Yesterday I wrote about the old historic farmhouse in East Whiteland on Church Road.
This morning I happened to drive by as a passenger in a car.
Simply put, how in the hell is this farmhouse being preserved exactly? Does this perhaps more closely resemble demolition by neglect versus historic preservation? The freaking place is collapsing, it’s clearly visible from the road so WTF?
Also note the “planting” photos. Cheap trees planted too closely together. Wonder if any are on the invasive species list like the developer special Bradford Pear? Whatever these trees will be mostly dead in a few years, wait and see. (sorry not sorry, my opinion as an experienced gardener. I find it ludicrous that these developers clear-cut forest and field, only to plant poorly.)
If Toll Brothers can get up the sales office for their Great Valley Crossing Development don’t they have time or shouldn’t they have time to save the historic farmhouse like people were told would happen?
A few years ago in 2013 I asked rather tongue in cheek if a Toll Brothers development was what Stepford might look like. Now Toll Brothers might not like my opinion but since the whole Crebilly scenario erupted, I daresay my opinions are mild when compared to some. (Had to get that whole opinion/First Amendment thing out of the way.)
Sadly I am only half kidding about the Stepford of it all.
We are becoming a place where people no longer say what town they are from. They reference where they live by development. Not by road, town, township, borough, or city. By development.
Ok, so that is how you identify? That is your entire self-image? Your development or subdivision defines who you are?
Every time someone does that, I pause. I can’t keep track of ALL of the developments, especially in Chester County, can you?
As I said in 2013, Can you imagine what that next Appledumb, Mountainfake, Potters Field, and Byers Remorse will look like? (Can’t keep track of all the municipalities and doofy names of developments or developers so pardon the comedic license.)
Once before the plans were approved this property at 99 Church Road came up in an East Whiteland meeting. They showed up in subsequent meeting minutes which have disappeared from public view on East Whiteland’s website, but I saved a screenshot:
I read with some amusement the description of this now christened Great Valley Crossing. Here is a screen shot:
Heaven starts at $649K++. Choose from four models with jumped up, preposterous names.
Oh the “model” names. It’s like you are buying a car. So not only will you be identified only by the development you buy into, but will be known by your house model. Where is the “Tara” model???
Relaxed atmosphere of “country living”? Oh.Come.On. Have these marketing geniuses sat in traffic in Chester County lately?? Sadly, it’s less like country living and often more like King of Prussia mall traffic at rush hour. You can’t even garden the way you want to in a lot of these new developments. It’s all controlled and maybe soon the husbands can rejoice that out here in New Stepford, the developments will define wifely attire too?
(Hold me back, New Stepford is a comin’ ! Individuality is BAAAAAD!)
And as THIS development goes up and others are in the pipeline, for how many years will the Great Valley School District remain “award-winning”? Hows about we try “over-crowded” on for size?
Here are the plans for this development I found on East Whiteland’s website. Follow the link. All developments are magical through marketing until ALL OF THE PEOPLE WITH ALL OF THEIR CARS move in. Then everyone complains. “Too much traffic” “I thought our taxes were supposed to go down?” “Where is the open space?”
And speaking of marketing, East Whiteland is marketing itself as “The Heart of The Great Valley”. How much of the ACTUAL Great Valley is still left? Great Valley has gone from having fascinating and important history with regard to this great nation to being a series of corporate centers, strip malls, and developments.
Speaking of history, I discovered this really cool report on the PA Historical and Museum Commission website. It is called The Great Valley Historical Agricultural Region, 1750-1960.
Completely fascinating. Have also uploaded here: great_valley
Here are some shots from 99 Church Road circa 2012:
Also found this aerial shot on Google:
This is another 41.50 acres of open space/farmland that will never, ever come back. And as per a comment on a blog post from 2016, the development’s “open space” is actually unusable flood plain land, apparently? So these houses are clustered on what land can actually be developed? And what will the “roads” of this development look like? Will they be wide enough?
And let us not forget in just this part of Chester County, there is OTHER development happening the Great Valley School District…not just East Whiteland, although East Whiteland has the lion’s share. (Refer to this post from early August, 2018)
I will ask again, and keep asking: Chester County residents, do you want the entire county to look like this? Didn’t some of you move out here to escape this in the first place?
Signing off from Happy Dell Acres (no, not a real place that I know of but I feel like I have to give the area where I live it’s official dumb development name.)
There she sits like a ghost on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, East Whiteland Township. I I have photographed her in varying stages of decay over the past few years.
Her end is near, she lived a hard life, not sure it was a good life or not.
It is a crying shame no one loved her enough to keep her. She will be bulldozed soon to make way for McMansions. Because we all need more McMansions in Chester County, apparently.
Pennsylvania is a private property rights state, and it is just pathetic that the commonwealth isn’t a little more preservation minded.
