it’s all about the money, honey

Drove by Greystone Hall today. What a sh*t show. They have already updated their website to reflect the 34 acres they kept after selling to the developer.

“The Woodlands at Greystone”. Another preposterous development name. West Goshen Township should be ashamed, but like most municipalities, in the end all they do is roll over and show the developers their municipal bellies.

This development which has already begun as you can see, will litter the area with what? 598 MORE homes for the area?

Ugh.

But hey, when it comes to development it’s always all about the money, honey.

asking again in 2018: don’t we have enough billboards in chester county already?

In September, 2017 I asked the question of didn’t we have enough billboards already in Chester County when West Whiteland residents became aware of the desire for the Billboard Baron who spent years having residents from Lower Merion and Haverford Townships attend billboard hearings because he wanted billboards in Bryn Mawr along Lancaster Avenue across from Our Mother of Good Counsel Church for one location. Then there was the whole Lower Merion billboard issue near Bryn Mawr Hospital. This has all been well documented in the media over the years.

A little closer to home for us in Chester County, in addition to whatever happened or hasn’t happened or will happen in West Whiteland, Tredyffrin is now tag you are in in the municipal game of billboards.

Community Matters/Pattye Benson: Proposed digital billboard and demolition of R. Brognard Okie building – Tredyffrin Township, is this progress?

So this is the little Clockworks Building:

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I love this place!  It and this place not too far away (next photo below) have always captured my imagination:

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These little bits of our history are little architectural gems that dot our landscape.  And Clockworks is an Okie! (Iknow nothing about the other little building and how it came to be.)

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Ok so this isn’t my circus in Tredyffrin, I don’t live in Tredyffrin, but I don’t care if the billboards are digital or SMD (surface mount diodes) or platinum encased Lincoln Logs, at what point are there enough? This is at a crazy intersection of a densely populated area. WHY?????

If you listen to the Tredyffrin township meeting recording (and who knows how long this stays on line) it sounds like this presentation occured as part of some litigation settlement agreement? Something like Tredyffrin was threatened with litigation over the way they treat billboards by the billboard company?

So yo Tredyffrin, even Phoenixville fought the billboards. And they WON:

Billboard baron loses fight over Phoenixville zoning
By Michael P. Rellahan mrellahan@21st-centurymedia.com May 28, 2014

WEST CHESTER – A Chester County Court judge dismissed a Philadelphia-area billboard baron’s challenge to the Phoenixville zoning ordinance that he claimed improperly excluded such signs from the borough.

In a May 20 ruling, Common Pleas Court Judge Mark Tunnell upheld the ruling by the borough’s zoning hearing board, finding that the zoning ordinance did allow for billboards and other large outdoor signs to be erected, just not in the location that Thaddeus Bartkowski III and his company, Chester County Outdoor, wanted to erect them.

Bartkowski had filed a substantive validity challenge to the ordinance in 2011, claiming that it unconstitutionally prohibited a type of business from the borough. In 2012, the zoning board ruled against Bartkowski, finding that the types of signs he wanted to erect were a permitted use, even if they were not specifically identified.

It makes you wonder sometimes in these situations whose rights are valued more, doesn’t it? But if Phoenixville could prevail, I am thinking so could Tredyffrin’s solicitor if challenged?

Below is a screen capture from the televised presentation and is this what you want people of Tredyffrin? I will leave you with that image. I put an arrow as to where Clockworks would be removed from.   I vote for Clockworks but I don’t live in Tredyffrin, so that is just my opinion.

I hope the residents of Tredyffrin step forward to preserve their own special historical gateways once again. (Tredyffrin might wish to check out a website called Scenic Philadelphia  and Preserve Our PA Towns /  No Billboards in the Burbs.)

I leave you with a fun fact: Maine is one of a handful of states (Maine, Vermont, Hawaii, Alaska)  that exist just fine without billboards so why can’t we?

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the case for better gun control and better mental illness treatment hits too close to home

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Actual text message I received from a friend who lives in one of the neighborhoods across Boot  Road in West Chester and the retirement communities and Giant 

The text message you don’t EVER wish to receive.  Active shooter.

As in person with gun or guns.

