Photo courtesy of West Whiteland Residents for Public Safety
Today more friends, acquaintances, and residents will be lending their voices and speaking truth to power over the scourge known as pipelines.
You see, this is day two of public hearings in West Chester that the PUC (Public Utility Commission) is holding on Mariner East. The pipelines are ruining where we call home and putting us ALL at risk. Corporate greed putting lives at risk. We don’t benefit as residents. We only assume risk and for what? So they can rape the land and ship dangerous things below our feet to places like Scotland that can blow us all to kingdom come, destroy our property values, pollute our drinking water wells and more?
Enough. Enough. Enough. It’s well past time to get them out of our communities.
The Philadelphia Inquirer had the best headline in years late yesterday when they went to press with:
by Andrew Maykuth Philadelphia Inquirer Updated: October 23, 2019- 5:43 PM
The contentious Sunoco Mariner East project once again occupied center stage in a courtroom Wednesday as 10 residents and a homeowners association from the Philadelphia suburbs implored a state agency to halt the cross-state pipeline.
….“It’s not that we’re against the pipeline, it’s that we’re for basic things that are threatened by this project, the first of which is obviously the safety of our communities,” said Eric Friedman, the head of the Andover Homeowners Association in Thornbury Township, Delaware County. He said all of the residents in the 39-home subdivision live in a potential “fatality zone” if the pipeline fails.
Seven residents of Chester and Delaware counties took their long-running fight against the Mariner East pipelines to a West Chester court on Wednesday, saying the Public Utility Commission should shut down the lines on the grounds that they are a danger to public safety.
They are urging a PUC administrative law judge to halt the operation and remaining construction of Sunoco’s still-unfinished pipeline project, on the grounds that any leak or explosion of natural gas liquids from the pipelines in densely populated suburbs like the two counties could result in mass casualties.
The plaintiffs are also seeking a court order that would require Sunoco to clarify its instructions on how residents should protect themselves in the event of a pipeline accident….Lawyers for Sunoco repeatedly accused Eric Friedman, a witness for the plaintiffs, of offering expert evidence that he was not qualified to give, but Barnes overruled several of their objections.
Under questioning from the plaintiffs’ attorney, Michael Bomstein, Friedman said a consultant’s projection on the impact of an explosion of NGLs showed that there would be fatalities within a radius of 800 feet…..Dr. Emilie Lonardi, superintendent of the 13,000-student Downingtown School District, told the court that five of her schools are between 300 and 1,425 feet of the pipeline route, and that despite many attempts to get detailed evacuation information from Sunoco, she remains worried about whether her students would be safe in a pipeline emergency.
She said she’s unable to assure parents at one elementary school that their children are safe.
“The hard thing for me is that I cannot look them in the eye and say yes,” she said.
The plaintiffs — Meghan Flynn and Rosemary Fuller of Middletown Township; Michael Walsh of Thornbury Township; Nancy Harkins of Westtown Township; McMullen; Caroline Hughes of East Goshen Township; and Melissa Haines of Aston Township — are pressing a case that has resulted in 11 months of legal filings and more than three years of public meetings, protests and court battles that have also involved the Department of Environmental Protection, local officials, the federal pipeline regulator PHMSA, state lawmakers, school districts, townships, and several environmental nonprofits…..Sunoco admitted in February 2019 that it made mistakes during construction
Read both of these articles. In their entirety. And to my friends in West Chester? Prayers up. #PipelinesOverPeople
Today Thursday is the second day of the hearing at High St and Market St at the historic West Chester courthouse. I have no courtroom information. The hearing should just be getting underway now.
Photo found on Internet. Possible source is Sierra Club
On Sunday shortly before dinner time my cell phone exploded with text messages and calls. News of another sinkhole opening on Lisa Drive in West Whiteland.
Now a sinkhole opening up after heavy rains in our part of the county is not so unusual is it? Is it not true we are rife with sinkholes because of the geological formations under the ground? All that stuff about schist, karst, and what some describe as a veritable limestone fault line?
So why does it always seem like the pipeline companies don’t care about the actual geology of our area where they are shoving their pipes?
In addition to the geological life of it all underground (which is why there were so many mine and quarries, etc right?) we are an area with lots of old farm pits and whatever a lot of developers have buried at old construction sites of years past? Today most construction debris gets hauled away properly but in times past? Was a lot of debris removed or buried?
