not glad tidings in easttown township

demolish

Poor Easttown Township residents. More history at risk?

Easttown is another area with a LOT of history and lovely neighborhoods…seemingly under siege.  And it’s not more to do with the Devon Horse Show or the whole new retail development on the old Waterloo site.

Locals are saying that in Easttown Township there are issues between zoning ordinance and I think their comprehensive plan? I don’t quite get all of it, but apparently it is something the township needs to iron this all out but it won’t happen until 2019? Locals are also saying the lovely and quaint village of Berwyn is once again under siege. (Now this news is nothing new, I remember another time around the time of eminent domain in Ardmore.)  What is happening currently I am told is the beautiful old Victorian and other frame houses (i.e. wooden) that Berwyn is locally famous for are being snatched up and taken down in favor of new construction.

In 2007 I mentioned a group called “Protect Berwyn” in an editorial I wrote for Main Line Media News then editor, my friend, the late (and great and missed) Tom Murray.  There was another editorial talking about Main Line development in March, 2007 but I am not sure who wrote it.  It’s title is The developer-neighbor feud: A healthy dynamic and it still resonates and is current today. In May, 2007 Tom Murray wrote an editorial titled Moratorium on development needed on the Main Line. It still resonates and even more so, especially if you live in Chester County.

The Berwyn area has been ground zero for Upper Main Line development going back years and years.  (Check this article out from 2001.) In 2013, it was a crazy hot button topic and check out this article in Main Line Media News by Caroline O’Halloran before she went out on her own:

Amid dissent, Easttown approves sweeping zoning changes for Berwyn Village
By Caroline O’Halloran
Aug 20, 2013

Downtown Berwyn won’t look especially different under the new zoning ordinance amendments approved in a 3-2 vote by Easttown’s Board of Supervisors Monday night. At least not right away.

But assurances by its creators that the new rules won’t mean major change didn’t seem to mollify the 45 property owners who attended the meeting, most to question the plan.

Instead of five zones, the new plan puts all Berwyn properties into one of three districts: Village Business, Village Residential and Village Transition.

Poor Berwyn. Maybe Protect Berwyn had the right idea circa 2007?

Here is some suggested reading from Main Line Media News over the coolness of Berwyn before I get to the rest of the post:

Berwyn Banter
By Ray Hoffman Jun 19, 2008

Just where is Berwyn, anyway?
By Ray Hoffman Jun 28, 2007

Painting a picture of Berwyn’s past
By Ryan Richards Jun 23, 2005

Berwyn walking tour highlights storied past
By Ryan Richards Aug 19, 2009

So by now you are wondering why I posted a screen shot from a real estate listing?

Because well, underneath the stucco awfulness of it all on this listing is a historic log cabin dating back to the 1750s. (Realtor site says 1758, my sources say 1750 – located ar 46 Arlington Road in Devon.)

Just LAST year, the news spread nationally when Main Line stylist Jude Plum restored a 300 year old log cabin in Bryn Mawr.  He had bought the home once owned by dog groomer and English Springer Spaniel breeder, Ann Elder.  Now I knew Ann for years, was in and out of her little house from the time I was a kid, knew her house was old, but never knew it was 300 years old until Jude bought the place some time after she had passed away.

This historic log home, log cabin in Bryn Mawr dates to 1704! Read about it in Country Living Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Main Line Media News. So don’t tell me restoring them is out of the question.  After all there are entire T.V. shows devoted to restoring and rebuilding log cabins and log homes.

So anyway, I was told today that folks can do a right to know on Easttown and get the demolition permit application? And that the demolition permit has been issued?

I figure it’s a good bet since the realtor seems very excited and it’s on her listing:

BSdemo 2

Yes, that’s right! RUN don’t walk! Don’t miss your opportunity to tear down a mid-18th century log home that was built before America declared her freedom!

I understand the property owner wants to sell this property, but if ever there was a need for a preservation-minded buyer this is it.  Heck if I lived in Easttown I would contact the DIY and HGTV shows that feature log homes and log cabins. Maybe they know someone to buy and save this.