File under who bought the farm?
Yes. Development whining shall now commence.
If you don’t like it, move off of the page now.
At present, it is a lovely swath of land on Monument in Willistown called Troutbeck Farm. However, as per Willistown’s Planning Commission Agenda for August 8, 2018 it is another parcel up for a cram plan. According to Willistown’s development list on their website it’s up for 35 homes on a 37 lot subdivision.
Now I know some will say it’s “only” 35 homes. (Like Willistown’s Paoli Walk is “only” 30 townhomes and the old Daylesford Abbey land development now the preposterously titled Chapel Hill Paoli is “only” 55 homes)
You can CLICK HERE to check out the Willistown Development List. And I think much like East Goshen, Willistown records nothing so if you do not attend meetings, you don’t necessarily know what is going on do you?
(I am not going into Easttown’s , Tredyffrin’s or East Goshen Township’s sock drawers at the moment because they aren’t in Great Valley School District. Doesn’t mean I don’t wonder about development and politics there too, but I digress…)
But anyway…. a lot of us wonder if Great Valley School District has Captain Oblivious at the helm because there is SO much development in various stages in this school district in Chester County. People always think it’s just East Whiteland, but multiple municipalities make up this district. And they all are little development islands in a bigger development sea in Chester County.
And no, before all you school district cheerleaders jump all over me, I am NOT questioning how good the district is at present. I am questioning the school district’s perennial lack of interest in a topic which affects all of the families, taxpayers, and most importantly students: DEVELOPMENT WITHIN THE DISTRICT.
According to Niche and Patch as of August 1, 2018, Great Valley is ranked 11th in the state. Think they’ll maintain that if the unchecked development continues? Haven’t they done eminent domain before in this district? How will they remain so good if the schools are so huge we’re ready for Great Valley East and Great Valley West? Are their school board members awake?
I found three documents courtesy of Willistown:
Apparently this has been going on for a few years?
When you put the address into Google you get:
Et voilà ! Another development is born in Chester County. Don’t worry all livestock, horses, and crops will fit nicely on top of all of the Wegmans and Whole Foods Markets. And we don’t need open space. Just traffic, pollution, infrastructure woes, and over-population issues, stressed out first responders, and school districts busting at the seams.
And what started all of this today?
The Philadelphia Business Journal heralding yet another development plan for East Whiteland in the Great Valley School District:
GMH Capital Partners has paid $3.2 million in two separate transactions to buy several properties along Route 30 in Frazer, Pa., for a proposed mixed-use development.
The Newtown Square, Pa., real estate company assembled and bought the parcels as part of its plans to develop a four-story apartment building with retail space. Those plans have been going through the approval process in East Whiteland.
Mind you, East Whiteland seems to love development that comes it’s way (just look at this 2017 list.) Not being mean, this township has earned it’s pro-development reputation, has it not?
The old Frazer Lanes has been closed for a while. (CLICK HERE for old Loop Net commercial real estate listing. Click HERE for another listing which is where aerial photo came from.)
Google maps gives us another look:
According to the article it’s the bowling alley, the trailer park next door, and the gas station. The gas station is 558 Lancaster Ave, Frazer Lanes I think was 554 Lancaster Ave, and the trailer park is Norbros Circle These properties were mention in the 2017 fall issued land assumptions report in East Whiteland. I think they are also somewhere in the Route 30 Corridor Study.
Development, development, development.
Just yikes. But when it comes to this particular development can they build if the Alley Pub stays put? After all isn’t that in between Frazer Lanes and the Pioneer gas station? The cheese stands alone? Can they withstand a big developer and survive as long as they choose? Here’s hoping the Alley Pub survives, right? It is after all the last of the old school joints in these parts isn’t it?
Speaking of development in East Whiteland, there is a petition circulating which was created in opposition to a development plan over on Flat Road. The petition is called simply PETITION IN OPPOSITION TO FLAT ROAD DEVELOPMENT. I am not the creator of the petition, but I feel for these people. East Whiteland has been lobbing this around for a while. You can read about it HERE and on HERE. If you want to see the Flat Road plan, CLICK HERE to go to East Whiteland’s site. It’s “only” 47 more homes, no biggie, right? (There was an emergency meeting of the East Whiteland Historical Commission this evening about this too – the historic Amish Cemetery is over there.)
Wrong. Not picking on any development or developer in general but all of these “onlys” ADD UP, don’t they?
Soon there will not be one blade of grass left that is not planned for something.
And all of these “onlys” do indeed affect school districts. That readers, is what I got on my soap box about. Every development adds up through multiple municipalities . This affects school districts. School districts affect taxes, so do you get the vicious cycle?
Remember…is it not true a lot of things get pushed through local governments during holidays and the dog days of summer? We live in a world where we must sadly remain ever watchful…and involved.
Thanks for stopping by.