Near where several of my friends lived….in multiple municipalities.

Yet that is what a lot of us lived for a few hours in Chester County last night. I had several friends, good friends on lock-down or shelter in place in East Goshen, West Goshen, and Willistown. Kind of surreal. Like watching a live episode of Law & Order unfold in neighboring municipalities.

Shooters shooting up schools and every place else is NOT what you think of living around here…until last night when shooting up nursing homes became a thing.

As NBC10 Philadelphia and others like Daily Local reported (video and article HERE) this guy, this unbalanced man named Bruce Rogal must have snapped and first went after his ex-wife in West Bradford and shot AT her six times (he missed thank God), drove to Bellingham, one of the retirement communities in East Goshen near the Giant on Boot Road and then proceeded to shoot and murder his elderly parents, William and Nancy Rogal. Nancy Rogal was an artist. She was as per the Inquirer featured in a 2008 show at the Chester County Art Association.

Those poor people were in their 80s. May God have mercy upon their souls.

I guess retirement communities and nursing homes are going to have to consider getting metal detectors like a lot of schools now?

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan  released the following statement:

PRESS RELEASE

Investigation Into Retirement Community Murders Is Ongoing

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced that the investigation into the deadly shootings at the Bellingham retirement community and the death of the suspect is ongoing. The suspect, Bruce Rogal, age 59, killed his parents in the Bellingham retirement community in East Goshen Township on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, at approximately 6:15 p.m. The suspect attempted to kill his wife in West Bradford Township earlier in the evening at approximately 5:30 p.m. This activity appears to have been triggered by a divorce decree received by Rogal that day.

The murders and attempted murder set off an intensive manhunt for Rogal. The media put out warnings, identifying information, and photographs of Rogal to the public. The Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team responded to Rogal’s home to search for him. Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”) Troopers eventually observed the suspect driving his 2002 Honda Odyssey on Strasburg Road. Rogal led the police on a high speed chase back to his wife’s home, where he had shot at his wife earlier in the evening. Shots were exchanged during the pursuit.

Rogal’s vehicle eventually crashed into his wife’s residence. PSP, the Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team (“CCRERT”), and municipal police departments all were at the scene. CCRERT members approached the vehicle and discovered that Rogal was already deceased in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, with other firearms still in the vehicle.

The investigation into Rogal is ongoing pending review of multiple crime scenes, autopsies, interviews with the involved Troopers who discharged their weapons, and additional investigative tasks. There is also an ongoing investigation with family members into the circumstances leading to Rogal’s attempted murder of his wife and the murder of his parents.

District Attorney Hogan stated, “Chester County law enforcement worked cooperatively and swiftly to bring this situation to a close. Virtually every law enforcement agency and other first responders in the county and region either assisted or volunteered their assistance during the tense hours of this manhunt for a killer. The citizens of Chester County can take comfort in knowing that when dangerous situations like this take place, their police and first responders are prepared. We will continue to investigate this matter and provide additional information when the investigation is complete.”

This case was investigated by the Chester County Detectives, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Westtown/East Goshen Regional Police Department, Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team, and multiple assisting agencies. The Chester County Department of Emergency Services, the Coroner’s Office, and numerous fire companies and EMT services played critical roles in securing the scenes and assisting law enforcement. Anyone with further information should contact Chester County Detective John O’Donnell at 610-344-6866.

* * * * * * *

Approved for release:

Thomas P. Hogan

You will note, I am not posting a photo of the shooter. I just. CAN’T.  I keep thinking of the terror his ex-wife must have felt, and the final moments of an older couple living in a retirement home. His parents. Family shattered in an instant.

The police, state troopers, and all first responders did a magnificent job last night.  This was a welcome to crazy town situation to be sure.

I do not know what is known about this man Bruce Rogal.  I have seen chatter back and forth on Facebook especially that say he was a local guy, went to Henderson High School, got married, got divorced…don’t know if he has children, don’t know why he delaminated but as uncaring as it might sound, as a woman I am glad he is no longer among the living because now at least his poor ex-wife won’t have to look over her shoulder for the rest of her life.

