honoring the fallen

Facebook photo

These photos moved me, so I am posting them. They are all from Facebook.

Lower Merion Township has now lost two firefighters from two different volunteer fire companies. This latest tragedy took Belmont Hills firefighter Thomas Royds. He died because of a drunk driver. Three other first responders remain hospitalized because of this driver, a Jacquelyn Walker of either Little Egg Harbor or Pemberton, NJ according to many media reports including The Morning Call. The three other first responders, a PA State Trooper and two other firefighters are at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia. Thomas Royds, may God rest his soul died at Paoli Hospital.

It was July 4th weekend when Lower Merion Township lost another firefighter, from Penn Wynne Fire Company named Sean W. DeMuynck. Sean died in a house fire.

Facebook photo

I lived in Lower Merion Township a long time and these two men passed so close together. I am so truly sorry for all of these men and women who are first responders in my former home township because, again, this is twice in a very brief amount of time.

Screen Shot from 6ABC –
follow THIS LINK for whole story.

I did not know Thomas Royds, but from what I read he was a guy who gave his all to being a fireman. I am in awe of these men and women because what they do is hard, and they just do it.

Facebook Photo

When I saw the photos of all the fire trucks at various places along 202, it literally made me tear up. I thought it was beautiful. I have never seen that before.

RIP Thomas Royds. I hope they throw the book at that woman.

Facebook photo

have you been to frazer antiques lately?

Have you been to Frazer Antiques lately? I had not been since right before COVID19 hit. Well today we went and it was so much fun!

I took a bunch of photos and I am sharing them with all of you.

#ShopLocal #ShopSmall

Frazer Antiques. 351 Lancaster Avenue, Frazer, PA 19355. (610)- 651-8299. Open 10AM – 5PM.

4th of july 2021

4th of July. Our country’s annual birthday party. It’s not just about fireworks.

On July 4, 1776, the United States gained independence from Great Britain by the Continental Congress when 12 of the 13 “colonies” voted for the separation from Great Britain.

However, a lot of people don’t have a warm and fuzzy feelings about the 4th of July. Some people are ambivalent. Some people like myself don’t like the overt commercialism that tends to follow American holidays around.

I like and appreciate the history. I think we need to remember and appreciate our history. Is it perfect? Were things like slavery and indentured servitude acceptable during part of our history and world history for that matter? Were most women treated like chattel? Yes and yes and yes. Those things are part of our history and were (again) also part of world history at that time. We need to acknowledge that past as a different time, yet part of what formed this country.

BUT it doesn’t diminish what our founding fathers accomplished because times were different.

Yesterday I celebrated part of my 4th of July weekend at Historic Harriton House in Bryn Mawr. I have loved this magical and historical place since I was introduced to it when I was 12 by a neighbor.

Harriton House was originally known as “Bryn Mawr”, and was once the residence of Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress. This was originally built in 1704 by Rowland Ellis, a Welsh Quaker, and was called “Bryn Mawr”, meaning “high hill.”

The town of Bryn Mawr in Lower Merion Township is named after the house, and the National Register of Historic Places has it listed under the original name.

Historic Harriton House yesterday

The history of Harriton is undeniable, as well as the connection to the founding of our country. So it was an absolutely perfect place to celebrate part of the 4th of July weekend! People were invited to picnic (and we made ice cream with an old fashioned and fully functional ice cream machine!) and there was a lovely program and music.

Harriton House around 1919

The program was introduced by a wonderful man I am lucky to know because we have mutual friends. Chef Walter Staib. He was proprietor of The City Tavern for decades, and most of you know him as the host of A Taste of History which you can find streaming or on PBS. A Taste of History is one of my favorite shows. I love cooking, I love history, including the history of cooking. (They are filming a new season now.)

Chef Walter Staib addressing the guests yesterday.

Born in Germany, Chef Staib emigrated to America many years ago. He became a citizen, started his family here. He became a US Citizen a couple of years before the Bicentennial. And as well as loving to cook, he is a perpetual student of history. His love for the United States was the perfect was to kick off yesterday’s program which also featured this truly amazing brass ensemble called Festive Brass. I have included two snippets filmed with a phone. Sorry, not the best but I wanted to share their sound with my readers. Beautiful and festive music.

Yesterday at Historic Harriton House the program was free of charge and they asked for a free-will offering. These beloved historic sites need and deserve our support. Look no further than to the historic sites owned by the National Park Service that are either closed to tours or just closed and moldering.

Closed and moldering would be a lot of the houses in Valley Forge Park like the Kennedy Supplee Mansion which I have written about twice.

Closed to tours would include the houses of my childhood in Society Hill like the Bishop White House and the Todd House, places I actually gave tours of leading up to the Bicentennial as a child. I love those houses and I helped plant the kitchen garden in the Todd House way back when. It was there I learned a deterrent for cabbage worms in the garden were marijuana plants. Seriously. Fun little fact of historical gardening.

Also closed is a place I remember being saved and restored as a child. Thaddeus Kosciuszko’s house on 3rd Street in Society Hill. Most of you probably have no clue this place exists or the historical significance. And I swear that place has been closed more years than it has been open. Also owned by the National Park Service.