Now I make no secret of the fall house tour events I hold dear in Chester County which are the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust House Tour (I am a sponsor and this year it’s Saturday September 29th) and the tour that started it all for me many moons ago (used to go with my parents long before calling Chester County home) — Chester County Day!
Today I am writing about Chester County Day which began in 1936. I love this event so much, I even have the following books: Forty Years of Days, Chester County & Its Day, and Barns of Chester County Pennsylvania which were all written by a Chester County treasure named Berenice M. Ball.
The Women’s Auxiliary to Chester County Hospital has been supporting the hospital for 125 years through numerous fundraising activities and events. One of the beloved fundraisers that has stood the test of time is Chester County Day, the longest running house tour in the United States. This year’s tour will be held Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 10 am to 5 pm. Since its founding in 1936, “The Day,” as it is affectionately called, has raised more than $5 million for the hospital, earning $132,000 last year alone.
This year The Day includes tours of 16 homes and six public structures/historic sites in the northeast quadrant, including Exton, Frazer, Chester Springs, Kimberton, and Phoenixville.
The Day will kick off with the pageantry and excitement of a traditional fox hunt. The hunt will set off promptly at 9 am from Birchrunville. At 10 am guests can begin their tour of this year’s selected properties.
The 2018 tour celebrates the traditional, distinctive architecture of Chester County with some twists. There is a beautifully restored home in West Vincent Township which is believed to have been deeded to a Revolutionary War soldier in payment for his service. Also on the tour is a meticulously kept stone home with great antiques, rugs and a lovingly-cared for garden.
A spectacularly restored Queen Ann-style home is one of the stops in West Whiteland Township. The home was designed and built in 1851 by Andrew Jackson Downing, a prominent advocate of the Gothic Revival in the United States. The fountains, gardens, mahogany-lined rooms and diamond lead-paned windows of this house are remarkable. When the owner first purchased this property, oil had seeped into the basement and water leaked from the attic down to the first floor. The renovation of the home has returned it to its original, unforgettable state. Around the corner is a pristine stone R. Brognard Okie house set on a hill with a beautiful stone-banked garage.
Loch Aerie Mansion in Frazer will also open its newly revamped doors to the tour this year. Also featured in East Whiteland? Gunkle Spring Mill! Gunkle Mill is a nationally registered historical resource. Michael Gunkle built this his first mill, in 1793. The structure represents post-Revolutionary development in the Great Valley. By 1872 the mill processed 1,800 tons of flour, feed, corn and oats yearly. At the peak of its productivity, the mill ran 18 hours a day. Gunkle Mill is now owned and cared for by East Whiteland Township. The Mill was placed on the Historic Register in 1978. (Check it out on Library of Congress website HERE.)
Attendees will also have the opportunity to tour a nearly 200-year-old farmhouse/manor house in Chester Springs that has been lovingly repurposed as a business office. The structure has retained much of its original woodwork, pocket doors, cabinetry, stair railings, fireplaces and a beautiful English knot garden. Tour-goers can also explore the largest three-story bank barn in the county located in Charlestown Township. The home boasts hand-hewn, scored beams.
Phoenixville is represented by a restored farmhouse with a pool house that was once the residence of farmhands. Eighteenth and 20th century homes on the grounds of the former Pickering Hunt are optional next stops for attendees. Two houses will be open in Rapps Corner, with the convenience of parking at one home to tour both. Each of the stone houses has been maintained and updated in very individual styles, while respecting the historic bones of each building.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Chester Springs will serve as a lunch stop, where pre-ordered boxed lunches by Arianna’s Gourmet Café will be available.
The Day offers two ticket options, a regular priced $50 ticket or a $100 VIP ticket. The VIP package includes an invitation to the preview party in September, as well as a gourmet boxed lunch provided by Montesano Bros Italian Market & Catering at an exclusive house tour open only to VIP ticket holders.
With a GPS and a Chester County Day map (that you will receive when you purchase your ticket) the beautiful architecture and bucolic roads of the county are yours to explore!
When: Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Northeast Quadrant of Chester County
Tickets: On sale from July 1, 2018 online; September 4th by mail or at the satellite locations listed on their website.
More Information: Want to know more about the tour? Attend one of the free public preview lectures throughout the county. For a list of dates and locations, or to download a podcast visit: www.ChesterCountyDay.com
ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE: I am writing this post because I want to and because I attend this event. I purchase my own tickets and am a grateful supporter of The Women’s Auxiliary to Chester County Hospital.
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:
Other recent news courtesy of East Goshen Safety and Environmental Advocates:
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?
Also learned about the Pipeline Safety Coalition and how the group’s founder became like many of us, an accidental activist.
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:
Township to invite Adelphia Gateway to meetingBy Bob Keeler firstname.lastname@example.org @bybobkeeler on Twitter Jul 24, 2018
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.