this christmas 🎄 , defend what you ❤️ love/support your neighbors 👩‍👧👨‍👧

P.k. Ditty photo

A place where the above photo was shared had a couple of people who left a “laughing” emoji where you can like this post or find it sad or find it angry. To them I say there is nothing funny about this and you don’t have to like every post anyone posts – but at least TRY to be understanding of what other folks not too far away from you are dealing with. It could be your family, your neighborhood, your house affected.

Someone else made a comment about these pipelines and rights of way. Umm land agents and threats of eminent domain for non-compliance with these corporate bullies does not equal a traditional right of way does it?

I didn’t really understand this issue until I moved into Chester County. And while I am blessed that I don’t have one of these things going THROUGH my property, if the Adelphia pipeline comes through I will be in a potential “blast zone” with one of these pipelines either 1030 feet from a corner of our property or 1060 feet. We are also on wells where I live.

I have a friend who lives up the road apiece from me into West Whiteland Township. When she and her husband bought their house no one told them about the pipeline easement on the property. As in it didn’t show up at the settlement table from either realtor. They are barely in their house a hot minute and Sunoco/Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer shows up. As it turned out, the people they bought the house from had sold an easement to the pipeline company maybe a year or less prior. Now she has a ticking time bomb in her front yard.

These pipelines are dangerous and they pollute our wells, they are problematic and sinkholes occur because of how they are digging (in disregard for the geological composition of the area), roads have had visible issues in spots and the “plans” for first responders won’t save anyone including them and oh how about they are drilling right next to Goshen Fire Company at Boot and Greenhill in West Chester? What happens if something happens there? Who will save the first responders?

They ARE drilling next to schools, libraries and so on. You may have even driven by a site where they are working and not realized what’s going on behind giant temporary construction walls that to us never seem temporary at this point.

If and when there is an explosion do you think the people on the road driving by are going to be any safer than the rest of us?

And then of course there is the giant fairytale that these companies like to tell everyone which is you’re getting gas, etc because of these pipelines. What is being taken from the ground here and shipped through these pipelines through residential neighborhoods is going overseas. To places like Scotland to make plastic.

And the other fable they like to tell is how this brings lots of local jobs. All you have to do is drive by a site and count the out-of-state plates. And I’m not talking New Jersey and Delaware out of state I’m talking Oklahoma,Texas and so on where the wildcatters are from.

And then there is all the stuff in the news about the constables who were working for these pipeline companies through a security company and not reporting the income or the job on their ethics form for the state. A constable is an elected official and they took an oath and the ones who did this thought it was all ok? (And the Commonwealth Constable Association can write all the letters to the editor they want it doesn’t change what happened and how wrong it was does it?)

My mother, who lives in the city, was stunned at what she saw when we were driving back from a Christmas lunch in West Chester a week ago. She couldn’t believe what she saw and compared it to the issues and conditions with coal mining companies in PA in the 19th century (the Molly Maguires era).

I think we all in this area have to become more informed on what is going on with regard to this issue even if it’s not in our backyard literally.

The above photo was originally posted by someone else with the following:

My neighborhood has been held hostage by Sunoco/Energy Transfer for over 2.5 YEARS now… with no end in sight.

This dangerous export pipeline project claimed eminent domain for overseas plastics production. It carries highly explosive and highly pressurized by-broducts of fracking.

Sunoco continues to cause sinkholes, contaminate private drinking water, drilling mud spills, etc. They are an egregious operator who’s latest illegal tactics include false reports to law enforcement authorities.

We want our backyards back. We want our safety back. We want our clean air & water back. We want our peace & quiet back.

#DefendWhatYouLove

So when this all first started, residents were told “you won’t even notice we’re here.”

Did you know on a clear and quiet day if they are working in a neighboring Township I can actually hear the rhythmic thump thump thump of whatever that machine is they use to move the pipeline along?

State Impact PA has referred to these pipelines as the “risky mystery beneath our feet”.

And then there is the recent incident I find disturbing. The pipeline workers at one Chester County site had residents and people visiting them arrested for walking on a public street in a public neighborhood? Yes you heard me, public street. Not anything but.