Easttown Township is yet another Chester County municipality that sadly can’t see its history (or open space) for the ratables of development aren’t they? It’s like ratables from development are the drug  and the municipalities are like addicts, aren’t they?

Easttown residents it is up to you.  I am only pointing this out….if they could save a cabin OLDER than this in far worse condition in Bryn Mawr, they can save one in Devon. And if they don’t wake up soon, the village of Berwyn will really disappear too, won’t it?

Tick tock, Easttown. Tick tock.

 

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who owns local history? 

  

Michael Morrison was supposed to give a talk at the Easttown Library April 29 on the history of the horse show, right? (It was scheduled everywhere and even had a nice sized blurb in the Daily Local.)

  
If you follow the Easttown Library, a note went up on their Facebook page was that the event was suddenly cancelled.

  
Why was a program about a huge part of local history cancelled?

Is it true he had to cancel because someone told them the historical society cannot speak for the horse show and isn’t that kooky? Seriously???? Why are people saying this??? It’s viable local history isn’t it? 

Correct me if I am wrong but didn’t the horse show and TEHS establish a partnership to write a BOOK not so long ago??? To chronicle a fascinating history and tradition and preserve documents and artifacts that had been moldering in a musty barn or attic somewhere? As in they wrote a book with a tag line on the cover that says “Working Together to Preserve History” with both the logo of the horse show AND the historical society on it? As in this book can be purchased off the Devon website

So is the pretzel logic here that they wrote the book, but aren’t qualified to give a talk on the history? They did all this research and got all this stuff together to preserve and they can’t talk about it? Are we all Illuminati on this horse or what LOL?

Devon Horse Show on their own website describes the book like this:

  
And here is the book being promoted on the historical society website:

  
What’s next? We out here in Everyday People Land are not allowed to mention the Devon Horse Show without express written permission of the board? Will they be coming after elderly ladies who try to replicate the recipe for Devon Fudge next? Or little kids who try to make their own lemon sticks (you know the lemon with the candy straw in it) will be spoken to?

Is this new Devon Horse Show like those Las Vegas ads? Everything that happens at Devon Stays at Devon? Wonder if they will do a glossy series of ads featuring people in Low Brow Lily for Target LOL? (Sorry just had this whole visual and it made me giggle)

It’s so odd that an organization which formerly used to herald and celebrate its history now doesn’t want to isn’t it? It is like they seem to want over a century of history and tradition to disappear, isn’t it?

They seem afraid of a historical marker and talks on the history? Are the trying to re-write history? Create a new history? Or maybe they really don’t want the horse show to survive do they?

It poses an interesting local conundrum doesn’t it? Who does our collective local history belong to?

The thing is this ladies and gentlemen, the Devon Horse Show has been part of our lives collectively for over a century. Generations of families have competed and contributed and supported this show. This show is part of Chester County and Main Line and Philadelphia history.

If you live around here what is it you grew up doing around Memorial Day ? Even if you went to the beach you always made time for Devon didn’t you? So if we have these memories that are part of our personal history as well as our local history of going to the horse show are we now no longer allowed to talk about those things?

So seriously, who owns our history? And if experts from a historical society become so hogtied that they can’t speak about local history, how do we preserve our local history going forward?

I realize full well the new board of the Devon Horse Show doesn’t like my opinions or questions but are we not allowed both in this great country? Don’t they get that they are but temporary stewards of a piece of local and regional history and tradition? Are they trying to obliterate the history and tradition?

Devon Horse Show in the end can’t exist without all of us so how do we ensure it survives so our children can some day take their children?

has developer bentley been “barn” again?

kennedy barnIn a rather un-developer-like turn of events, it appears Bentley isn’t tearing down the barn? Has decided to stop fighting residents?  Well, I will believe it when I see it, but here is hoping he really will find an adaptive reuse.

