the end of the decade, new year’s eve 2019

Lovely Loch Aerie, Frazer, PA

It has been a crazy decade chock-full of so much. I wasn’t sure what my last post of the year was going to look like until I started looking at some of my photos of houses that had captured my interest and fancy in the past decade.

So in all of the houses I have looked at in this decade I have decided to remain true to Chester County today and give you my three favorites.

Ironically my three house picks for the decade are not traditional 18th century Chester County Farmhouses, but three 19th-century stone houses of a certain era.

You see the first house above. My ultimate old house love, beautiful and lovely Loch Aerie mansion. I have written about her enough that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel and restate her history.

Loch Aerie on Lancaster Avenue in Frazer in East Whiteland Township enters the next decade with a guaranteed and brilliant new lease on life. She is being restored to her former glory, and will have an adaptive reuse that will ensure her place in architectural history for decades to come.

Old stone house Francis Ave, Berwyn, Easttown.

Next on my list is a house I was reminded of this morning. I know nothing of her pedigree. It is the great stone house on Francis Avenue in Berwyn.

My great friend (and Chester County historian and artist) Catherine Quillman and I stumbled upon this beauty in 2016 one fall afternoon.

We took a wrong turn somewhere after leaving Jenkins Arboretum and all of a sudden we were on Francis Avenue in front of this house. And before anyone flips out, we did not trespass. I had a camera with a zoom lens with me and I took photos from the street. This house captured my fancy for a number of reasons, including the fact that the stonework reminded me a lot of Loch Aerie.

I know absolutely nothing of the history of this house other than its 19th century and in Easttown Township . I think it probably has a name (possibly according to a 1912 atlas it appears it was maybe called “Rhydlyn” home of James G. Francis, whose sister in law I believe was famed local photographer Lucy Sampson according to census records from the early 20th century and according to the census she lived there for a while!) I don’t know if it is listed on any national registries or even a state or local registry. I couldn’t find it listed anywhere. (I am told it is mentioned HERE.)

It strikes me as a similar vintage to Loch Aerie. I also do not know the current ownership of the home but I am told it is being preserved as part of some kind of a development. I am also told that the glorious slate roof is no longer which I can’t say surprises me because old slate roofs are incredibly expensive to maintain and it’s a lost art of the craftsmanship of roof building. There are very few slaters left.

My last house which captured my fancy a great deal in this last decade is the Joseph Price house in West Whiteland Township.

This house is on S.Whitford and Clover Mill Roads in Exton. The Joseph Price House in West Whiteland Township.

Here is a wonderful little slide show presentation on prezi. This house is historically listed. It was built in 1878 and altered in 1894 by the house namesake inhabitant at the time. It was altered from a Gothic style to a Queen Anne style.

I was also told in the 1990s it was separate apartments inside and there were also cottages around it which were rented out as well.

In the 1950s and 60s there was a large barn there that was a sale barn for cattle run by Bayard Taylor —a blog reader told me that. He knew because his mother did bookkeeping for that business while she was in college.

This house is not completely deserted I am told there is a caretaker who still lives there. However, this house has an uncertain future at best and nobody seems to know what will happen to it. Which is a shame because it’s very cool.

So as we lift a glass one last time to toast a crazy tumultuous decade everywhere, let us think of our future and historic preservation. There are so many cool houses like this throughout Chester County from all eras of time.

Less development. More land and structure preservation and adaptive reuse. That’s my final wish for Chester County for 2019.

Please do not trespass on these properties. Either get permission to wander around or look from the street.

Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!

Joseph Price House. West Whiteland Township.

easttown residents turn out in droves, zoning meeting at hilltop house postponed

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Dayyyyummmmm. Easttown residents must quite certainly have had enough because they turned it up and turned out tonight over the whole Berwyn Square/Handels development.

Sources said the following:

“The Easttown Residents are out in full force to say oh hell no. Postponed due to overcrowding….”

Someone also commented about the fact that development was bound to come up sooner or later, but why couldn’t something that was tasteful and respectful to the area happen instead of 120 or whatever units and commercial shoved on a small lot?

Can’t disagree….hence my Flat Iron building comment from my post earlier today.

Someone else posted:

“Easttown zone meeting Tuesday = 160+ people inside + 50 or more outside. Board “we did not know this would happen” so we need to reschedule. I say we at least double that number for the next meeting. Interesting to see people who care about their town who show up. I say yes to responsible zoning. Next meeting location will be held at a place to handle a large group. Stay tuned.”

What did Easttown officials think would happen? People have been fighting them supersizing Berwyn and the surrounding area since the late 1990s that I am aware of, so why are they surprised?  People don’t want to feel like they are living in the city.  They want the history and architecture of the area as well as themselves and their own properties respected. D’oh Easttown, it is not so difficult to grasp.