And as far as gas explosions go, want to SEE what a gas explosion does to a neighborhood? Check out CNN and their coverage of the deadly explosion this week as in yesterday in South Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer too.

I will also share what a lovely lady I am privileged to know named Carrie wrote the other day. These are her words and her photo:

#CleanWater is a human right.

We stand in solidarity with our friends David Warren, David Mano, Rosemary Fuller, Erica Tarr, Ralph Blume and many others across Pennsylvania who have had their private well water contaminated by the destruction of the dangerous Mariner East export pipeline project.

#AllIWantForChristmas

In 2010 the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.* There are many families throughout the United States who are currently living without clean water. Industries, like the fossil fuel industry and other resource extraction industries, have continued unchecked to contaminate our water resources.

There are too many examples of a lack of clean water. Here in Pennsylvania, fracking and pipelines, like the Mariner East Pipeline Project have poisoned people’s aquifers and have left residents to fend for themselves. In fact, some may be drinking poisoned water and they do not know it yet. Leaving individuals and families without clean water is unacceptable. Clean water is our right and we need to hold policy makers accountable.

Two states and only a handful of municipalities have legally established their rights into local constitutions and municipal regulations. For example, in Pennsylvania’s constitution

“The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.**”

*Resolution 64/292

**Article I, section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution

Thanks for listening and thank you to our founding fathers for our First Amendment Rights.

And in closing please take a minute to read what State Senator Andy Dinniman wrote this week. It’s also on the subject of pipelines and very important and timely.

life’s little observations

s-l1600

Something occurred to me the other day.  And I am not a psychologist or expert in the field of how negativity affects people, especially where they live, so these are merely my opinions and observations.

Stress and it’s impacts on us is widely studied.  This article from 2018 was insightful-  Stress and our mental health – what is the impact & how can we tackle it?. So was this article- Psychological Stress, Physical Stress, and Emotional Stress, and this one – All the Ways Living in a City Messes With Your Mental Health.

We live in an area that was bucolic and peaceful. Agricultural and equine heritage and traditions.  It is now being overrun by development.  Every time you turn around, another community is threatened. That is stressful if you are directly affected/impacted, and it can raise your blood pressure just driving by a place where you used to see cows, or horses swishing their tails while they grazed to seeing how  it is now just a big pit of scraped earth or budding Tyvec-wrapped communities where everyone is or will be jammed in like lemmings.

And then there are all of the pipeline sites. They are ugly and raw and NOISY.  People’s property values are declining, their wells being poisoned by whatever the heck it all is they drill with (there are enough articles in local papers etc about this, right?) And we can’t forget the sinkholes. When I was first coming out to Chester County before I moved here, I used to love when I turned on 352 off of West Chester Pike if I came that way.  All of a sudden it was just green with rolling stretches of lawn and trees. Now it is a raped landscape that actually stresses me out just driving by it, so I can’t even imagine how directly affected residents feel.

Or other area stressers like contested sites within municipalities where state agencies like PennDOT are concerned.  Take the site of Route 352 (A/K/A N. Chester R or Sproul Rd) and King Road in Malvern.  This directly affects residents in East Whiteland and East Goshen.

And here we are at year end and no one knows what is happening for sure at that intersection, and that includes the directly affected residents.  Will they face any eminent domain? Will they face a complete loss of certain properties through eminent domain? It’s a big mystery. And I watch email after email by affected residents go by to municipal officials and PennDOT.  PennDOT never replies. It is like they are ignoring the residents utterly and completely, which adds to the feelings of stress, dismay and uncertainty.

Is it just me or have any of you noticed how people aren’t putting up their usual Christmas displays in some of these areas targeted by pipelines, development,  construction, and PennDOT? This is what I have noticed, and it bums me out to see houses usually bright and cheery at the holidays look dark and sad. But in all fairness, if you were facing any of these things, how cheerful and full of Christmas spirit would you feel?

Life can be hard, that is the reality of life.  But for a lot of these people, it shouldn’t be so hard. These folks moved here and bought their homes to raise their families.  Their piece of the American Dream.  You live right, pay your taxes, are part of your community.  And your home is indeed your castle, and for a lot of these people there are quite literally barbarians at the gate.

