residents, it is time to saddle up to save berwyn and save easttown – important meeting tonight at hilltop house !

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Handel’s Ice Cream. Photo found on Google Photo Search

ZONING MEETING EASTTOWN TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 17 7:15 PM AT HILLTOP HOUSE 570 BEAUMONT RD DEVON

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Turn out to #SaveBerwyn

This first pegged below was sent to me re: Easttown and the proposed hideous plan for Handel’s Ice Cream and some of the BUSINESSES seem to be AGAINST the residents?

This was part of something sent out by a guy in the Berwyn Devon Business Association – I am told they used to head the group but now Stacey from Eadeh below does ?

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The email says (and I quote):

Just a reminder that tomorrow night Sept 17 at 7pm will be the zoning meeting to hear public comment regarding the Berwyn Square/Handels development. We need the business community to come out to support this project which could be the game changer for Berwyn like East Side Flats for Malvern. The neighbors who are against it have rallied a petition and seem to project fear based on change and not looking at this as an opportunity for growth and vibrancy in our community and getting rid of an eyesore at the entrance to the Village. If you can’t make it please text me or email Stacey Ballard at staceyballard@eadeh.com with your comments and support. Again we need to balance the negative but not majority voice. Thank you!!!

So the author is a Realtor aren’t they? And I have to ask how much Eadeh Enterprises would profit if this project goes up? Wouldn’t it benefit their property values?

Also note the post card that went out to the business community about the project (and a meeting last week) and do you see the rendering? The people who are running this business association don’t seem to respect the residents they want as customers do they?

Look, the thing about businesses is that a lot of those people do NOT live RIGHT there where this is being proposed 24 hours a day /7 days a week / 365 days a year. Not all business owners anywhere and everywhere are also residents of municipalities going through development angst. That is WHY they often do NOT get WHY residents are upset.

In this case in Easttown I don’t get WHY developers don’t get why residents are upset, especially because some of them live in Easttown, so how could they propose something so out of character, right?

And oh yeah, have you all looked closely at Eastside Flats that the business association seeks to make a comparable on? Facade is the only thing with something to it and 3 sides of the building are NOTHING  as in they look like a cheap motel at the beach on 3 sides and will the facade finishes withstand the test of time? And as for safety, can a fire truck actually get BEHIND Eastside Flats? Or would they have to go up on the train tracks? And have you ever stood in the little neighborhood on the other side of the train tracks to see what those people see? A big hulking building shadow hanging over them?  And the sidewalk don’t even properly go to the edge of the driveway/parking lot at Eastside Flats. You have to step up and go over mulch so isn’t that a problem for the handicapped and elderly? (And why has Malvern Borough had them fix that?)

I took this photo when the flats were being built

We all patronize the businesses at Eastside Flats because we love them, but stand inside some of them if something gets flushed upstairs and tell me what you hear ? IMHO inside this one store you hear everything. And that was with music playing in the store.

East Side Flats still does not fit or complement Malvern Borough from a design aesthetic and never will. I don’t think that is right. And to say that building getting built created a renaissance is a fallacy because that project was built because Malvern was already on an upswing. Another opinion I am entitled to.

Image result for east side flats chester county ramblings

I also took this photo a few years ago.  Please note that is scored concrete, not real brick. And when it is wet, that is STILL more slippery than real brick in my humble opinion. These buildings are still out of character with the size and scale of other buildings in Malvern.  People might be getting used to them, but it still doesn’t make it right.  Human scale and setbacks matter.

The things about East Side Flats getting built that businesses and Easttown aren’t mentioning include the piss poor low ratables – $60,000 was ALL that Malvern Borough got wasn’t it?

$60,000: East King Revitalization’s Impact on the Borough
The new apartments and businesses won’t be a windfall for the borough.
By Pete Kennedy, Patch Staff
Jun 27, 2012 8:34 pm ET | Updated Jun 29, 2012 3:38 am ET

During a discussion of the police services and budgeting at the of Malvern Borough Council, resident Joan Yeager asked a related question:

“Once the King Street project is completed, how much additional money is going to come into the borough? In taxes and all,” she said.

“Something in the neighborhood of $60,000 a year,” council president Woody Van Sciver said, citing a financial feasibility study done before the project was approved.

“That’s it?” Yeager replied, expecting a bigger payoff from the several new businesses and hundreds of new residents that will be moving to the east end of the borough.

“It was staggering, how small it was,” Mayor Jerry McGlone said

So remember the fairy tales spun on pots of Township gold from ratables are NOT necessarily true are they?

Oh and the thing that Easttown and the pro-development faction DO NOT tell you about is the fact that after East Side Flats went up it was a HUGE catalyst for change because that next election the mayor and I think half of borough Council were removed on a massive stealth write in ballot campaign weren’t they?

Meet Malvern’s new councilmen, mayor
By Linda Stein
lstein@mainlinemedianews.com Nov 12, 2013

In an example of democracy in action the voters in Malvern turned out in record numbers in the Nov. 5 to sweep out the incumbent mayor and three councilmen.

