not our pipeline: will adelphia gateway llc be mariner east-lite?

State Sen. Andy Dinniman. Photo from Sunday 2/18/2018 courtesy of Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety’s Facebook Page

About a month ago, I wrote a post about how I feel about the pipelines tearing up Chester County. The post was titled not our pipeline.

I am thinking not our pipeline needs to be a blog category.

Why?

Chester County is under siege from gas pipelines and Sunoco Logistics/Mariner East has proven these companies don’t care about anything other than their profits, etcetera right?

And how can we say the companies are safe?  Given the sinkholes, polluted wells, explosion fears and more?

Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety photo

In 2017 Chester County had a multitude of polluted wells, sinkholes, and other issues from pipeline projects.  They all do that horizontal or slanted drilling and it’s being done next to firehouses, schools, too close to homes, correct?  How is this all allowed again?

I am a cancer survivor. I am terrified of polluted wells.  I am terrified of pipelines.  They destroy our properties, have serious potential to lessen our property values, and here in Chester County we have a lot of limestone and other shifting kinds of soils that means we get sinkholes. (Remember that house that made the news because of one after pipeline drilling came to visit?)

And yes, there are people who are strangely OK with pipelines on their properties.  That is their right.  But if you look at it from a purely practical financial perspective, are they even adequately compensated for their land? Are they not only given a small one time paltry fee and is it not true that for subsequent pipeline owners, they don’t have to pay the land owner if new pipeline owners come in? It’s not like any affected land owners get annual compensation is there?

So economically speaking, is it ever worth it to let these gas pipeline leeches on your property? I don’t think so. To me it’s like having perpetual squatters who can cause explosions, pollute your wells, etc.

For the initial not our pipeline post I received positive comments, supportive comments, and threatening comments.  To those who disagree with me I say simply: First Amendment.  They haven’t repealed that yet in Washington.

So I learned the other day about another pipeline company.  And again with the re-purposing of old pipes for new gas and gas products which is so truly concerning. As a matter of fact The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration issued a warning about this in September, 2014, didn’t they?

The company is one I am not familiar with called Adephia. And they are going to be sailing through Chester County PA and places like East Whiteland and East Goshen Townships because they are acquiring the old Interstate Energy pipeline. (If I am reading the map correctly – plug your address in here on the Pipeline Information Center Mapping Application.

(Yes that handy interactive map can tell you where the pipelines are.  I have friends who are NOT buying a house in a certain Chester County location because of the proximity of a pipeline to a property they were interested in.)

 

Kallanish Energy Daily News and Analysis: Pipeline buyer proposes converting line to gas from oil

The buyer of an 84-mile, 250,000-cubic-foot capacity pipeline in the Philadelphia area plans to convert the pipeline from oil to natural gas, adding new compression and valve stations to move fuel to its Marcus Hook, Pa., destination.

Adelphia Gateway, which said in November it was buying the pipeline for $189 million from Talen Energy, filed its 1,285-page application last week with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Adelphia, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, announced the filing late Monday, the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported…..Adelphia Gateway plans to convert the southern 50-mile portion of the line, which formerly carried oil but has been idle since 2014, to transport gas southward to customers in the state’s counties of Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware.

 

So these companies all seem to say this is for our benefit until we the people discover it’s not?

I am not familiar with New Jersey Resources, either. The CEO is Laurence M. Downes.

According to Bloomberg, New Jersey Resources is in Wall, NJ and Mr. Downes compensation as of end of 2016 was  $4,875,320 and here is his bio:

Mr. Laurence M. Downes has been the Chairman of the Board of New Jersey Resources Corporation since September 1996 and has been its President and Chief Executive Officer since July 1995. Mr. Downes serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of New Jersey Natural Gas, NJR Clean Energy Ventures, NJR Energy Services, NJR Midstream and NJR Service Corporation. He has been a Director at New Jersey Resources Corporation since 1995 and Energen Corporation since May 2017. He serves as the Chairman of John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development’s National Advisory Board and Member of National Petroleum Council. Mr. Downes is a Director of the American Gas Association, Trustee of the American Gas Foundation, and a Member of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Mr. Downes provides the Board with strong leadership and direction and a considerable amount of experience.He served as a Director of Questar Corporation from 2010 to September 2016. Mr. Downe has extensive knowledge of the energy industry, experience as the leader of the Company and innovative thinking. Mr. Downes’ board positions at other natural gas and energy-focused organizations have positioned him to bring experience and industry knowledge to his position as Chairman of the Board.Mr. Downes’ years of service on the Board, he has developed extensive knowledge in the areas of leadership, strategy, safety, risk oversight, management and corporate governance, each of which provides great value to the Board. He served as Chairman of the American Gas Association, Trustee of the American Gas Foundation. Mr. Downes is a Graduate of Iona College with B.B.A. in Finance and M.B.A.