But I think this begs the question of when we are all going to lay down our politics and self-righteousness and have a real conversation about better mental health resources and sensible gun control in this country?

I am not saying that so I can start getting hate comments, but we as reasonable human beings have to ask how a man with issues like that GOT A GUN??? I know the arguments on both sides of the gun control debate in this country but I have to ask, while everyone and politicians are hashing this out, why aren’t there at least mental fitness exams for those who wish to possess firearms?

Forbes in February, 2018 published a very interesting op-ed by Chris Ladd called One Simple Step Toward Sane Gun Laws.  You can click on the hyperlink to read.  I will note his bio:

For almost thirty years I was active in Republican politics. Most recently I spent ten years as a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago. I am a Texan in exile. While a college intern at the Texas Legislature I met a young Rick Perry, fresh off his switch from the Democratic Party. As a donor and volunteer for a Republican PAC in Houston I volunteered for Republican state and local campaigns. From 2009-2016 I wrote the GOPLifer blog. My book, The Politics of Crazy, is a distillation of ideas from the blog. After the 2016 Republican National Convention, I resigned my position as a precinct committeeman and left the Republican Party. I now maintain a new blog, PoliticalOrphans.com.

We deserve peace where we live. People should not be able to just go shoot up people anywhere. But until we convince our elected officials on a national stage to stop pontificating and start governing responsibly in a bi-partisan manner, it won’t happen.

Our mental health resources aren’t where they should be either thanks to the continuing crisis of healthcare, politicians (whose benefits we as taxpayers fund but I digress), and big pharma who think pills fix everything.  Pills do not fix everything and there needs to be more comprehensive care resources available to people from all walks of life and all socioeconomic levels.

And domestic violence? Does this play a part here as well? I have to wonder because some of the media outlets have posted this at the end of their coverage like NBC10 Philadelphia did:

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HELP: The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY) provides people in distress, or those around them, with 24-hour support.

Today, anyone related to this Bruce Rogal either by family or other kinds of relationships will have to start to pick up the pieces and move on. And mourn their dead.  No family should be torn apart by this.

Here is some of the coverage on this hideous event:

Man allegedly killed his parents and shot at ex-wife after getting divorce papers

By Faith Karimi, CNN Updated 6:58 AM ET, Thu September 20, 2018

Delaware Online: Suspect found dead after officials say he killed parents in retirement home Associated Press

 Daily Local DA: Suspect in double-shooting at senior living facility found dead
Fran Maye, Pete Bannan, Bill Rettew  

Philly.com CRIME & JUSTICE
D.A.: Shooter dead after killing his parents at Chester County retirement community
by Erin McCarthy, Vinny Vella and Robert Moran

 

3PM Updated details via Philly.com:

 

Updated details from the Inquirer — It is a LONG article, but here is an excerpt:
 

After a bitter, three-year divorce proceeding, Bruce Rogal’s marriage of 24 years ended Tuesday, with a formal ruling from a Chester County judge…He then drove 20 minutes away to the retirement community where his elderly parents lived and gunned them down, a violent outburst that betrayed the financial support they had provided for him for years….Rogal and his wife, identified in the paperwork as Catherine Christian, married in 1990. They have one son, Walter, now 27…..James Oley, who lives a few yards away, said Rogal’s minivan crashed into the front of the home. Then he heard the rapid fire hail of gunshots from police who had been tailing Rogal.

Rogal’s vehicle dented the front of his ex-wife’s home, he said. Afterward, Oley said he received a text advising people to stay inside, and soon another that declared the scene safe.

“Everyone is still in disbelief, just soaking it in,” Oley said. “But I think we all feel pretty fortunate nobody in our street was harmed, given those bullets were found from his weapon on both sides of the street and a couple houses were hit.”…Christian also was granted a protection from abuse order against Rogal around the same time the divorce was filed. It expired two years later, in June 2017, records show….The complaint filed in their divorce hints that an extramarital relationship led to their marriage’s dissolution. Rogal, 59, had started seeing another woman in 2011

we have to be the change we want

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(WHY I won’t be voting Republican in the PA6 Congressional race this fall.)

Until the last Presidential Election, I was a life-long Republican.  I had always been an inveterate ticket splitter, but I remained a Republican…until this last presidential race.