The pace and character of development in the borough was evidently the issue that brought voters to the polls, resulting in the successful write-in candidacy of three residents for seats on the council…David Burton, a Democrat who won the mayoral race 509 to 266 against long-time incumbent Gerald J. McGlone Jr., said development was the issue on people’s minds as he knocked on doors this fall.

At four stories, residents thought that Eastside Flats was too tall for Malvern, which is a small town with only 3,000 residents and encompassing a square mile. People worried that additional development would change the character of their hometown.

“Most people were upset as I campaigned,” said Burton. “People expressed that concern.”

So Easttown Township residents, it’s UP TO YOU. Don’t let non-residents and others tell you what your community should be. If you want to preserve your “village” then you need to send plans like this right back to the drawing table. Development needs to be careful and inclusive, not selfish. Don’t let non-residents, politicians, and developers make your village decisions.   Learn from the mistakes of residents in many different municipalities and counties.

Intersection of Berwyn and Midland Aves (where the large old Oak trees are currently in front of DeLuca’s Barbershop). This rendering leads the viewer to believe that Berwyn Ave is very wide. Instead, this is a narrow intersection that sits directly across from the CVS/Veekoo parking lot, and is already a busy one. Cars not able to exit onto Lancaster via the light at Midland, or the stop sign at Woodside, will use the surrounding village streets such as Berwyn Ave, to get onto Lancaster.

Again, development should be inclusive and growth should make sense.  In my humble opinion, this plan is another one that doesn’t make sense and I am entitled to said opinion. Naysayers will point to this post and say again that I am anti-development.  I am not.  But what I don’t see around here that I have seen in other areas are plans that are complementary to the surrounding area. Does the Flat Iron Building in NYC look like it would fit here? Because that is what looking at some of  the renderings made me think of, right or wrong. And we can’t downplay the impact continued development has on traffic, other infrastructure, school districts, municipal services, etc.

The developers' rendering shows how Handel's ice cream would be incorporated into the town center proposed on Lancaster Avenue in Berwyn.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Luxury town center proposed around Berwyn’s beloved ice cream shop, Handel’s
by Erin McCarthy, Updated: September 4, 2019

….a four-story, 150,000-square-foot mixed-use development with Handel’s and one or two small retailers on the ground floor, luxury apartments above, and a public plaza in the center. The complex also would have a two-story, 228-spot parking garage. Della Porta declined to comment on how much they intend to spend on the project.

Over the course of two meetings this summer, developers presented their plans to the zoning board, asking it to allow the construction of a public plaza and one more story than the code permits. They will have a third meeting later this month. When the presentations are finished, Briggs said, the board will decide whether to recommend the project for consideration by the township planning commission, a process that would take months….Residents who oppose the project say the complex will increase traffic, put pressure on the police and fire departments, and increase enrollment in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District. They’ve started a loosely organized group called Save Easttown to protest the plan, which developers have called Berwyn Square.

I am going to close with the words of the residents who are part of Save Easttown. I don’t know that I know any of them personally, but I feel for them.  This is too reminiscent of the crap which has destroyed Ardmore. Sorry not sorry for that opinion too.  A lot of us worked to literally save Ardmore from eminent domain. But how many years later what did we save exactly? It’s still a quagmire of crappy development plans, horrible traffic and no parking. And it keeps getting worse.

SAVING EASTTOWN WITH RESPONSIBLE ZONING 
Next Zoning Hearing Board Date is Tuesday September 17th – 7:15pm at the Township Building
EASTTOWN, PA
AUGUST 27, 2019 IN HISTORIC BERWYN

easttown+signYou may have heard of current plans to construct a mixed use project situated on what is now Handels Ice Cream and its adjacent buildings. The developer, Berwyn LLC, is requesting zoning variances in order to build above the current 42’ limit, meaning that the building will reach the 50’ + level. The project will consist of 122 apartments with commercial space, and will fill the entire block of Lancaster, Midland, Woodside, and Berwyn Aves. We are a group of concerned citizens of Easttown Township, who have come together to preserve and promote the historic residential neighborhoods of the village of Berwyn. We are opposed to the development of this project for a variety of reasons, which we’ve described below.

Neighborhood Impact:

We are opposing the development of this project, because of its size, its population density, the increased traffic it will create, the impact to our police and fire departments, the parking shortages on the adjacent village streets it will cause, and the inevitable increase in the student population within the T/E school district. We also believe that there is a safety issue related to the number of children walking to and from T/E middle and Conestoga HS, especially with sidewalks being incomplete.

To give an idea of the density — the number of residents who would be housed in the apartment complex would mimic the entire population of all of Midland and Woodside Avenues combined. When questioned by an Easttown resident at the August 5 zoning board meeting, on the need for a zoning variance and why a project of this size is necessary, the developers provided two main reasons: the toxic underground waste presents a ‘hardship’ that can only be partially remediated (meaning that they can’t dig down very far to build a parking garage, and thus need to extend the height of the complex), and that the scale of the project needs to be this large, simply because anything smaller would not be “feasible” for them.