Anyway my point is in my opinion all these things add up to giving a lot of people the ability to have sinkholes on their property. My other point is neighbors and residents seem to be more aware and fearful of sinkholes, yet these pipeline companies seem to just move blithely forward don’t they?
So we have another sinkhole and I’m told it’s a property that Sunoco bought on Lisa Drive. The pipeline that was exposed was the old pipeline Mariner One. What makes all the difference in the world now in my opinion is how Sunoco proceeds and thus far is it anything that business as usual? Or the continuing saga of Chester county residents versus Sunoco?
Why do I say that? Hired muscle, thugs, security take your pick of describing people who reportedly called themselves constables. Does that mean they want people to think they are law-enforcement?
CHESTER CO., Pa. – Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced that after investigating a new sinkhole that opened up last weekend in Chester County, his office discovered that Sunoco hired constables from outside of Chester County to act as a private security force around the pipelines…According to a release from Hogan’s office, when the sinkhole appeared, citizens reported it and a plain clothes Chester County Detective approached the scene. When he arrived, an armed man flashed a badge and identified himself as a constable from Northumberland County.
When asked by the detective, the man admitted he had been hired as security by Sunoco, according to the release.
Is it just me or is that like welcome to Crazy Town?
I have had friends tell me of being in their own back yards and having the pipeline workers photograph and video them going about their everyday life. So they are allowed to do that yet if residents do the same they are criticized?
I have to ask if municipalities getting ready for other pipelines like Adelphia Gateway to come in are paying attention? Do they think realistically it’s going to be any different than what the residents dealing with Sunoco/Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer Partners experience every day?
Are we as residents of a county that played a huge part in the birthplace of our American freedoms supposed to just live in a factory town paid police state? Every time I hear one of the stories about the pipelines it reminds me of the tales of factory towns and factories and mining towns and mines where literally some company owned everything: where you worked, where your laid your head to rest each night, where you went to do your shopping and so on.
And when it comes to these pipelines what are we getting out of the deal? These are transport lines correct? So they are taking stuff taken out of the soil in other parts of the state and shipping them out of the area and overseas, correct? And for this privilege of living with this in our area what do we get? Oh yeah, things like experiencing eminent domain, declining property values, valid safety concerns, polluted drinking Wells, sinkholes, being harassed, and more?
Does Governor Tom Wolf give a damn? Does Attorney General Josh Shapiro give a damn? Do most local mucicipal reprsentatives in each township and counties give a damn?
Before I lived in Chester County, and even when I first moved to Chester County I thought people were being overly dramatic with regard to the pipelines. Because that’s what the PR spin doctors wanted me to think.
As I started to look beyond the spin and began to call some of the affected residents friends, and realized I already knew some of the affected residents, my perspective began to right itself towards the truth.
First I realized that if life had been different, we (as in my family) might be living in Marydell in West Chester with a pipeline now in the back yard. Then when I realized where we currently live is 1030 feet and 1060 feet from exisitng pipelines and where Adelphia Gateway wants to repurpose an old line like Sunoco-lite I really knew this was actually scary stuff.
And that knowledge has made realize we can’t really trust these pipeline companies can we? And that lack of trust extends to elected officials who do nothing to support the residents who elected them, doesn’t it?
As residents we are heavily scrutinized, perhaps even unfairly scrutinized because we are tired of the pipeline status quo. Is it just me or does it seem we as residents are held to a more stringent set of rules or a higher standard for wishing to protect where we call home and are raising our families?
That is why I am glad Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan is taking a hard look at what is going on. Maybe more officials will follow suit. One can only hope.
In the meantime, like thousands of others I live every day with grave concerns as to what the pipeline companies are doing. After all, we aren’t revolutionaries we just live here.
And I say eminent domain by private gain versus eminent domain for public purpose because the natural gas companies filing for PUC utility status in Pennsylvania is BOGUS. So BOGUS.
Because what they rape from the ground and ship across multiple counties doesn’t stay here does it? It is EXPORT, isn’t it? Like for plastics in Scotland? So where is the public benefit?
And let’s talk about the pipeline WORKERS. They are IMPORTS, right? Texas, Maryland, Oklahoma, etc as you can see from their license plates, correct? So these pipline companies are EXPORTING the gas and “other hydrocarbons” and IMPORTING workers from other places so any way you care to look at it, how can they say PUBLIC PURPOSE? It’s not. When they say that it is just P.R. swill, isn’t it?
