big anti-billboard turnout in east whiteland

It was a packed room with people standing on the sides of the room for the Billboard hearings in East Whiteland tonight.

Tonight was about establishing party status for people with regard to each individual hearing for each individual application. As kind of expected pretty much everyone was objected to and if Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny had been present they would’ve been objected to as well.

The meeting was honestly quite contentious at times and once the video is up I will post a link so people can see it for themselves. One thing I did not care for was when East Whiteland ‘s solicitor threatened to have police remove a resident. It was a woman, a very nice woman whom I actually know, and she didn’t understand the process.

And that was something tonight that I thought was problematic – it was very confusing trying to understand the process. I sort of understood the process, or most of the process because I’ve been to these hearings before, but I was in the distinct minority and it wasn’t explained well.

Ginny Kerslake from West Whiteland showed up and suggested that East Whiteland do what West Whiteland did and request a full scale test of the signs.  That’s a really good common sense suggestion so I hope it happens.

Also the billboard company is going to have an open house coming up for residents of East Whiteland at the Desmond Hotel. I am a little fuzzy on the date ( I *think* it is Thursday, January 23 at 7 PM) and as soon as I have clarity I will post it here. I would suggest that residents go.

I have a feeling this is the first of many, many Billboard hearings. Tonight you had people showing up with legitimate reasons for wanting party status other than immediate proximity to the locations. Health impacts. Serious health impacts. I will give East Whiteland Supervisors kudos here for standing up for those residents, in particular, Supervisor Rich Orlow.

Anyway good job East Whiteland residents and others. Not a fun meeting for anyone. but if you care about your community this is just one of those issues where you have to keep showing up.

I did not see anyone from State Senator Dinniman’s office or anyone from State Rep. Kristine Howard’s office either.

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

P.k. Ditty photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#DefendWhatYouLove

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

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

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

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

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

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

#CleanWater is a human right.

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

#AllIWantForChristmas

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

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

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

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

*Resolution 64/292

**Article I, section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution

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

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

east whiteland: billboard hearing january 15, 2020 at 7 pm. be there or be a billboard.

no billboards 2

The news came down early from the East Whiteland Planning Commission where this was supposed to be discussed:

agenda

Now we already established that East Whiteland Outdoor was Catalyst. As in wants billboards in Lower Merion, Haverford Township, West Whiteland Township, Tredyffrin Township and basically any place they can shove a sign and make dough-ray-me. It’s not about first amendment rights to sell advertising space on billboards, or fitting in with a community, or beautifying a community, or helping a community it’s like a Howard Johnson’s dine and dash isn’t it? They come in, make money, right?

Well no, actually WRONG.  We LIVE here, right? I guess you could say the billboard people live her too but would they put giant billboards on their front lawns? NOPE.

So this came back to me early:

Planning

The company was a NO SHOW.  Were they at a Christmas party or something? I mean how disrespectful to East Whiteland’s Planning Commission and residents was THAT?

Some one else wrote:

I just came from the planning commission meeting. The applicant (sign company) did not show up and the commission recommended unanimously against approval. they are advisory to the supervisors. The supervisors will have a conditional use hearing on Jan 15,2020 at 7pm unless they reschedule….As the solicitor pointed out, that hearing is like a legal hearing and there is a public comment period but it is last. The hearing could be continued into extra hearings until they finally get to public comment…. It is vitally important to get a show of as many citizens as possible at that Jan 15 meeting. No one in the township is in favor of these billboards as one neighbor pointed out tonight. They do not accept letters or petitions at the hearing. You have to show up in person.

They are CORRECT. No EXCUSES. People have to SHOW UP. Even from other affected municipalities because there are so many municipalities dealing with this SAME company.  Just ask other communities like  Lower Merion, Haverford Township, West Whiteland Township, Tredyffrin Township,  East Pikeland Township, and Phoenixville Borough (which said NO and prevailed incidentally)

The Phoenix: 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…‘The clear and unambiguous language of the zoning ordinance permits an occupant to have one freestanding sign per lot subject to the terms of the zoning ordinance,’ Tunnell wrote in a 16-page decision. ‘Billboards and off-permises sign are included … and are permitted in the borough.