Remind me again how Chester County residents are “compensated” for pipelines?

Yeah….. Not such a nice mental picture, is it?

So according to the Chester County Planning Website:

Interstate Energy Company (a subsidiary of Talen Energy) was acquired by New Jersey Resources’ Adelphia Gateway, LLC in November of 2017. As a result, the Interstate Energy Company content has been migrated to Adelphia Gateway, LLC’s website. Visit Website

The Adelphia Gateway Project, traversing portions of Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks and Northampton counties will convert the remaining 50 miles of an existing 84-mile pipeline in southeastern Pennsylvania from oil to natural gas delivery. The northern 34 miles of the pipeline — extending from western Bucks County to Martins Creek Terminal in Northampton County — were converted to deliver natural gas in 1996. This project will repurpose the southern 50-mile portion of the pipeline to flow natural gas utilizing existing infrastructure and will require minimal new construction. Once converted, the pipeline will transport approximately 91 million dekatherms per year of natural gas to the greater Philadelphia market.

When in service, the pipeline conversion from oil to natural gas will give customers in the greater Philadelphia area a new, “competitively-priced” source of natural gas. Adelphia Gateway intends to have delivery interconnects with local distribution companies (LDCs) and other industrial end users, such as natural gas-powered electric generation facilities, in various locations along the pipeline route.

A full project description and mapping can be viewed at the following links:

Project Activity

Adelphia Gateway, LLC applies to FERC for Certificate of Public Convenience

January 23, 2018 — Adelphia Gateway, LLC (Adelphia) filed an application for Adelphia Gateway Project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a certificate authority to acquire and convert certain existing pipeline and auxiliary facilities, to construct additional auxiliary facilities, and to own and operate the existing and new facilities as an interstate natural gas pipeline system. View Letter

You can also view Adelphia’s application on the FERC website. Select the eLibrary link from the left hand side (green and white image of a computer mouse), select eLibrary from the left column, and then use the “general search” for the Adelphia Gateway Project, and enter Docket Number CP18-46. You can also find information on the proposed project on the company’s website.  Contact information listed for the project is 800-843-3179 or info@adelphiagateway.com.

 

 

 

My head is spinning. How many of these companies are going to pop up???  How much of Chester County is going to be destroyed??

#DefendWhatYouLove #NoMorePipelines #MarinerEastLite

I strongly suggest people contact State Senator Andrew Dinniman:

http://www.senatordinniman.com/contact-us/contact-senator-dinniman

One North Church Street West Chester, PA 19380 Phone: 610.692.2112 Fax: 610.436.1721

I called and left a message for Don in Dinniman’s office.  That is whom I was told was taking pipeline related phone calls.

Call or email the township where you live.

You can also file an e-comment with FERC in Washington DC:

https://ferconline.ferc.gov/QuickComment.aspx

You may also still be able to file as an Intervenor Out of Time:

https://ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp

The docket number for Adelphia Gateway LLC is CP18-46-000 .

East Goshen Township filed as an Intervenor Out of Time.  I can’t find anything on East Whiteland’s website. I am very pleased to see East Goshen act in a timely manner. East Goshen Township now has a stand alone page on their website for Adelphia Gateway.

Adelphia Gateway on Twitter is @AdelphiaGateway

There is an ANTI- Adelphia Gateway Page on Facebook (I did not create it) called:

Stop The Adelphia Gateway

Other things to read in the news about Adelphia:

Saucon Source Letter to the Editor: Adelphia Pipeline Project is Dangerous, Unnecessary
By: JOSH POPICHAK | February 13, 2018 (Excerpt only click on article title to read all of it)

Editor’s Note: A portion of the Adelphia pipeline passes through Lower Saucon Township.  

 

…In an age of so many renewable and sustainable energy alternatives is it still necessary to entertain such dangerous energy enterprises as reactivating defunct pipelines? Living in the impact zone of a natural gas pipeline is no joke. Residents along the southern portion of the previously “deactivated” Interstate pipeline are in for a grave wake-up call.