And let’s chat about the Berwyn Devon Business Association for a minute shall we?

After I posted a meeting reminder this morning, someone commented:

“The local business community seems to have a very condescending attitude toward the local residents.”

Yup, can’t disagree.  And apparently (of all the ironies) this business association is kicking off their fall season for their membership tomorrow?  Here’s the text of the email:

From: Nick Vandekar <nick@vandekarteam.com>
Date: Tue, Sep 17, 2019 at 4:38 PM
Subject: BDBPA Kick off Event THIS Wednesday
Don’t forget kick off the BDBPA year with an historic walk through Berwyn ending at Le Cabra to network and learn about their buildings history. Start at 6.00 pm at Berwyn Memorial Arch by the station. Easy walk about 45 minutes.

See you there!

Nick Vandekar
Associate Broker
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc
92 Lancaster Ave, Devon, PA 19333
Cell 610-203-4543
Office 610-225-7400
Fax 858-309-3367
Mailto:Nick@VandekarTeam.com

 

A historic walk through Berwyn? Is that to view the history or it’s historic because a lot of it might not be there in a few years? I am confused because if they are all about development, development, development why take a history stroll?

So La Cabra is a great place right? Address is 642 Lancaster Ave Berwyn.

Anyway, anyway, anyway: Someone else left a comment:

“LARGE NUMBERS of engaged residents who are willing to express their thoughts is the only thing that will stop those business and development interests with dollar signs in their eyes. Ask long-time residents of Malvern or any of a number of other “communities” along Route 30–from Ardmore to Caln and beyond–just how much they like what SOMEBODY ELSE’S plans and over development have brought them…It’s time to tell it like it is: Greed-driven interests are pitting themselves against you, the residents, just salivating at the thought of making money by selling YOUR quality of life. The only question–will you let them?”

And that gets to the meat of it: where is responsible, inclusive, community-centric planning and zoning? That is also a question for the Chester County Planning Commission as they also seem too driven by development, but then again isn’t part of their problem is that they are led by an executive director who lives in Lower Merion Township an overpriced land of infill development, and is NOT a Chester County resident?

But back to Easttown.  A resident I spoke to this evening who was among the crowd turned away essentially said they felt that Easttown knew this would be a crowd bigger than could fit safely at Hilltop House so why didn’t they hold the meeting at Beaumont Elementary?

Oh Easttown, don’t play reindeer games with your residents about this. It won’t work in your favor and definitely not in the favor of the two Supervisors whose terms are up, right? But is that another problem with Easttown? One party rule? No balance?

And who exactly is running for supervisor in Easttown this November from BOTH parties? Not my country, not my people so I do not know.

What I do know is Easttown residents you need to make things like this an election issue.  Make those candidates look at it your way, get statements. Politicians are supposed to work for the plurality, as in the entirety of the plurality…not select groups or special interests.

And do NOT be afraid to vote in new faces no matter what their political persuasion.  You all need to shake up this election and change the faces of who governs you.  That is how you take the steps to change OTHER things and OTHER faces in your township.

Easttown residents, a proverbial hat tip to all of you this evening. Y’all did good. Fight for what you believe in and fight for what you want.  Continue to PACK the meetings at EVERY opportunity.

Have a good evening all. Don’t forget the website SaveEasttown. I am sure they will be updating soon.

 

how MANY freaking bad development plans are going on in easttown?

Who doesn’t love Handel’s in Berwyn? It’s an old fashioned ice cream place like you only normally see at the beach. This time of year people can always be seen all lined up for a scoop of ice cream. It’s a great tradition.

But apparently Easttown Township is pondering the supersizing of this location? As in Handel’s will still be there BUT also 120 apartments potentially? Four stories tall, if the zoning board in Easttown approves?

SERIOUSLY?? What in the Sam Hell is wrong with Easttown Township? First of all the township is like the supersecret people with no meeting recordings that I can find and every time you turn around there’s another development plan between Devon and the end of Berwyn, isn’t there?

Sure Easttown “discloses” development plans via public notices but do they really want a spotlight on the crazy development plans there ?

I am down near this particular stretch of Berwyn a fair amount and I can tell you Lancaster Avenue is already infreakingsane with what’s there, so what happens when you add more insanity?

A source tells me one zoning hearing was held already. The next one appears to be August 5 — except I haven’t found a public notice yet. If I understood correctly what was said at the recent zoning meeting, the Easttown Township Planning Commission has already approved this crap?