But I couldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t pretend this was the political party that once made me believe.  When I was a Media Relations Volunteer at the RNC2000, I never, ever would have thought they would boil down to this hot party mess they have devolved to.

But they have.

I know I am not a true Democrat, anymore than I am a current-style Republican.  So I went Independent. Yes, I lost my primary voting rights because it’s Pennsylvania, but I felt I had taken something back for myself by freeing myself from political rhetoric I could not get behind.

I have never voted Democrat in the PA 6th Congressional District. And I have been in this district seemingly forever.  First in Lower Merion Township, and now even after a couple rounds of redistricting, here in Chester County.  I voted gladly for Jim Gerlach every time he ran, and I also voted for Ryan Costello.

I did not really know who I would vote for until September 1st.  There seemed to be mass confusion for a while, namely with regard to Costello bailing out and the redistricting and the redistricting court battles. Like many, I wasn’t actually sure for a while who would be running.

If we had somehow magically gotten redistricted to the PA 7th Congressional District which now has kind of sort of become the new PA 5th Congressional District, I would have chosen Pearl Kim.  (I do not even know who is running in the now PA 7th at this point.)

To an extent, I am so turned off by American politics and the nouveau Republican party, I kind of just literally closed my ears for months and months.  No easy feat for a political junkie.

I had heard about Greg McCauley and would have actually considered him because of his Philadelphia area familial and legal profession lineage. Until that September 1st tweet. I realize it was probably some campaign minion, but it doesn’t matter.  As a candidate he let it go forward, right?

Chester County needs Republicans they can count on, not #TrumpLite . This is why Chester County continues to veer away from it’s Republican roots and history and will soon be another county in PA with a Democratic majority.

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I found this position VERY interesting. 

Chrissy Houlahan has served her country proudly in the US Armed Forces and deserves what the Brits call worthy opposition. A Republican man demeaning his female opposition is not someone voters today will find worthy.  

This kind of behavior in PA 6 is nothing new, but it IS old and used.

Today as a candidate (in my humble opinion), you  need to run a campaign based on what YOU would bring to the table not tired sexist rhetoric that the “party” wants. We don’t want in PA.  Jim Gerlach was always his own man. McCauley needed to be THAT guy for his own sake as well as voters.

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My Democratic door knocker said to tell all of you he was tall and dashingly handsome. He made me laugh and was super pleasant to deal with.

Today, a little while ago, a very nice man came knocking on my door.  Wanting to speak to my husband.  Poor man he got me.

He was a door knocker for the Democrats.  ( I will admit I handed him back his Tom Wolf palm card and told him why : PIPELINES AND BROKEN PROMISES FROM THE LAST CAMPAIGN. But I digress….)

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Chrissy and her campaign like to tell you what she believes in. She doesn’t waste the voters’ time just slamming and denigrating her opponent, does she?

These days Republicans seem to take a lot of us voters in Chester County for granted.  I have not seen anyone from the Republicans door knock in a couple of years, and even then it was merely committee people, not actual candidates.

So this afternoon this Democratic door knocker told me a little bit more about Chrissy Houlahan, and I in turn told him about what made me look at her again the other day. And decide.

Yes, all it took was one sexist, rude, misogynistic tweet.

He also told me about Kristine Howard who is running against Duane Milne in the PA 167th legislative district. Kristine Howard (according to her Facebook political page biography ):

“is known in suburban Philadelphia as a political activist who spent most of the last decade working for progressive Democratic candidates and serving diligently as a member of the Chester County Democratic Committee from Malvern while balancing the responsibilities of work and single-mother parenting…. After law school she planned to pursue a career in public interest law but her career plans took a detour after getting married and having two babies while in law school. After law school, she spent five years in New Mexico, where she ran a small legal and social services organization while her family grew. When she came back to Pennsylvania, she devoted the next many years focused on raising her three boys and four girls. It was not easy to combine a “real” career with raising a large family but she always found something to do to stay engaged in her civic interests and social activism. She worked for Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and was a child advocate for children in foster care in Philadelphia. Her keen interest in children and child welfare opened the door to her current position, working for the County investigating child abuse cases. As a caseworker, she has come to see a darker side of the wealthy and beautiful Chester County communities where she has raised her family. Her experiences as a social worker, mother and political activist have come together in her decision…”

Honestly, I never heard of her. But that is a lot of the problem about Chester County politics. You do not hear about some candidates at all. Especially, I am learning, if you are an Independent.