The newly-named Adelphia Gateway Pipeline Project filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity on Jan. 11, 2018This pipeline, previously the Interstate line held by Talen Generation LLC, has its own environmental impacts, risks and safety hazards, and in fact, has had anomalies occur in the recent past that have resulted in repairs to the line. Any campaign to diminish the negative impacts of this project only continues to compromise the health and safety of Pennsylvanians….Additionally, with the recent approval of the PennEast Pipeline’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, there is some discrepancy about the redundancy of projects, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order does make a record of the fact that “the expansion of existing pipeline systems was not a feasible alternative.” So, it’s interesting to find the Adelphia Gateway project submitted on the FERC docket within only a few weeks of FERC’s order granting PennEast permission to move forward with proceedings to condemn properties across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where many landowners have still refused to sign easement agreements with PennEast.

For more information please visit https://www.pipeinfo.org/adelphia. If you are concerned about the impacts of this project, please file a comment on the Federal Energy Regulatory Docket under Docket #CP18-46-000 at https://www.ferc.gov.

 

Lehigh Valley Live: Gas pipeline proposed from Martins Creek to Philadelphia
Updated Dec 30; Posted Dec 30

Adelphia Gateway plans to apply in early 2018 for project approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Operation of the existing line is regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, and once conversion is complete it would be regulated by FERC…..Environmentalists are critical of the proposal. The New Jersey Sierra Club voiced concern about New Jersey Resources’ role as a member company in the PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC proposal to build a 36-inch-diameter line from the Marcellus Shale region in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County to Mercer County, New Jersey.

Philly.com: Business — Energy
Adelphia unveils its 84-mile natural gas pipeline through Philly; Will it spur protests?
Updated: JANUARY 16, 2018 — 12:33 PM EST by Andrew Maykuth, Staff Writer

The buyer of an 84-mile pipeline encircling Philadelphia has disclosed detailed plans to convert the pipeline from oil to natural gas, saying the project would require several new compressor and valve stations to move fuel to its Marcus Hook destination.

Adelphia Gateway LLC, which announced in November it is buying the underused pipeline for $189 million from Talen Energy Corp., filed its 1,285-page applicationFriday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Adelphia, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, announced the filing late Monday.

 

#DefendWhatYouLove #NoMorePipelines #MarinerEastLite

I do not know about you, but I am over gas pipelines. It’s like Sisyphus has moved on from rocks to pipelines.

#DefendWhatYouLove #NoMorePipelines #MarinerEastLite

Photo courtesy of Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety

heaven on earth is home

It looks like a painting. But it is real life.  Taken a short time ago over in Westtown.  I made my last trip probably to Pete’s Produce for the season.  (They have the most fabulous pumpkins this year, but I digress.)

Heaven on earth is where we call home here in Chester County.  Traveling through the scarred battle zone of raped land of the Sunoco Logistics Pipeline horror show to get to Pete’s really made an impression today.

We as residents need to do a better job advocating for Chester County herself.  Election Day will be here in a blink.  The power of your vote is one of the greatest ways to be heard.  Those who are NOT stewards of the land need to GO.

We need more land preservation and land conservation and less development.  We need to see what can be done to save what is left of our beautiful landscapes, including from the damn pipelines.

We have an agricultural and equine heritage that needs to be saved.  We have waterways and woods and wildlife and even the humble honey bee depending on us.

We can’t just talk about it and we certainly can’t depend upon the Chester County Planning Commission.  Pretty pie-graphs and surveys just take up space on a website.  What are they doing, really?  What are the Chester County Commissioners doing, really?  Planned photo ops are good for politics, what do they actually do for all of us? The all like to say they are helping plan our future in Chester county but I ask again exactly whose futures are the planning? Mine, yours, or theirs and those who make lots of political contributions?

I was down on the Main Line a few times over the past few weeks.  I realized once again how I truly now dislike where I used to call home.  And it is not just the great pretenders to what now passes as the “social” scene.  It’s the density, the roads, the overall frantic pace and congestion.  I realized how I literally exhale when I start to feel the open sky, fields, and forest of Chester County every time I am coming home.

But we are at such risk of losing that. We are at serious risk of losing Chester County.  From the history to the land, forests, fields, water (wells, streams, lakes, everything), to the old farm houses and barns to other historic structures — we have to act.

As my friend Mindy Rhodes has wisely said via M. Jankowski “If not you, then who?”  and John Lewis  “If not now, then when?”

Think about it.  Start with who you vote for.  And what you vote for.

bishop tube plan met with a packed east whiteland zoning boardroom

plan-2

The developers did not show up with very many copies of site plans.  I do not think they were expecting a completely packed room which included people standing for the East Whiteland Zoning Hearing Board meeting on February 27th.

zhb-feb-notice

It was so amazing to see all the people turn out.  General Warren Village and General Warren Village supporters did an AMAZING job.