The City Tavern for that matter, also owned by the National Park Service. Also shuttered now that Chef Staib is not there. That in particular, is truly prime real estate, so one would think they would be polishing up the tavern and marketing her for a new chef and restaurant in residence, right? But are they? Or will The City Tavern go the way of the Kennedy-Supplee Mansion?

Do you sense a theme? Sorry for the segue, but literally every time I go to Valley Forge I think of all the wasted potential of the historic structures. Not all have to be open for tours, but the National Park Service should be more open to restoration and adaptive reuse. I also feel the last administration in Washington harnessed the red, white, and blue of American patriotism for their own selfish ends (including abject ugliness and tyranny) and did nothing for preservation or true patriotism of any kind. And the current administration should get on the ball with preserving more of our history.

History is not something to be neglected and erased. It should be embraced, even the less savory and inconvenient parts because it is all part of how we got to be quite literally.

History, metaphorically speaking, is a living breathing thing we need to embrace and preserve. Even the parts we don’t like because when people try to erase history like it never happened, we are doomed to repeat past mistakes. Look no further that two world wars for proof of that.

Today on the 4th of July, I hope you all pause and think about our history. Think about our founding fathers who bled and fought and died for us. What they accomplished was no small feat.

Me and some friends, mid 1970s doing a costumed re-enactment in the kitchen at Harriton House.

And remember your favorite historic sites with even a small donation. Like Historic Harriton House in Bryn Mawr. Remember your local historical societies that help preserve our history and keep it alive.

🪶🇺🇸In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.🪶🇺🇸

paying it forward for a non-profit – items for sale

One of my favorite historic sites in southeastern Pennsylvania is Historic Harriton House.

Every year they have their annual fair in the fall to raise money. They have been gifted to things that they are putting up for sale now in the event that someone would like to purchase them.

Serious inquiries only go to info@harritonhouse.org or telephone 610-525-0201.

The rug is absolutely spectacular and I can say it with first hand knowledge. It is 12’ 8” x15’! It’s huge and gorgeous! Mint condition.

Harriton has also been donated a harpsichord. Also beautiful but I don’t know enough about musical instruments to speak intelligently about it.

So if either of these items would be of interest to you, please contact Historic Harriton House and help pay it forward by buying one of these via a donation. Nonprofits need our help right now and this one is a little slice of heaven in the middle of the Main Line. And historically important regionally, locally, as well as playing a part in our nation’s history,

upper uwchlan might as well be renamed toll town, right?

For reals, Upper Uwchlan? Another Toll Brothers development?

I mean seriously, how many more fields of plastic Troll houses does one municipality need?

This is on the agenda for this evening June 21. I’ve included what I found on their website and a helpful screenshot of some of the who is who in this Township, and don’t you find it fascinating that the township solicitor who is the township solicitor in a lot of other townships locally as well where big developments are pending including Troll Brothers?

Between the proposed use of eminent domain in East Goshen to the continued travails of “Berwyn Square“ or whatever they’re calling it now in Easttown, to Crebilly in Westtown, development of the week in East Whiteland, West Whiteland, and more, poor Chester County is going to cave into the ground from development and possibly even bad pipelines, right?

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but figured people should know. Thanks for stopping by.

When will the madness end?

next stop eminent domain town east goshen?

I am seriously bummed that my instincts were correct. I wrote a post about East Goshen Township in June 13th. I said the agenda read like an eminent domain saga waiting to explode over the Paoli Pike Trail.

Oh why couldn’t my instincts have been wrong? The poor Hicks family.

Last night East Goshen voted 3-2 for eminent domain takings of the Hicks farm land. May God damn them all to hell, quite frankly. There are few things I abhor more than eminent domain.

When I first moved out here from Lower Merion to be with my now husband, we lived in East Goshen. I used to think the world of East Goshen township. No longer. No more.

I will be honest and say I was part of the group (Save Ardmore Coalition) in Lower Merion Township years ago which successfully defeated eminent domain in Ardmore. It was a brutal, often disheartening, community divisive issue. At the same time we were fighting eminent domain, the Sahas were fighting to save their farm from Coatesville taking their farm via eminent domain for a golf course. It was eventually classified as eminent domain for private gain, not sure if it started that way.

The Sahas won their case in Coatesville, as we did in Ardmore. The Sahas became friends through this process as we were all involved with The Institute for Justice. I feel so lucky that I can still visit their farm now Mt. Airy Lavender. The Saha family still owns and runs their farm in it’s new business. If Dick Saha was still alive, you would have seen him at that meeting last night. He would have rounded up his farmer friends and gone to East Goshen. That is the kind of guy he was.

So. I watched the meeting.

Twice.

It was appalling both times.

Let’s start with the fact that the pro trail supervisors essentially disregarded Supervisor Michelle Truitt. Michelle offered an alternative plan. A plan that actually would work and the farmland and the Hicks Family would be spared. But the magic eminent domain trio are essentially behaving like misogynistic jerks in my opinion (which I am allowed to have), so that went nowhere fast.