The world could use a few more historic barns and a few less McMansions. I am so glad Caroline O’Halloran is writing more.

News

Builder raises white flag on historic Devon barn

Tuesday, October 29, 2013   By Caroline O’Halloran
cohalloran@mainlinemedianews.com

barn saleThe luxury homebuilder who wanted the right to tear down a 200-year-old stone barn in Devon is having second thoughts.

Tom Bentley has decided not to continue opposing residents who have been fighting to save the so-called Kennedy barn in their neighborhood.

“We’re working hard on a concept to preserve the barn and make it appealing to someone who might buy the lot,” Bentley said, in a phone interview.

 

 

 

waterloo gardens files for bankruptcy protection

Waterloo Gardens , Exton PA 2008 (T.Bemis photo)

In March, I wrote a post called digging in the dirt. I mentioned then that Waterloo in Devon looked a little off.  Someone from Waterloo left a comment after the post went live:

Tracy Smith on March 26, 2012 at 10:19 am said

At Waterloo, we are gearing up for April weather – with a forecast of 20′s and 30′s at night, ther are just certain plant material that is not ready to ship.  Planting during 70 degree weather is great but now we are back to reality with temps. in the 50″s and cold nights again.  We aim to ensure planting success and receive material when it is timely.  Thanks for the insight though.  We really value your opinion and take comments quite seriously. Take care, Tracy Smith

It still kept looking not quite right every time I drove past the Devon store.  I kept hearing stories from people around that they were in dire straits.  Then in June came news they were indeed closing Devon.

Today comes the news they are filing for bankruptcy protection. You know, everyone is ballyboohoohooing this calling the Devon property “a landmark property” and sorry, that just makes my eyes roll.  It is 6 1/2 acres or thereabouts, but it is not landmark anything.  It is just commercial.

Patch is reporting rumors of a Terrain being built there, another nursing home (nursing homes along Route 30 in Chester County are the new nail salon, apparently), or a car dealership. They quoted Bobby LeBoutillier as he being the one to recount the rumors.

Look it is a major bummer to many that Waterloo is closing.  However, they still have Exton and quite frankly people should take a drive to Malvern to check out a smaller, family owned nursery Woodlawn Landscaping and Nursery.  Or Somerset Nursery in Glenmore.  They have or can get anything a gardener would want and yeah I bet they can help you plant too.

Waterloo over-extended themselves.  They should have just stuck to what they know and kept it in Devon and Exton.  But they did not and they are paying the piper doubly bad due to the economy.

They told me today via Facebook that gift cards would be honored at the Exton store.

I have a friend from high school who owns a nursery in another state, her name is Tina Bemis.  Here is what she had to say today:

I happen to own a garden center in another state, and know that are garden centers are struggling right now.  We WANT to have the cool, different stuff, but as less and less people are real gardeners and more “plant decorators” it’s hard to carry cool stuff that just sits there, when the majority of people just want big flowers.

Also, we don’t WANT to be more expensive, but the big box stores often use our products to lure you into the store so they can then sell you other stuff.

You see those prices, and think we are expensive.  But they NEVER carry the cool, unusual stuff that you seek, and we are keeping those plants watered every day for when you come in.  And when you only choose to come in on the after Christmas sale, what are we supposed to do the rest of the year?

We MUST go for the plants with the biggest profit dollars (not necessarily margins).  That’s what businesses do.  They must, actually, or someone else will do it better, and they will go out of business.  Believe me, most garden centers are just barely staying alive right now.  There are so few of you real gardeners left, and our businesses got big with the baby boomer demographic.

As the older folks downsize, move to retirement homes, or pass on, the next generation is a) much smaller in numbers and 2) even further removed from the land.  In order to justify our own existence, we must also downsize, and that is probably exactly what Waterloo did.  I would love to carry only what I call “geek plants.”  But they won’t put food on my table. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

Mind you, Tina and her nursery in my opinion is probably more like a slightly larger Woodlawn Landscaping and Nursery in Malvern or like a Somerset Nursery.  And I have known Tina since I was a teenager (we were Shipley Sprouts together only she was MUCH MUCH better!) so I know she has a care with her clients.  Most of us ceased to get that care or feeling of caring in Devon years ago.  I do find that however, at the two nurseries I have mentioned in this post.