Elected officials NEED to think about how these scenarios are affecting their constituents. All they have to do is drive by and notice how the longer these negative issues persist, how they affect people. Real people. People who in a lot of cases voted for them. It shows in the little things like gardening and holiday decorations.  I think it is criminal to drive by homes where you know the owners were once so house proud and see these changes.

Just some of life’s little observations.  Wishing these people peace.

west whiteland: development and crumbling history?

Along S. Whitford Road. I have photographed this before. It continues to deteriorate.

Meanwhile, turn the corner onto Creamery Way I think it is and you see:

It’s like in West Whiteland there is a race to develop every square inch into homogeneous Tyvec wrapped insanity…while history rots.

Surely Chester County deserves better?

happy days farm under contract to a developer?

Months ago I wrote that Vanguard was selling Happy Days Farm. I had expressed my opinion that they waited for Mr. Bogle to die.

Happy Days Farm was once home to the Supplee Family in modern times (I think from some point in the 1940s.)  Mildred and Warren Supplee were well-loved by their community and were married for 75 years.

Happy Days Farm is STILL actively farmed by tenant farmers who are WONDERFUL people.

Just now I learned Happy Days Farms is under contract to a developer? And that means that if they don’t buy it for some reason there are undoubtedly other developers right behind them, correct?

Vista Today has the story and allow me to quote (and note they republish things from other sources in this case the Philadelphia Business Journal.)

Here is an excerpt of what Vista Today said:

Happy Days Farm, a 246-acre property in Exton that is currently owned by Vanguard, has been put under contract by Audubon Land Development, writes Natalie Kostelni for the Philadelphia Business Journal.

The property near the Downingtown Interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was put up for sale by Vanguard in March after the investment giant kept it for two decades as a possible expansion site.

Thanks to its excellent location that can attract traffic from a large demographic area, the property was expected to receive significant interest from developers.

For the love of all that’s holy, IT IS STILL A WORKING FARM!

Now Audubon Land Development, who are they? From their “about” section of their website:

ABOUT US

Audubon Land Development Corporation is a family owned and operated business with over 50 years of development, building and management experience. Audubon Land affiliates have built over 3,000 homes in eastern Pennsylvania, as well as many commercial facilities including apartment complexes, the Audubon Square Shopping Center, The Hilton Homewood Suites in Audubon, the 422 Business Center, The Hilton Garden Inn at Oaks, the Marketplace at Oaks, including Target, Lowe’s and Regal Cinemas and the Greater Philadelphia Expo in Oaks. Audubon also has under development, the 2,500 unit Shannondell Retirement Community, with 1,000 units completed.

Oaks. That hideous complex that always seems dirty? The Philadelphia Expo Center? Have you been there? It’s part of the long stretch of 422 development hell, isn’t it?

I have no issue with Shannondell as their rehab center does a lot of good but don’t we already have a lot of warehouses for seniors out here? And let’s be honest, is a place like Shannondell affordable for your average senior citizen?

Maybe a lot of you aren’t familiar with the whole other side of Montgomery County that is Audubon and Oaks and up Egypt Road and 422? I actually am because our son went to a charter school that pulls from these areas and a lot of friends lived over in this direction.

If you think King of Prussia is bad you have not seen anything until you’ve experienced this area. When you travel along places like Egypt Road and other areas back here in Audubon and Oaks you see strip mall after strip mall and development after development and in between you have these tiny pockets of humanity trying to survive in the midst of it.

This area actually reminds me of King of Prussia as the mall grew. And I say that because I am just old enough to remember when you were along 202 near the King of Prussia Mall years ago, there were still these cute little houses along 202 that people lived in.…until they gave up.

Is this the fate of Happy Days Farm?

I will note that Philadelphia Architects and Buildings  dates the farm as circa 1730 to 1780. They also have a 1995 site plan. I also discovered it is part of some Watershed H (Brandywine Creek, East Brandywine creek?) and there is an archeological and historical survey report.  And this abstract document from 1998 would also be of interest.

