A friend commented today that whomever thought all this new construction was a good idea has hopefully made buckets of money ruining the area.
Among other things I blame the Chester County Planning Commission as well as the various municipalities.
Now these aren’t thoughts I wouldn’t expect from this person but are they wrong? So much construction and so many unfortunate, truthfully ugly apartment buildings. It’s just too much.
Start in Easttown and move west. From fakakta apartments they want to build essentially in the shadow of traditional and lovely Devon Horse Show neighborhoods via rezoning, to the supersizing of Berwyn Village.
Move onto East Whiteland. Apartments everywhere in various stages of development. Ugly, architecturally unfortunate buildings utterly devoid of charm.
And West Whiteland. Oh we can’t forget West Whiteland. A sea of apartments and wait until they develop at Ship Road and Lancaster Avenue which will create the urban canyon corridor from hell.
Here we are at King of Prussia west. And it literally sucks.
The tale of two cities errr ….Chester County.
Here we are in one of the most beautiful counties in Pennsylvania. But due to greed and urban sprawl, how soon before Chester County is referred to as formerly one of the most beautiful counties in Pennsylvania?
We are getting towards the end of 2020 and even in this brutal year of the global pandemic known at COVID19 the development has continued it’s relentless march across Chester County.
I have to ask when will it stop? Single family, multi family, fake carriage homes, apartments, town houses whatever it is ALL TOO MUCH.
The photo I am opening this post with speaks volumes. The first thought is aren’t we all lucky to have such great first responders in this area? But it’s the second thought that bothers me and makes me ponder. The location is on the photo. Route 30 and Route 100 in Exton, West Whiteland Township.
If there was LESS development would perhaps there be LESS flooding when a big storm rolls in?
It’s kind of what came first the chicken or the egg kind of a conversation, but Chester County, we need to have it. Yesterday is a clear indication we need to have it.
A disclaimer: I am using flooding photos sourced off of Facebook. Some from the Classic Diner folks, a friend, and just photos that have been publicly posted. People captured in the moment storm flooding images yesterday and I want you all to look at the photos and think.
Think about our communities.
Think about our safety, the safety of our first responders during storms like this.
Think about the pace of development out here.
Think about the need for better stormwater management and less density.
A friend of mine took the photo above yesterday. This water is insane. I haven’t lived here long enough to know if it ever flooded like this before. They also took the next photo. It sure looks like those boats were ready to launch, right?
However, it still renews my suggestion that East Whiteland Township is but one of many municipalities which needs to look at their stormwater management codes/rules and reevaluate immediately due to the constant development around here. I also think that East Whiteland and her neighbors to the east and west (West Whiteland, Easttown, Tredyffrin for starters) need to revisit the pace of development, period.
And there needs to be a conversation with the Chester County Planning Commission and their Landscapes quagmire which has this part of Chester County becoming the next King of Prussia. Come on now, I am not exaggerating see this screenshot from Landscapes:
This man has always been development first oriented and he lives in Lower Merion Township in a densely populated area. Don’t misunderstand me, he lives in a lovely area, but it is extremely unlike out here. And as per bios of him I have read, he grew up in an area even more densely populated than where he currently lives. So how can Brian O’Leary really get Chester County? Sure he works out here, but he doesn’t live out here so how can he get our day to day 24/7/365 experience? So when I see the density the Chester County Planning Commission says in hunky dory for certain parts of Chester County, it literally makes me queasy. Brian O’Leary is captain mixed use, high density. There already is one King of Prussia. There already is one Bensalem.
So Brian, what do you have to say today for the flooding in some places? Can you kindly put your planning brain to use over stormwater management and perhaps a density slow down? Yesterday’s flooding shows we desperately need another plan. A better plan. The more development which occurs, the fewer places for water to go. Common sense.
So many people are without power. So many people lost so much due to flood waters. People also lost homes due to falling trees. Yesterday was a very bad storm. But as temperature and weather patterns change due to climate change, we have to adapt. And we have to change. We can’t keep doing what we have been doing. Or more specifically, we can’t keep allowing the same patterns of development to continue.
Change won’t be easy. Change won’t happen overnight. There are a lot of politics involved to say the least. But I am tired of politicians also driving how we should want to live in our communities. We need more open space, less development. We need less high density development and some real/better stormwater management plans. Municipalities can’t just play lip service to this any longer. They also need to put existing residents first and quit drooling over the quick fix one-time hit of ratables when a new development occurs.
