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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Easttown sports a lot of ugly density already.

Enough already, Easttown.

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

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

#PreserveChesterCounty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY WEST CHESTER GROWERS MARKET!! 

WE LOVE YOU IN CHESTER COUNTY!!

 

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on sunday, my garden was ignored

When you have a garden it’s a love – hate relationship sometimes.

Even though I’ve got cute little sunflowers peeking from around the beautyberry and all sorts of other things in bloom, I am frustrated.

All the rain recently washed away and rearranged a lot of my wood chips in the shade and woodland garden areas. In places the wood chips are almost like they are in waves.

In the front, the weeds are growing faster than I can pull them. And the Japanese beetles have arrived and the spotted lantern fly nymphs keep appearing. I’m frustrated. I am a one woman band for the most part with this garden. I ask for help, but sometimes my family doesn’t see the joy in gardening like I do. Especially if it means helping me with garden chores.

So today I said screw it, and I ignored my garden. I went treasure hunting and junking with one of my besties and had a swell time. Found a couple little things for the garden at Creekside Antiques Downingtown .

I have driven by Creekside Antiques in Downingtown for a few years now. But I’ve never been in until today. Every time I drive by I say to whomever I’m driving around with “We really have to check that out.”

Today we did. So much fun inside and out and really decent prices.

Creekside Antiques photo

Outside they have larger salvage items and vintage garden pieces. Really really cool outdoor vintage furniture pieces.

Inside is a series of small rooms and hallways that all have different vignettes. Again, it is a mix of vintage, antique, reproduction, and artisan items. There is some wonderful photography that is for sale right in the front.

I bought a couple of reproduction garden signs and a delightful little bell for my porch.

I got the break I needed from my garden and had fun with my friend. There is something to be said for exploring on a hot summer day with a Wawa cola slushie! I highly recommend it!

visiting mt. airy lavender

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About a month ago I wrote a post called when good conquers evil eminent domain you get lavender fields.  It was about the new adaptive reuse of the Saha Farm in Valley Township (Coatesville/Wagontown). The farm is now Mt. Airy Lavender!!

I went to one of their open farm days in June, and will go back again when they have another one.  Mt. Airy Lavender is so worth the drive!  And I am hooked on their lavender based products! My big favorites are the Lavender Peppermint Body Butter  and Lavender Water and Lavender Essential Oil Roller!

You can buy their products online or when they have open farm days.  They have fun events too! (Including a wine tasting in August.)

For me, this was a special experience to finally visit the farm the Sahas fought so hard to save from eminent domain for private gain from Coatesville all those years ago.

I hope you enjoy the photos I am sharing and I hope you will visit the farm or consider it for an event.

I received nothing for writing this blog post.  I went to the farm because I wanted to see it and I buy their products and lavender plants because they are awesome.

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when good conquers evil eminent domain you get lavender fields

Long ago is what feels to be now another lifetime, I was part of the original Save Ardmore Coalition. We were ordinary people who banded together to save friends’ and neighbors’ businesses from eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore PA.

Along our journey the wonderful people at the Institute for Justice helped us and taught us and encouraged us. Through IJ we also met some amazing and inspirational people.  (and if your community is facing eminent domain check out the Castle Coalition part of the IJ website.)

Here straight from IJ (Institute for Justice’s website success stories):

Pennsylvania
Ardmore
Through the grassroots and political processes, a citizens group called the Save Ardmore Coalition (SAC) successfully defeated Lower Merion Township’s attempt to seize and bulldoze 10 thriving businesses in Ardmore’s charming historic district. When it comes to grassroots activism, the SAC did it all — rallies, protests, publicity campaigns and coordinated efforts to unseat local officials who supported eminent domain abuse. Its members testified before state and local bodies urging the reform of eminent domain laws, attended the Castle Coalition’s national and regional conferences, and worked with the media to bring attention to their battle. In March 2006, the Township took its condemnation threats off the table — no doubt in response to the public outcry generated by the SAC.

Valley Township
It cost Nancy and Dick Saha $300,000 of their retirement savings and six hard years, but they prevailed in their bout with the City of Coatesville. The couple bought their Pennsylvania farmhouse in 1971, making lifelong dreams of owning a small horse farm a reality. With their five children, the Sahas moved to Chester County and restored their charming 250-year-old residence. Truly a family farm, two of their daughters married and built their family homes on the land, giving Nancy and Dick the chance to see their five grandchildren grow up next door.

When Coatesville threatened to take their property by eminent domain to build a golf course—plans for which didn’t even include their farm in the first place—the Sahas remained fully committed to a grassroots battle. They submitted three petitions, protested at local meetings and took their fight to court. Ultimately, the city council backed off when the Sahas pushed to elect new representatives, agreeing to purchase five acres that the Sahas had offered to give the government for free at the beginning of the dispute.

It was a crazy time. What we all went through was hard. It was a brutal battle.  We went to Washington alongside the Sahas, Susett Kelo (think Little Pink House), people from Long Branch NJ, and many many more.  It was the time of the US Supreme Court case Kelo vs. New London.

