Christmas 2016 there was a nasty fire adjacent to the Wawa on Planebrook Rd and Lancaster Avenue in Frazer. Here we are the last week of September, 2020 and that ramshackle and what visibly appears to be a structure quite unsafe.
What is going on with this structure? Everyone said that it would come down but it hasn’t so what’s up? We all of course also thought about it again when thehuman trafficking story broke in East Whiteland.
Anyway, I think the building is continuing to deteriorate, don’t you? Does it also give a whole new je ne sais quois to the term slumlord as well?
So who is cutting paths in the tenant farmer’s corn fields at Frazer Road and College Avenue on Immaculata’s property in East Whiteland Township.
This has never been done before and it’s only wide enough for a golf cart. I suspect it’s kids thinking they’re funny except this is money out of the pocket of the tenant farmer who rents the fields and I think that’s wrong.
The path seems to serve no purpose but it is destructive and it has flattened corn that is the profit of the farmer.
Farmers work too hard to put up with stuff like this.
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?
I am not deliberately trying to pick on East Whiteland Township no matter what some may think. But unlike many other municipalities (and I have been checking), East Whiteland does not have a person or people to regularly and routinely inspect rental properties in this township. They do not even have enough fire personnel to do all the life safety checks on rentals do they? (Asking the question because I heard there were people paid to do that I thought once upon a time out of the fire department or something?)
West Goshen (for example) has a rental property ordinance online. They have someone dedicated to rental inspections. That is in addition to the guys in the zoning department who inspect when the township gets complaints on rental properties.
East Whiteland has a Rental Occupancy Report from 1992. I also found a form to fill out if you have a rental property. It mentions life safety, which is great and necessary. But I do not see anything about specific ordinances pertaining to rental properties and inspections of rental properties. And it is long past time to have that. East Whiteland is growing as a township and has grown exponentially in recent years. Does this township even know out of ALL of the new construction that is complete how many are rental units? And with ALL of the development still in the works and in various stages of construction, let’s get real, they are not all going to be owner occupied, aren’t some of these places going to be rentals? And what about the hotels? Are some of those like long term rentals at times? Sometimes when people can’t find housing they live in hotels/motels don’t they? Motor home parks? Trailer parks? No matter where the rental, shouldn’t people be safe?
The stretch of Lancaster Ave/Route 30/Lincoln Highway where these rentals exist is a no man’s land. No one sees the people who live there, not because they aren’t visible but because people don’t want to see them. Mostly immigrant, with little choice in housing. And by culture, used to living in close quarters. So one would think rental inspections along that strip and elsewhere would make sense, right? So everyone was safe?
According to Patch, “The apartments used were at street addresses 483, 577 and 609 Lancaster Ave. in East Whiteland Township…”
Someone sent me screenshots off ChescoViews and Google Earth I guess it was (I am not very good at using Chesco Views):
This stretch of Lancaster is the one that looks so desolate and run down when you drive by except for the too many cars on the D’Ambrosio property (one of the sites of human trafficking right?):
People always ask how East Whiteland can be focused on this grand future of over-development without “seeing” these properties or their residents. During COVID19 especially when we were all at home, you couldn’t help but see as soon as the weather warmed up how many people live in these rental properties alone. I have also had people tell me in confidence that there are some awfully crammed rental properties in some of the townhouse developments.
So….maybe it is time for East Whiteland to look at this differently? They need an updated local ordinance on rental properties right? And I think they need a full time inspector of rental properties and possibly more staff, like maybe a part time one.
East Whiteland needs this NOW, yesterday and into the future. They have to find the money to have proper inspectors because I doubt there enough in the Fire Marshall category, and how much work are they supposed to do anyway? Aren’t they already stretched thin?
So you know how the fire by the Wawa was December 2016? How about that building which is uninhabitable has just sat there and rotted since then? Seriously here are some photos taken over the past few years (a real slum lord special, right?):
I was a renter for years. Face it, a lot of us were, and some still are. Would you want to live in any of these properties? What if you had no other choice? And were these landlords in the human trafficking locations 100% oblivious as to what was going on?