So the documents you see above will be on East Goshen’s website tomorrow. I submitted a FOIA Right to Know and asked for these documents because although they SHOULD HAVE BEEN in the public meeting packet, they weren’t were they? They referred to meeting in executive session over “legal matters” and I am sure this was part of it only I have to ask if the eminent domain trio (“ED Trio”) didn’t want this out before the meeting? And in my humble opinion it should have been because well ED Trio, you are claiming eminent domain for public purpose which means…ummm…things should be public, right?

I also asked for a copy of the letter(or letters?) announcing this crap that were sent to the poor Hicks family and was told by the new township manager Derek Davis that he needed a legal opinion. Well East Goshen shares a solicitor with West Goshen and this person used to be with Easttown’s Planning Commission and is solicitor for East Brandywine and West Chester Borough and not sure where else will undoubtedly say “no”, right? So Hicks family if you decide you want to share the letters, please feel free. Those also should be part of the public record of this very public disgrace.

Oh and genuinely nice Derek Davis used to be the Assistant Manager at West Goshen, so with all these professional relationships between East Goshen and West Goshen, why is it it seems all fuzzy about the West Goshen part of this trail plan? And let’s talk about that: why is it if East Goshen doesn’t seem to have the West Goshen part of the puzzle worked out yet, why are they so gung-ho on eminent domain NOW? Greedy much?

And my hypothesis as to why now is simple: I think this trail has been a pet project of a retiring supervisor, right? So maybe as opposed to true public purpose this eminent domain issue is wound up in someone who wants a certain legacy? Well dude, 411 is eminent domain is now your legacy. Any good you did will flutter away into nothingness and THIS is what people will remember about you. This supervisor is Marty or Martin Shane. His term ends at the end of 2021. So East Goshen resident y’all better get your ducks in a row and get a candidate who will tip the scales against crap like this. Do it Ardmore style: make this an election issue. Whomever saunters up as a candidate should sign an anti-eminent domain pledge. If they won’t do that, find another person.

I also found it verrrry interesting that East Goshen went 100% in person for this meeting and did not offer zoom as well. And they could have since we are all newly emerged from the COVID world. That’s a little too cute, kind of like West Goshen’s technical difficulties for their YouTube or whatever stream of their meeting last night. Kind of Britney Spears oops I did it again, but I digress.

May be an image of map and outdoors
Is the point of the eminent domain to connect East Goshen Park with the YMCA?
And this aerial shot shows you they could leave the Hicks’ Farm alone if they wanted to.

Now let’s get into the meeting. Watch the video. My heart breaks for this family. Eminent domain is legal stealing, it’s bullying, and abusive. Kind of the way a couple of those East Goshen Supervisors were behaving.

The worst behaved of the East Goshen Supervisors was probably Chair David Shuey. He loves the sound of his own voice for sure and he knows everything. The king of “don’t interrupt me” and he’ll have people removed. Behaved like a total douche. Oh yes I am allowed to have that opinion of an elected official. Watch the meeting.

Shuey tried to proclaim how community positive he was and how he was against eminent domain for the pipeline and the whole traffic circle of it all that almost happened. I was at that traffic circle meeting, and he wasn’t user friendly there and I believe with the proposed eminent domain for the traffic circle and the pipelines it was more politically expedient to say he was against THAT eminent domain. For the Paoli Pike trail to nowhere, it’s more politically expedient to say eminent domain is the way to go.

Oh and of course Shuey tries to compare this Paoli Pike trail to the Radnor Trail. Apples and oranges dude, and no farms lost land for it. Do you think when that trail was built if it had been slated to go through Ardrossan’s cow field it would have gone through? Oh hell to the no and East Goshen will never be Main Line, and shouldn’t want to be. And then Shuey said something to the effect that East Goshen needs to be more competitive and say what? East Goshen was a gem, now it’s crown as a great Chester County community if forever tarnished and it’s sad, he can’t see the forest for the trees on this. He has a huge ego and he was combative and dismissive of residents. And I don’t know that he actually took all of the public comment. I know dude is a Democrat but last night he was very Trump-like in demeanor. Very unattractive public servant behavior in my humble opinion.

One of the speakers who resonated with me from the public in addition to the Hicks family and horse owners involved on their farm was former State Representative Dan Truitt. I have always liked Dan Truitt. He is quite simply a good man with a strong moral compass and sense of ethics. He made a heartfelt appeal to the supervisors to stop this process before it starts.

If I understand this convoluted trail mess correctly it’s like $5 Million Bucks a Mile and they don’t know if they will have all of the land in the end? So why eminent domain now? And it’s not like they will give it back if this goes kerflooey right?

Some folks out there in public opinion land are of the mind that this shouldn’t be such a big deal and the family sliced off pieces of land in the past. What they owned at one time in total is hardly the point. In fact, it’s not the point at all. What is the point are also the other potential impacts if East Goshen takes the land. They run an equine-based business and farm. HUGE amount of liability insurance they must pay for. Putting a trail for people as in strangers there all of the time puts the liability in a very bad spot, potentially a bad enough spot that they could possibly NOT have coverage and detrimentally affect their business, their livelihood . It’s not as simple or as offensive as saying “well they sold land before.”