Critics of my thought process will undoubtedly say I can’t tie this storm and over-development together. But I can and I have. Because if there was MORE open space, LESS development, BETTER stormwater management plans, and LESS high density development would some areas have potentially had LESS flooding yesterday? Now I know that doesn’t mean everywhere that flooded yesterday, but in some places I believe people might have fared better.
But until we try as communities to do things better, we will never know if we can do better, will we? So how about it residents of Chester County? Can you ask your elected officials for change?
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.
I took the above photo of Ashbridge House located in West Whiteland at Exton Main Street in Exton in 2017.
It’s been mothballed for years in plastic since the mall was built. It’s another Chester County property with quite the history.
They even have a sign up in Exton Main Street about it:
Supposedly this house is being restored. I don’t know exactly which decade that’s going to occur in however, do you? I found this 2017 West Whiteland Planning Commission document (CLICK HERE) which indicates it would be preserved in the middle of hundreds of new apartments. (Also check out the Daily Local Article from May, 2017 and a blurb on the WCHE website from the same time.)
Hundreds. Because you know there aren’t enough apartments and townhouses and carriage houses being built in West Whiteland Township now are there?
That’s crazy. Obviously it was approved. Click HERE to see a list of developments in various stages in West Whiteland. Suffice it to say, I thought the list of developments in East Whiteland were bad enough. And I can’t say for sure that these lists are current as to what development is planned where.
But I digress.
Here we are in March, 2019 right? So a couple of weeks ago I guess it is now, I was over at Exton Main Street with my husband. I can tell you I was stunned by the way Ashbridge House and the outbuildings looked.
Ashbridge House in Exton. 2019.
When exactly is the preservation going to finally begin? Is it just me or do others of you out there think it’s never going to happen and someday will just hear how the house mysteriously fell down?
Ashbridge House in Exton. 2019.
I just don’t understand. I don’t understand why people no longer seem to care about historic preservation in a county that used to be known for it.
If you are interested in Ashbridge house, I have found a couple videos:
I am hearing from neighbors (across from Lloyd house) the developer isn’t tearing the circa 1795 house down. I hope that’s true! A bunch of us walked the house. Teens have vandalized it yet the house is solid. Something like 9 bedrooms!!
I met a lady in town whose mother grew up there. Her mother’s mother died when she was young so the father took a job at Lloyd farm taking care of the stables and horses and they lived in the house with the Lloyd family! (We assume based on dates it was the Lloyd family)
Sending photos I took. It’s such a huge old house.
Abandoned Steve photography documents old Chester county houses before they’re torn down. He took photos as well. His are better than mine.
Lloyd Farm. Sigh.
In December 2018 I had posted about Lloyd farm in Caln being at risk. Sources tell me that they had quite the crown turn out the other evening who turned out to protest this?
Things that people are worried about include will that historic farmhouse be torn down no matter what? Is it true that farmhouse does indeed have a fairly new roof and if this land was part of a William Penn Land Grant as in the guy who settled PA, how can this even happen? And what about the component of the big pipeline easement? How should that affect density of any development plan?
Things also being wondered about is this developer just looking for plan approvals to flip the parcel with approvals to yet another developer? And is this developer the guy who owns Suburban Propane?
Is it true that Caln’s solicitor was snippy with residents? And isn’t she the same gal who USED to hold or holds a similar position in West Goshen? East Goshen? Does something in Easttown and more places? Why does she seem so pro-development? Is she going to be mad I ask these questions? Aren’t we allowed to ask these questions? Will she try to stop me from asking these very reasonable questions?
And as for the category of “in the audience” who was the mystery attorney who seemed to object to some community flyer? Who was he there for? Apparently they also objected to residents concerned about development jacking up traffic?
So the meeting was paused until January, 2019, correct? And then there was this update January 5th that a reader posted:
Update on the Lloyd Farm. There is no public hearing being rescheduled. The people have spoken and the Commissioners have heard you! While this plan isn’t going to get through, REGAL WILL BE BACK. As quickly as they can. Yes they have a right to develop land the own and paid $4.6M dollars for. But they need to do it in a manner that is acceptable to the Caln Twp residents. We will be watching and reporting so keep a look out for news here and on www.calnwatch.info
I was driving by Lloyd Avenue while in Downingtown on Saturday with a friend, so is this part of that parcel? See below:
Is this part of “Lloyd Farm”?
So a recap is in order before I press on, ok?