A project of this magnitude is unlike anything ever undertaken in the village (and it’s only one of several currently being proposed to our zoning board). The Berwyn village streets were built to accommodate traffic and parking needs from 100 years ago, not for what will occur if this development is allowed to go through as planned. Unless we oppose this project now, the impact will be felt for years to come. Not only will we face congested streets and parking shortages for existing Easttown residents (think Friday and Saturday around the local restaurants), but we are also endangering our children who walk to T/E middle and Conestoga HS – on streets without sidewalks.

High level view of the development – you can see that this complex will occupy the entire block. Plus, there are only two entrance and exit points onto Lancaster – Midland and Woodside. And neither are adequate for the expected lines of vehicles entering and exiting the property, and accessing Lancaster Ave. Drivers will seek alternate routes through the village to get to and from the premises.

15th annual historic house tour of the tredyffrin historic preservation trust

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As my dear friend (and beloved Madame President of The Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust) Pattye Benson said recently:

“The saying goes, ‘If walls could talk what stories they could tell’’ — Held annually since 2004, the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust arranges for these stories to be told on its annual historic house tour. 15th Annual Historic House Tour tickets now available — www.tredyffrinhistory.org 

Join us for another great tour of beautiful historic homes and gardens in Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships. Please support historic preservation and share the information!”

So true! And this year I am once again amazed at the absolutely splendid house tour that Pattye has put together! I was at the Jazz it Up Preview Party last evening at DuPortail and I know which houses are on the tour but I am sworn to secrecy!

You can still buy tickets for the tour which is Saturday, September 28, 2019 12 PM to 5 PM. They are moderately priced at $35 per person and all proceeds benefit historic preservation and the completion of the Jones Log Barn Living History Center at Duportail.

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The Jones Log Barn

This tour is so much fun and the properties are always amazing. Seriously, this year is going to be crazy good. Your hint is everyone knows how much I love old farms and farmhouses, right?

The preview party was as always so much fun and I was thrilled to see so many people turn out for historic preservation.

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Chester County Commissioners Terence Farrell and Michelle Kichline join my Savvy (and amazing!)  friend Caroline O’Halloran and Michael Noone (First Assistant DA and candidate for Chester County District Attorney. Terence and Michelle both support this event annually! History is SO important!!)

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Michael Noone with Megan King (Also in Chester County’s DA’s office and candidate for Superior Court Judge), and the ever lovely Elizabeth Mercogliano

The House Tour will be amazing, trust me, and it is a day full of super nice and knowledgeable people. The docents at each tour home know the property inside and out!

You start your day at the Tredyffrin Library (582 Upper Gulph Road, Strafford, PA, starting at 11 AM on Saturday, Sept. 28) where you pick up your tickets and tour package and then you are off!

My husband and I are event sponsors.  I do not do as much in the area of volunteerism as I used to and this is my favorite sponsorship.  I love historic preservation and I love house tours.  Most of all I love house tours in a reasonably sized area where I can visit every home on the tour. This is a quality tour. Always exciting!

Here is the LINK TO PURCHASE TICKETS!

I really hope you will join me and other history buffs on September 28th!

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 DuPortail House in Chesterbrook. The gardens are especially lovely this year.  You can rent this amazing historic house for events and they have ample parking.

the continued desecration of chester county

So Ship Road today. Pipeline Alley. It’s hideous and outrageous.

This pipelines aren’t benefiting us, they are benefiting people in Scotland making plastics and wherever the hell else they are shipping dangerous explosive things through pipelines. They are of course also benefiting corporate America. And I think select politicians.

Driving up Ship Road today it made me wonder if Terence Farrell has seen this? After all isn’t he the county commissioner who was overheard commenting negatively on the county litigation involving pipelines? That’s what people are saying so I have to ask does he expect us to vote for him in November ?

I haven’t asked him personally about this, but I know all these politicians read anything put out mentioning their name between now and election day so perhaps he’ll set the record straight and put out an official statement?

What is happening in Chester County and elsewhere is criminal. We live here. Where we call home is being destroyed and we are all being put at risk.

Our homes are our castles until pipeline comes through.

I don’t find that acceptable do you?

the continued desecration of chester county

So Ship Road today. Pipeline Alley. It’s hideous and outrageous.

This pipelines aren’t benefiting us, they are benefiting people in Scotland making plastics and wherever the hell else they are shipping dangerous explosive things through pipelines. They are of course also benefiting corporate America. And I think select politicians.

Driving up Ship Road today it made me wonder if Terence Farrell has seen this? After all isn’t he the county commissioner who was overheard commenting negatively on the county litigation involving pipelines? That’s what people are saying so I have to ask does he expect us to vote for him in November ?

I haven’t asked him personally about this, but I know all these politicians read anything put out mentioning their name between now and election day so perhaps he’ll set the record straight and put out an official statement?

What is happening in Chester County and elsewhere is criminal. We live here. Where we call home is being destroyed and we are all being put at risk.

Our homes are our castles until pipeline comes through.

I don’t find that acceptable do you?

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.