But this post is not about THAT race.  This post is about the 6th Congressional District Race.

And something has got to give.

So I am thinking this indeed might be the election that flips the 6th.  John Micek from PennLive.com has been saying so for months.

It’s a relatively simple concept that has more to do with us as Pennsylvanians than anything else.  We need someone with a spine. A backbone. A strong moral compass.  This race, it seems more and more that Chrissie Houlahan is the woman for the job.

Check out this September 2nd piece in the New York Times.

Please note these are only my opinions and I was not asked to write this nor compensated in any way to write this.  I am writing this post because it’s time to say something.  We have to be the change we want. 

I want change. Not more tired rhetoric. It’s time for more women in Congress and I would like to start with my very own district. If that makes me a potential “enemy of the state” by some of my Republican friends, I am sorry you feel that way. I think Chrissy is the best choice for me at this time in my life. If Chrissy Houlahan came knocking on my door personally, I would be very please to chat with her. As a woman, I like what I hear.  Now more than ever, that matters to me.

pondering main line revisionist history…in ardmore

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“Lake Ardmore” sent to me today by Ardmore Shutterbug

The other day I wrote about Viking Pastries, one of the last remaining old school old Ardmore businesses closing.  Yesterday, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Vinny Vella reported on it.

As new apartments rise in Ardmore, two nearby businesses fall
Updated: AUGUST 13, 2018 — 4:44 PM EDT

by Vinny Vella, Staff Writer vvella@phillynews.com

Two well-known businesses in Ardmore have shuttered in recent weeks, and their owners cast at least some of the blame on a loss of parking to make way for new housing.

Viking Pastries, a 62-year-old sweet shop, and the Party Place — located around the corner from each other in the borough’s downtown — stood in the shadow of One Ardmore Place, a long-embattled residential project expected to open early next year. Work on another mixed-use complex, the Cricket Flats, is set to begin across the street.

While the owners acknowledged that the construction isn’t the sole reason for the downturn, they say it played a major role. Local commerce groups, however, contend that the majority of businesses in Ardmore have been thriving while the cranes tower overhead….In a twist of irony, Viking Pastries took part in a groundbreaking celebration for One Ardmore Place last June called “the Big Dig,” in which customers decorated cookies shaped like dump trucks…..Compounding the lack of parking was the sale of the building where she leased her storefront. Petrone said that she couldn’t afford the increased rent from her new landlord….

“A lot of times, people think the solution to parking is putting in more lots,” said Philip Green, the Main Street manager for Ardmore Initiative.

“People….expect to walk a few blocks past stores and other businesses that will interest them. Here, we have beautiful architecture and sidewalks. That’s the appeal of a historic downtown….Ardmore Initiative, a pro-development organization, has been working with Lower Merion Township and the borough’s business association to produce parking guides to assist visitors during construction. ….”

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Taken by me back when Clover Market was starting.  They left Ardmore too, didn’t they?

In Lower Merion this article has caused quite a kerfuffle and chatter on social media forums.  The article is not fair. Why didn’t the article mention other stores, it’s biased. Blah Blah Blah. Oh Yawn. After all these years, they can’t come up with anything more original?

In Ardmore, in Lower Merion Township, the faces of the cheerleaders may sometimes change but the cheerleaders in a sense remain exactly the same. Also amusing and sort of related was a Facebook group thread where comments were shut down that were felt to be negative about this project and parking (or lack thereof) and did that have anything to do with the fact that one of the group administrators sits on the board of the Ardmore Initiative? And another possible topic for another day while we are talking Ardmore is all of the nonsense keeping people up at night in North Ardmore, but I digress…and that is North Ardmore Civic‘s tale to tell.

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This is one of my most favorite photos I took myself.  Ardmore Initiative has gotten years and years of use out of it. They are welcome. Ironically once Godzilla is finished, you will never have this scene again.  Godzilla will be behind it.