Super historic. Known as the “Lloyd Farm”, “Valley Brook Farm” has a fire I would call mysterious a few years ago? Seriously.
Pretty crazy historic, and I understand there was a fire, but is super-sized developement all Caln Township can think is right for this property??? I am told the developer who has bought the “Lloyd Farm” was proposing 5 story apartment buildings, and commercial where there is NO zoning for it? So now what?
So if I read the history of the property correctly, it dates back to the late 1600s and a Penn Land Grant? And by 1996 it was owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia? (Now I make no secret of my disdain of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and their pedophile priest problems of recent past. Sorry, I digress again…)
Also check out places like the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s website. Land that was part of any Penn Land Grant is extraordinarily historically significant. Residents near and far and hsitorians should take note and attend meetings. Media local and regional might not find history and land development sexy, but they also need to get on the stick here. One blip on this important topic was in the Daily Local in early December.
According to the Caln Watch Website there is a meeting Tuesday, February 12 at the Thorndale Fire Hall 3611 Lincoln Hwy, Thorndale, PA 19372 – 6pm to 8pm (Parking located in school lot):
Soooo…among the questions that should be asked and that Caln Township and this developer needs to address is are they SAVING the historic farmhouse for real? If so enough with the demolition by neglect, right? If people are sending me interior photos, then the building is not properly secured and while safe for now the longer it is exposed to punk ass vandals and the elements is not good, correct?
Sooooo…my suggestion? Contact these folks. Make your opinions known. Flood meetings with bodies. Reach out to public officials and those who want to be in office or ummm have aspirations for higher office who are in local office now. Reach out to any historic preservation or media contacts you have.
Those misguided supervisors are voting on higher density B.S. zoning thing I never thought I would see in that township on Tuesday February 5th. I heard and was not surprised to hear they refused a resident petition against this? The East Goshen meeting starts at 7 PM. The agenda is posted and can be read HERE. People and media should attend that as well and read the packet linked here. (Also on Tuesday in East Goshen? A chicken ordinance. I find it ironic that chickens have such issues in a township that was once also a lot of farms. Yes, I am pro-chicken although I personally keep none.)
Why is this a call for arms? Simple. Chester County is groaning and suffering under the weight of over development and it needs to slow down or even stop for a good long while. Just this weekend I was in Glenmoore for example. They seem to suffer from lots and lots of power outages. Locals speculate part of the cause is the infrastructure can’t keep up with the pace of development.
Moderation is the key to true and actual smart growth. Only we don’t see that any longer. There is limited respect for the past and the architectural heritage of Chester County. Just like there is lip service paid to open space and agricultural preservation at times. It’s great when small parcels are preserved and handed down to the next generation, but what about these big parcels? Parcels like Crebilly and Lloyd farm are what a lot of our county was like for a very long time.
Now I actually do believe progress has a place but it’s the vision of progress I take issue with. Progress doesn’t have to hurt and wanton development hurts. We can’t support it long-term and by the time a lot of folks figure that out, the developers and current elected and appointed officials will be long gone, correct? As a county we have to look past the damn ratables that elected and appointed officials salivate over. They are a short-term financial gain if a gain at all since is it not true sometimes the ratables are not what people thought they would be?
Maybe some do not like my opinions, but I am entitled to them. Not every square inch should be developed. Not every square inch needs to be developed. Y’all aren’t going to get your veggies off the roof of places like Whole Foods are you?
Farms, open space, history need to be respected and preserved. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. What do you as a resident want the future to look like? Lots of Tyvec wrapped plastic beige boxes? More stucco McMansion horror show stories? Human warehouses for seniors and others? More ugly strip malls? The end of Main Street? Constipated bits of “open space” which is usually land that is not able to be developed?
Howellville, one of Tredyffrin’s earliest villages, grew in an area convenient to the farms of the Great Valley. A tavern was often the start of a town, and the first one here was built about 1712. By the early 1700s, sawmills and gristmills had appeared. Nearest to the center of town was the sawmill on Crabby Creek. Several of the early farms had their own limestone kilns. The first school opened about 1720. A factory of some kind belonging to the Workizer family is listed on the 1798 Direct Tax. [Note 1] By the late 18th century, a shoemaker and a wheelwright had set up shop.
More industry developed in the 19th century, including a woolen mill owned by Samuel Wood. There was at least one blacksmith. By the middle of the century there was a store and the Chester Valley Railroad, and by the late 1800s Howellville was a thriving industrial town. The limestone quarries became big business and Italian immigrants arrived to work at them. Other nationalities followed, but were never as numerous or as prosperous as the Italians.