People in Chester County not too far from me have had their land seized and properties devalued (because who in the hell wants to buy a house in a neighborhood after the pipelines have visited and sinkholes have opened up, wells have been polluted?)
In Berks and other counties homeowners have been subjected to the SAME heinous actions and now to add insult to injury, are being threatened with Mechanics Liens by subcontractors who were employed by the pipeline companies. That was why I wrote the post about it HERE.
Don’t believe me? An actual letter was shared with LancasterOnline and was published today. I screen shot it and blocked off the homeowner name and address:
So how about that? Crazy, right? Not only have these people had land siezed, the pipelines aren’t paying their subcontractors and they are being targeted instead of the pipeline companies who actually employed them? Merry freaking Christmas.
Fallout from the bankruptcy of Welded Construction, the main contractor in two local gas pipeline projects, has ensnared landowners in Berks and Lebanon counties with the threat of liens on their properties.
Lancaster County residents are wondering if they could be next.
Three homeowner couples and the Twin Valley School District near Morgantown, Berks County, were astounded to find legal letters in their mailboxes recently.
The letters were from United Piping Inc., a Minnesota-based subcontractor that says it has not been paid by Welded for work on the controversial Sunoco Mariner East natural gas liquids pipeline that runs through their properties.
United Piping was giving the property owners formal notice of the company’s intent to go to Berks County court within 30 days to file “mechanics liens” on their land….In Lebanon County, meanwhile, Dykon Blasting Corp. — an Oklahoma subcontractor that worked on the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline and says it has not been paid by Welded — has mailed similar legal letters to landowners….He said affected landowners can contact Williams for additional information by e-mail at AtlanticSunrise@Williams.com.
Oh and as this article was first being read by folks, I realized I had a nasty and somewhat menacing comment left on my other post:
This Grinch hails from Lancaster County. It took about two minutes to find out exactly where he lived and what other nasty bits of business he has posted on the Internet. Also discovered the proximity of local police to them.
So FYI to the Grinch, I retain all threatening comments. And law enforcement reads this blog on occasion. And not that it is any of his Grinch-y business BUT I actually don’t drive a big gas guzzling SUV.
And all the things that “modern free enterprise” give us does not start with the pipelines because none of it stays here. It’s EXPORT. They don’t even employ local for the most part, they INPORT from elsewhere.
The other thing is if the pipeline subs are owed money why aren’t they going to the gas companies for their money versus attacking the homeowners who have had their land stolen and properties devalued BY THE PIPELINE COMPANIES?
So Grinch, you want to be ignorant and threaten and not so subtly suggest I am a communist who should go to Cuba? Rock on with your bigoted self. Like I said, I have zero problem with letting law enforcement know about people who menace.
Now while we are dishing pipelines, let us pause for Adelphia Gateway. They are a comin’. There are in front of federal regulators and will be in Chester County municipalities like Westtown, East Goshen, West Goshen and East Whiteland and more.
On a brisk night in Bucks County, a group of retirees and young families unloaded on state officials their frustrations about natural-gas infrastructure.
“They say this pipeline is for the benefit of Pennsylvanians, but it is not. This line goes to Marcus Hook for export,” said Christine Shelly of West Rockhill Township. “Adelphia is looking to squeeze the last drops of a dying energy source out of the ground, oblivious to the cries of the people, who plead for protection as our air, ground and water become fouled.”…Adelphia Gateway LLC is proposing to convert a hybrid oil/natural gas pipeline to solely pump natural gas from a plant in Northampton County to a refinery in Marcus Hook, Delaware County. The company, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, bought the 84-mile pipeline from Talen Energy Co. last year for $189 million….
Adelphia did not send any representatives to the hearing, nor was it required to, according to Rebarchak. The company has said it’s working closely with township officials to create a facility that blends into the area “while delivering much-needed natural gas safely to its intended end users.”
During its air-quality review, DEP officials will weigh the residents’ comments — as well as any others submitted in writing before Dec. 14.
People before pipelines. It’s long past due. There are not any real safety plans in place and how well what is around would work as we saw in a Boston suburb within the past few months because when they blow (the situation in Boston was described by residents as “looking like Armageddon”) , they decimate everything in the explosion’s path. They are shoving these things through school properties, libraries, churches, farmers’ fields, and so on and so forth.
