a victory for residents in west whiteland….for now

A victory for East and West Whiteland residents. However, a caveat: FOR NOW.

In my humble opinion this is far from over. This meeting is still a regular public meeting and it would behoove concerned residents to go and still express their opinions on this.

And as I was driving on Swedesford Road today near Malvern Hunt, I am still very curious as to how the approved data center in East Whiteland is not going to bother the development dwellers there and even possibly a little further up where the townhouse development is, that’s new.

I will also note that a certain stupidvisor in West Whiteland who is now a lame duck with a bad attitude dodged comment when asked by a reporter from the Daily Local about this. I wonder why she is being silent? Is it pure ignorance on the topic, or did someone tell her not to say anything? I think when it comes to these projects, there’s always more than meets the eye, and it’s not just local involvement, is it?


EAST WHITELAND — A 2-million-square-foot data center, at a cost of approximately $6 billion, is planned for the 100-acre former Foote Mineral site. Seventy-five acres sit in East Whiteland and 25 acres are located in West Whiteland Township.

Fifteenfortyseven Critical Systems Realty partnered with Green Fig Land to obtain East Whiteland zoning variance changes that would allow for two separate million-square-foot, two-story structures and microwave towers, near the intersection of Valley Creek Boulevard and Swedesford Road.

Charlie Lyddane, who works with partner Greg Walters, of Green Fig Land, said on Monday that he wants eventually to also build on the adjacent 25-acre property in West Whiteland Township….The site abuts the heavily used Chester Valley Trail and Exton Park for what Lyddane said would be an “ancillary” use.

Data centers house equipment such as servers, and air conditioning and cooling equipment for storage of large amounts of data. Data centers run the systems that cell phones are connected to and it’s part of the internet. A data center is the building that houses all of that equipment.

Residents rallied to fight some of the uses after West Whiteland had set a January 25 date for a hearing on zoning changes in the existing office/lab district. Those changes would allow for the data center and a power generating facility to help run the data center. PECO has already agreed to supply a large amount of power. Lyddane said it was enough to fully run the East Whiteland facility as planned….The proposed West Whiteland zoning changes also call for a 60-foot height limit rather than the current limit of 35 feet.

“We are looking for flexibility,” Lyddane said.

The developer said that each of the two floors might measure 20 feet high, with equipment on the roof. He said that the facility would create 50 permanent “very good paying jobs” onsite and about 3,000 jobs during the construction period.

West Whiteland Supervisor Brian Dunn talked about the zoning changes that might lead to a data center and power plant in the township.

“I’m always skeptical about amending zoning ordinances,” Dunn said. “I’ve found through my experience that whenever a zoning ordinance is amended it’s not always what was proposed.

“A lot of times it opens up a can of worms for something worse.”

West Whiteland Supervisor Rajesh Kumbhardare said he wants to see the facts while noting that the site sits far from residences.

“I don’t see any issue with the zoning changes,” he said. “There is no power plant on the books….

West Whiteland Supervisor Theresa Santalucia preferred to not comment when reached by phone.

Libby Madarasz is running for the seat occupied by Santalucia on the West Whiteland board of supervisors.

“I’ve spent hours this past long weekend speaking with residents in their neighborhoods and out enjoying Exton Park and the Chester Valley Trail,” she said. “There was a resounding objection to these (proposed) changes in the zoning ordinances which would have such an impact to these treasured spaces.

~ Daily Local/ Bill Rettew

It’s a very big article in the Daily Local and it’s worth reading.

Residents take a victory lap, but don’t get complacent. Please. And why am I saying that? Because at the end of the day this also has a lot to do with politics. This is a battle won, not the war.

once upon a time there was a female supervisor in west whiteland who stood up for the people

Once upon a time in West Whiteland Township, Chester County there was a female supervisor who was a lioness for the people. Hell no, I am definitely not speaking about Theresa Hogan Santalucia. That woman is a hamster stuck on a hamster wheel. I am speaking about Diane Snyder.

Diane Snyder was instrumental in stopping the Rouse Churchill plan in the 1990s and getting all those blessed acres saved. (That Greg Walters who was with Rouse somehow back then is now in this Green Fig Land Development along with Charles “Charlie” Lyddane, and isn’t that interesting?)

Back to Diane.

Diane was also instrumental in getting the West Whiteland Concerned Citizens group back then together. She stood up, got involved, rolled up her sleeves and look at what they accomplished? And now how many years later it’s all at risk again? Because I am not sure if all of the three West Whiteland Supervisors get it?

Yes, I am saying it out loud: I have reservations (right or wrong) that West Whiteland Supervisors Theresa Hogan Santalucia and Raj Kumbhardare don’t necessarily get it in this instance. And that concerns me because their decisions don’t happen on a tiny island in the middle of a vast ocean, and their decisions here affect more than West Whiteland residents.

Raj Kumbhardare will undoubtedly say it’s good for business because all he sees as a person with a career in database administration is the data center. He stands up for certain things, but here I just think his perspective would be different. He’s a good guy but sometimes things are lost on him. I fear this could be. He wasn’t here when the land was originally saved so he might not get the gravitas as it were.