By the early part of the 20th century, Howellville had become a close-knit community-a bit naughty, with lots of drinking and gambling. Then came the Depression which dealt rather harshly with the village. Having lost their jobs, and with no place to go, the quarry workers lived hand-to-mouth. In 1934 Frances Ligget, later a member of the Tredyffrin Easttown History Club, marshalled the help of the Valley Forge Farm and Garden Club to clean up the town and help the unemployed workers and their families. Free seeds were given for gardens. The state provided medical assistance as well as sewing, knitting, and cooking classes, and a nursery school. Weaving was taught by Lettie Esherick, wife of the artist Wharton Esherick.
In 1681 land in the center of Tredyffrin Township that would eventually become most of Howellville belonged to William Mordaunt and John Hort Each owned 500 acres. They were Welsh Tract brokers-they bought the land from William Penn but never lived on it. In 1711 Mordaunt’s sons sold their 500 acres to John Evans, who had previously been Governor of Pennsylvania. Just to the east lay 1340 acres that David Meredith sold to William Powell in 1706. They were also Welsh Tract brokers.
Llewellyn David, a Welshman and one of the early settlers, bought 300 acres in 1708. The name David (later changed to Davis) was the biggest name in Howellville for the next two centuries.
The area sat at the bottom of a natural bowl where three hilly roads met to form a triangle. Swedesford Road, forming the north side of the triangle, came into existence about 1720, very early in the settlement of the Great Chester Valley. It led from the vicinity of Randall Malin’s house in East Whiteland to the Swede’s Ford at the Schuylkill River, near present day Norristown, and gave settlers in the interior access to Philadelphia.
Bear Hill Road, which formed the southeast side of the triangle, connected the Valley with the Black Bear Tavern at the top of the South Valley Hill near the Lancaster Road and today’s village of Paoli.
The southwest side of the triangle was Howellville Road, until a traffic light was installed at the corner about 1960. Then it became part of Swedesford Road and the north side of the triangle was made one-way. It was this way until most of Howellville’s buildings were torn down and Route 202 was completed and dedicated in 1971.
The triangle at the bottom of these roads was a convenient place for horses and wagons to stop and rest, and in 1745 a license was granted to establish the first tavern. When David Howell settled in the area and became the second innkeeper of the tavern, about 1765, it was called Howell’s Tavern. The village that grew up around it became Howellville. When the old inn was razed in 1921, the only house in the triangle was the little house described by Henry Darling later in this article.
The triangle disappeared in 1967 when Route 252 was widened and Route 202 was built.
The history of Howellville is fascinating and rich. Most people just think of Howellville Road today…not that it was a historically important crossroads village. It is an integral part of the history of Tredyffrin and was discussed in Tredyffrin’s 2009 Historic Preservation Plan.
Last time I was on Howellville Road was in the fall when I was noodling around and found myself on that road. It has long fascinated me and I lament the loss of one crossroads village after the other as time progresses.
You may recall the abandoned Jimmy Duffy property on Lancaster Avenue in Berwyn and the subsequent construction of Daylesford Crossing, an assisted living facility on the site. The approval for Daylesford Crossing was a long, drawn out redevelopment process in 2012 that required a text amendment to permit senior living facilities as a by-right use in C-1 (commercial) zoning.
Some argued at the time that the zoning change to permit senior living in C-1 was ‘spot-zoning’ to accommodate this specific project and others questioned what this would mean for future C-1 development in Tredyffrin Township. In 2015, the township expanded the C-1 District zoning to also include townhouses as a by-right use.
During the last few years, developers have flocked to the township with their assisted living and townhouse, apartment and condominium plans. Assisted living projects currently under construction or in the review process include Erickson Living at Atwater Crossing in Malvern (250 beds) and Brightview Senior Living on E. Conestoga in Devon (196 beds).
On the townhouse-apartment side in the township, there are many projects in the planning stages or under construction….Areas that were once farmland continue to be developed. Top ranking school district, T/E brings an influx of people to the area which means an influx of students, and the growing problem of finding a place to put them….. a new proposed land development plan in the works that is extremely troubling – townhouses on Howellville Road. The proposal is to wedge a cluster of 20 townhouses, in four buildings, between the village of Howellville and the shadow of the Refuge Pentecostal Church.