Eminent Domain is legal stealing and it’s wrong.

Someone said to me “it’s just a sidewalk”. It’s not just a sidewalk. And it’s a trail part that may very well never be completed. And we’re also talking about a working farm. Again, you can’t just put sidewalks through working farms. It affects their liability which affects their ability to do their business on their own damn land. And the most important thing is the Hicks family said no. This is no better than when Coatesville tried to take my friends the Sahas’ farm years ago for a golf course.

Eminent Domain is legal stealing and it’s wrong.

A couple of comments from local community pages that have stood out to me:

(1) “Unfortunately (the way I understand this is going down) the walking path will disrupt a small business that currently uses the property in question as a private riding stable. People (and their dogs) are not always respectful of “do not pat or feed the horses” signs and this opens a huge liability issue up for the business owner. Horses can be unpredictable and spook easily creating potential harm and injury to both themselves and those around them. I think utilizing the property that they already have access to across the street makes more sense.

(2) “In late 2019 the supervisors were using this bike/walking trail to justify changing the zoning along Paoli Pike from Boot Rd to 352 to allow three story apartment buildings with shops underneath. Also wanted zoning to allow townhouses at Boot and Paoli Pike and 352 and Paoli Pike. The plan was for Goshenville to be a town center. They were saying people will use the trail to bike and walk to this town center. People were very opposed to the change in zoning and I’m not sure if this plan is still in play. They had maps and renderings of the Town Center on their website. The building of the trail seemed to have a lot to do with this vision of Goshenville.

Photo of the Hicks Farm where they would steal the land via eminent domain
with horses grazing at around 6:30 PM 6/15/21

I also think this debacle was a horrible final thing for retiring manager Rick Smith. This is what people will remember with him as well and that makes me sad. East Goshen can proclaim all the Rick Smith Days they want, what people will remember is the meeting last night and a particular exchange between he and one of the Hicks family members where he was quoted as saying “the train is coming” I guess in reference to eminent domain. It’s on the public meeting tape, and I did not misquote.

So another fun avenue to consider is this gem on Axley Attorneys website someone sent me. When is a sidewalk a trail?

When Is a Sidewalk a Trail?

MAY 31, 2011 by Buck Sweeney
csweeney@axley.com
608.283.6743

In a recent case from the Court of Appeals, Hildebrand v. Town of Menasha, the appeal court upheld Judge Scott Woldt’s opinion in a Winnebago County assessment case. In this particular case, the Town of Menasha specially assessed a vacant commercial property owner for the cost of placing a trail through the property. The Hildebrands were assessed $33,205.60 in construction costs for the installation of a 10’ asphalt trail abutting their commercial property. In response, the Hildebrands filed a notice of appeal to the circuit court raising numerous issues.

The question for the trial court, which was upheld by the Court of Appeals, was whether the Hildebrands’ property was:

*Specially benefitted by the trail segment for which the assessments were imposed.
*Whether the trail segment for which assessments were imposed constitutes a local improvement.
*Whether the trail segment for which assessments were imposed constitutes a general improvement for the community at large and therefore not a proper subject for imposition of the special assessments.


The evidence at trial made it very clear that this particular trail was clearly not a sidewalk, but was in fact a bike trail to help connect a regional multi-community recreational trail linking Oshkosh to Hortonville. The trail in question was asphalt and 10’ wide, unlike most typical sidewalks.

After the Town realized that they were losing, they tried to transform the trail into a sidewalk. Too late, according to the Court of Appeals.

If municipalities want to make sure they have a correct legal special assessment, the assessment must be local. Although incidentally beneficial to the public at large, its primary means for the accommodation and convenience of inhabitants in a particular locality and confers special benefits to the property.

Remember, if you do not want your sidewalk to be specially assessed, consider asking your municipality to place a 10’ asphalt trail through your yard.

Photo of the Hicks Farm where they would steal the land via
eminent domain at around 6:30 PM 6/15/21

My head is spinning. I thought I was done with hating eminent domain but it just keeps trying to happen.

The Hicks Family said NO. East Goshen is WRONG.

Oh and procedurally I found other issues with the meeting other than the eminent domain resolutions were omitted from the public meeting packets. Like they should have done a ROLL CALL vote on this and they DID NOT. So do you want to know who voted YES for eminent domain? Marty Shane, David Shuey, and Mike Lynch. Shane is gone at the end of 2021 and Shuey and Lynch are done in 2023. East Goshen residents need to get on the stick now. And not let up one minute until these people are out of office. They are not so much public servants as they are self-serving. They are the Eminent Domain Trio forevermore.

As a human being, I stand with the Hicks family. Their land, their decision. They said no. Residents of East Goshen and Chester County residents and farmers, please stand with this family. This is crap. Pure and simple.

#HandsOffTheHicksFarm pass it on. Post it. Share it. Stand with this family. Trust me, you think eminent domain couldn’t happen to you…until it does. Remember Stonleigh and Natural Lands?

Eminent domain is an ugly business. It is defined as the right of a government to take private property for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the sovereign power over all lands within its jurisdiction.

