In 2009, lots of people (myself included) started going to billboard hearings in Haverford Township. And in Lower Merion Township. Sometimes we numbered in the 150+ per meeting.
We all also used to protest regularly. The two townships and their solicitors and commissioners were solidly with the community too. They didn’t want these billboards anymore than the residents in these locations.
My friends in small Haverford Township neighborhoods were the most imminently threatened, like my pals on Penn Street, Dayton Road, Lee Avenue, San Marino and more (there are multiple locations in Haverford Township, these were just the streets near me.)
However, my own neighborhood which stretched out behind Our Mother of Good Counsel Church in Lower Merion was potentially affected. And even worse? Where I lived was in a HISTORIC DISTRICT! (Which is why The Lower Merion Conservancy is alerting people to the court hearings beginning today in Media! It’s STILL a historic district!)
Then after a few years of attending meetings which seemed monthly if not more, my life changed. First breast cancer, followed by a move to Chester County, and I thought well at least I don’t have to worry about those ugly billboards anymore, right?
Phoenixville, Charlestown Township, West Whiteland, Tredyffrin now headed for county court, and a lot of them planned for East Whiteland Township.
I get that the billboard company owner wants to sit in traffic and look at his signs￼, but they are his signs. They don’t belong to the community at all. Which is why you see elected officials in Lower Merion and Haverford Townships still fighting for the residents and starting today, if y’all want you can join them in Media:
Also this week? The billboard company is doing a presentation at the Desmond in Malvern on what they want to do in East Whiteland. See this flyer (which I personally did not create but I am sharing):
‼️Is this Chester County or Las Vegas? Good question. ‼️
It’s no secret how I feel about these billboards. I think they’re simply awful. I don’t think they have a place in our communities. I don’t think they do anything positive for our communities. It’s all about somebody else’s sense of capitalism. And while on a certain level I begrudgingly respect their desire to make a buck, they shouldn’t do it at the expense of people in communities everywhere should they?￼￼
The media has not really picked up on billboards in East Whiteland. They should as it is just another in a long long line or list of communities facing the same company.
And why is it that these billboards have to be everywhere? Or anywhere? Let us not forget there are FOUR states in this country that do not have billboards and they seem to live just beautifully.￼ Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine—have prohibited billboards.
The protest photos you are seeing were taken by friends in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania yesterday. This morning I wish my friends who are headed or in court already in Media best of luck￼￼.
As communities near and far we are #StrongerTogether. #NoBillboards
Of course then there is this development on White Horse Road in Malvern.
I don’t even know what this Stepford Mecca is called.
But hell’s bells I guess these local municipalities must really think that we are going to grow our food on top of Whole Foods and Aldi and Wegmans given the rate they are approving developments out of farm land and open space, right?
And when everyone is so surprised when every school district doubles in size splits into two takes land by eminent domain for new buildings, don’t be. This is exactly why it’s happening.
This is also the Chester County Planning Commission and Municipalities Planning Code of Pennsylvania hard at work…for anyone other than the actual residents.
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.
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?
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 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?
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.
Photo Credit East Whiteland Township from their website. From US Library of Congress: Michael Gunkle Spring Mill, Moore Road (East Whiteland Township), Bacton, Chester County, PA
Now I make no secret of the fall house tour events I hold dear in Chester County which are the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust House Tour (I am a sponsor and this year it’s Saturday September 29th) and the tour that started it all for me many moons ago (used to go with my parents long before calling Chester County home) — Chester County Day!
The Women’s Auxiliary to Chester County Hospital has been supporting the hospital for 125 years through numerous fundraising activities and events. One of the beloved fundraisers that has stood the test of time is Chester County Day, the longest running house tour in the United States. This year’s tour will be held Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 10 am to 5 pm. Since its founding in 1936, “The Day,” as it is affectionately called, has raised more than $5 million for the hospital, earning $132,000 last year alone.
This year The Day includes tours of 16 homes and six public structures/historic sites in the northeast quadrant, including Exton, Frazer, Chester Springs, Kimberton, and Phoenixville.
The Day will kick off with the pageantry and excitement of a traditional fox hunt. The hunt will set off promptly at 9 am from Birchrunville. At 10 am guests can begin their tour of this year’s selected properties.
The 2018 tour celebrates the traditional, distinctive architecture of Chester County with some twists. There is a beautifully restored home in West Vincent Township which is believed to have been deeded to a Revolutionary War soldier in payment for his service. Also on the tour is a meticulously kept stone home with great antiques, rugs and a lovingly-cared for garden.