17078041_1462119317134348_485323212_nAnd they had a powerful and unexpected ally in the room: Maya K. van Rossum, The Delaware Riverkeeper.

The role of the Delaware Riverkeeper is to give the Delaware River, and the communities that depend upon it and appreciate it, a voice at every decision-making table that could provide help or do harm. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network that van Rossum leads is the only citizen action organization that works the entire length and breadth of the Delaware River and its watershed, speaking and working for both its protection and its restoration. Delaware Riverkeeper Network has its main office in Bristol, PA and can be found on the web at www.delawareriverkeeper.org. van Rossum’s blog can be found at http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/blog/ – they have a Water Watch hotline and well, in an era of David vs. Goliath, they give “David” an edge.

Maya was an incredible addition  to last night, and I will get to that later. (she is FIERCE!)

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We did have one of the three supervisors in attendance last evening, which I found heartening.

East Whiteland also sent a solicitor to represent at the zoning meeting on Bishop Tube.

Here are some notes taken on the fly – so feel free to add to them or correct:

  • Board of Supervisors responded last evening via attorney to concerns. Township is closely monitoring remediation, impact of remediation, standards and monitoring of remediation etc etc.
  • Township wants safer environment. Township right now in opposition of variance according to lawyer unless certain conditions met with Township.
  • DEP has approved conditions*  BUT township reviewing. BOS is reviewing with EAC and then they will decide whether to object to variance request.
  • March 15 special meeting being asked for by Zoning. The meeting (hearing) was ultimately continued to March 15, 2017 at 7:15 PM  
  • * “Conditions” referred to above Developer expert is talking about conditions discussed with DEP- didn’t catch all – witness for developer was speed speaking:
    ~ Establish a separate environmental escrow associated with development $20 k
    ~ Non refundable deposit to future HOA
    ~ Applicant will remediate 3 major hotspots in accordance with scope of work submitted to DEP – digging out soil as per Act 2. But it isn’t Act 2
    ~No disturbance in 3 soil hot spots until remediation complete (New construction?)
    ~ Applicant will install vapor mitigation systems. Most stringent available designed by engineer. Review said systems, maintain?
    ~ Developer would obtain stormwater permit – county/state – did not catch acronym
    ~developer will provide access to DEP etc
    ~ utilities will be developed to prohibit vapor migration/ groundwater migration
    ~environmental covenant
    ~ developer will comply with local zoning
    ~ developer will document remediation
    ~ until 3 hot spots remediated no construction of residential units.
    ~ developer would submit demolition plans to township and DEP

(NOTE: very abridged version of above – expert was speaking so very quickly and I don’t take dictation professionally so I did my best – I know I missed one of the conditions – feel free to add or clarify in comments.  It would be helpful if media had covered meeting, but I did not see any media there at all.)

  • Something about collecting storm water and capture and release to stream? Not sure if I heard that right . ZHB has concerns about retaining wall and safety- 20+ storm water “systems” – all release to stream. What environmental impact does that have considering existing toxicity of site? How is water cleaned? Whose job will it be to stay on top of that?
  • Final stormwater discharge into / near emergency access so does that mean General Warren gets water?
  • GWV residents are pointing out a shallow stream expected to take developer’s stormwater. Is GWV in part going to be part of stormwater management plan? They say no construction vehicles on village way (developer)?
  • Maya (Delaware Riverkeeper) asking about volume reduction and other things relating to creeks. Asking about correspondence on sampling between developer and DEP. Asking about TCE staying in place?
  • Residents questioning stormwater retention basin(s) and retaining wall.
  • More questions on stormwater runoff into stream and does stream have capacity to handle it?
  • Vapor intrusion being discussed by older gentleman- potential cancer cluster – people with cancer in General Warren Village? (couldn’t hear all of it clearly)
  • ZHB kept quizzing on removing top soil, Remediation , etc
  • Elevation from General Warren Village to retention walls eye level according to developer witness? Residents asking what they would see from Village Way? Someone from General Warren remarked about being able to see from “bathroom windows”
  • Maya the Delaware Riverkeeper talked about the planting of trees and trees they were removing – good point as developers tend to remove and replace NOT with the same size plantings.  And they spoke of riparian buffers, but not what they consisted of or if they would be substantial.
  • Keith Hartman who worked at Bishop Tube is asking questions. He is extremely knowledgeable about site. He spoke about how they used to “dispose” of the toxic chemicals in one part of site in the old days (sounded like they just dumped stuff kind of wherever?)
  • Mr Hartman pointing out toxic hotspots – see dark grey areas – and asking about mineral salts.16997882_1656917767655212_7768959074626449609_n

 

 

  • Mr. Hartman asking about sampling near old parking lots that were near spill. Not sure but it might have been that 1981 incident?