I also want everyone to know as per my sources, the East Whiteland Police Department truly went above and beyond the call of duty with this. It wasn’t just this girl messaging family that went into this. For a smaller department by comparison to large cities and boroughs, they put lots of man and woman power into this.
East Whiteland Police Department did exhaustive investigation and follow-up and coordinating with all different kinds of other agencies and states and it really does show their dedication to our community. These men and women should be publicly recognized for their efforts. In a time when police departments are being criticized, these men and women deserve to be commended. Ok yes, this is the job they sign up for, but this is huge. Or in my humble opinion it is. And kudos to our Chester County District Attorney as well.
I have many questions regarding human trafficking an how it happened. I will be curious to learn if the families of these girls who were rescued had ever reported them missing? If they did not, why not? Immigration fears or something darker? I ask because if my kid was missing I would leave no stone un-turned.
However I think we need to work as an extended community to prevent these things from happening and I think that means they need to have a system in place in East Whiteland Township and elsewhere in which rental properties are routinely and regularly inspected. Everybody’s been talking about this strip of rental properties in particular for years it’s nothing new. And East Whiteland like many other municipalities in Chester County are experiencing crazy amounts of development and growth. Why not have developers who want to be in our communities chip into programs like this? Isn’t it kind of part of infrastructure and municipal services? I mean it’s all great that mythical theory of build it and they will come but who keeps track once the developers have gotten their money out of sites and moved on?
I am calling on people in East Whiteland and Chester County to contact East Whiteland Township and ANY OTHER TOWNSHIP that does not have proper rental property ordinances and inspectors to catch up with the times. A lot of municipalities like East Whiteland are experiencing growth that is off the charts. Renters deserve safe places to live. Low income residents deserve truly affordable housing and safe housing.
HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION DISMANTLED IN MALVERN
A 14-year-old’s message, “I don’t want to be here anymore,” assisted in an investigation that uncovered an East Whiteland Township human sex trafficking organization that entrapped child and adult victims in Malvern, PA.
East Whiteland Township police, along with the Chester County Detectives and Homeland Security Investigations, rescued the 14-year-old victim at a Wawa parking lot in Malvern on May 30, 2020, after she was held against her will for weeks at various locations in the area. Investigators subsequently learned that she and an 18-year-old were both victims in a human sex trafficking organization run by three men, as well as other unidentified and unnamed individuals. These codefendants engaged in a criminal conspiracy and criminal course of conduct by recruiting, enticing, soliciting, transporting, obtaining and maintaining individuals who they benefited from financially while they were subjected to sexual servitude, as well as other sexual assaults and criminal activity.
A Facebook message from a 14-year-old girl asking for help led to the discovery of a human trafficking ring in the Philadelphia suburbs.
East Whiteland Township police, Chester County detectives and Homeland Security investigators rescued the girl from the parking lot of a Malvern, Pennsylvania, Wawa on May 30, Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said Wednesday.
Investigators said the girl had been held for several weeks against her will in various locations in the area. Investigators then found out the 14-year-old and an 18-year-old woman were being forced into sex by three men and others….Authorities want to know if other girls or young women were victimized.
“The allegations in this case are difficult to digest because of the calculated and deviant sexual exploitation of the two victims,” Ryan said. “Our office will continue the investigation to determine if there are other victims of this human sex trafficking organization.”
So this all took place in that no man’s land of ramshackle rental properties that go from like the Wawa at Planebrookthrough to Sloane Toyota? All along Lancaster Avenue a/k/a Route 30? And maybe from the Wawa headed east on Route 30? I’m all turned around. I have an idea where a couple of the locations were because of the NBC10 video￼.