People can still visit them in Exton, which truthfully has been the best of their stores for years.  I stopped going to Devon years ago not only because of the prices, but because (as alluded to none too smoothly above) there existed in the Devon store an attitude that quite simply put, was not worth the money.  Devon as someone said to me to day was a glorified gift shop.  Certainly not the Waterloo of years ago.

So dry your eyes.  You might have to drive a little farther out but you still have one Waterloo if you must Waterloo.   And it is the best of the Waterloos, always has been. And if you are open to trying new things, it’s a big world out there with additional choices.

News : Waterloo Gardens files for Chapter 11

Waterloo Gardens files for Chapter 11;  Landscaping company files same day

Waterloo Gardens has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following plans to shut down its Devon location.

The garden center and Waterloo Landscaping, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 June 26.

Waterloo announced earlier in the month that it will be selling the original store and consolidating business at the 50-acre Exton location.

“I think the Exton store, out of the two, has a much better layout,” said longtime President Bobby LeBoutiliier of the announcement. “There is more room for cars to park, more coverage space for annuals shopping, and if it’s time to consolidate, out of the two, this is the one we want.”

Management had originally planned to keep the Devon location open through the end of the year, and possibly into spring of 2013. The store is now scheduled to close July 15.

The garden center, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in April, opened two new locations in 2007 – one in Wilmington, Del. And one in Warminster, Pa. The Warminster location closed in 2008. The Wilmington location closed in December of 2011.

Waterloo Gardens, Inc. on busbk.com says they filed June 26th.  Here is some other info:

Debtor

Waterloo Gardens, Inc. 200 N. Whitford Road Exton, PA 19341-2099 CHESTER-PA Tax ID / EIN: 23-1911696

Represented By

ALBERT A. CIARDI, III Ciardi Ciardi & Astin, P.C. One Commerce Square 2005 Market Street Suite 1930 Philadelphia, PA 19103 (215) 557-3550 Fax  : 215-557-3551 Email: aciardi@ciardilaw.com

JENNIFER E. CRANSTON Ciardi Ciardi & Astin, P.C. One Commerce Square 2005 Market Street, Suite 1930 Philadelphia, PA 19103 215 557 3550 Email: jcranston@ciardilaw.com

U.S. Trustee

United States Trustee Office of the U.S. Trustee

833 Chestnut Street Suite 500 Philadelphia, PA 19107

(215) 597-4411

Docket

Jun 26 #1 Chapter 11 Voluntary Petition. Fee Amount $1046 Filed by Waterloo Gardens, Inc.. Government Proof of Claim Deadline: 12/23/2012. Statement of Corporate Ownership due 07/10/2012. Corporate Resolution due 07/10/2012. Matrix List of Creditors due 07/3/2012. (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 Receipt of Voluntary Petition (Chapter 11)(12-16080) [misc,volp11a] (1046.00) Filing Fee. Receipt number 12089552. Fee Amount $1046.00. (U.S. Treasury) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #2 Corporate Resolution Filed by JENNIFER E. CRANSTON on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc.. (CRANSTON, JENNIFER) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #3 20 Largest Unsecured Creditors Filed by JENNIFER E. CRANSTON on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc.. (CRANSTON, JENNIFER) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #4 Matrix Filed. Number of pages filed: 2, Filed by JENNIFER E. CRANSTON on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc.. (CRANSTON, JENNIFER) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #5 Document in re: Verification of Creditor Matrix Filed by JENNIFER E. CRANSTON on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc. (related document(s) 4 ). (CRANSTON, JENNIFER) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #6 Document in re: Statement of Parties with Interest in Cash Collateral Filed by ALBERT A. CIARDI III on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc.. (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #7 Expedited Motion to Use Cash Collateral Motion of the Debtor and Debtor-in-Possession for Order Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §363 to (I) use Cash Collateral and Provide Adequate Protection to Parties with Interest in Cash Collateral, (II) Pay Prepetition Wages and requests (III) an Expedited Hearing, Reduced Notice Period and Limited Notice Pursuant to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9006(c)(1) And E.D. Pa. L.B.R. 5070(f) Filed by Waterloo Gardens, Inc. Represented by ALBERT A. CIARDI III(Counsel). (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A# 2 Proposed Order (Expedited)) (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #8 Application to Employ Ciardi Ciardi & Astin as Counsel to the Debtor Filed by Waterloo Gardens, Inc. Represented by ALBERT A. CIARDI III(Counsel). (Attachments: # 1 Declaration# 2 Proposed Order # 3 Service List # 4 Notice) (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)
Jun 26 #9 Amended Document Amended Declaration in Support of Debtor’s Application to Employ Ciardi Ciardi & Astin Filed by ALBERT A. CIARDI III on behalf of Waterloo Gardens, Inc. (related document(s)8). (CIARDI, ALBERT) (Entered: 06/26/2012)