‘Therefore the board properly concluded that there is no de jure prohibition and exclusion and (Chester County Outdoor’s) substantive validity challenge mist be denied.’

The decision was greeted with satisfaction by attorney Anthony Verwey of the West Chester firm of Unruh, Burke, Turner & Frees, who was appointed to act as special counsel for Phoenixville Borough Council in the case.

Now Tredyffrin is still in court with Captain Billboard as per Tredyffrin Blogger Pattye Benson.

So residents of Chester County and elsewhere? Aren’t we #StrongerTogether? We should all be getting to these meetings. Yes they take time. Trust me I know, I literally spent almost every month for years going to billboard hearings in Lower Merion Township and Haverford Township.  And here we are again, everything old is new again…this time in East Whiteland and Tredyffrin.  Also can’t forget West Whiteland.  Issue may be dormant for now, but is it gone?

West Whiteland made them demonstrate a live version of what a sign would look like at 500 N. Pottstown Pike in 2018. (See this letter that went out at the time.) Then there was a meeting. For now not sure what is going on with billboards in West Whiteland, but based on past patterns of this company, can we say they will be back?

Hey, a related aside: is there a billboard Terminator? Asking for lots of friends.

So from Scenic America:

To learn more about billboard blight and what you can do about it, click on any of the issue areas below:

The Truth about Billboards

Digital Billboards

Legal Issues and Billboards

Public Opinion on Billboards

Tools for action

On-Premise Sign Control

And don’t forget three states in this country prohibit billboards: Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine. So it IS possible.

As per East Whiteland these are the applications in front of them:

02-2019-CU Application

02-2019-CU Plan

104 Linc Hwyproperty 1property 1a

03-2019 CU 323 Lancaster Ave

03-2019-CU Application

323 Lancproperty 2property 2a

04-2019-CU Application 32 Lancaster Avenue

04-2019 CU Plan

32 Lancproperty 3property 3 a

Ok the locations and applications are public record. East Whiteland Township posted the information on their website along with the applications. What bugs me is the township seems to have had these applications for months? Yikes.

So there you have it.  That is all the information available to the best of my knowledge.  The media doesn’t find this a sexy issue apparently because I did not hear of any media coverage to date over the potential of billboards in East Whiteland.  But what if they just looked at the fact that as well as elsewhere, the townships of Tredyffrin, East Whiteland, and West Whiteland all have a common problem here?

I don’t have a crystal ball.  What  I do know is residents need to show up in force at the billboard hearing January 15, 2020 at 7 pm. They need to be there or be a billboard.

stronger

no billboards for christmas please, east whiteland

Just when you think more headaches can’t possibly arise for East Whiteland residents, along comes the possibility of…..BILLBOARDS…BIG ELECTRONIC ones.

So riddle me this East Whiteland— why did you spend ridiculous amounts of taxpayer money on a Route 30 Corridor Study only to allow further deterioration via billboards? I mean What The ever loving F ? is Lancaster Ave / Route 30 / Lincoln Highway supposed to improve by being turned into I-95 in Philadelphia by GIANT television screens that are on 24/7/365? You haven’t even addressed the smaller one that blinds people near Lincoln Court!

Way to sneak in the holiday surprise, right? (Here is the link to the Planning Commission Agenda but the links to each of the items on billboard, but those links go absolutely nowhere right now .)

And about the E. Whiteland Outdoor, LLC?

So does that mean East Whiteland now has a lot in common with other townships like Tredyffrin, Haverford, Coatesville, and even more? (See the Community Matters Blog in Tredyffrin.)

And hey East Whiteland all those apartment dwellers you want on Route 30? Townhouses, etc? Do you really think these people and future residents want to have to buy blackout shades to avoid the glare of I-95 in Chester County? Because that is what people already face driving by that small non-related overly bright TV in front of part of Lincoln Court, right?

And it looks like East Whiteland zoning for off premises signs doesn’t exactly match the supposed spirit of what they supposedly wish to accomplish with the Route 30 Corridor Study?