So do not tell any of us expressing valid concerns about these rape and pillage corporate greed projects is being anti-American. It doesn’t get anymore American than wishing to #DefendWhatYouLove
Thanks for stopping by. #NotOurPipelines
Photo taken by Chester County Resident and posted to Uwchlan Safety Coalition. Notice the child’s play area in someone’s backyard that the pipeline pipes are literally on top of.
I have written twice about my concerns over Adelphia Gateway. Once HERE, and then HERE.
A small group of my friends and I met with Adelphia the other day. We had a small parlor meeting. The meeting with Adelphia was not unpleasant I am happy to report. Many questions still, but a nice opening conversation. Hopefully with the help of folks like the Pipeline Safety Coalition and other groups East Whiteland will be part of the larger community conversations.
I have been concerned because there is not much information available (as one example) to residents in East Whiteland to date.
There is a lot to be learned about pipelines. There’s a lot to be learned about the safety aspect. And I learned that there are a lot of things unanswered with regard to this and other pipelines when it comes to safety. This pipeline is in East Pikeland, Phoenixville, Charlestown, Westtown, and East Goshen unless I am looking at the map incorrectly.
Some residents in seem better informed to date depending upon the municipality. Sadly, East Whiteland residents are in the dark in my opinion, and East Whiteland Township has the distinction of NOT filing an intervenor status with FERC and Adelphia’s application, which I have to ask why not? What does it lose to be better informed for your residents? What does it hurt to be a better advocate for said aforementioned residents?
Things that are also concerning is the system that is supposed to tell you how deep certain pipes are isn’t necessarily accurate – which is why some water mains have gotten hit.
Some unanswered questions include whether or not Adelphia will need more land from people down the road and if it’s just gas or if it will be “other hydrocarbons”. And what the “other hydrocarbons” could be. I understand that no one has a crystal ball and can’t see into the future, but there has to be some idea somewhere of what “other hydrocarbons” might be and isn’t that reasonable?
Adelphia has PUC status indirectly through Interstate from whom they are buying the pipeline but they do not have their own PUC status pending the outcome with FERC. Land agents are around so you all need to know that. FERC *may* give approval as early as the fall for Adelphia but it’s not a done deal. And if approvals are conditional from FERC it could be a lot longer – see Penn East pipeline as an example (conditional approval like 4 years so far?)
That being said residents should also be aware that land agents working for these companies are not regulated with in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Hinging on THAT is do not sign anything if these land agents are coming through at this point because Adelphia does not have its own stand-alone PUC status.
Do not sign your rights away and if they give you anything, give it to an attorney.
The sections of pipeline are 12 inch, 18 inch, and 20 inch. This pipeline was put in circa 1970s don’t have an exact date.
Adelphia is planning on re-purposing 50 miles of pipeline. This particular pipeline is a total of 84 miles from Lower Mt. Bethel through to Marcus Hook in Delco.
50 miles that concern us start south (not a directional genius so I hope that is right?) of Bucks County and have not been used for anything since 2014. This line is currently a petroleum line they wish to convert to gas and “other hydrocarbons”.
No one knows at this point if they will just stick to this pipeline or if they will become more like Mariner II. In other words, will it be more complicated with more construction and problems like we have seen in East Goshen, West Goshen, West Whiteland, etc etc.
The person who came out and met with us is with Bravo Group PR. I understand she has or had Mariner II as a client as well. Her name is Ivana Wolfe. She is actually connected to a lot of Republicans I know or know of. Went to Villanova. Very bright, very nice. I really like her even if I do not trust her client.
We may have lived with these pipelines underground for decades but there is a big difference in using them for petroleum versus gas and other things.
My head is swimming with terms like shut off valves and blow downs. I also learned more about PHMSA through the department of transportation — Pipeline Hazardous Materials Administration (I think I got it straight!)Blowdowns if I have the definition right are systems that do a complete venting of the natural gas within a compressor or pipeline to the atmosphere, to reduce pressure and empty the system. These typically either occur during an emergency shutdown or during routine station maintenance. (Read more here, kind of concerning in my opinion.)
With regard to blowdowns, I heard yesterday elsewhere that one will go in East Goshen? Is it really planned to go next-door to East Goshen’s park? Or is that just a rumor? How will that impact mother nature, the people who use the park, and the people who live around the park if true?