….The proposed land development plan on Howellville Road is not compatible with the character and appearance of the area. Beyond the impact of traffic on Howellville Road, the proposed development plan creates serious safety concerns. The steep narrow winding nature of Howellville Road makes entry and exit from the proposed dense townhouse project a dangerous situation.
Benson Company’s proposed townhouse project on Howellville Road will change the look and character of this community as well as place a greater burden on the narrow, winding road – and again more students for the school district!
John Benson of Benson Company has enthusiastically offered that his proposed Howellville Road townhouses will look like his Grey’s Lane townhouses on Lancaster Ave. A couple of things – (1) Grey’s Lane is on Rt. 30, a commercial 4-lane road vs. Howellville Road, a rural country road and (2) he squeezed 12 townhouses in at Grey’s Lane in 3 buildings where as this proposal is for 4 buildings with 20 townhouses….Areas that were once farmland continue to be developed. Between the assisted living communities and the townhouses and apartments, should the objective in Tredyffrin Township be to approve any and all land development projects regardless of the impact?
And from an aesthetic point of view, every time I see a staged interior of a “fabulous” Benson new construction piece of new construction dreck I am struck with the fact that every interior looks the same. If you want Barbie’s dream house, you are pretty much there. No character, predictable, mass produced, plastic.
Residents of Tredyffrin are soooo right!! How much of this does any one township want or need? And much like neighboring East Whiteland it seems like people are hell bent on developing every square inch of the township! Who needs King of Prussia? Soon Tredyffrin and East Whiteland will definitely resemble King of Prussia meets Bensalem.
Oh yes, one more thing? Tredyffrin residents need to get to the Planning Commission TOMORROW February 16th when this next great godforsaken plan makes it’s debut along with “Westlakes Hotel” and “Chestnut Road Apartments”.
Again I ask where the hell the Chester County Planning Commission and Brian O’Leary are? Lord above, Chester County is drowning, yes drowning in development plans.
Because the original link does NOT work anymore. Great planning: they send out a link ask all their contacts to distribute within their communities and then they change it. Or make it go away. Of course I have no answer what happened to all of the answers of people who already completed the survey, do you?
Developed to gather stakeholder opinions on specific topical areas, these surveys are also being made available to the public. Targeted to representatives of organizations active in the topical areas, interested individuals are welcome to complete these surveys as they become available.
The development of Landscapes3 will be an open and collaborative experience. The public is invited to participate throughout. The process includes:
Participants can submit their favorite Chester County place in this photo contest, which is aimed at taking a different approach to identifying what is valued by residents. Prizes will be available. (coming soon)
A series of stakeholder meetings will be held to identify issues and challenges facing Chester County over the next ten years. Experts will meet under the following topics: preservation, agriculture, housing, utilities and infrastructure, transportation, economic development, and community health. The public is invited to attend and observe these meetings. Click here to view meeting schedule.
How many of my photos of farms and historic houses would they like to see?
But then we come to the stakeholder meetings. Here is a screen shot of the schedule:
In the middle of the afternoon, in Coatesville? Seriously? Hello people work, pick kids up from school/sports, have farms and businesses to tend, and so on.
But no, Chester County’s idea of most opportune time to schedule these meetings is in a place not quite ideally located and at times inconvenient for the majority of people living int the real world. Common sense would dictate if they were REALLY interested in what people who live here and pay taxes (as opposed to the carpetbagger Executive Director of Chester County Planning Department Brian O’Leary), they would have chosen a location like West Chester, or done a series of traveling meetings and maybe holding them in school auditoriums or something.
But Brian O’Leary and the Chester County Planning must not really be terribly interested in citizen participation if they choose times that are NOT convenient for average folk, even farm folk and choose a location like this one in Coatesville, that is not really even convenient to anyone. (Which is why I think they should have had travelling meetings to capture different quadrants of the county more effectively.)
This is not an auspicious beginning to a long process that is supposed to matter, Chester County.
And no, Brian O’Leary I am not going to stop mentioning you are not a Chester County resident and come from a uniquely pro-development township (Lower Merion Township) where I don’t think you listened much at all to residents while on the Planning Commission there, arranged for political pasty “planning” awards be given to politicians who weren’t planners except in the landscape sense of the word, and were employed by Montgomery County which as a whole has been decimated by development in part.
Our chief planner should be one of us. I find it hard to believe that no such qualified planners exist in Chester County.
Carpe Diem, Chester County Residents. I know many of you care. Speak up. Please…before all the open space, farmland, and history is gone. This county has a unique history, and it is very much at risk.