Sorry not sorry this is just horrible and very scary.￼
Interestingly enough I learned courtesy of the East Whiteland Township meeting this evening that they have no rental inspectors￼.So basically no one keeps tabs on any rental properties? Does Chester County keep track of them? This is foreign to me because municipalities along the Main Line do have rental inspector people.
I asked if they knew all of the property owners involved in these various Lancaster Avenue rental properties especially those involved in the trafficking bust and yikes? The answer came from someone who I am not sure of was residents can look things up on Chesco views (paraphrasing).
Well yes, kind sir, I realize that but the maps get confusing. What is it they don’t understand about the fact that news like this makes residents in the area feel uneasy?￼
Human trafficking is terrifying stuff. And it’s crazy that it was going on in Chester County. Maybe I’m naïve. But you just don’t think of hideous crimes like that here. You think about that in big cities￼. One of the other things that I can’t wrap my head around is did the parents of these girls report their daughters missing￼?
Be safe out there. Hug your kids. Love your kids. What a cruel world we live in sometimes.
I am going to plant a seed here: I believe concerned residents of East Whiteland Township need to contact Township officials to make sure they take a position and protect our interests when it comes to the proposed development of the Weston Tract on West King Rd in West Whiteland.
If you are concerned like I am please contact the supervisors and or township manager John Nagel ￼￼
In West Whiteland, the emails for supervisors and the township manager Mimi Gleason are:
The reason I say this is quite simple: this development will negatively impact our stormwater management which is already an issue down King Road past the Little League field and beyond? (there are residents who have actually videotaped and followed the water who live on Collegeview.)
It will negatively impact our infrastructure and W. King Rd. is already like a highway. With the addition of over 100 additional high density houses, how long will it take people to get out of side streets? How will people be able to safely cross the road to get to Immaculata? How will Immaculata be impacted?
Then there is the impact to the ecosystem in the area. That has always been a heavily wooded area what happens to the heritage trees and wildlife?
It comes down to how many developments do we need in this area? Also why can’t we move to 2 acre lot minimums to preserve more open space? High density housing is destroying Chester County. And mark my words it will not be sustainable into the future.
Another fact to be considered with development of this site are the pipeline easements. How many pipelines are going through this property dead or alive? And is that creating another issue down the road and don’t we have enough pipeline issues already?
It’s time for East Whiteland Township to step up and not just approve developments and turn a blind eye to developments but to protect the interests of the residents here.
I also encourage any of you who are concerned to send an email to West Whiteland Planning Commission: firstname.lastname@example.org
One good thing we can thank coronavirus or COVID-19 for is the postponement of unpleasant land and other development plans.
Accordingly, because the expanded Pennsylvania “stay at home“ orders now run through May 8, the billboard hearings scheduled in East Whiteland Township for April 27 and April 29, 2020 have been canceled. And rescheduled.
Today from East Whiteland Township I received the updated legal notice containing the rescheduled hearing date and other relevant details regarding the proceedings. The new date is May 26, 2020 and that will replace the previously scheduled and subsequently canceled hearing dates noted.
The hearing information is as follows:
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Beginning at 7 PM in the East Whiteland Township Building
209 Conestoga Road
Frazer PA 19355
Please monitor the township website if you were interested in this or other issues in East Whiteland Township. The township website is www.eastwhiteland.org
I applaud the township for putting residents first and their health during a global pandemic. I also can’t help but wonder is this God’s way of telling us we don’t need giant electronically lit double sided billboards on Route 30 in East Whiteland, neighboring Tredyffrin, or other places like Haverford Township or Lower Merion’s parts of Bryn Mawr?
I was sent this by Kevin in East Whiteland. It is for residents in the vicinity of Carol Lane, Summit Road, etc. Given the COVID19 world in which we live, he asked me to put up a blog post so residents can see and offer input. DO NOT GIVE ME THE INPUT. EAST WHITELAND NEEDS THE INPUT so please contact your neighborhood coordinator Kevin (email@example.com)
The documents came with this message:
Today, we received in the mail, another round of voting for traffic calming measures in our neighborhood. The document we presented to the township last labor day finally sparked a concern and McMahon put together a plan for our streets. Unfortunately, they picked the worse day to send it out. We can’t go door to door to get support due to the lock down caused by this virus. We wanted them to wait and give us time to gather support but of course it’s our township.