Are East Goshen’s newish Supervisors really on top of their game here when it comes to pipelines? I ask because I have heard mixed reviews and I wonder if they are listening to the environmental and pipeline safety group formed by residents (East Goshen Safety and Environmental Advocates) who have been doing a lot of research?
To be fair to East Goshen, I heard the following which is good news:
I am concerned with pipelines in general in East Whiteland in part because if you look at the interactive maps found on the Chester County Planning Commission website you see that in East Whiteland (for example), it looks like once again pipelines are near elementary schools?
And will the Adelphia/Interstate pipeline run right down the center of that new cul de sac development planned for the farmette that was sold on Morstein?
The bottom line is we aren’t little islands in the pipeline storm no matter where we live, we are part of a bigger community. The better our communities share with one and other the better we all are for it. That is why these community groups keeps springing up with regard to pipelines. If our local governments aren’t going to act on their own, they need encouragement from the public. Sometimes they need a lot of encouragement, depending upon the municipality.
I will still be honest and say I am still anti-pipeline based on what I have seen thus far. I am always willing to listen and learn but at my core I think we’re getting the short end of the stick in Pennsylvania and Chester County.
I will note I found the following on Adelphia and it has to do with this pipeline they wish to repurpose around Chester County, etc:
So yeah people, Adelphia is here with the pipeline party and land agents are around. If your municipality is not being particularly proactive, and where you live falls along this pipeline, time to contact your supervisors, commissioners, borough council people – whomever represents you. Especially in townships like East Whiteland which are quite frankly in my opinion behind the eight ball when it comes to pipelines.
No one knows if any of these pipelines when they come to town are just repurposing forever, if the repurposing will work, if the pipelines are in perfect shape, or what the impact is really when you lay it all out petroleum versus gas and “other hydrocarbons” .
There are also so many safety questions that it makes your head spin. Petroleum is not as volatile as gas. Period. So even a simple, or what is presented as a simple pipeline repurposing, is not necessarily easy-peasy simple no worries. There are worries.
We are all connected in this pipeline mess in Chester County.It’s our county, we live here. Our homes are our castles and our own little slice of heaven.
We need to quite simply, defend what we love. We have to also think and act responsibly.
So I started looking at the interactive pipeline map again along with the pipeline website for Chester County set up by the Chester County Planning Commission. And it prompted an email to pipeline companies and the Chester County Planning Commission to clarify how we would possibly be affected where we live. ( I will note we have neighbors not so far away who have like three pipelines running through their property.)
“When I look at our mapping, which uses the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) that the Federal Government maintains, in conjunction with the pipeline operators, the western edge of your house is roughly 1,030 feet from the closest line, which is Interstate Energy, which is planned to be converted to natural gas.”
~ Carrie from Chester County Planning Commission
Yikes. (and that is the most polite phrase fit to print.)
And for what isn’t planned, possibly planned, maybe planned, who knows what plan exists right through my backyard and/or woods, well I would be close enough to be in a blast zone. Only it is apparently not politically correct to use that phrase, because when I did, I was told:
Regarding your concern about being in a “blast zone,” our office does not define or utilize the phrase “blast zone.” We do use the term Consultation Zone, which is a term used by the federal government and operators to distinguish an area of 1000 feet (in Chester County) on either side of an existing transmission pipeline where coordination between local officials, landowners, and operators are encouraged to consult with each other before land developments are planned for these areas. The US Department of Transportation (which houses the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s Office of Pipeline Safety) sponsored a planning effort known as “Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance” (2010,) which identified the phrase Consultation Zone. They define it as an area extending from each side of a transmission pipeline to describe when a property developer/owner, who is planning a new development in the vicinity of an existing transmission pipeline, should initiate a dialogue with the operator. (see https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/…/pipa-report-final-20101117.p…) These zones are a recommended practice and not something that is required.
As another person pointed out to me:
…the Blast Zone is something different. PHMSA calls it the “Buffer Zone” but sorry, we and our loved ones are not buffers.
If Adelphia [and others] end up being like Mariner East, at a 1000 ft you will be within the Blast Zone.
Whether Buffer Zone, Consultation Zone, or Blast Zone….they are all scary bad zones to me, o.k.?
Well now, apparently I will have skin in the game? That now I can join all of the other Chester County and Delaware County residents worrying about pipelines?
Fabulous. Worry is such a good look on people, right? (Dripping sarcasm, can you feel it?)