Photo Courtesy of Chadds Ford Live and Kathleen Brady Shea “With the expanse of Crebilly Farm ahead of her, Mindy Worth Rhodes rides on Dunvegan Road in Westtown Township. Her goal is to raise awareness about Toll Brothers’ subdivision plan for the 330-acre property.” (Photo edited by me to achieve this cool effect)
Sometimes a picture is worth a 1000 words. Kathleen Brady Shea’s photo in her article today did that for me. She seems to be the sole member of the media who cares about the fate of Crebilly Farm. I find it disturbing that I have not seen anything anywhere else as a matter of fact.
This article is about a woman whom I do not know but wish I did, because she sounds marvelous. Her name is Mindy Worth Rhodes, she is now a resident of the historic village of Trimbleville in West Bradford Township, grew up in Westtown on General Howe Drive. She is a life-long equestrian and growing up she rode through Westtown neighborhoods to be able to ride on Crebilly.
So on Sunday, like the Pony Express rides again or Paul Revere, she saddled up her horse and distributed flyers about saving Crebilly.
How cool and appropriate is that? To do it on horseback!
I am thrilled other people are stepping in and stepping up the game to Save Crebilly, or at least part of it. Community matters and so does coming together on this issue.
As a friend said to me today:
The more letters and emails that go to ANY public officials, including the county commissioners, the better….. Here’s what I know about the previous apartment building: It would have conserved 90 percent of the tract. That is why some, including the supervisors, supported it. Members of the public hated the concept and came out in droves to defeat it;
Posted by Kathleen Brady Shea on October 10th, 2016
The news that Crebilly Farm, a historic, 330-acre property in Westtown Township, was poised to become a massive subdivision hit a former neighbor particularly hard.
Heartsick is how Mindy Worth Rhodes described her reaction to the news that Tolls Brothers had an agreement of sale for the farm, where the developer hopes to erect up to 385 homes. Rhodes explained that she grew up on General Howe Drive in Westtown Township, and about two decades ago, she often rode her horse through adjacent neighborhoods to get to Crebilly’s pristine open space.
Rhodes, who now lives in the historic village of Trimbleville in West Bradford Township, is also acutely aware of Crebilly Farm’s historic significance. Like her current residence, Revolutionary War troops traversed the property, which is bounded by Routes 202, 926, New Street and West Pleasant Grove Road.
And even though Rhodes lives in West Bradford, she said she still travels past the scenic farm on a regular basis by car, enjoying its magnificent vistas.
“Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever,” said Rhodes. She stressed that she’s not anti-development and firmly believes that Crebilly’s owners should be fairly compensated. However, she also maintains that every effort should be made to protect such hallowed ground.
And toward that end, she decided to get back on her horse.
On Sunday, Oct. 9, after printing more than 100 flyers, Rhodes saddled up White Spike and set out on a wind-swept odyssey to raise awareness….nyone interested in joining the effort or receiving more information could contact her at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can’t pretend to understand the heirs to and most of the current residents of Crebilly, one of whom resides in New Mexico. But the person we see mentioned the most when it comes to Crebilly is David Robinson. I do not know what drives Mr. Robinson. Wish I did. I guess I do not and will never understand how a significantly affluent and influential family can sell to a Toll Brothers? I get wanting to divest themselves of some of the land because it is an awesome responsibility, but how do you inherit something like Crebilly and not want to preserve it for future generations?
How do you not value the legacy that was dropped in your lap because you were related to certain people? Is it the whole having to work for it versus inherit it? How can you sell to Toll and live in your same homes and watch hundreds of plastic boxes grow up like demented plastic corn around you? Does the man have an overwhelming desire to be the Squire of his very own plastic Toll Village? And since the family has avoided telling anyone anything, no one knows besides the obvious objective of financial motivation and gain what is going on, right?
Now, onto other things. First, I thought I would mention in addition to my Save Crebilly Farm Page on Facebook, there is now a Neighbors for Crebilly Page on Facebook. I know the people who started that page a little bit, one is a residential realtor in Chester County and her significant other who is a businessman is no stranger to conservation and land deals. They are what a friend of mine would term simply as “good people”. So that being said, while they are not neighbors in close proximity to Crebilly anymore than I am, they are smart people whose heart is with Crebilly….you can’t go wrong with that now, can you? Maybe give their page a like too please?