 

 

 

in devon, “h” is for horse show AND hookers

In July, 2008 there was a brothel bust in Berwyn.  People were shocked that one of the world’s oldest professions was going on under their noses on the Main Line.

6 ABC at the time said:

A brothel in Berwyn?

Residents say “no way” but that’s what the Feds say was going on at the Swan Day Spa at 529 Lancaster Avenue.

Federal authorities say it was being portrayed as a health spa, but there was a lot more going on here than just massages.

Authorities say the operators were running a thriving business since April 2005 with sexual favors being offered along with the massage for $60 cash, $65 for credit.   But things began to unravel when the operators hired two illegal immigrants from China eager to make a new life here in the U.S.   The women thought they were going to provide massages.   But the Feds say the operators wanted them to also have sex with clients. When the women refused, authorities say the manager threatened to turn them over to immigration. The women somehow managed to escape.   Meanwhile, residents and business owners seemed stunned all this was going on in Berwyn.

 

I always wondered why the Swan looked so low brow, yet so many men went there for “massages”. Ick. And duhh, quite frankly.   It wasn’t exactly a place that made you think Client List and Jennifer Love-Hewitt.

Well it is ground hog day on the upper Main Line, as today, four years later also in July, in Devon (also a Chester County community) there apparently was a prostitution bust on Friday the 13th (bad day to be a hooker, apparently).

Devon, known for HORSE shows and expensive foreign car dealerships now has the dubious honor of being known for HOOKERS.

Mind you, should we be surprised? When you put devon prostitutes into Google, God help me there is the online list that pops upA yellow pages to the round heeled. Ick a doodle do. And there have been rumors for years of similar situations in places like Ardmore and Wynnewood, but no busts have ever occured to my knowledge. They have however busted Mummers clubs in Philadelphia.

The Daily Local reports that these hookers were from Oregon? Did they throw a dart at a map?  Is Devon the new Sin City and no one got the memo?

 BY MICHAEL N. PRICE mprice@dailylocal.com Posted: 07/17/12 04:11 pm
DEVON — Two people were arrested last week for allegedly providing prostitution services at an area hotel, police said.
According to the Tredyffrin Police Department, Jacquelyn Stahley, 24, and Jamaal M. Lambert, 29, both of Portland, Ore., were arrested Friday, July 13, after employees of the Devon Marriot alerted police shortly before 4 p.m. about suspicious activity inside the hotel.
Police said an assistant manager of the hotel told investigators Stahley arrived at the hotel with Lambert and checked into the hotel with a cash payment. The manager also told police he suspected she was a prostitute, according to a criminal complaint filed by police.

 

Tredyffrin-Easttown Patch has the press release from Tredyffrin Police that you can read. 

They were picked up on the 700 block of Lancaster Avenue as per 6 ABC.

Just ewww.