The Inquirer article is neither biased or not comprehensive, as some in these Facebook forum comments are not so subtly suggesting . The reporter had ONE story to write about businesses which were closing. I wonder if any of these article critics actually know how reporting works? It wasn’t supposed to be yet another fluffy piece on Ardmore placed by publicists. There have been so many of those, after all….

Further and to the point, I was around and active long before most of them were on the scene, sadly.

Suffice it to say, the faces change,  yet the blind faith township cheerleaders down there  remain the same. Some throw that “we” word around rather liberally but sadly I do not remember them when Ardmore was fighting eminent domain? Or truly community volunteering? And then there are the ones who will tell you how much they did to champion Ardmore and how wrong you are, how bad you are not to share their opinion. (Mind you these are the types who never do or say anything unless they benefit somehow, but I digress.)   Maybe they fancy themselves local authorities and love to play the deflect blame game but let’s all not fall victim to revisionist history since there were way too many of us around who remember how it actually rolled. And went down.

Did Viking have money problems? Start with how many small businesses DO NOT have money problems from time to time? Especially when they have jacked up rents they have to meet monthly along with everything else?

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Ardmore Shutterbug photo. Is this really what “progress”  looks like? Are they sure it’s not really the Temple of Kermit the Frog? Sorry not sorry, but how is that in keeping with the size and scale of Ardmore? Why does suburbia have to look so urban?

Mark my words, more businesses will fail before this apartment Godzilla on the old movie theater lot is finished. So many of the cheerleaders think all this hideous infill development will pave the roads with gold bricks, but sadly, will it? I do not think so. And I never have.

Ardmore’s largest impediment will always be the fact that Lower Merion Township’s township seat and building are there. And some who are new will say things “How can you say things like that?” or “Never heard that before, why are you saying this?”

I say it because if you lived in Lower Merion Township long enough, you know it is the sad truth. Politics, deals, more politics, backroom boardroom dancing, and so much more go into being a First Class Township doesn’t it? Why do people think back in the day we flipped half of the board out of office? Because they were so resident-minded?

People also don’t like it when I take the Ardmore Initiative to task. If they were actually truly independent from the township, I probably wouldn’t. But at the end of the day, in my opinion, they are just another appendage of Lower Merion Township. I find what that Philip Green said  basically idiotic. He has obviously been in Ardmore about five minutes and is young, because he doesn’t get that small town centers without sufficient parking long term are small town centers which will continue to fail. Maybe not all in one week, one month, one year but the more urban it becomes in suburbia, will ultimately not be positive. And THAT is what we are seeing with Party Land and Viking Pastries closing now, and those who went before them.

Suburbia is not Manayunk and Passyunk Avenue. Whether they drive a Prius or a Range Rover, they want to drive their cars. They want convenient parking.  They don’t want hellacious  city- traffic. And what happens when they get any of the above? They shop and go elsewhere. Just ask the residents in Lower Merion who now avoid Ardmore like the plague. It’s not rocket science.

Building lots and lots of overpriced teeny boxy apartments is not going to bring people in droves. Look at all the housing stock up and down the Main Line, King of Prussia, Conshohocken, and out to Chester County where the same old mixed use fairy tale is unfolding as well.  Is everything filled to capacity? Are there NO empty store fronts?

Were the ratables worth it?

Take East Side Flats in Malvern Borough for example:

$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…”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.

Some folks like to say the beginning of this part of Ardmore where Viking Pastries building sits was caused when Gillaine’s closed. Actually, it’s when that behemoth of a Godzilla apartment building was approved and is now rising behind where the former movie theater/public parking lot is now rising that has done this. That is my personal opinion, and many share that even if they won’t verbalize it. After all, during the days of eminent domain we learned the price of activism and doing the right thing, didn’t we?

Those of us who were the ORIGINAL Save Ardmore Coalition (we did all the heavy lifting for years before the last folks who assumed the mantle made the group look silly with litigation a decade too late IMHO) predicted things like this years ago. No parking, lots of construction issues, no real support of businesses from the township and this downtown is simply not sustainable.