What started me like Alice down the proverbial pipeline rabbit hole this week is something I saw posted on Charlestown’s website:
You see, in neighboring East Whiteland Township where I live, the township doesn’t have much out there yet on the pipelines. All I found (easily – I say easily because perhaps information is hidden deep down in website ) was the Adelphia Gateway letter from January, which I had already seen. Here it is:
A lot of townships now have stand alone pages with pipeline information. Like East Goshen, Uwchlan, and Upper Uwchlan, for example. (CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE) All townships with any pipelines should have these informational pages in my opinion.
I will note that when I sent my email to Chester County Planning about pipelines in my particular neighborhood, while the planning commission was kind and replied to me, only ONE pipeline company gave me the courtesy of a reply acknowledging my outreach. Ryan Lumbridge from Enbridge. He offered up his phone number if I need to speak with him. I will call him but I am most concerned with Adelphia Gateway and Interstate Energy. And apparently since now a couple of days has passed without even a simple acknowledgement of contact, Adelphia Gateway and Interstate Energy don’t seem to think they need to communicate with residents.
The pipeline companies need to communicate. To Interstate especially I say if you plan to maybe possibly or maybe definitely plan to do something 1,030 from the edge of our property, you can show a little interest. I am on a well, I have gardens, I have beautiful woods and more. I want to know exactly what Interstate is planning to do if they do it and when. I am sure I am but one of many emails they get, and I am trying to be calm and rational, except I have seen what is going on in neighboring municipalities with Sunoco, and well, I don’t want my neighborhood to have these problems.
I reiterate my objections to these pipelines which rape and pillage and destroy so they can ship their good overseas so other companies in Europe and elsewhere can do things like make more plastic. Our homes are our castles, our American dreams and it is heinous that American companies can just take our land (without even just compensation in my opinion) and trash it for their profit. And put us in danger.
We are also densely populated enough that what if with other pipeline companies wishing to be Sunoco-Mariner East II-Lite something blows up? Collapses? Ruins wells, breaks water mains? Causes sinkholes? Brings down property values? We as residents are NOT protected. Officials can’t say it won’t happen because all the media coverage and whatnot shows it HAS happened. Are we just to repeat the same darn patterns over and over from pipeline company to pipeline company and municipality to municipality???
I am sure pipeline companies want residents to just go quietly into the night. We can’t. Our lives and our homes and our properties are at stake. You can’t bully, harass, or threaten us into submission. We live here and like it or not, we have rights. We shouldn’t have to be pipeline guinea pigs should we?
And right or wrong, I feel like these pipeline companies, our sitting Governor Tom Wolf, and even municipalities at times want us as residents to know as little as possible.
Here is a round-up of some recent articles I found:
📌None of this is Angela Murray’s fault. Not the giant crane that hovers over the Cricket Avenue parking lot, its American flag billowing in the breeze. Not the 110 apartments rising from a giant hole in the ground. Not the upheaval for residents and business owners alike. Not the possible traffic congestion. None of it.
“People have blamed me,” says Murray, who’s been Lower Merion Township’s assistant director of building and planning for 16 years. “But I think it meets a need that was pressing.”….The allocated state money was supposed to go for the station, but when Amtrak balked at allowing apartments so close to its tracks, the plan—which included replacing some buildings along Lancaster Avenue south of the station—lost momentum. Meanwhile, the Save Ardmore folks filed lawsuits and protested the idea mightily. “Amtrak didn’t want people living so close to the rail line because it didn’t think it would be safe,” Lower Merion’s Murray says. “They were concerned about people throwing things out of windows onto the track.”📌
So….this is quite the piece in favor of Ardmore development. I don’t know who the writer is but my, he was sure led by the nose down a primrose development path.
I also take issue with the latest attempt at glossing over eminent domain in Ardmore. But then I also do not quite understand the article love affair with Angela Murray of Lower Merion Township, but perhaps she had a hand in the placement of the article?
Lower Merion Township can not unring the bells of the past.
Back in the day, as a member of the ORIGINAL Save Ardmore Coalition, Ms. Murray was awful to us. She was not nice, she was perennially unpleasant. However she wasn’t alone. You were either with them or against them. If you were against them, well then you were the enemy.
In 2004–2006, Ardmore’s business district was the subject of a hotly contested eminent domain for private gain battle. Lower Merion wanted to take a nice train track side chunk of land via eminent domain and give it over to private development- hence the private gain part.