Also a few months ago, it took some digging but I did indeed find a 1998 PA Historic Resouces Survey Form. You can click HERE and I am uploading it here: H067961_67867_D. It’s fascinating and what did this survey lead me to? Oh yes, another Penn Land Grant and possibly part of Native American Hunting Grounds:

The origins of Happy Days Farm can be traced to two early land grants from William Penn, Proprietor of the Province of Pennsylvania. One tract of 1,000 acres was granted to James Claypoole in 1682. James Claypoole was an English investor who purchased several land grants in Pennsylvania, but never lived there. The other tract of 1,666 2/3 acres was granted to David Lloyd in 1703. David Lloyd was a land investor who owned a considerable portion of what became Uwchlan Township in 1712. In 1713, the heirs of James Claypoole sold 800 acres in Uwchlan to David Lloyd. In 1714, Lloyd sold to Joseph Phipps an 800 acre plantation that included parts of the two Penn grants.

The description on the 1714 deed of a “messuage, tenement plantation tract” indicates that there was already an established farm and dwelling house. Joseph Phipps was among the early Quaker settlers who requested the formation of their own meeting in Uwchlan Township in 1712. At the time, most of these Quakers were living on land owned by David Lloyd, so Joseph Phipps was probably living on the land he later purchased. Between 1712 and 1715, most of David Lloyd’s holdings in Uwchlan Township were deeded to early residents such as Phipps. The first tax records for Uwchlan Township occurred in 1715. Joseph Phipps was one of eighteen names recorded on that list and one of the greatest landowners. 280 years later, descendants of Joseph continue to live in Uwchlan Township.….For much of the eighteenth century, the Phipps family prospered. As Joseph’s children grew and married several houses were built on the family lands. Some farmland was divided, but the  “home farm” and approximately 400 acres remained intact through the nineteenth century. The nineteenth century witnessed the growth of a new agricultural industry – the dairy farm. Chester County became known for its dairy farms. By the 1880’s, 85 individually owned dairy farms prospered in Uwchlan Township. The Phipps families owned several. 

Happy Days Farm is the only farm property that remained in the Phipps family for more than two centuries. Members of the Phipps family were active in several area churches including Uwchlan Society of Friends and Windsor Baptist Church. Phipps participated in the organizing and prosperity of the Uwchlan Grange. Residents of this early farm accomplished their goals. They may not have been famous, but they were excellent examples of nineteenth century Pennsylvania farmers.

This is Uwchlan Township for Happy Days Farm, I believe. But what happens here doesn’t just affect the tenant farmers and the residents of Uwchlan Township, it affects all of us in Chester County.

It’s like we don’t matter anymore. Existing residents don’t matter anymore. It’s just all about the crazy race for development.

Like Lloyd Farm in Caln, Happy Days is part of an original Penn Land Grant, correct?

Why doesn’t that mean something anymore?

Chester County wasn’t founded for fields of Tyvek boxes and strip malls and apartment buildings.

And look at the stresses on our infrastructure now. And someone else said to me recently that people talk about the stresses on the roads and the first responders and the school districts but they don’t talk about things like the stress on the hospitals. They said:

….the strain is here and growing. I work in an ER and this week we have gone on pre-divert and divert status 3x. The hospital is full and people are being admitted but have to stay in the ER since we have no beds upstairs….several patients ask …why the wait is so long and I discuss with them the issue of the exponential population growth due to poor planning of high density housing all around the area. When I start listing the neighborhoods then they suddenly understand why we are facing a crisis.

Again, also look at the school districts. Isn’t Great Valley looking to expand and build more schools? And what of Downingtown School District? Isn’t there a whisper of eminent domain floating around as they also need land to expand and build more schools? And hasn’t the West Chester Area School District got plans in place for yet another elementary school over near or in that Greystone development? And what about Tredyffrin? How long before they need more schools or need to expand?

Chester County, now more than ever, the agricultural and equine heritage and open space HAS to matter! Residents have to matter! The future has to matter!

We are literally in the midst of a development glut, right? So what happens when this developmental gold rush is over?

No one ever talks about that. I do not believe it is everyone will settle in and get along nicely. I think we are setting ourselves up as communities for decades of problems going forward because there is no balance or sane pace to development.