So while I am on the topic of neighbors, I know people in Westtown Township are upset about Crebilly, but they are not going to Westtown Meetings to discuss it with their Supervisors. Supervisors might be local politicians, but they are also human beings and not clairvoyant. People with actual standing, who live in Westtown, need to speak up now before it is too late to have a voice, any voice in the eventual outcome. And whomever started the latest petition should probably come forward as I assume they wish to present their petition to Westtown?
I get the need to have anonymity when voicing opinions on certain local topics, but whomever you are, you inspired me and others to raise our collective voices regarding Crebilly with your simple message to go with your petition:
Help join the cause to save Crebilly Farm, a prized open landscape that represents Chester County’s unique history and natural beauty. There are currently plans installed by real estate company Toll Brothers to develop the Crebilly property. If you oppose these plans, please show your support. Together we can preserve Chester County’s historical significance and natural integrity that are central to our community’s identity. Let’s keep our home an enjoyable place to live in.
Here are some of the comments left by petition signers:
I hope someone hears their pleas. Eloquent and simple.
I hope Westtown residents express themselves soonso their township hears from the residents in time.
I hope people from ALL over Chester County bombard the Chester County Commisisoners with phone calls, e-mails and letters over Crebilly and the state of development in Chester County in general. It would be nice for example if they could tell us the taxpayers and residents of Chester County why it is that our county planning is headed up by a hired gun who does not even live in Chester County? Why is the Chester County Planning Commission led by Brian O’Leary who lives in super pro-development Lower Merion Township, used to be on their planning commission and accomplished nothing really to combat over development and sprawl during his tenure in Montgomery County? Why does a pro-development Auslander the best choice? Are there no qualified planners who reside in Chester County? Really?
Oh and one last thing. In order for Chester County Planning Commission to be as confusing as humanly possible they have split the survey they recently sent out into different sections. You can now take a survey on just certain sections like Preservation or Agriculture, for example.
Carpe diem folks! Once places like Crebilly are gone, they are never coming back. It is up to us collectively to step up and demand better. Historic preservation, equine and agricultural preservation, meaningful open space preservation.
I would like to think when it comes to Crebilly, the ghosts of American Revolutionary War Soldiers would want us to speak up don’t you? They died to keep our land free from invaders, right?
Imagine all of this if 350 or whatever the exact number of houses get approved and built on Crebilly in Westtown. Of course it also makes you realize that Chester County Planning is somewhat asleep at the wheel when it comes to regional planning and so called “smart growth” doesn’t it?
What is so smart about this? Seems pretty dumb to me. I realize I am but a mere mortal and a female, but that is what I think.
Anyway, Westtown apparently has a Supervisors’ Meeting September 19. People should start asking them about things like traffic….just saying…..
Near / at 926 Picture of rt 202 traffic 5:30 pm
Backup along Crebilly at new street heading toward 926 Actually blocks the entrance to the farm and Robinson’s house
During a presentation at the commissioners’ Sunshine meeting, Matthew Hammond of the Chester County Planning Commission pointed out that eight percent of the county’s open space enjoyed permanent protection prior to Landscapes; now the number is nearly 27 percent.
Hammond noted that an influx of 150,000 residents is predicted by 2045, reinforcing the need to have a plan that continues the focus on managing that growth through open space preservation, urban center revitalization, and municipal planning assistance.
“We’re very excited to be moving forward on this,” said Brian O’Leary, executive director of the Chester County Planning Commission.
Landscapes3 will involve a two-year effort that begins with a series of stakeholder meetings this fall, to determine the issues and challenges facing Chester County over the next 10 years.
“Twenty years ago, Chester County made a choice to redirect growth, to protect open space and to revitalize our towns and urban communities,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chairman Terence Farrell. “Landscapes and Landscapes2 have served us very well in doing that, but it is time to renew our vision and ensure that Chester County remains a highly attractive place to live, work and visit.”
Ok that’s all nice and fluffy, but how are you preserving open space REALLY? What land are you saving? Look at all the parts of Chester County at risk, what are you doing? You guys talk a good game, but to be honest I lost faith in you when you hired Brian O’Leary whom I remembered none too fondly from Lower Merion Township where developers say “jump!” and Lower Merion says “how high?”
POSTED: 09/16/15, 3:46 PM EDT|UPDATED: ON 09/16/2015
A Montgomery County official will be the new head of the Chester County Planning Commission, and will be counted on to oversee the future update of the county’s award-winning land and community planning document, Landscapes2, in the coming four years.