After all for how many years did a very small band of volunteers led by Sherry Tillman put on First Friday Main Line? And that was done without any real help of the township every single month. All they tried to do was put up impediments and it was amazing free publicity of a positive kind that they literally couldn’t pay for that we provided.

And while they would provide some kind of insurance (I don’t remember which kind) under some umbrella with the township and all sorts of help for those Bryn Mawr twilight concerts, First Friday Main Line had to pay for everything on their own. I was just looking through photos of First Friday Main Line the other day looking for more photos of Viking Pastries.  First Friday Main Line inspired lots of other events on and off the Main Line.  It was amazing. And the events were not dependent on alcohol, either. People came for the art, music, and sense of community.

Why Ardmore has the issues it does can be laid right at the steps of the township building.

And people like to forget the days of eminent domain. And abuse we received at the hands of the township and their cheerleaders an even paid publicists.

When Lower Merion Township first started that eminent domain debacle it was the whole block from Pennywise down to the corner of Station Rd where Radio Shack was. They wanted EVERYTHING.

Then with the help of folks like the Institute for Justice we defeated that. But it was exhausting, debilitating, time consuming, and took years. However, that was worth it. Eminent domain for private gain is disgusting.

And does anyone remember from where Ardmore went off the rails to eminent domain in the first place? Some commissioners wanted a new train station.  Then other suggested improvement upon the idea of a train station and it morphed into a bloated ridiculous eminent domain-laden plan.

After eminent domain there was no rest for the weary, Lower Merion Township put Ardmore and township residents through the whole insanity of RFPs for development around the train station post-eminent domain (which included a new train station to this day no one has ever seen.) We sat through meeting after meeting for a couple of years and some of us (myself included) got roped into this phony blaoney “Ad Hoc Ardmore Committee”. I resigned from all of it in 2011 when I got my breast cancer diagnosis and I am so glad. Dealing with Lower Merion Township and trying to actually SAVE Ardmore from greed and stupidity was exhausting. And in retrospect, ultimately futile.

In the end there is NO new train station just that hideous Godzilla apartment tower and other bad infill development on the old movie theater side of Lancaster Ave. You see they also allowed poorly executed zoning overlays which in my opinion were essentially developed to give the developers more leeway at the expense of residents and businesses. In Ardmore it was called MUST or Mixed Use Special Transit. At the time we changed the acronym to mean More Unfair Special Treatment.

So again, if you want to talk about the beginning of the end, the beginning starts with Lower Merion Township and their elected and appointed officials.

I am glad I don’t live in Lower Merion any longer. It’s futile – IMHO they are screwing up the entire township not just poor Ardmore. This is also why I hate going to any township or borough meetings anywhere.

Enjoy the photos that are part of my memories of the Ardmore I loved so much once upon a time.  Thanks for the memories, Ardmore.

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development bug growing? wake up great valley school district and residents before it’s too late….

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File under who bought the farm?

Yes. Development whining shall now commence.

If you don’t like it, move off of the page now.

At present, it is a lovely swath of land on Monument in Willistown called Troutbeck Farm. However, as per Willistown’s Planning Commission Agenda for August 8, 2018 it is another parcel up for a cram plan. According to Willistown’s development list on their website it’s up for 35 homes on a 37 lot subdivision.

trout 1w3

Now I know some will say it’s “only” 35 homes.  (Like Willistown’s Paoli Walk is “only” 30 townhomes and the old Daylesford Abbey land development  now the preposterously titled Chapel Hill Paoli is “only” 55 homes)

You can CLICK HERE to check out the Willistown Development List. And I think much like East Goshen, Willistown records nothing so if you do not attend meetings, you don’t necessarily know what is going on do you?

(I am not going into  Easttown’s , Tredyffrin’s or East Goshen Township’s sock drawers at the moment because they aren’t in Great Valley School District.  Doesn’t mean I don’t wonder about development and politics there too, but I digress…)

But anyway…. a lot of us wonder if Great Valley School District has Captain Oblivious at the helm because there is SO much development in various stages in this school district in Chester County.  People always think it’s just East Whiteland, but multiple municipalities make up this district.  And they all are little development islands in a bigger development sea in Chester County.