A grassroots organization of which I was part of until diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2011, the Save Ardmore Coalition, along with local businesses and other civic associations and civics groups, opposed eminent domain as a redevelopment program that would have involved the demolition of historic buildings, in favor of preserving those buildings for other commercial use.
In March 2006 after the previous election in the fall of 2005 when a large chunk of the THEN Board of Commissioners got voted out of office and the then new and improved 2006 Lower Merion Township Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution disavowing the use of eminent domain for the benefit of private redevelopment projects. The Ardmore battle was also instrumental in prompting PA to enact state legislation in 2006 restricting the use of eminent domain for private projects.
So that is the Cliff Notes version. Those of us down in the trenches back then were vilified and targeted. We were publicity spun into being resident and business owner pariahs by our opposition. It was really, really bad. All for defending what we loved.
Lower Merion Township have you forgotten? I haven’t.
Mind you this is not the first time that Lower Merion has placed Ardmore pieces that were glossy and glossed over things. May 2009 for the same magazine was one time and they even used my photo:
It hasn’t all been fabulous and if people point fingers at Lower Merion Township appointed and elected officials well shall we say it has been with good reason?
Ardmore’s largest handicap, is the fact Lower Merion Township as in the township seat, is situated there.
I am not commenting on the most recent past president of Save Ardmore Coalition or the litigation they filed in more recent times. It was sort of a horse is already out of the barn scenario to go after One Ardmore Place when they did. I did not think they would get the necessary traction and a positive result, and they didn’t.
But are they wrong?
I still think this development is a hideous mistake. I think their overlay zoning ordinance known as MUST (Mixed Use Special Transit/More Unfair Special Treatment take your pick) has been a disaster since enactment, and the development on and off Ardmore’s “Main Street” is ridiculous. You know, like the “mini” Target and whatever else is going to happen at the corner of Ardmore Avenue and Lancaster Avenue?
I think these developments will destroy Ardmore. But perhaps the only way for other parts of Lower Merion Township to survive is to lose Ardmore to all of this development?
The thing is this, I think for the most part these types of developments ultimately fail is because nothing is done in moderation. Nothing is done truly in concert with residents and/or small businesses. A good game is always talked, and with the case of Ardmore, Lower Merion Township is always trying to change the underlying narrative, but they can’t.
The township is responsible for this cluster F. They are responsible for the mistrust of residents and the like. They have never owned their part and their many, many missteps.
It’s a shame, really.
The other fault lies with Lower Merion Township voters. And who they allow to continue to represent them.
I loved spending a lot of my growing up and young adult to early middle-aged years in Lower Merion Township, but as an adult the bloom came off of the rose. And a lot of that had to do with all of the politics, development, and Ardmore.
It is because of what I bore witness to in Lower Merion that the pace of development in Chester County terrifies me….because I have already lived through the negative effects of overdevelopment.
And it is only getting worse because read the jaw dropping Main Line Times article of April 20 on what Lower Merion School District wants to do.
Lower Merion Township claims it’s brand as exclusive and well-heeled. I think the history books will remember this time as the cautionary tale of what happens to a beautiful area when development takes over.
Another post with a postscript, as I received a note tonight with photos:
📌Loved your post tonight, especially as one who lives smack dam in the center of the nightmare – Suburban Square neighborhood. You came to my house once, about 14 years ago.
Take a look at this, and please consider encouraging anyone you know who cares about fighting the blood thirsty developers in LMT to show up at the meeting Township Planning meeting this week to oppose the demolition of three quintessential Main Line Homes to make way for CF Holloway’s next apartment building – 4 stories and a parking garage directly across Montgomery Avenue from Suburban Square. I live in one of them.
Sale of all three homes is contingent upon Holloway getting LMT’s buy-in. Sadly, I think we both know how this will turn out. Here’s a pic of the building I live in on Glenn Road.📌
Wonder if the developer will cry on cue if things do not go his way like he did one time in Radnor?
People live in that house. It is in nice shape and it is lovely. But does the fact that people live there and it’s lovely matter in Lower Merion Township? (And by the way, the head of the Chester County Planning Commission lives in Lower Merion. And spent many a year on Lower Merion’s Planning Commission.)
See below. Sharing what I saw on Facebook. A peaceful rally. #DefendWhatYouLove.