A spectacularly restored Queen Ann-style home is one of the stops in West Whiteland Township. The home was designed and built in 1851 by Andrew Jackson Downing, a prominent advocate of the Gothic Revival in the United States. The fountains, gardens, mahogany-lined rooms and diamond lead-paned windows of this house are remarkable. When the owner first purchased this property, oil had seeped into the basement and water leaked from the attic down to the first floor. The renovation of the home has returned it to its original, unforgettable state. Around the corner is a pristine stone R. Brognard Okie house set on a hill with a beautiful stone-banked garage.
Loch Aerie pre-renovation. My photo.
Loch Aerie Mansion in Frazer will also open its newly revamped doors to the tour this year. Also featured in East Whiteland? Gunkle Spring Mill! Gunkle Mill is a nationally registered historical resource. Michael Gunkle built this his first mill, in 1793. The structure represents post-Revolutionary development in the Great Valley. By 1872 the mill processed 1,800 tons of flour, feed, corn and oats yearly. At the peak of its productivity, the mill ran 18 hours a day. Gunkle Mill is now owned and cared for by East Whiteland Township. The Mill was placed on the Historic Register in 1978. (Check it out on Library of Congress website HERE.)
Attendees will also have the opportunity to tour a nearly 200-year-old farmhouse/manor house in Chester Springs that has been lovingly repurposed as a business office. The structure has retained much of its original woodwork, pocket doors, cabinetry, stair railings, fireplaces and a beautiful English knot garden. Tour-goers can also explore the largest three-story bank barn in the county located in Charlestown Township. The home boasts hand-hewn, scored beams.
Phoenixville is represented by a restored farmhouse with a pool house that was once the residence of farmhands. Eighteenth and 20th century homes on the grounds of the former Pickering Hunt are optional next stops for attendees. Two houses will be open in Rapps Corner, with the convenience of parking at one home to tour both. Each of the stone houses has been maintained and updated in very individual styles, while respecting the historic bones of each building.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Chester Springs will serve as a lunch stop, where pre-ordered boxed lunches by Arianna’s Gourmet Café will be available.
The Day offers two ticket options, a regular priced $50 ticket or a $100 VIP ticket. The VIP package includes an invitation to the preview party in September, as well as a gourmet boxed lunch provided by Montesano Bros Italian Market & Catering at an exclusive house tour open only to VIP ticket holders.
With a GPS and a Chester County Day map (that you will receive when you purchase your ticket) the beautiful architecture and bucolic roads of the county are yours to explore!
When:Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Northeast Quadrant of Chester County
Tickets: On sale from July 1, 2018 online; September 4th by mail or at the satellite locations listed on their website.
$50 purchased via web, phone or in person
$100 VIP tickets, which includes a VIP Reception and Preview Cocktail party at Historic Yellow Springs, Sunday, September 23; Otto’s Mini of Exton, PA will provide a Mini Cooper for qualified guests with purchased VIP tickets, while supplies last and a private tour of a special VIP house with a gourmet boxed lunch served by Montesano Bros Italian Market & Catering. VIP tickets are also available at all satellite locations, as well as via web and phone. (See ChesterCountyDay.com for details.)
More Information: Want to know more about the tour? Attend one of the free public preview lectures throughout the county. For a list of dates and locations, or to download a podcast visit: www.ChesterCountyDay.com
ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE: I am writing this post because I want to and because I attend this event. I purchase my own tickets and am a grateful supporter of The Women’s Auxiliary to Chester County Hospital.
I have written twice about my concerns over Adelphia Gateway. Once HERE, and then HERE.
A small group of my friends and I met with Adelphia the other day. We had a small parlor meeting. The meeting with Adelphia was not unpleasant I am happy to report. Many questions still, but a nice opening conversation. Hopefully with the help of folks like the Pipeline Safety Coalition and other groups East Whiteland will be part of the larger community conversations.
I have been concerned because there is not much information available (as one example) to residents in East Whiteland to date.
There is a lot to be learned about pipelines. There’s a lot to be learned about the safety aspect. And I learned that there are a lot of things unanswered with regard to this and other pipelines when it comes to safety. This pipeline is in East Pikeland, Phoenixville, Charlestown, Westtown, and East Goshen unless I am looking at the map incorrectly.
Some residents in seem better informed to date depending upon the municipality. Sadly, East Whiteland residents are in the dark in my opinion, and East Whiteland Township has the distinction of NOT filing an intervenor status with FERC and Adelphia’s application, which I have to ask why not? What does it lose to be better informed for your residents? What does it hurt to be a better advocate for said aforementioned residents?
Things that are also concerning is the system that is supposed to tell you how deep certain pipes are isn’t necessarily accurate – which is why some water mains have gotten hit.
Some unanswered questions include whether or not Adelphia will need more land from people down the road and if it’s just gas or if it will be “other hydrocarbons”. And what the “other hydrocarbons” could be. I understand that no one has a crystal ball and can’t see into the future, but there has to be some idea somewhere of what “other hydrocarbons” might be and isn’t that reasonable?