Theresa Hogan Santalucia is not in my opinion a good person. And she is a terrible politician. Always volatile and insecure and just ignorant on so many issues. As opposed to Supervisors Raj Kumbhardare and Brian Dunn she is downright harmful. She also is not in fact particularly involved in the community she serves. And if you question her actual service and authenticity she goes on pity parties for one saying all she does is work. Well I have known lots of nurses who actually make time for volunteerism and most of us work, so that is just an excuse. Theresa IMHO would be a “yes” mind on this plan because she is unpleasant, often unknowledgeable, and seems to want to suck up to certain factions and curry favor.

Theresa Hogan Santalucia is SO unlike Diane Snyder, who did her job for the benefit of the residents, not to the detriment of residents. Diane Snyder paved the way for other female elected officials as well as putting her community first. She was a trailblazer and worked hard for the greater good.

Diane Snyder stood up. Here is a healthy excerpt of a 2008 article from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Exton Park projects moving forward – slowly

Fourteen years after the county and W. Whiteland bought the property, it’s still a work in progress.

By Don Beideman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Published June 22, 2008

Fourteen years ago this month, officials from Chester County and West Whiteland Township agreed to purchase more than 700 acres from the Church Farm School for $12 million to preserve it as parkland.

Three hundred acres were purchased by the township with a $4.7 million bond issue that had been overwhelmingly approved by township voters for open space. The county bought another 400 acres. Together the parcels are known as Exton Park.

When the agreement was signed, Joseph Kenna, then chairman of the county commissioners, called it a “home run” for all county residents.

So what’s been going on for the past 14 years? And why has it taken so long?

Subdivision, bureaucratic paperwork, design time and environmental issues have all slowed the process, but township and county officials say work is progressing. They say the park could take as much as another decade or more to complete.

In the interim, the school changed its name to CFS, the School at Church Farm.

Although formal subdivision of the large tract – what belongs to the township and what belongs to the county – has not been completed, the township portion of the park will be programmed for active recreation. This would include sports fields, courts, playgrounds and trails. Right now though, part of the land is leased to a farmer who grows corn there.

The county portion will be geared more to passive recreation and include an amphitheater. Nearly 100 acres have been set aside for potential spray irrigation use.

About two-thirds of the 700 acres are north of Swedesford Road. Ship Road is the western boundary with a line running between Old Valley and Valley Hill Road as the northern boundary. The southern boundary is the former Chester Valley rail line right of way.

On the east, the tract is bordered by the Valley Creek Corporate Center and the East Whiteland Township line….Each entity plans to develop its park, with completion as much as a decade or more down the road….It has been a slow process,” said West Whiteland Supervisor Diane Snyder. She was instrumental in organizing the West Whiteland Concerned Citizens in the early 1990s to oppose developer Willar Rouse’s proposal to buy the property and put a planned community of offices, shops and light industry on the site. The proposed development was to be called Churchill.

After a nearly three-year battle, the supervisors turned down Rouse’s plan. Snyder, who had been head of the township Historical Commission, was urged to run for the Board of Supervisors.

“It was so great to see the deal [for the tract] eventually made,” said Snyder, standing earlier this week at a barn on the township’s park property. The township uses the barn to store equipment….”I thought I’d love to have this as a park,” she added. “To me this is a living document. It’s so great to have this beautiful tract of undeveloped land. We needed the county and the county needed us to do this.”…The first phase for the county involves the western head of the Chester Valley Trail, which will connect with Upper Merion in Montgomery County. It’s to be in the south-central portion of the park.

Sorry not sorry if I feel like this is all about the money, honey. I am allowed to have these opinions. And I am also of the opinion that they already got into East Whiteland with approval for a data center there (which I believe is a mistake) so why so greedy? I am of the opinion this takes us back to the the whole Trojan Horse idea? You know, data centers as the path to the hydrogen power plant? Money money money?

Do I have the answers about the whole data center and hydrogen plant issue? Nope, but a grand indicator is one of the faces of the plan spent years as an investment banker so do we really feel that this is for the greater good or merely someone’s greater profit?

A former West Whiteland Supervisor put it on the line to preserve land and open space in this area, so why would any West Whiteland official be gung ho to change the zoning and open up the area to industrial? And why would any elected official want to open up the area to industrial that we really don’t know enough about?

I was ambivalent about data centers until I looked into Loudoun County, Virginia. Now I’m just thinking they’re a mistake in certain areas. I worry about the one approved in East Whiteland already because I don’t think anybody did enough homework with conditions of approval as far as HVAC systems and other things like potential environmental and power worries went, and isn’t that reasonable to be concerned? I mean do the residential residents near by even really know about this data center? And if it gets supersized via West Whiteland, how will all that affect them?

And not to go all conspiracy theory but what about interested parties above this local level? Is there a push coming from elsewhere that is not as yet self evident?

Thank you Diane Snyder for what you did for us all those years ago. Now I just hope West Whiteland doesn’t let you and everyone else down in the present.