1981-bishop-tube-acid-spill

  • A gentleman (I guess investigator?) from PA DEP   visited Mr. Hartman recently – Marinelli or Martinelli? (Not sure but found a Martinelli listed HERE.)

16996122_1656917777655211_6973859171944418389_nHere are  articles where Mr. Hartman was in the paper – he knows the site SO well:

For Bishop Tube workers, danger lurked for decades

 By Anne Pickering Daily Local

 

Bishop Tube site possibly up for development

POSTED: 07/26/15, 6:47 PM EDT

“Don’t let them blow smoke up your tailpipe,” said Keith Hartman, “those mineral salts must be cleaned up.”

Hartman worked for Bishop Tube when the plant was still in operation. He, like many neighbors who attended the meeting, are concerned of possible health risks to potential residents if the site is not cleaned up properly.

 

In January there was a follow up article in Daily Local about Bishop Tube:

Plans to develop contaminated East Whiteland site resubmitted

POSTED: 01/25/17, 2:09 PM EST

…..When asked what kind of remediation the site needs to undergo before construction can begin, Virginia Cain, a DEP spokeswoman, wrote in an email that the former tubing plant will need soil and groundwater remediation in accordance with cleanup standards set forth in Act 2.

Act 2, also known as the Land Recycling Program encourages “the voluntary cleanup and reuse of contaminated commercial and industrial sites,” according to the DEP.

Cain wrote that the standards in Act 2 can include both statewide health standards and site-specific standards.

When asked if the site is considered a “Superfund” site, Cain wrote that “Superfund” sites refer to a federal program, but that the Bishop Tube site “is currently on the Pennsylvania Priority List and under the authority of the DEP’s HSCA (Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act) program, which is similar to the federal Superfund program.”

17022164_1656917744321881_1116283631204593680_nNow one of the most interesting parts of the meeting occurred between Maya The Delaware Riverkeeper and one of the developer witnesses (some sort of engineer I thought).  It was at the end of the meeting before they called it to continue March 15th.

I was taking notes like crazy and this one exchange was so interesting – I did my best to be accurate but again I do not take dictation and I am not a court reporter, although there was one there:

Maya: “I would have you speak to what in fact what is left for DEP to to review and decide upon and what process is still left?

Two – There also seems to be this suggestion that anytime additional contaminants are found that they are going to be cleaned up, and so this site is going to be cleaned up…and so  I would like you to speak to this issue of whether or not in fact when you are done at this site that all of the TCE and toxic contaminants will be removed, so people don’t have to be concerned about it, or in fact is that not true and you have specifically and carefully with all your  communications with DEP actually limited the scope of your remediation including not going to uhhh saturated soils for example, 12 feet below ground surface, etc?”

 

Witness for developer: “That’s absolutely correct.”

 

Maya cuts back in “You are not? You are limiting, you are capping how much work you will do and you will intentionally leave contaminants on the site and people need to know that.”

 

Witness “That is correct.  Allow me to explain in a way that is no way nefarious…”

 

He (witness)  goes on to explain liability and  an old consent order (??is that right???)  with DEP and state version of hazardous clean up – PRPs – potentially responsible parties.  He goes on into known contamination beyond the scope of their legal responsibility – about how they will clean up so much and then it seems it will be up to DEP to enforce clean up by PRP potentially responsible parties that I guess are former manufacturing occupiers of site?

 

Witness acknowledges issues, discusses how developer will be doing more beyond satisfying their part of old (?) consent order (?) and will excavate three known soil contamination issues of the site above water table, excavate, clean up according to most stringent PA standard, residential statewide heath standard…acknowledges caused contamination of groundwater on site that migrates off site, affects tributaries of Little Valley Creek.  They believe their  soil excavations will have a beneficial effect towards clean up.

 

I do not think enough monies being set aside by developer to pay for experts East Whiteland may need to hire are much because experts are expensive – environmental lawyers and environmental engineers. Monies quoted could disappear quite quickly – those experts bill expensively, right? And what about any monies for future HOA? How does East Whiteland know if THAT is sufficient?

Other questions that  I have include the fire department – as the plans are currently drawn up are there any indications from East Whiteland Fire Department about cartways and whatever you call them? Will all fire apparatus be able to navigate site?  I feel that this  is VERY important – it is not just abut emergency access from General Warren, but will ALL of their apparatus safely navigate the plans as currently available? Those big rigs need room!