The county commissioners announced the appointment of Brian O’Leary as executive director at their meeting Tuesday. O’Leary currently serves as section chief on the Montgomery County Planning Commission, where he has worked for nearly 30 years.
O’Leary replaces former county Planning Commission Executive Director Ronald Bailey, who retired in June. Bailey had served as head of the commission since 2006. O’Leary will formally begin his work in the county on Oct. 5.
Lower Merion Township will ultimately be ruined by all the development still coming at it, and Montgomery County is a giant development mess.
As the county planning commission you are supposed to seek balance, where is that balance exactly? How are the rights of existing residents being preserved? How is the agricultural and equine history, tradition, and culture being honored? When arable farmland and open space is gone, it’s gone.
How many developments do we need ? How come residents do not truly get a say in this? I mean you say you want our input, so we give it to you, and up pops another development or strip mall. It is a bit frustrating.
What are you doing to save Crebilly Farm???? Bryn Coed??? Any open space and farmland anywhere throughout the county? Do you care about ANY of the historic structures threatened throughout the county at all?
How is any of the current development “smart” growth? Your Brian O’Leary is even on the board of the Smart Growth Alliance, and allow me to quote them on him:
Through his work in local planning, Brian has seen the importance of smart growth. With smart growth, new development is focused towards existing communities, helping these places revitalize, improve their infrastructure, and create vibrant and healthy neighborhoods. Without smart growth, farmland is lost, people’s transportation choices are limited, and the economy suffers.
So are we supposed to all hop into our smart cars now and jump on board the New Urbanism Fairy Tale Express? Brian O’Leary is a resident of Penn Wynne or Wynnewood in Lower Merion Township so seriously, what does he know from open space? And that is whose hands our future is in? Have any of you dealt with the congestion that is the Main Line recently? Or seen community after community torn asunder by development and the constant whirl of political shell games? Well I did, and I want better for the gorgeous county I now call home.
The news last week that Crebilly Farm, a picturesque 300-plus-acre property in Westtown Township, was poised to become a 300-unit Toll Brothers subdivision, prompted swift public outcry.
Hundreds of area residents took to social media, many expressing outrage as well as interest in doing whatever possible to stop the bulldozers. Dr. Ryan K. Tamburrino, an area orthodontist, even pledged to donate $300 to the cause for each new patient he receives in July who mentions the preservation effort.
However, questions remain about what, if anything, can prevent Westtown Township’s conditional-use approval, particularly since the developer’s preliminary plans fall within township guidelines.
Speaking at an information session on Thursday, June 30, Andrew J. Semon, a division president for Toll Brothers, said the agreement of sale is contingent upon getting that approval. He said he expected the developer to submit an application later this summer.
Chester County Planning, as the planning department you hold the public’s trust. So what are you doing for us exactly? Why is it we should “trust” you?
You do not seem to be slowing down development after development which each one after the other is a cram plan like:
How are those Stepford communities preserving Chester County? Do we have a new agricultural crop known as plastic houses? Does it go with the hideous and dangerous gas pipelines which are snaking through our communities at an increasing rate?
But I digress. No pipeline talk today, back to all this development.
These developments are not good planning for the residents of Chester County. These developments are good for lining the pockets of the developers who built them….and then they leave. They give municipalities a short term junkie fix of ratables and then they have to be sustained and are they long term? Or will we eventually end up with development ghost towns like discussed in this Atlantic article from 2011:
There are several counties in America, each with more than 10,000 homes, that have vacancy rates above 55%. The rate is above 60% in several.
Most people who follow unemployment and the housing crisis would expect high vacancy rates in hard-hit states including Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. They were among the fastest growing areas from 2000 to 2010. Disaster struck once economic growth ended……..Data from states and large metropolitan areas do not tell the story of how much the real estate disaster has turned certain areas in the country into ghost towns.
……These are the American Ghost Towns Of The 21st Century. Each has a population of more than 10,000 along with vacancy rates of more than 55%, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
Is that our future? It very well could be. Unless Chester County Residents rise up now and take back our county.
Yes, them’s fighting words according to some, but when the head of the county planning department doesn’t even actually live in Chester County, how does he truly get it?
The answer is he can’t. He is not living in our communities, he merely has a job here, collects a salary in the county, and goes back home to a place very different from us. Not being mean, it’s just the truth.
Chester County residents deserve better.
But how do we get there before the county is destroyed by wanton development?
Here is Brian O’Leary’s e-mail if you would like to contact him to ask him about Crebilly or anyplace else in the county facing wanton development : email@example.com