WTF Easttown? It’s bad enough you are allowing historic Berwyn to get destroyed, but now you want to West Goshen/East Whiteland/West Whiteland Lancaster Avenue through Berwyn and Easttown in general???

(I will also note the Easttown like many other municipalities who don’t like to video record meetings are also kind of behind in their minutes they post aren’t they? And when the minutes are posted don’t they seem so sanitized?)

Traffic is already a nightmare around here. And the thing about Easttown is they like to approve these development plans but it’s like they’re approving plans that are off on their own planet with no relationship to basic things like existing residents, small businesses, and existing infrastructure.

Where Anthropologie and Terrain were built is a favorite nightmare traffic example. Trying to reach these businesses off of Lancaster Avenue if you’re headed west on Route 30 is craziness. And it’s also difficult if you want to go to Handel’s coming from either direction. And they are proposing apartments?

It’s like we keep getting driven further and further west but all these developers up and down Route 30 act like all these municipalities aren’t interconnected! No matter where we go the traffic is heavy and insane and full of impatient drivers and roads that can’t handle the current capacity in all of these municipalities all the way up Route 30 into Coatesville and beyond and they all want are more developments!

I don’t know why they call any of this good planning or smart growth because it just seems well greedy to me. And those of us who live here in Chester County, we don’t matter. Existing small businesses, they don’t matter. Nothing matters except getting these plans built and pick a stretch of Route 30 and how many apartments and townhouses and fake “carriage homes” do we need???

And Easttown sports a lot of ugly density already.

Enough already, Easttown.

And again, another reason why we need a less development happy county planning commission in Chester County. And an executive director of said planning commission who actually resides in Chester County. I mean is it just me or has anyone else noticed how even as you proceed further and further west in Chester County along Route 30 it’s so totally looking like the eastern end of Lower Merion Township, King of Prussia, or DeKalb Pike?

Stop the madness. Attend your local municipality’s meetings wherever you live. Pack the meetings. Elect officials who represent YOUR voices.

#PreserveChesterCounty

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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haunted house of francis avenue in berwyn?

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Driving around with my friend Catherine today doing the super amazing Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust house tour, we stumbled upon this crazy desolate looking house in Easttown Township.  It looks like it sits on a couple of acres and I think the address is 218 Francis Avenue, Berwyn.

It could be empty or someone could be living there.  It looks like a haunted house.  There is a chain across the driveway with a bunch of old trash cans and a sign that says “Beware of the Dog” only there are no signs of life.  To the right of the house is some sort of boarded up stable or garage – hard to tell from the street.

It sparks the imagination and would be perfect for an M. Night Shyamalan movie.

If anyone has infomation about this house which seems like it was built in early 1900s, please post.  It was probably a beautiful house in it’s day.

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Please note disparaging comments received regarding my photographing this house from a public street made me decide to post directly from Easttown’s website list of current applications:


come on over to my virtual lawn easttown township

sign

Dear Easttown Township,

It’s called the First Amendment.

Remember?

Easttown Township is it true that y’all have some issues with Devon-area homeowners’ First Amendment rights to display lawn signs supporting preservation of their community????

Is it true that yesterday maybe someone picked up all of the “Save Devon/Don’t Rezone” signs that were up all around Devon? As in TRESPASSED on the private property of residents??? Did that REALLY happen? Or is it an suburban legend? If it is true did the taxpayers of your township just pay for that even as they are exhibiting their First Amendment rights?

People were told that perhaps some people might find the lawn signs offensive? Waaaaahhhhh you mean like the developer or involved interested parties? Since when can’t you post a lawn sign in this country?

So Easttown, I am a blogger. Call this post my virtual lawn.  I am displaying my lawn sign in support of the residents trying to preserve their community without unnecessary super-sizing and urbanizing.

I don’t think there is an ordinance prohibiting it just yet?

Easttown Township, maybe you should clear the air about this with a public statement? It would be helpful, after all, your residents LOVE where they live and they are just trying to protect where they call home.

Hugs and kisses,

Me

Devon

save the barn (easttown township)- important october 3rd meeting!

I have written about residents trying to save this historic Chester County barn before. Twice as a matter of fact.

Here is a flyer that was sent to me about an upcoming zoning meeting on October 3rd in Easttown Township.  Apparently the developer (Bentley Homes) is seeking a demolition permit now I presume.  Not shocking after that fabulous effort to market the barn to a new owner, right? And the thing is this: this barn has had restoration to modernize it and is in good shape.  So why wouldn’t it sell unless it wasn’t really ever marketed?  Why not make the barn into a house as part of this development? Oh never mind, why ask redundant questions.

