well it gives one pause, doesn’t it?
And to have one of these buddies essentially imply I am anti-U.S. military and anti- Marine Corps because I don’t think much of this whole Pennypacker listing etc so far, well that is a step too far, isn’t it? I am not commenting on someone’s military service record (it has absolutely ZERO to do with the topic at hand and to imply that is rather offensive), I was and am commenting on that listing and issues I see, and now these other “professionals”, and they seem to be in part from Keller Williams , so how does their behavior reflect on that brand? Would you choose them to represent you?
Apparently this whole topic of the Benjamin Pennypacker house is now a hot local topic. Maybe it will keep the wrecking ball from the door? One can only hope. But Realtor and pal realtor types who left comments? Bad tactic and people will remember this, and you all did this to yourselves. Your comments were public on social media and were removed, but screenshots were retained. And they are below, as is my right.
This is all turning out to be quite curious. Especially since I don’t object to the property being sold, I just find things strange and really am hoping a preservation buyer finds this place.
Apparently it’s keep your friends close, and some Realtors closer? Have a good night.
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.
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?