A related aside – here are the LLCs on the developer side:

16991694_1656361451044177_7467780664617090460_o 17038963_1656361521044170_6151837136672422606_o16998658_1656361344377521_3476224322423310321_n

As I said previously, O’Neill knows how to do brownfield developments, but what about Benson Companies? I can only find Benson on Houzzz, no current website.  No mention of Bishop Tube on O’Neill’s website so that is somewhat concerning and want to know why? Two words: Linden Hall. Remember when Benson was thought to have been the savior of old Linden Hall? If they received their approvals for townhouses at Linden Hall, how they were going to restore Linden Hall itself as a new office for them? What did we see instead?  Wasn’t it selling approved plans to Pulte and no rehabilitation thus far only minimum maintenance?

And then there is the issue brewing in Tredyffrin Pattye Benson alerted everyone to. Historic Howelleville being their location for yet a total community destroying cram plan? And what of how Radnor residents feel about Benson?  I have to ask can Benson actually be trusted here? Or will residents go through all the heartache and meetings to have these plans sold off to someone else?

I do not recall last evening that the developer’s attorney got into the whys of it all concerning WHY the developer is seeking zoning variances, so will it be the battle cry of “economic hardship”? Or, they can’t build without a variance which would increase density in an already dense plan? And why is any developer’s potential economic hardship a burden a community getting a plan inflicted upon them not by their desire in the first place?

This site is going to be developed, I am not arguing that.  I have never argued that.  But it is a very toxic site because of the TCE and whatever else was left behind and is lodged in the land, the aquifer. How the site gets developed has always concerned me and I ask again, is this the best use for the property?

What of impact on the school district?  How are a few more hundred to potentially few thousand kids from this plan combined with Atwater and any other development large or small going to affect the school district? Has the school district weighed in on this?

Traffic lights proposed?  Who is paying for that if variance is waived? The previous zoning is in place to help preserve open space or farms or industrial from being over developed.

And what kinds of complementary businesses will be added to the surrounding area to support these new homes? Will that zoning need to be changed too?  What is it costing East Whiteland residents in legal fees for all of this now (let alone the future)? Will this plan be one that is truly economically viable for East Whiteland or become another millstone around East Whiteland’s proverbial neck?

Why always townhouses instead of single family homes?  Lighting and noise? How will this development affect General Warren Village with regard to those issues?

I do believe that the Zoning Hearing Board is weighing this all carefully, but I would say that residents MUST keep up the pressure.  Packing the boardroom last evening was a great start.  But there is a while to go.

I have done my best to relay my meeting notes accurately.  Others may add to them.  Of course it would be helpful if the media took an interest. And it would be helpful to hear what development happy Brian O’Leary of the Chester County Planning Commission thinks? Does he have an opinion?  He was around serving in Lower Merion when ROHO and O’Neill’s now defunct Rock Hill Road project came about, so realistically he knows a similarly dense plan THERE was horribly unpopular as was the B.S. developer driven zoning overlay that allowed it, doesn’t he?

And what of the PA DEP? Don’t they have an obligation to make the PRP (Potentially Responsible Parties) freaking clean up the Bishop Tube site???  After all the developer will not be responsible for all that should be done so why when discussion of clean up started here so long ago, it has never happened? Remember that Law360 article from 2014 in addition? Or the memorandum from the case that was in Federal Court over this site most recently? How is it a Federal judge did not get the gravity of Bishop Tube?

There you have it in conclusion – the worst part about Bishop Tube is the longer this goes on the more we have to ask ourselves how we got here and what exactly is the PA DEP going to do about it, let alone the EPA on a Federal Level?  Or what about state elected officials? Duane Milne and Andy Dinniman? Duane Milne was all Mr. Press Release in 2007 but what has he done for anyone lately?

Where is Erin Brocovitch and Tom Girardi when you need him? Call me crazy but I think General Warren Village and neighboring Malvern Borough residents deserve the best thing possible with regard to this plan, don’t you?

Sigh…to be continued….feel free to leave comments anyone who was in that packed room last night.

plan-1

thoughts on the future of development and chester county

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Random thought I had today…

There are so many people upset by pending development on properties including but not limited to Earles Lake (Newtown Twp Delaware County)  Crebilly (Westtown Township, Chester County), Woodlawn (Concord Twp Delaware County), and Don Guanella (Marple Twp. Delaware County). I applaud those amazing residents fighting the good fight in their respective communities!

But ask anyone in land protection about just how hard it is to turn things around once land is under agreement of sale with a developer. There is very little the township or land trust or individuals, or groups, or anyone can do at that point.