Dick and Nancy Saha were inspirational.  They created a hand off my farm movement. (You can read about it here on the Institute for Justice website in more detail.) They had a great deal of local, regional, and national news attention.  We all did. It was kind of crazy.

It cost the Sahas hundreds of thousands of dollars and pure grit and hard work and they saved their farm.

I used to love seeing Dick and Nancy Saha.  They are the nicest people and they would make the drive from the Wagontown area to even visit us in Ardmore when we were hosting events.

But time and life move on and we all got on with our lives after eminent domain.  I moved to Chester County.  And since I moved to Chester County  I have thought about the Sahas once in a while.  I thought about reaching out, but then I thought well the battle was over so maybe it would seem weird.  But I always wondered what happened to the Saha family after.

So this morning an article from Main Line Today popped up in a social media feed. About two sisters named Joanne Voelcker and wait for it….Amy Saha! Dick and Nancy Saha’s daughters and their lavender farm! (Lavender farm? Wait what?? How awesome!!)

Two Sisters Transformed Their Family’s Chester County Farm Into a 42-Acre Lavender Oasis
Amy Saha and Joanne Voelcker, the owners of Wagontown’s Mt Airy Lavender, have dedicated themselves to growing and harvesting seven different varieties of the plant.
BY LISA DUKART

In the heart of Chester County, there’s a little piece of Provençe, France, thanks to sisters Amy Saha and Joanne Voelcker. On their 42-acre Wagontown farm, some 1,200 lavender plants flourish. In the warm months, those fields are abuzz with bees and butterflies. They flit from plant to plant, drunk on the heady scent the flowers release as they sway in the breeze.

Creating and maintaining such an idyll has been no small feat. Saha and Voelcker’s Mt Airy Lavender has required years of dedication and hard work. Their parents bought the farm in 1971, moving their family from Media to the homestead just outside Coatesville. With love and care, its rundown 48 acres began to thrive.

Years later, in 1991, the city of Coatesville tried to build on the property, claiming eminent domain. After a six-year legal battle, the family won, losing just six acres in the process. As their parents aged, preserving the land they fought so hard to protect became more and more important to the sisters. They couldn’t bear to see it sold.

Over the years, Saha and Voelcker built their own homes on the farm to be near their parents. The houses sit on either side of a long, shaded driveway that wends by pastures where horses can be seen cropping the grass. One lavender field is right behind Voelcker’s home. She began planting it in 2012, a year after she and her husband returned from a five-year stay in Brussels. “I worked and lived over there,” says Voelcker, the former head of client insight and marketing technology at Vanguard. “I got a chance to visit the South of France, and I just fell in love with the lavender.”

Please take the time to read the entire article. It’s so wonderful. I am so happy for the Sahas and this new success I am am all choked up with emotion.  It is so awesome to hear about nice things happening to nice people in a world that some days is truly nuts.

I can’t wait to visit the farm on open farm days.  Via their Facebook page for Mt. Airy Lavender I found their website.

They have great products they make that you can order online and they hose all sorts of events .

Events that interest me are the upcoming open farm days and I hope my husband will want to check it out:

Visit us when the lavender is expected to be in bloom – Mt Airy Lavender Open Houses – Sat. June 22, Sun. June 23, Sat. June 29, Sun. June 30
Come visit Mt Airy Lavender these weekends when we expect the lavender to be in bloom. Shop our products, bring your cameras and a picnic lunch. Fresh cut lavender and a variety of lavender products will be available for purchase. We aren’t normally open to the public, so this is a great opportunity to enjoy the farm. Please note – we lost quite a bit of lavender due to all the rain and lack of sun. We are in the process of replanting. The farm is still quite beautiful so we hope to see you at our Open Houses.

We will be open 11 am to 4pm on:

Saturday, June 22 & Sunday, June 23

Saturday, June 29 & Sunday, June 30

Note: Bees love lavender, please be aware that bees will be attending the Open House as well. If you are allergic to them, please take special precautions!

Click here for directions to their slice of heaven.

What else makes me happy? Not just that this is still a farm and was saved, but how farmers in Chester County get creative to exist in today’s world.  See? We don’t need fields of plastic mushroom houses, we can have things like fields of lavender instead!

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Another view of the Saha Farm today courtesy of Mt. Airy Lavender 

no thank you.

Dear “Chris“,

I got this in the mail. Everyone who lives around me got this in the mail. I hate getting things like this in the mail. I find things like this offensive.

So I called the number on this post card, (which was very cheap by the way.) I got “Gary” on the phone. So I asked Gary why would I want to sell my house to him.

“Gary” said something along the lines of oh no offense but we send these out to everyone when we’re working in the area. Funny thing is I don’t know anyone in the area that sold a house to you recently, or at all.

I looked at your website and I looked at your Facebook page and my house is not the type of house that you are picturing. My house is not run down and it has a terrific garden. So why would I want to leave that? The answer is of course I wouldn’t.

I have a lot of friends who are realtors and have known a few real estate investors and real estate attorneys in my day. I kind of have a problem with people who say “here take the easy way out and avoid all the people who are the professionals.”

All you did was buy a mailing list somewhere. If someone is going to sell their home, I suggest a licensed realtor. Period.

Sign me,

No Thank You.