sunset, east bradford

One of my readers snapped these shots the other evening on the way home from work. I am delighted to share them with you.

The nice thing about looking at photos like these is it reminds about the simple things that are important in life.

Family, nature, friends. The act of living. Being present in your life.

A lot of ugliness exists in the world today, so sometimes we forget about the little things like looking at a beautiful sunset.

We all should stop and enjoy the beauty every now and again shouldn’t we?

It is truly humbling when you can admire the simple beauty of a Chester County sunset.

#Grateful

76 years young! chester county day 2016 promises to be spectacular!

Chester County Day 2013, my photo.

Chester County Day 2013, my photo.

The 76Th Annual Chester County Chester County Day is scheduled for  Saturday, October 1, 2016

The longest running house tour in the United States, Chester County Day is gearing up for its 2016 event, on Saturday, October 1. This Chester County-based event, which benefits Chester County Hospital, offers tours of historic homes, some brand new innovative ones, as well as beautiful gardens and public sites.

The 76-year-old tour was exclusive to West Chester Borough for many years but has since extended to the four quadrants of Chester County with different sections highlighted every four years. This year, attendees will be able to tour 21 homes and 14 public structures or sites in the southwest quadrant encompassing Birmingham, Unionville, East Bradford, West Bradford, Kennett Square, Pocopson, Pennsbury and East Marlborough townships, as well as Kennett Borough.

The Day will begin with the pageantry and excitement of a customary fox hunt, a Chester County Day tradition. Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds, just outside Unionville on Rt. 82, will set off promptly at 9 am.

Tour guests can begin this year’s house tour at 10:00 am at the location of their choice. Guests are encouraged to tour as many homes as possible at their own pace. Some of the routes and highlighted homes begin on Sconnelltown Road.

Sconnelltown Road has three stops, one of which is exclusively for VIP ticket holders. Participants with these passes will be provided a gourmet box lunch and a private tour of this home. There will be a shuttle bus on Rt. 322 that will transport guests to a magnificent estate on West Strasburg Road. From there, ticket holders can continue out through East Bradford Township into Birmingham Township to the famous Marley and Me house where the movie of the same name was filmed.

Traverse beautiful country roads to West Bradford Township with homes open on North Wawaset Road and then proceed into Marshallton Village which will be open for a walking tour of three private homes and many historic landmarks. The village also boasts one of the two lunch stops for guests at the Marshalton Inn.

Northbrook Road will lead guests to Historic Trimbleville where they can view a new historic marker that commemorates the village. A short drive from there takes participants to Marlborough Village in East Marlborough Township where a small walking tour will be held.

The second lunch stop will be held at Galer Estate Winery on Folly Hill Road, where tours and tastings will be available.  After lunch, don’t miss a visit to Barnard’s Orchards and a stop at a large estate just outside Unionville.

Route 82 will bring day travelers to the borough of Kennett Square. Several homes here are included in a walking tour in the northern section of town.

No matter how the house visits are organized, the day will be filled with Chester County architecture and history hundreds of years in the making.

This is truly one of my favorite fall events and it reminds me of my father because he loved this tour and went every year for decades.  This tour IS Chester County, and when practically every month we are faced with the news that wanton development is marching through Chester County at an accelerated place  (including in areas like Marshalton and Embreeville) , if you love the history and beauty here, you will love this house tour if you have never been and make it an annual event after going once!

chester county day

Chester County Day ™ — A Chester County Tradition

 

Regular tickets are $40 each and Be a VIP for $100 each!

Make your “Day” extra special with a VIP ticket. Your $100 VIP donation gives you exclusive benefits. Enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres at the private preview lecture. Your VIP ticket also includes your pass to see the homes on this year’s tour and an exclusive tour of the home of John and Paul Robbins, a classic stone manor home built in 1917 which was design by prominent Philadelphia architect, Charles Barton Keen, with a complimentary lunch prepared by Montesano Bros. Italian Market & Catering. For more information or to purchase a VIP ticket, please email Kate.Pergolini@uphs.upenn.edu.

TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW !

why don’t we have more control over our communities? we live here.

Meet Pulte’s  “promotional video” on Linden Hall.

Described as an enclave of “luxury”  town homes, with views of an exclusive golf course anyone has yet to see how storm water runoff will affect and whose memberships are not exactly included with the purchase price of the townhouses. (Yes holy run on sentence Batman but I don’t know how else to say it.)

You see photos of rolling Chester County fields with nature, only there is no nature at Linden Hall. Only a crumbling historic carriage stop and inn that  sits and rots unrestored, even though the original developer (Benson or whomever) who sold Pulte the townhouse land and approvals promised to restore but thus far has not. All that has happened is a version of construction fencing has been erected to surround it. (Maybe with black plastic fabric fencing around it we won’t notice the building rotting, right?)

This video says that this development is 3.5 miles from a Septa Station. I assume they mean Eston which already has parking issues? And you get to that station from congested route 100 right? Or you have to invent a space at Malvern station?

The video proclaims 4 miles from Main Street at Exton and 10 miles from the King of Prussia Mall because God forbid people support local, small businesses, right? 