But…. if residents could take some of that good energy and fight to protect vulnerable parcels that are NOT yet under agreement of sale, then they might just make some progress and have a chance to save community open space, arable farmland, and viewsheds.

And as you ponder, please think outside the box when investigating property that’s vulnerable.

For example I am told, and many people are shocked to learn, that places like Tyler Arboretum (650 acres) and Newlin Grist Mill are not actually completely protected land and all or pieces of those properties could be sold if their boards decided they wanted to. (Or if they were desperate for money.)

This is often the challenge for public gardens and arboreta…An example would be a conservation easement  that was put on on the Schuylkill Center a few years ago, and if memory serves it took forever to negotiate but that board was concerned with their own history of selling off chunks of the property over the years when times were lean.

What got me to thinking about this is the upcoming Crebilly Planning Commission Meeting where Toll is presenting. Westtown Township Planning Commission that has been scheduled this first  public meeting with Toll Brothers is reportedly Wednesday, November 16th at 6:30 PM and will be held at Stetson Middle School. (It is not on the Westtown website yet so I do not know if it is set in stone or not.)

I received the following from concerned Chester County resident Mindy Rhodes the following:

It is imperative that the community attend this meeting. It is imperative that you speak at this meeting. Your testimonies need to be on record. It doesn’t matter what township you are from- please show up!

In this meeting, Toll will present their plans and there will be much time for public comments. I have not seen the plans, but my understanding is this:

Toll has submitted 3 different plans:


1) Code Compliant Plan (approx. 320 units)
2) Single Waiver Plan (approx. 320 units) *Toll is requesting a waiver for the standard 60′ requirement in between buildings to 30′ instead
3) Maximum Bonus Density (approx. 400 units) *Toll will need to make their case to the Township to justify this by means of ‘improvements’


Other details:
*Development will be closer to the center of Crebilly leaving ‘open space’ around the exterior
*1 access will be on 202 south of Westminster Church
*2 access roads on West Pleasant Grove Road to align with Dunvegan and Hidden Pond Way
*1 access on 926 near Bridalwood
*No plans to access South New Street

 

This is how far we are.  And Westtown will be limited on what they can do.  Why? Because at the end of the day, municipalities are indeed limited by the Commonwealth’s bible that defines planning and zoning – The MPC or Municipalities Planning Code of Pennsylvania.

I have been saying it for years: quite simply put the MPC needs an overhaul. We need to re-define suburbs and exurbs. We need to better define and set up protections for historic preservation and land preservation, and so much more. We need to stop the death march of development across Chester County and Pennsylvania.

People have been contacting state and federally elected officials about plans like what we are about to see formerly unfold for Crebilly. Those officials like to say “we are so sorry, we can’t get involved in local issues.”

The hell they can’t.  Maybe they can’t change zoning, but they sure as hell can use their political stature to bring opposing sides to the table to perhaps explore other ideas.  That is part of why we elect them.  And when it comes to State Representatives and State Senators, if they can’t adopt our issues as theirs, time to vote for someone else AND they are the ones who can get the Municipalities Planning Code overhauled and updated…it’s in their job description!

We have a major election day coming up one week from today.  Reach out to candidates and ask them what they have done for us lately.  Like with issues over DEVELOPMENT (or pipelines through Chester County). They all can’t be about campaign donations.

We also need to get out message out CLEARLY to the Chester County Planning Commission.  To me it would also help if the person who headed it up actually LIVED in Chester County. A pro-development leader from Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County is not appropriate because HE DOESN’T LIVE HERE. Landscapes3 needs to actually reflect US not what someone else thinks is us.

Also to be considered is better knowing our history.  I learned something new about Crebilly the other day:

historical

Look, we have to do better.  We have to figure it out together. After all, Chester County deserves better.

Thanks for stopping by.

the announcement: natural lands trust regarding saving bryn coed

Alessandra Manzotti photos courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

Alessandra Manzotti photos courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

Now that it has been announced, I can say that I have known for a few years that Natural Lands Trust was working on saving Bryn Coed.  I was asked to not say anything, so into the proverbial vault it went.  But I can’t say it is untrue that developers were sniffing around Bryn Coed’s 1500+ acres can I ?  After all, it is a magical piece of land that is almost mythical, isn’t it?

Here is the official press release:

One Step Closer to Preservation of Bryn Coed Farms

Media, Pa. – Natural Lands Trust announced today a major milestone in the non-profit land conservation organization’s effort to preserve 1,505 acres in northern Chester County known as Bryn Coed Farms.