Adelphia has PUC status indirectly through Interstate from whom they are buying the pipeline but they do not have their own PUC status pending the outcome with FERC. Land agents are around so you all need to know that. FERC *may* give approval as early as the fall for Adelphia but it’s not a done deal. And if approvals are conditional from FERC it could be a lot longer – see Penn East pipeline as an example (conditional approval like 4 years so far?)
That being said residents should also be aware that land agents working for these companies are not regulated with in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Hinging on THAT is do not sign anything if these land agents are coming through at this point because Adelphia does not have its own stand-alone PUC status.
Do not sign your rights away and if they give you anything, give it to an attorney.
The sections of pipeline are 12 inch, 18 inch, and 20 inch. This pipeline was put in circa 1970s don’t have an exact date.
Adelphia is planning on re-purposing 50 miles of pipeline. This particular pipeline is a total of 84 miles from Lower Mt. Bethel through to Marcus Hook in Delco.
50 miles that concern us start south (not a directional genius so I hope that is right?) of Bucks County and have not been used for anything since 2014. This line is currently a petroleum line they wish to convert to gas and “other hydrocarbons”.
No one knows at this point if they will just stick to this pipeline or if they will become more like Mariner II. In other words, will it be more complicated with more construction and problems like we have seen in East Goshen, West Goshen, West Whiteland, etc etc.
The person who came out and met with us is with Bravo Group PR. I understand she has or had Mariner II as a client as well. Her name is Ivana Wolfe. She is actually connected to a lot of Republicans I know or know of. Went to Villanova. Very bright, very nice. I really like her even if I do not trust her client.
We may have lived with these pipelines underground for decades but there is a big difference in using them for petroleum versus gas and other things.
My head is swimming with terms like shut off valves and blow downs. I also learned more about PHMSA through the department of transportation — Pipeline Hazardous Materials Administration (I think I got it straight!)Blowdowns if I have the definition right are systems that do a complete venting of the natural gas within a compressor or pipeline to the atmosphere, to reduce pressure and empty the system. These typically either occur during an emergency shutdown or during routine station maintenance. (Read more here, kind of concerning in my opinion.)
With regard to blowdowns, I heard yesterday elsewhere that one will go in East Goshen? Is it really planned to go next-door to East Goshen’s park? Or is that just a rumor? How will that impact mother nature, the people who use the park, and the people who live around the park if true?
Are East Goshen’s newish Supervisors really on top of their game here when it comes to pipelines? I ask because I have heard mixed reviews and I wonder if they are listening to the environmental and pipeline safety group formed by residents (East Goshen Safety and Environmental Advocates) who have been doing a lot of research?
To be fair to East Goshen, I heard the following which is good news:
I am concerned with pipelines in general in East Whiteland in part because if you look at the interactive maps found on the Chester County Planning Commission website you see that in East Whiteland (for example), it looks like once again pipelines are near elementary schools?
And will the Adelphia/Interstate pipeline run right down the center of that new cul de sac development planned for the farmette that was sold on Morstein?
The bottom line is we aren’t little islands in the pipeline storm no matter where we live, we are part of a bigger community. The better our communities share with one and other the better we all are for it. That is why these community groups keeps springing up with regard to pipelines. If our local governments aren’t going to act on their own, they need encouragement from the public. Sometimes they need a lot of encouragement, depending upon the municipality.
I will still be honest and say I am still anti-pipeline based on what I have seen thus far. I am always willing to listen and learn but at my core I think we’re getting the short end of the stick in Pennsylvania and Chester County.
I will note I found the following on Adelphia and it has to do with this pipeline they wish to repurpose around Chester County, etc:
So yeah people, Adelphia is here with the pipeline party and land agents are around. If your municipality is not being particularly proactive, and where you live falls along this pipeline, time to contact your supervisors, commissioners, borough council people – whomever represents you. Especially in townships like East Whiteland which are quite frankly in my opinion behind the eight ball when it comes to pipelines.
No one knows if any of these pipelines when they come to town are just repurposing forever, if the repurposing will work, if the pipelines are in perfect shape, or what the impact is really when you lay it all out petroleum versus gas and “other hydrocarbons” .
There are also so many safety questions that it makes your head spin. Petroleum is not as volatile as gas. Period. So even a simple, or what is presented as a simple pipeline repurposing, is not necessarily easy-peasy simple no worries. There are worries.
We are all connected in this pipeline mess in Chester County.It’s our county, we live here. Our homes are our castles and our own little slice of heaven.
We need to quite simply, defend what we love. We have to also think and act responsibly.