Oh poor Jeff Shields former Inquirer reporter and now Sunoco Logistics’ Communications Manager (a/k/a their talking head.) He was an amazing reporter and now he has been Suessed. No Jeff, I had nothing to do with any of this, just sharing. Dude, hope the jingle in your pocket is worth it, you are on the wrong side of this one.
I would take note Adelphia Gateway and other companies pondering pipelines. We the people are awake. And the people are over pipelines and companies raping the land and destroying where we call home.
The #emergency order from the PUC has been granted! #MarinerEast 1 will be shut down!!!!!
Public hearing will be March 15th!
#Uwchlan must be heard here! Please, while many of you have already #emailed your supervisors today, please, do it again!
Ask for them to file their own complaint with PUC!
Consider this! Uwchlan Township is next door to the area where #Sunoco did not do their homework on the geology and put public safety and property at risk! Our water supply and our unique land formations including a fault line exists along the pipeline route in Uwchlan! Let’s make sure Sunoco has done their job correctly here!
Email our township supervisors asking for the complaint to be filed at PUC!
Karst….I’m pretty sure Sunoco Pipeline is already tired of hearing it.
Karst refers to a geologic formation where the ground is situated on old limestone formations that have been weakened by moisture over decades.
It turns out it’s a pretty common occurrence in this area – particularly across a swath of Chester County.
Exactly in many of the same spots where Sunoco Pipeline is now running gases through its Mariner East 1 pipeline and is constructing Mariner East 2….These weakened karst areas are susceptible to sinkholes, fissures and other ground settling, in particular when the ground is disturbed, such as when drilling trenches for a new pipeline.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Wednesday ordered the immediate shutdown of Sunoco Pipeline’s Mariner East 1 system after sinkholes exposed the bare pipeline in Chester County, which PUC investigators said “could have catastrophic results” if not repaired.
Gladys M. Brown, the PUC’s chair, granted an emergency order to halt operations on the 8-inch-diameter pipeline, which went into service in 1931 originally to carry motor fuel. It now carries up to 70,000 barrels a day of high-pressure volatile natural gas liquids such as propane from the Marcellus Shale gas region to a Sunoco terminal in Marcus Hook
How is it life had to reach a crisis point like this?
Apparently where the pipeline is causing sinkholes over in West Whiteland is also close to train tracks? Active train tracks? As in AMTRAK tracks? I am guessing the railroad will not be too happy about this when they check it out or we can hope, right?
There is so much that could go wrong and so much that already has it gone wrong, right?
And all they are doing is back filling sinkholes with concrete, correct? Considering we are talking Karst formations (and geology is not my forte and I have heard other terminology used as well with Chester County and the sinkholes which can occur) are they just going to turn Chester County into one giant concrete pad and that is their solution?
Is Sunoco/Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer Partners L.P. that greedy that they would put our homes, health,safety, and welfare at risk like this? (Yes, I realize that is a somewhat redundant question, but it has to be asked yet again, doesn’t it?)
Supervisors, commissioners, and borough officials throughout Chester County really should be paying attention to this. And a lot of them aren’t. And if you live in a Township affected by pipelines you should be pressuring your elected officials to contact the PUC immediately!
Go ahead, plug your address into that interactive pipeline map Chester County Planning Commission has on their pipeline information page. You will see what I saw that there are a lot of pipelines crisscrossing Chester County and neighboring counties. I was told (and I have no reason to disbelieve the person who told me) that a lot of these pipeline companies are waiting to see what happens with Sunoco, so doesn’t that say to you if we don’t stop this now as an extended dual county and extended county community, we will just keep fighting the same thing over and over again?
Our homes are our castles. They want to take part of our land via eminent domain as fake utility companies and we’re supposed to be OK with that and all the havoc pipelines are causing?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not OK with it. I’m not OK living in a blast zone, that’s just as bad as having the pipeline go down my street as far as I’m concerned.
Perhaps the most galling thing of all is still the fact that we don’t benefit for what they are raping our land for and destroying our property values for, are we?
What is being plundered from the very ground below us, doesn’t benefit us. It gets shipped overseas, doesn’t it?
Please note the photos used in this post are courtesy of Eric Friedman/Middletown Coalition for Community Safety. If I have not attributed properly– community groups, please let me know.
#DefendWhatYouLove – there is no other option. We live here. It’s where we call home. We cannot as a collective extended community just silently fall victim to these corporations.