And this is why I don’t like development. And why I am not a fan of organizations like the Chester County Planning Commission and their Landscapes plans. In my humble opinion, which I am allowed, this “build it and they will come” attitude is problematic. What happens when all of “they” come? It looks pretty on schematics and diagrams and plans to be shown at municipal meetings, but what is the reality? My opinion is in reality we’re not going to be able to handle it because we can’t handle it now and how is that progress?

I don’t know what else to say other than if we can’t stop the madness, we need to stem the tide. This is getting crazy. And happy days farm just makes me sad. Especially because it is still a working farm and farmers matter.

I’m getting off my soapbox now. I really didn’t intend for this to be such a long post and there’s nothing I can do personally to stop this from happening but I can express how I feel about it. At least the First Amendment still gives me that right.

To Happy Days Farm and the generations and families who have farmed you, including the current family, I say my heart broke a little more over this news. I am so terribly sorry that as human beings we can’t do better to preserve what our founding fathers fought and bled for out here.

Chester County we have to do better.

lochiel farm, exton

Someone sent me these photos and I am told that this property is near Ship Road SS Philip and James. The location is 755 Livingston Lane Exton.

There are two different structures on the same property it looks like. I haven’t been there so I can’t tell you anything more than that.

This is Lochiel Farm, right? The site the developer Bentley is developing?

I was also told this might be on some kind of American Revolutionary War list?

Lochiel Farm is a listed historic home and was built about 1800. It consists of a large, two-story, double pile stone central section with two flanking wings in the Georgian / Federal style. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. I don’t know the precise history of the frame house which is the first photo in this post.

I have been told that these properties are NOT being razed they are being preserved.

Information sent to me:

FRAME HOUSE:

This 2 1⁄2-story frame structure served as a tenant house for Lochiel Farm. The site includes the mansion house and carriage shed (341), a tenant house (339) and a tenant house and harness shop (340). It was acquired by Church Farm School and used as dormitories. The property was once owned by Max Livingston, Master of the Whitelands Hunt. It was a proposed site for the Whiteland Village development and now stands empty.

MAIN HOUSE:

Class 1 – Listed on National Register

Built c. 1814 by Griffith Lewis, a descendant of one of Township’s earliest Welsh Quaker families. Example of Great Valley Gentleman’s farmhouse. Remodeled and added to in early 1900’s. Acqured by Church Farm School, now a dormitory.

I will note that I am not sure if the harness shop or a carriage house still exist on the property. Apparently this has been vacant for many many years.

That’s the thing about living in Chester County —you turn a corner on the road and there’s a land parcel. Only you don’t really know how big or how small the land parcel is. Or exactly necessarily what is on it until some developer gets their paws on it and it shows up at some township meeting as a proposal for development

I do mourn the fact that this site means more development literally in a Township (West Whiteland) that is turning into development Ground Zero, a distinction that it seems to go back-and-forth with its neighbor, East Whiteland. Everything is approved there’s nothing to fight this is just commentary and some of the history that we know of.

For these things already approved, we have to remember the history.

But I fear I will we will have soon in Chester County are photos, some haphazard oral and written histories, and so much MORE development that our heads will explode.

I have also said before that I think it’s a giant mistake all this development is going to occur in and around Ship Road. Add that to the pipeline nonsense and as time progresses it will just be more and more a recipe for disaster.

This Lochiel Farm site will be about 140 townhouses and the historic structures single family.

While I am glad the two beautiful historic structures supposedly will get a second chance at life, I just still wish for the future less development in Chester County.

inspirational

San Juan Islands: Food for the Soul // REI Adventures & Tastemade // ( captions & subtitles) from KGB Productions on Vimeo.

I was watching the Today Show while getting dressed this morning and caught this piece on this woman who chucked a Wall Street career to essentially dig in the dirt. Her name is Audra Lawlor.  She lives on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State.

Every morning now I hear the beep-beep-beep of construction equipment as yet more developments are given birth to in Chester County. I found this woman’s story inspirational because this is about people saving the land, growing on their land, and getting their hands dirty from digging in the dirt.