 

On September 28, 2016, Natural Lands Trust and the current property owners, the Dietrich family, executed an Agreement of Sale for the property. Natural Lands Trust now has six months to conduct due diligence, including Phase II environmental testing.

 

The fate of the property has been the subject of much speculation over the years as development pressures have increased in the region. Located primarily in West Vincent Township, Chester County, with portions also in East and West Pikeland Townships, the property is one of the largest remaining undeveloped, unprotected tracts of land in the Greater Philadelphia region. Under current zoning, nearly 700 homes could be built on the property if it is not placed under protection.

 

Natural Lands Trust has been working with the Dietrichs for more than five years to conserve the land.

 

“It is too early to celebrate, but we are optimistic that much of this iconic property can be conserved,” said Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust. “It’s a complex deal with many moving parts, but Bryn Coed is certainly worth fighting to save. It’s a community and ecological treasure.”

 

If successful, the deal would result in a 400-plus-acre nature preserve with eight miles of hiking trails that will be owned and managed by Natural Lands Trust. The preserve will be open to visitors, free of charge, just like other nature preserves owned by the regional conservation group—including the 112-acre Binky Lee Preserve in nearby Chester Springs. In addition, West Vincent Township is considering Natural Lands Trust’s offer to establish a 72-acre municipal park on the property.

 

The remainder of the property would be divided into large conservation properties, preserved by conservation easements, and sold to private individuals.

 

“The amount of land that can be permanently protected as a Natural Lands Trust preserve is dependent on the amount of funding we can raise. The cost of preserving the entirety of such a vast and valuable property is beyond the currently available resources. We will be seeking support from the public in the weeks and months ahead,” Morrison added.

 

In 2003, the Dietrich brothers decided to divest themselves of the property. Various conservation and development options were explored but never came to a successful conclusion.

 

In recent years, several developers have been in negotiations with the Deitrichs, including Toll Brothers, which had proposed a 254-unit development on about one-quarter of the property.

 

Much of the property is actively farmed or in pasture. There are nearly 500 acres of mature woodlands on the property that are home to a myriad of songbirds and other wildlife. Generations of residents and visitors have enjoyed the pastoral views of Bryn Coed Farms.

 

The land also contains the headwaters to Pickering Creek, and is a high priority for source water protection. Bryn Coed Farms alone constitutes 17 percent of the remaining unprotected high-priority land in the Pickering Creek watershed.

 

Persons interested in receiving more information as the Bryn Coed Farms conservation effort progresses are invited to visit www.natlands.org/bryncoed and sign up for email updates. Those interested in learning more about the conservation properties that will be available for sale should contact Brian Sundermeir, Bryn Coed project manager, at 610-353-5587, ext. 237.

 

Natural Lands Trust is the region’s largest land conservation organization and is dedicated to protecting the forests, fields, streams, and wetlands that are essential to the sustainability of life in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. Since its founding in 1953, Natural Lands Trust has preserved more than 100,000 acres, including 43 nature preserves totaling nearly 22,000 acres. Today, some 2.5 million people live within five miles of land under the organization’s protection. For more information, visit www.natlands.org.

 

Alessandra Manzotti photos courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

Alessandra Manzotti photos courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

So, this is not yet quite a done deal. There are three municipalities and a lot of due diligence and environmental testing.  From what I am reading, not all of the land will be conserved (it’s a little unclear) ,  but one can hope and no matter what this is a heck of a lot more than anyone expected.

As I understand it, The NLT-owned preserve will be a “big chunk ” of Bryn Coed.  The remainder will be large conservation lots with easements on them and trail easements as well. The size of the preserve can grow if Natural Lands Trust gets more money towards the project.

To David Robinson and his family who own Crebilly, why can’t you look at something like this? You can afford to.

Ok I just wanted to put this out there as some thought my post from the other evening was fabricated. I do my homework, and it doesn’t get much more official than the press release from Natural Lands Trust. And this is THEIR hard work and no one else’s (because I know some who will try to take credit, and well it is not theirs to take.)

BRAVO NLT!  This is why I am a member and big believer in the Natural Lands Trust, they  do not just talk the talk, they walk the walk.  (Brian O’Leary and the Chester County Planning Commission could learn something here, just saying.)

I am a member of Natural Lands Trust, and proudly so.  Please consider a membership. This is me asking incidentally, not them. Go out and enjoy the glorious weekend this weekend. This surely is an awesome way to start it!

Alessandra Manzotti photos courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

Alessandra Manzotti photos courtesy of Natural Lands Trust