It has been a battle and to be honest we are frustrated and tired, but at least we got something.
Our issues can be fixed with basic traffic calming measures and most of my neighbors impacted the most by this speeding traffic, don’t support any major or drastic changes to the intersection.
It’s important for everyone to understand that these are not harsh speed humps. These are speed humps that are similar to Sidley Ave or Monument Ave in the Borough. The neighborhood traffic calming committee, McMahon and the township followed the PennDot Traffic calming Handbook so everything is legal.
In 2009, lots of people (myself included) started going to billboard hearings in Haverford Township. And in Lower Merion Township. Sometimes we numbered in the 150+ per meeting.
We all also used to protest regularly. The two townships and their solicitors and commissioners were solidly with the community too. They didn’t want these billboards anymore than the residents in these locations.
My friends in small Haverford Township neighborhoods were the most imminently threatened, like my pals on Penn Street, Dayton Road, Lee Avenue, San Marino and more (there are multiple locations in Haverford Township, these were just the streets near me.)
However, my own neighborhood which stretched out behind Our Mother of Good Counsel Church in Lower Merion was potentially affected. And even worse? Where I lived was in a HISTORIC DISTRICT! (Which is why The Lower Merion Conservancy is alerting people to the court hearings beginning today in Media! It’s STILL a historic district!)
Then after a few years of attending meetings which seemed monthly if not more, my life changed. First breast cancer, followed by a move to Chester County, and I thought well at least I don’t have to worry about those ugly billboards anymore, right?
Phoenixville, Charlestown Township, West Whiteland, Tredyffrin now headed for county court, and a lot of them planned for East Whiteland Township.
I get that the billboard company owner wants to sit in traffic and look at his signs￼, but they are his signs. They don’t belong to the community at all. Which is why you see elected officials in Lower Merion and Haverford Townships still fighting for the residents and starting today, if y’all want you can join them in Media:
Also this week? The billboard company is doing a presentation at the Desmond in Malvern on what they want to do in East Whiteland. See this flyer (which I personally did not create but I am sharing):
‼️Is this Chester County or Las Vegas? Good question. ‼️
It’s no secret how I feel about these billboards. I think they’re simply awful. I don’t think they have a place in our communities. I don’t think they do anything positive for our communities. It’s all about somebody else’s sense of capitalism. And while on a certain level I begrudgingly respect their desire to make a buck, they shouldn’t do it at the expense of people in communities everywhere should they?￼￼
The media has not really picked up on billboards in East Whiteland. They should as it is just another in a long long line or list of communities facing the same company.
And why is it that these billboards have to be everywhere? Or anywhere? Let us not forget there are FOUR states in this country that do not have billboards and they seem to live just beautifully.￼ Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine—have prohibited billboards.
The protest photos you are seeing were taken by friends in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania yesterday. This morning I wish my friends who are headed or in court already in Media best of luck￼￼.
As communities near and far we are #StrongerTogether. #NoBillboards
A friend of mine sent me this today because they were up in Quakertown, PA.
This is the company that Haverford Township goes to court with this week after many years of no activity. This is the billboard company that Lower Merion Township has gone to court with and Tredyffrin Township is currently in court with as well￼￼. This is the billboard company that has been to West Whiteland, Phoenixville borough, Charlestown Township, and now is beginning a journey with East Whiteland Township￼.
I think this is like the best of tacky Vegas and that’s not where we live is it? I think it’s even worse than I 95. But that’s just my opinion.
What is your opinion on the signs out there in blog reader land? I am honestly interested in your opinions. Feel free to leave a comment.￼￼￼