We need more of that here. CLICK HERE TO SEE HARRY SMITH INTERVIEW AUDRA LAWLOR ON TODAY. This is inspirational.

dirt 3

Read more about Audra and her company in Saveur (excerpt below):

Saveur TRAVEL
This Orcas Island Jam Company Transforms Local Plums into Vibrant Seasonal Preserves
Girl Meets Dirt is on a mission to save the island’s legacy fruit trees and jar their bounty

By Beth Graham
June 12, 2019

If you’re driving the winding roads of Orcas Island in late summer, you can smell the ripening fruit all around. On one such morning last year, I stopped the car at my destination and met Audra Lawlor, owner of Girl Meets Dirt, who was surveying one orchard’s recent Italian plum harvest in tall rubber boots and a denim shirt. As we walked among the rows of trees with their full canopies spilling over onto the trail, Audra picked up a fallen plum from the ground and turned it over in her hand between us. “Before I got here, most of the fruit from these trees would have rotted on the ground,” she says. Lawlor and her team of five mighty women at Girl Meets Dirt harvested more than 2,500 pounds of Italian plums alone last season.

Some people leave their corporate jobs to rescue animals. Audra left Wall Street to rescue pink pearl apples and Orcas pears. Today, many of the island’s residents see her as the steward of the legacy fruit trees on the island, a 57-square-mile piece of the San Juan Islands, an archipelago that lies in the waters between Seattle and Vancouver, just barely on the U.S. side of the border….By the end of the 19th century, many inhabitants had made their way over to work the plum orchards and operate the prune dryers (barnlike structures where the fruit was set to shrivel up), and the economy was surging. The success allowed the building of docks for steamships, as well as a boon for jobs sorting, grading, and packing fruit for transport. It also led to an island that became far more orchard than anything else. The country lane that runs through the center of Orcas Island’s main village is still named Prune Alley.

Many of the legacy fruit trees—entire orchards of them—fell into disrepair during a period of economic downturn around 1915. It was in part due to the rise of railroads, improved irrigation, and heavy planting in nearby eastern Washington, which became a fierce competitor. Islanders began to ignore the fallen fruit, and tree limbs weakened with overgrowth. Thousands of trees were left to die, and the plum industry collapsed. It wasn’t until decades later, when the island began attracting new residents—those who sought out the area for its bucolic landscape—that the trees gained new stewards. Today, Lawlor and her company are working with fellow islanders to revive and utilize those trees that remain.

dirt 2

then there is this other stepford mecca being built on white horse road…

Of course then there is this development on White Horse Road in Malvern.

I don’t even know what this Stepford Mecca is called.

But hell’s bells I guess these local municipalities must really think that we are going to grow our food on top of Whole Foods and Aldi and Wegmans given the rate they are approving developments out of farm land and open space, right?

And when everyone is so surprised when every school district doubles in size splits into two takes land by eminent domain for new buildings, don’t be. This is exactly why it’s happening.

This is also the Chester County Planning Commission and Municipalities Planning Code of Pennsylvania hard at work…for anyone other than the actual residents.

Wake up Chester County. Wake the hell up.

townhouses next to a live quarry, how luxurious, right?

Perched atop the hill slightly off Charlestown Road is “Pickering Crossing“.

Here is how they advertise themselves:

That’s NOUVEAU FAUX Main Line yo’ because Charlestown Road is NOT the Main Line unless the R-5 Paoli Local is running through that quarry.

But hey in case you were wondering why Great Valley School District is suddenly having meetings about essentially expanding the district. The “community is invited to participate in facilities planning” translates to “there is so much development we need to expand and there go your taxes” correct? Because they don’t hold these lovely little charrettes until they’re getting ready to drop the expansion bomb on you, do they?

But hey these townships just keep approving new construction yupscale ghettos, don’t they?

But this place? A land Stepford built that seems quiet and empty doesn’t it ?

easttown residents turn out in droves, zoning meeting at hilltop house postponed

70371609_10107713483289533_5168998036998717440_n

Dayyyyummmmm. Easttown residents must quite certainly have had enough because they turned it up and turned out tonight over the whole Berwyn Square/Handels development.

Sources said the following:

“The Easttown Residents are out in full force to say oh hell no. Postponed due to overcrowding….”