It’s morally and ethically reprehensible.

#HandsOffTheHicksFarm

really east goshen? you are going to play the eminent domain game?

I read local municipality agendas. It’s a very easy way to learn what’s going on around you. and when I read the most recent one for East Goshen Township warning bells went off in my head.

https://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-15_Board-of-Supervisors-Agenda.pdf

So….let’s get to it. Has anyone looked at East Goshen Township’s upcoming BOS Agenda? There is some special and interestingly worded language about a potential “right of way land acquisition” for the Paoli Pike Trail and the Hicks Farm. (Item 11 “New Business”)

When you read that after reading item 5B which refers to “Executive session” and “legal matter pertaining to the Paoli Pike trail”, if you have ever followed eminent domain cases it makes you wonder what East Goshen Township is up to precisely doesn’t it?

East Goshen are you playing at eminent domain???

https://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-15_Board-of-Supervisors-Agenda.pdf

Read the agenda and ask those supervisors some questions….at the meeting.

At what cost do trails get built? And is this where they were talking development a while back?

Eminent Domain is something I despise. I helped find it successfully many years ago in Ardmore thanks to our groups help from the Institute for Justice in Washington DC. I learned about both kinds of eminent domain, private gain and public purpose. And municipalities love to say public purpose is for the public good but is it always for the public good?

Since I saw these items on the agenda I have been asking around. And I was told that indeed residents did receive an eminent domain letter from East Goshen Township. And then I saw this:

I went through the public meeting packet for East Goshen Township for their upcoming meeting. And there is nothing like taking letter included in the packet and that should be publicly posted. Because if they’re doing it for the public good, don’t hide it in executive session agenda items which I have to ask is that what they’re trying to do?

Here is this Op-Ed I saw in Patch and Delaware Valley Journal:

📌‼️Chester County’s Eminent Problem
Posted to Politics June 11, 2021 by Stephen Wahrhaftig

Imagine a knock on your door, and somebody announces that they intend to purchase your home, and that you will need to vacate it shortly. Imagine, also, that you are told that the value of your home will be established by the purchaser, and that you must accept the offer without objection. Sounds like a nightmare scenario.

This nightmare has played out time and again here in Chester County. It occurs when a local government decides that they want to take someone’s property for public use that is deemed more important than the rights of the property owner. It does not matter how long the property may have been owned, or how the owner feels about being forced to give up their land. If the locality wants it, they can take it at a price they feel they should pay. The process is called Eminent Domain, a somewhat gray area of law that has been in constant dispute for decades.

In the recent past, there have been examples of localities using Eminent Domain to seize private property for values that owners have felt unjust, and for reasons the community has sometimes found inappropriate….The latest threat of Eminent Domain use is happening in East Goshen Township. The victim in this case is Goshen View Farm, owned by the Hicks family. The ancestors of this family settled in Chester County back in 1769. According to a family member, this farm was purchased by William Huey Hicks in 1909. William was interested in the land because of the new system of electrification along Paoli Pike. Hicks bought the farm from the Sharpless family the old-fashioned way, by offering the owner a fair price and having the seller agree to the transaction in a free and agreeable sale….You may ask what the critical need is for taking a strip of land from a farm along Paoli Pike? Is there a hospital being built? Perhaps some emergency access is needed for a fire department? In fact, this property is being seized for a possible walking trail no more than two miles long, according to some local residents.

Sometimes referred to as “The Trail to Nowhere,” this strip of property is supposed to meet up with other township trails that may or may not ever exist, or even meet with this section of the trail. Perhaps the prospect of millions in government grant money is affecting the decision to invoke Eminent Domain. By some estimates, the township is spending about $5 million per mile to build the trail, $10 million in total.

The family that owns the property is not only unhappy with the threat of Eminent Domain but is also concerned about how visitors may impact their valuable horse stabling business, and about liabilities that may ensue when bikers and hikers cross the vehicle traffic on the farm lane exiting to Paoli Pike.‼️📌

Ok East Goshen there is building a walkable community and then there is bullsheit. This,East Goshen, is bullsheit .

I am all for walking trails. And I love the trails that East Goshen has in their park down the road. But this this is crap. I mean what are they going to do connect their trail with West Chester Borough? I mean do they want to connect their trail to 202 or something?

I have not seen the eminent domain taking letter, only told by a few sources that it exists. If the owners want to make it public I am happy to publish it because Imms always going to have a problem with eminent domain. And I don’t think this has anything to do with public purpose I think this has to do with legacy building on the part of some of these supervisors and that is WRONG.

And when I saw this editorial, it did make me realize that Chester county does have an eminent domain problem from time to time and this is one of those times.

East Goshen should learn from the mistakes of others. We will start with Coatesville when they tried to take the Sahas’ Farm for a golf course. Then will move right along to West Vincent Township when they tried to take the Ludwigs Corner Horse Show via eminent domain. In both cases this ended quite badly for these municipalities and at quite an expense.

And East Goshen? Time to be public about this. And stop the madness. Why is it farms especially farms with horses have to be subjected to eminent domain takings? Aren’t enough things like overdevelopment threatening the equine and agricultural history and traditions of this county as it is???