And my favorite, they tout the Great Valley “School System”.   Of course no one ever talks about the effect a rampant increase in development has on a school district which eventually affects our taxes and our kids, do they? And before all the PTA cheerleaders gather up their pom poms against me, that is NOT a slam at the school district, that is a very grim reality which is inevitable. 

But overall what bothers me the most is here is yet another developer touting our beautiful Chester County they are carving up into plastic houses one acre at a time. The site these townhouses are on once supported quite an ecosystem. Foxes and birds and rabbits and so on. I know the neighbors behind Linden Hall are very unhappy and worried how this development will affect their property values down the line.

The price points are not affordable for those who would need affordable housing. The quality is not so spectacular that the exteriors won’t wear quickly after a few Chester County winters. And the way they describe them, well you don’t realize if you are looking at a development essentially sitting on a highway. No matter what you do to them they are sitting on a major thoroughfare. And it’s not pretty.


Ok this brings me to the impetus behind this post:

The New York Times:  How Anti-Growth Sentiment, Reflected in Zoning Laws, Thwarts Equality

By CONOR DOUGHERTY

JULY 3, 2016


….“The quality of the experience of being in Boulder, part of it has to do with being able to go to this meadow and it isn’t just littered with human beings,” said Steve Pomerance, a former city councilman who moved here from Connecticut in the 1960s….These days, you can find a Steve Pomerance in cities across the country — people who moved somewhere before it exploded and now worry that growth is killing the place they love.

….But a growing body of economic literature suggests that anti-growth sentiment, when multiplied across countless unheralded local development battles, is a major factor in creating a stagnant and less equal American economy….

Zoning restrictions have been around for decades but really took off during the 1960s, when the combination of inner-city race riots and “white flight” from cities led to heavily zoned suburbs…To most people, zoning and land-use regulations might conjure up little more than images of late-night City Council meetings full of gadflies and minutiae. But these laws go a long way toward determining some fundamental aspects of life: what American neighborhoods look like, who gets to live where and what schools their children attend.

And when zoning laws get out of hand, economists say, the damage to the American economy and society can be profound. Studies have shown that laws aimed at things like “maintaining neighborhood character” or limiting how many unrelated people can live together in the same house contribute to racial segregation and deeper class disparities. They also exacerbate inequality by restricting the housing supply in places where demand is greatest.

This article is written by someone who doesn’t get the realities of rampant development. Nor does the author mention the fact that a lot of these developments are built just to build, not because there is an actual need. 

The author of this article of this article also does not get how these developers are actually contributing to what he seemingly despises. As in these developers are actually contributing to racial segregation and deeper class disparities. They are in fact limiting the housing supply by their very price points. How many families of multiple people and kids are going to look at condos for example that are studios and one bedrooms and if not rentals start at mid 500,000s? How many agricultural, factory, or service related workers are going to be able to afford Linden Hall or Atwater or so on or be encouraged to buy there?

And look at all the zoning together. That is developments in progress in one area, regardless of municipality, along with other development in various states of approval. A sleeper to watch for in East Whiteland would be that thing a developer named Farley got approved a while back, remember? A multi acre parcel that is accessed off a property on 352 that looks like a hoarding situation that goes up into woods and would be shoehorned in between Immaculata and the William Henry apartments for lack of a better description? So you have the increasing traffic nightmare on Route 30 by Linden Hall which will only get worse with completion of neighboring projects like off of Frame Ave and Planebrook Rd. Can you imagine adding this 352/Sproul to that? And the effect it will have potentially on King Road? Let alone what one more project so close together would have on the ecosystem of the area AND the school district!

See that is the problem with all these developments, developers, and the factual analysis this New York Times writer Conor Dougherty thinks he has done. The reality is we do NOT live in a bubble. We are connected. Developers envision and present these projects as stand alone things with no real time or effort put into the relationships between projects. It starts when you see the plans presented at a local municipal meeting.

 These projects are depicted all by themselves with nothing around them, or nothing around them realistic to human or other scale. They do traffic studies when no one is around, they don’t really look at what a large uptick in population will do to anything from roads, to hospitals, to school,districts, to the environment. They do not care about us, they just want to build, get their money, and get out. So pardon the hell out of us Conor Dougherty if we want to preserve the character of where we live and do not want our school districts, property values, and our shrinking open space detrimentally affected. And his affordable housing argument doesn’t wash at least around here because they are not building affordable housing. These developers truthfully don’t give a rat’s fanny about actual affordable housing.  None of this is about actually helping others, it’s about lining their pockets at the expense of many communities.

Chester County is at risk. I am not sure why Chester County even has a county planning department because everything getting built is about the dollars developers get from density. Our open space and communities and agricultural heritage are seriously at risk. That doesn’t anyone make sny person saying that some kind of NIMBY ….it is the truth. Why is it that the rights of those who already live in an area seem so less important than what politicians  and developers want?  Look at Embreyville and Bryn Coed – what happens to those areas if development gets approved for maximum capacity? Embreyville is already in play, and Bryn Coed is only a matter of time, right?

Community preservation and open space preservation aren’t dirty words. They should be our  right as residents of this beautiful county we call home.

Happy July 4th. Our forefathers fought for our freedoms and apparently we are still fighting for our rights.

Thanks for stopping by.