Someone also commented about the fact that development was bound to come up sooner or later, but why couldn’t something that was tasteful and respectful to the area happen instead of 120 or whatever units and commercial shoved on a small lot?

Can’t disagree….hence my Flat Iron building comment from my post earlier today.

Someone else posted:

“Easttown zone meeting Tuesday = 160+ people inside + 50 or more outside. Board “we did not know this would happen” so we need to reschedule. I say we at least double that number for the next meeting. Interesting to see people who care about their town who show up. I say yes to responsible zoning. Next meeting location will be held at a place to handle a large group. Stay tuned.”

What did Easttown officials think would happen? People have been fighting them supersizing Berwyn and the surrounding area since the late 1990s that I am aware of, so why are they surprised?  People don’t want to feel like they are living in the city.  They want the history and architecture of the area as well as themselves and their own properties respected. D’oh Easttown, it is not so difficult to grasp.

And let’s chat about the Berwyn Devon Business Association for a minute shall we?

After I posted a meeting reminder this morning, someone commented:

“The local business community seems to have a very condescending attitude toward the local residents.”

Yup, can’t disagree.  And apparently (of all the ironies) this business association is kicking off their fall season for their membership tomorrow?  Here’s the text of the email:

From: Nick Vandekar <nick@vandekarteam.com>
Date: Tue, Sep 17, 2019 at 4:38 PM
Subject: BDBPA Kick off Event THIS Wednesday
Don’t forget kick off the BDBPA year with an historic walk through Berwyn ending at Le Cabra to network and learn about their buildings history. Start at 6.00 pm at Berwyn Memorial Arch by the station. Easy walk about 45 minutes.

See you there!

Nick Vandekar
Associate Broker
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc
92 Lancaster Ave, Devon, PA 19333
Cell 610-203-4543
Office 610-225-7400
Fax 858-309-3367
Mailto:Nick@VandekarTeam.com

 

A historic walk through Berwyn? Is that to view the history or it’s historic because a lot of it might not be there in a few years? I am confused because if they are all about development, development, development why take a history stroll?

So La Cabra is a great place right? Address is 642 Lancaster Ave Berwyn.

Anyway, anyway, anyway: Someone else left a comment:

“LARGE NUMBERS of engaged residents who are willing to express their thoughts is the only thing that will stop those business and development interests with dollar signs in their eyes. Ask long-time residents of Malvern or any of a number of other “communities” along Route 30–from Ardmore to Caln and beyond–just how much they like what SOMEBODY ELSE’S plans and over development have brought them…It’s time to tell it like it is: Greed-driven interests are pitting themselves against you, the residents, just salivating at the thought of making money by selling YOUR quality of life. The only question–will you let them?”

And that gets to the meat of it: where is responsible, inclusive, community-centric planning and zoning? That is also a question for the Chester County Planning Commission as they also seem too driven by development, but then again isn’t part of their problem is that they are led by an executive director who lives in Lower Merion Township an overpriced land of infill development, and is NOT a Chester County resident?

But back to Easttown.  A resident I spoke to this evening who was among the crowd turned away essentially said they felt that Easttown knew this would be a crowd bigger than could fit safely at Hilltop House so why didn’t they hold the meeting at Beaumont Elementary?

Oh Easttown, don’t play reindeer games with your residents about this. It won’t work in your favor and definitely not in the favor of the two Supervisors whose terms are up, right? But is that another problem with Easttown? One party rule? No balance?

And who exactly is running for supervisor in Easttown this November from BOTH parties? Not my country, not my people so I do not know.

What I do know is Easttown residents you need to make things like this an election issue.  Make those candidates look at it your way, get statements. Politicians are supposed to work for the plurality, as in the entirety of the plurality…not select groups or special interests.

And do NOT be afraid to vote in new faces no matter what their political persuasion.  You all need to shake up this election and change the faces of who governs you.  That is how you take the steps to change OTHER things and OTHER faces in your township.

Easttown residents, a proverbial hat tip to all of you this evening. Y’all did good. Fight for what you believe in and fight for what you want.  Continue to PACK the meetings at EVERY opportunity.

Have a good evening all. Don’t forget the website SaveEasttown. I am sure they will be updating soon.

 

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 ?

berwyn

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.