Other things East Goshen is NOT considering is the impact this would have on a working farm or how this not might but would affect their liability and liability coverage.

Trails are like a shiny new bauble for municipalities but they have to be done and created for the right reasons. If East Goshen wants to use eminent domain it’s the wrong reason.

Farmers and equestrians I am asking you to stand with concerned East Goshen residents and the Hicks family Tuesday , June 15th at this IN PERSON meeting at EAST GOSHEN TOWNSHIP located at 1580 Paoli Pike West Chester, PA 19380. The meeting starts at 7 PM. If my friend the late Dick Saha was still on this earthly plane I know for sure he would be there with his farmer friends.

Also, I encourage people and media to FLOOD East Goshen with emails and calls:

Eeast Goshen Township Building
East Goshen Township
1580 Paoli Pike
West Chester, PA 19380-6199
Phone: (610) 692-7171
Fax: (610) 692-8950
Office hours 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Please note that you must wear a mask when entering the building.

dshuey@eastgoshen.org

mlynch@eastgoshen.org

jhertzog@eastgoshen.org

mshane@eastgoshen.org

mtruitt@eastgoshen.org

Interim Township Manager: ddavis@eastgoshen.org

Outgoing Township Manager: rsmith@eastgoshen.org

Giddy up folks. This farm needs our support. And East Goshen? While I respect a lot of what you do, I don’t respect this and I am entitled to my opinion.

Thanks for stopping by.

#PACKTHEMEETING

gladwyne village is fighting for survival from bad development.

This has been posted for perspective. So don’t tell me it’s not Chester County, etc, it’s indicative of the problem throughout the Southeastern Pennsylvania area with regard to invasive, unnecessary development that doesn’t even pause to reflect the character of the area.

So yes, even in Gladwyne, PA neighbors are rising up. Even in the rain they packed this VFW hall over a bad plan that would totally kill the sweet village of Gladwyne. And it’s literally a village.

Where they once had a grocery store ACME markets failed there and closed, and some developer wants to come in and put like apartments or townhouse condos and it’s not some gracious plan that will fit with the surrounding area and be across the street from a church, it’s a cram plan and a load of crap.

And I can’t help but go back to the people that owned the parcel who could have chosen differently and didn’t. Because they’re greedy in my humble opinion. Sorry not sorry.

But it’s Lower Merion Township, the land of infill development and former West Chester Borough Manager Ernie McNeely is the current township manager, and well he always loves development doesn’t he? And the current Director of Building and Planning in Lower Merion is someone who can’t suck up to a developer fast enough.

Essentially if this plan gets built it will be like putting an Eastside Flats in the tiny village of Gladwyne. And while people think of the Main Line as large houses etc, there actually are villages left that have to fight for survival when they should be embraced and encouraged to exist.

From the local civic association:

📌Acme Property Update

Dear Gladwyne Residents:

With so many rumors circulating about the Acme Property I wanted to take a moment to inform you of what we know about recent events and once again inform you that you to a June 8 meeting we are holding to discuss it.

Here is what the Gladwyne Civic has been told:

  1. The Acme property (NOT including the Shell station) is under an Agreement of Sale with a developer.
  2. The Developer has NOT submitted an official plan to Lower Merion Township or any commissioner.
  3. The Developer has shared two preliminary concepts with a small group of Civic Directors. Neither of those concepts meets the Township’s Zoning requirements for a Village Center https://www.lowermerion.org/home/showpublisheddocument/23245/637214107846470000).
  4. The Civic Association has not yet engaged in any official discussion of the concepts, nor has it taken any position with regard to them.

Consequently, after summarizing what we know about the sale of the property and the developer’s ideas, we intend to pivot this meeting to be the first of several Civic workshops to create a Community Vision for our Village Center. In preparation we encourage you to familiarize yourself with 2016 Comprehensive Plan (https://www.lowermerion.org/home/showpublisheddocument/13726/636072036854530000 ) as well as the aforementioned zoning code. In this context please consider that, by design, a Village Center is meant to be a mixed use area that will likely include some residential component within what is primarily a commercial setting. The operative portion of the code reads:

VC Districts are the small commercial areas that function as neighborhood or village centers, generally compact, walkable in scale, with local retail, and occasional residential uses above the first floor.

We are currently working with the Township to clarify what the allowable density can be on the property and other pertinent information.

….If you have specific questions you would like us to cover at the start of the meeting please email them to gladwynecivic@gmail.com by the end of day on June 6 before the meeting so that we can be prepared to respond.📌

Gladwyne is a gem nestled in the Main Line. And I’m not talking about the overpriced extended ZIP Code 19035, I am talking about this village. And the reason I am talking about this village is many decades ago when I was considered a “city kid“ my parents moved us to suburbia. We eventually settled in Haverford, but our first year was spent in Gladwyne.

We were just outside the village on Monk Road, and in those days kids could walk into the village via Youngsford Road without fear of becoming road pizza. We played kick the can and other fun games outside in the evenings in the summer. And in the winter if we were really lucky Mr. Gwinn took folks on a sleigh ride. We learned how to ride horses in Gladwyne, and a daily sound that I remember is the clip clop of horses hooves. (Although I didn’t belong because I wasn’t that good of a rider there was an amazing pony club.)