And no, before all you school district cheerleaders jump all over me, I am NOT questioning how good the district is at present. I am questioning the school district’s perennial lack of interest in a topic which affects all of the families, taxpayers, and most importantly students: DEVELOPMENT WITHIN THE DISTRICT.

willistown

According to Niche and Patch as of August 1, 2018, Great Valley is ranked 11th in the state. Think they’ll maintain that if the unchecked development continues? Haven’t they done eminent domain before in this district? How will they remain so good if the schools are so huge we’re ready for Great Valley East and Great Valley West? Are their school board members awake?

I found three documents courtesy of Willistown:

17302 Plans 10 SWM Troutbeck Farms

Troutbeck_Development-Narrative-17-05-05

Troutbeck_Traffic-Planning-3

Apparently this has been going on for a few years?

According to Willistown, Troutbeck Development LLC is responsible for this plan. When you put that LLC name into Google you get:

where is trout llc

When you put the address into Google you get:

moser

Et voilà ! Another development is born in Chester County.  Don’t worry all livestock, horses, and crops will fit nicely on top of all of the Wegmans and Whole Foods Markets. And we don’t need open space.  Just traffic, pollution, infrastructure woes, and over-population issues, stressed out first responders, and school districts busting at the seams.

And what started all of this today?

The Philadelphia Business Journal heralding yet another development plan for East Whiteland in the Great Valley School District:

GMH Capital buys properties along Main Line

By Natalie Kostelni – Reporter, Philadelphia Business Journal
Aug 6, 2018, 1:31pm EDT

 ew yuck

GMH Capital Partners has paid $3.2 million in two separate transactions to buy several properties along Route 30 in Frazer, Pa., for a proposed mixed-use development.

The Newtown Square, Pa., real estate company assembled and bought the parcels as part of its plans to develop a four-story apartment building with retail space. Those plans have been going through the approval process in East Whiteland.

Mind you, East Whiteland seems to love development that comes it’s way (just look at this 2017 list.) Not being mean, this township has earned it’s pro-development reputation, has it not?

The old Frazer Lanes has been closed for a while.  (CLICK HERE for old Loop Net commercial real estate listing. Click HERE for another listing which is where aerial photo came from.)

Google maps gives us another look:

google maps

According to the article it’s the bowling alley, the trailer park next door, and the gas station.  The gas station is 558 Lancaster Ave, Frazer Lanes I think was 554 Lancaster Ave, and the trailer park is Norbros Circle These properties were mention in the 2017 fall issued land assumptions report in East Whiteland. I think they are also somewhere in the Route 30 Corridor Study.

Development, development, development.

Just yikes. But when it comes to this particular development can they build if the Alley Pub stays put? After all isn’t that in between Frazer Lanes and the Pioneer gas station?  The cheese stands alone? Can they withstand a big developer and survive as long as they choose? Here’s hoping the Alley Pub survives, right? It is after all the last of the old school joints in these parts isn’t it?

Speaking of development in East Whiteland, there is a petition circulating which was created in opposition to a development plan over on Flat Road.  The petition is called simply PETITION IN OPPOSITION TO FLAT ROAD DEVELOPMENT.  I am not the creator of the petition, but I feel for these people.  East Whiteland has been lobbing this around for a while. You can read about it HERE and  on HERE. If you want to see the Flat Road plan, CLICK HERE to go to East Whiteland’s site.  It’s “only” 47 more homes, no biggie, right? (There was an emergency meeting of the East Whiteland Historical Commission this evening about this too – the historic Amish Cemetery is over there.)

Wrong. Not picking on any development or developer in general but all of these “onlys” ADD UP, don’t they?

Soon there will not be one blade of grass left that is not planned for something.

And all of these “onlys” do indeed affect school districts. That readers, is what I got on my soap box about.  Every development adds up through multiple municipalities . This affects school districts.  School districts affect taxes, so do you get the vicious cycle?

Remember…is it not true a lot of things get pushed through local governments during holidays and the dog days of summer?  We live in a world where we must sadly remain ever watchful…and involved.

Thanks for stopping by.