I just can’t EVEN with this township. Sign me disgusted. If YOU are disgusted too please go to the Christmas Surprise Planning Commission Meeting. Wednesday December 18th at 7 PM. East Whiteland Township is located at 209 Conestoga Road, Frazer, PA 19355

december demolition

39 East Montgomery Avenue, 41 East Montgomery Avenue and 108 Glenn Road – all on the Montgomery Avenue side of the Suburban Square neighborhood in North Ardmore.

(Here is an interior tour of one of the homes demolished.)

I remember all of these houses. I used to walk my dogs past them when I lived on the Main Line. This is in Lower Merion Township (see page 29 if you click on hyperlink.) This plan has been around a few years as per a Main Line Media News article from November, 2018.

One of my readers from the Main Line sent me these photos.

Two of these homes were converted into apartments many, many years ago.

These three homes all were built between 1900-1920. These homes housed about 10 residents prior to this demolition from what I was told.

Once upon a time I knew some of the people who lived here. Hardwood floors, amazing woodwork, and architectural details that withstood the test of time. These homes, although rentals, still had gardens. Lovely, established gardens.

I still remember when I first saw inside one of the houses. I was in awe. AMAZING. The tenants were house proud.

But like other cool old houses I have been enamored of in the township I used to call home, they have been demolished.

When completed, There will be 21 three bedroom residences and 42 parking spaces. This is what will replace three once graceful and beautiful homes as per the developer’s website:

The developer describes his project thusly:

Inspired by the stately and legendary architectural heritage of the iconic Main Line, 39 MONTGOMERY offers 21 private residences suited to the way people live today. Gracefully proportioned, the combination of limestone and brick façade harmoniously blends with both residential neighbors and commercial Suburban Square.

I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I just do not see any of that. I did see that description in the three places torn down. They were definitely gracefully proportioned. And well-maintained. Timeless. Elegant.

I have known quite a few people who lived on and around Glenn Road. I wonder what they think?

I remember hearing how the residents of these now torn down homes attended many meetings in Lower Merion Township. It made me so sad. Been there, done that.

Once upon a time when I lived not too far from where these homes stood, my then neighborhood also had a December demolition. I still haven’t forgotten those houses. They were in a “historic district”. December, 2008. Here is an image from that day:

I remember what it felt like that day in December long ago. It was so sad. Like watching a neighborhood get torn apart for someone else’s version / vision of “progress”.

This is what the Glenn Road house specifically looked like:

Maybe my thoughts on “progress” like this don’t matter. Riddle me this however: when does it matter what residents in municipalities facing all this infill development they really don’t want are feeling?

RIP to three really and truly lovely homes.

life’s little observations

s-l1600

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

oh just get out there and vote

Tomorrow is Election Day.

Election Day is your chance as an American to be heard.

Tomorrow is one of those off-year elections where there is not a presidential election attached. It doesn’t mean it’s not important. It’s important.

To those of us who live in Chester County it’s important local races, county-wide races, and judicial races.

Yes I do express at times who I feel is a good candidate and who I feel is a poor candidate and I’ve done that this election season. And no one has to like my opinion, it’s my opinion because it’s what I’m thinking about.

I’m just asking you all to think period.

There are issues with both major political parties. Hello? That’s why I became a registered Independent.

Tomorrow is the general election. I would be happy to vote in the primaries but that’s what I gave up for the ability to be an Independent. Other states have open primaries, Pennsylvania is not so progressive.

I believe in splitting my ticket because I think we are best served by balance not one party rule. One party rule is like the monarchy our founding fathers escaped from to found this country in the first place!

Get out and vote. Make your own decisions and be educated about it. Read the campaign finance reports.

Keep an eye on the birds of a feather of it all. And my other favorite, our wolves in sheep’s clothing, the politically expedient who become members of political parties they weren’t originally not because their belief system necessarily changed and they had an epiphany, but because it’s politically expedient to become something else to get what they want. That’s patently dishonest.

And remember the pipelines. Make them an election issue.

Peace out.