One of my favorite libraries I’ve ever been in is the little Gladwyne library. There was an old fashioned hardware store where the floors creaked, there were all sorts of old houses both 18th century and 19th century splendid and simple Victorians off of all the little streets. Gladwyne Village is special.

Today a lot of that still exists because the people who live there care. I have always applauded the people who live in Gladwyne because they rally together and they are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in.

I know if this development gets built it will forever change a historic village and the village does not deserve this. That is why I’m posting this. I would like the future kids to move here or even the ones that are there today to be able to still wander around a cool little village.

This is the place where you can still go to the fire company and celebrate the lighting of the Christmas tree (and buy your tree!), and have a fabulous Memorial Day parade that is old-fashioned and memorable. This is a village where you could go trick-or-treating with your families safely. This is a village where people care about their history. You know your neighbors because they stay, they aren’t transient. Therefore this is a village that deserves better than some crap developer with a cram plan because they just want to make money and move on.

We need to stop this kind of sprawl in ALL of our communities. Progress should complement our communities, not maim them. We need to stand up for places like the Village of Gladwyne, Berwyn, Malvern, wherever we live.

These are our communities and we deserve more in a say on how their future is shaped. It is high time to start lobbying our elected officials in Pennsylvania for a comprehensive update of the Municipalities Planning Code and better protections for where we call home. We need more that shredding events in our communities sponsored by elected officials. We need these people to roll up their sleeves and get busy trying to help the people that put them in office in the first place.

Not all developers are bad, but sadly there are a lot of bad and greedy developers. Developers might not like my opinion but the First Amendment says I can express myself thusly.

Thanks for stopping by.

one more night for crebilly! please virtually attend! take a stand! bear witness!

The battle to save Crebilly in Westtown is perhaps at its crescendo tonight. I am asking if you have the time to be at this virtual meeting, please do so. You don’t have to speak, but please bear witness. Let Troll Brothers and the Robinson family know we are all still out here.

May be an image of text that says 'Time for the People to BE HEARD. PUBLIC COMMENT ON TOLL BROS CREBILLY Il CONDITIONAL USE HEARING #12 Geoa MAY 26, 2021 7T09PM LINK FOR ZOOM INFO SCAN CAMERA HERE NEIGHBORSFOR CREBILLY FARM'
~Courtesy of Neighbors for Crebilly and that scan code is awesome!

Anyone is welcome to virtually attend this meeting. Westtown has provided simple instructions HERE:

Instructions for Westtown Board of Supervisors
Toll Bros./Crebilly Farm Conditional Use Hearing #12
Virtual Public Meeting via the Zoom Platform
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Meeting Start Time is 7:00 PM


Anyone wishing to attend the virtual Conditional Use hearing may do so by calling this phone number: 1-646-558-8656 When your call is answered, you will be required to enter the meeting ID#: 843 6206 3236

If you are prompted for a participant ID, press # (a participant ID is not required).


OR you can watch a live-feed of the meeting by clicking on this link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84362063236
When you are prompted for a pass code, enter: 246277


You may connect to the meeting up to 15 minutes prior to the start time. All attendees will be placed in a waiting area before being permitted into the hearing.

The hearing audio and video will be recorded and be used by the Court Reporter to assist in transcribing the testimony. Following the completion of the hearing transcript, the Zoom recording will be destroyed.


If you have party status, please ensure that you enter your full name so that the host will be able to recognize you. The parties will be recognized individually, and given the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses. If you have party status and join by phone, please indicate your presence by pressing *9 for the hearing host to recognize you. You will then have to press *6 to unmute yourself when prompted by the host. The non-party members of the public will have the opportunity to observe the hearing, but public comment is deferred until the end of the evidentiary portion of the hearing.

Due to the online nature of the system, there is a slight delay, so please take your time and be patient. There will be a slight pause when one person finishes speaking and another person starts. While in this virtual hearing, we ask that you conduct yourself in a civil manner. Any conduct deemed inappropriate (language, etc.) will result in your being removed from the hearing.

No in-person attendance at the Township Building will be permitted.

Now I am going to share thoughts from two women I know and call friends:

From Kathleen Brady Shea:

And from Mindy Rhodes (and I am including a plea she made to the Robinsons back when this first began:)

Dear Friends,

This coming Wednesday, May 26th at 7pm will be the 12th Conditional Use hearing regarding the Crebilly II application and the agreement of sale between Toll Brothers and the owners of Crebilly Farm.  THIS hearing needs all hands on deck because public comment will begin as soon as Toll completes their rebuttal of last hearing’s witnesses.  This is an opportunity for every single one of us to make our voices heard.  It does not matter where you live.  It does not matter whether you have party status.  It does, however, matter that every single one of us rise to this opportunity and speak up by stating how this development will negatively impact our community and why the Westtown Township Board of Supervisors should deny Conditional Use to Toll Brothers.

HEARING #12, WEDNESDAY, MAY 26TH, 7PM to be held virtually

To attend via zoom, click on the link below and enter the passcode if/when prompted:

Link:   https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84362063236

Passcode:  246277

To attend by phone, dial the number below and enter the meeting ID#:

Dial:  1-646-558-8656 

Meeting ID#:  843 6206 3236

*No other ID is required, press # if asked for one

For more information, here is the link from the Westtown Township website:

Below is the link to my last message about how important Massive Public Outcry is now more than ever; please review and be prepared with written statements to read for public comment; how will you be negatively impacted and why the BOS should deny Conditional Use to Toll Brothers:  https://crebillyfarmfriends.com/2021/04/28/crebilly-farm-update-4-28-21-a-call-to-action/

The time and energy all of us have invested over the last (almost) five years, needless to say, has been substantial.  When compared to the permanent impact a development of this magnitude will have on our community, American history and the devastation it will do to land, nature and nearby waterways- the time and energy is invaluable.  I still believe the owners of Crebilly Farm have every right to sell their land for profit.  However this plan and this developer is simply unacceptable.  And it is up to the rest of us to continue to speak up and stand firm:  Westtown Township must deny Conditional Use to Toll Brothers.

If not you, then who?

Sincerely,

Mindy Rhodes

And one last thing? This YouTube about the history of the land. It’s not just about saving a spectacular swath of land from greedy Toll Brothers and their horrible developments, it’s about our very history:

We all lead busy lives. But it requires nothing of us to spend a little time on a virtual meeting. I don’t have standing, but I will tune in out of solidarity for those who do and who have been valiantly fighting the good fight here. We drove past Crebilly on 202 and 926 not so long ago. You couldn’t help but notice the deterioration of the structures on the edge of Crebilly….and that horrible forest of development signs at the corner of 202 and 926. We need to come together as a county every damn time one of these projects is featured at a meeting. It doesn’t matter what township we are from, we are all affected by this crap.

And all of this new development is crap. Pure and simple. Chester County is losing more and more open space and farmland by the day. And with the potential for more crap coming out of West Chester Borough regarding the Wyeth site, this is even more important from a traffic standpoint alone.

I know, I know, it’s like yes we are coming out of a global pandemic, but apparently it hasn’t slowed down the developers, has it? And with virtual meetings we really can put in an appearance occasionally as residents.

Please make time for Crebilly tonight. It cold be the last time. Take a stand Chester County, Take a Stand. Don’t let Crebilly become the next Foxcatcher Farm/Liseter.

is it possible to STOP toll brothers from destroying crebilly farm in  westtown? sadly, probably not. | chestercountyramblings

new life comes to historic yellow springs

I have loved the historic village of Yellow Springs down Art School Road in Chester Springs for years and years. I was first introduced to the village by my late father. He loved the art show and the antique show the village no longer hosts in the fall (but should.)

We would come out to the village, attend the art show or antique show and have lunch at the now closed Yellow Springs Inn. At first the restaurant was in the building known today as “The Washington”, then it moved to the Jenny Lind House.

I don’t remember who exactly was in the Jenny Lind House before the Yellow Springs Inn went to live there. But I knew a little bit of the history and that it was a boarding house. Run (and built) by a woman named Margaret Holman.

Truthfully the history of Yellow Springs Village is so very interesting. As a related aside, Margaret Holman is but one of many women who played important and pivotal roles in this village over time and throughout its history. Now we add my friend Meg Veno to that list of historically important ladies. With her renovation of the Jenny Lind house and the amazing adaptive reuse that still nods to the past in process, she is bringing new life and a fresh set of ideas to Yellow Springs Village.

Restoring Jenny Lind is so positive for this magical village. And I was so glad to see people out enjoying the art show and picking up their box lunches from at the Jenny Lind today!

The restoration is not complete there are still at least a couple more months of solid work ahead of them. But today I had the privilege and honor to see the progress and how the renovation was coming along. I was literally almost reduced to tears. I had no idea that once upon a time at a Life’s Patina Barn Sale when Meg mentioned to me that she was looking for another project, and I happened to tell her that the Jenny Lind house was in bank foreclosure and the restaurant gone, that this would happen.

I was thinking today when you mention to people that a great historic asset is for sale you never know if anything will ever happen. A lot of times it doesn’t. And this time it has. And the transformation is as magical as it has been watching Loch Aerie come back to life. Completely different periods of history and styles of architecture but both have these spots in my heart.

Oh and the lunches sold are a preview of what we can expect in the cafe to be? Amazing! And it was all environmentally friendly packaging down to the disposable wooden utensils.

I am including photos I took a few years ago of the Jenny Lind when it was the restaurant so you can fully appreciate the remarkable and painstakingly gorgeous restoration. The Victorian decor of the former Yellow Springs Inn was never right for the structure although for years the restaurant was quite good.

Life’s Patina Mercantile & Cafe at the Jenny Lind House is going to be perfection.

Read more about it on Meg’s blog:

The Jenny Lind House Renovation ~ She is Finding Her Voice Again

Behind the Scenes at Life’s Patina

Design Inspiration for the New Life’s Patina Mercantile & Cafe