A historic barn means nothing to Bentley Homes, does it? They are, after all the people who took a heck of a lot of forest off of Forest Lane (Willistown Township, Malvern), right? The people who have done the same de-treeing thing on County Line Road in Radnor Township, right?  This is a sin if this barn gets demolished.  If you can help or know someone who will buy it, please go that meeting.

You can always build another Tyvec wrapped box.  Structures like this barn? Not so much. We need to preserve history like this.  And this is perfectly adaptable to modern use.  This developer has more than enough jingle in his pocket that he could either sell or reuse this barn if he wanted to.

Once again I reiterate my plea to residents in Chester County to lobby any elected official they can to slow down development in the county.

Bentley Homes development County Line Road, Villanova, Radnor Twp

Bentley Homes development County Line Road, Villanova, Radnor Twp

so easttown…really…”pursuing other opportunities”?

easttownI will admit I am intrigued.  I was perusing my friend Pattye Benson’s blog “Community Matters” when this post jumped out at me about the sudden exit stage left by Mike Brown, Easttown Township’s Manager.  I have to ask is it really “pursuing other opportunities” when an employee is being escorted from the building?

Seems to me that Easttown Township has some ‘splaining to do, huh?  Wonder what that means for that poor barn?

Questions about Easttown Township Manager’s Sudden Departure – Gene Williams Called out of Retirement

After serving Easttown Township for 40 years, it was hard for many to believe that township manager Gene Williams was retiring.  But retire he did. At the end of 2011, Williams retired and was succeeded by the township’s assistant manager Mike Brown.  Brown was on the job for about 18 months as the assistant manager, brought on to take over once Williams retired.  Williams retired and Brown took over in January 2012.  Barely a year later, we now learn that Brown was escorted from the township building last week and Williams is brought out of retirement to fill in temporarily until a new township manager can be hired.  Why? Clearly, there is something behind Brown’s sudden departure….For now, here’s the official press release  and we are left to wonder what happened.“Easttown Township is pleased to announce that Gene Williams will be serving the township as temporary interim manager, under and subject to consideration and action by the Easttown Board of Supervisors at its meeting on Tuesday, February 19th.  Mr. Williams previously headed the Easttown staff for more than 30 years.  Gene will assist during the transition period following the departure of Mike Brown to pursue other opportunities.  Easttown Township also announces the commencement of a search for candidates to more permanently fill the manager position.”

If someone was really escorted from the building, then there is a heck of a lot more to this story, isn’t there?

chester county barn under siege by bentley homes

bentlery pigIn Easttown Township on Waterloo Road there is a barn called the Kennedy Barn by some, Mrs. Rossi’s Barn by others. Mrs. Rossi’s husband was the one who restored the barn most recently, apparently.  He was a co-founder of ANRO printing. So in a nutshell, this barn isn’t past salvation like many large and now unused barns.

The barn is described by the Inquirer today as “hundreds of years old.” Yet Tom Bentley of Bentley Homes can’t seem to do a thing with it, can’t seem to market it well enough to sell it.  He wants to demolish it.  You see the barn is standing between him and eight or so new McMansions.

Yes, some consider Bentley a better kind of developer.  I just see his homes as more upscale stone facing, stylistically over complicated and contradictory on the exteriors, yet still at their heart big Tyvec boxes on relatively small lots for the most part for their size. For the most part all they do is scream “NEW”.

I first became aware of Bentley years ago when working on a wine tasting for a Philadelphia Orchestra Committee.  Like many developers are wont to do, he lent one of his sample homes for the tasting.  I think it was over near Aronomink Golf Club.  The house was a large, drafty cavernous box with all the bells and whistles the nouveau riche of the Main Line would shrivel up and die without including a kitchen that you knew would be for show in the end rather than actual use.  It kind of went with his girlfriend at the time, a woman who looked like a rather less expensive version of Stevie Nicks.

I was disappointed when I moved out to Chester County when I realized one of my favorite streets in Malvern, Forest Lane, had sprouted a veritable infantry of Bentley Homes.  All but one is predictable and went up in about ten minutes.  So over there, the horse is out of the proverbial barn, nothing can be done.  But over in Easttown?  What the heck is wrong with their supervisors and planning commission?  Where is their historic commission on this?

Let’s get real: if Bentley wanted to save the barn, he would.  If he wanted to use the barn he would, because earlier developments of his sometimes included older structures, original to the property.  But nooooo, Bentley wanted to knock down the barn and leave some man-made ruin with a freaking plaque!  “Barn Wuz Here”. How fabulous and generous. Not.

And those on this commission in Easttown including a woman I think highly of for prior preservation and community building efforts think this is o.k.? I think I am the most disappointed in her.  And yes, I get how this all works and they are trying to make the best of a bad situation, but you know what?  Not good enough.

Bentley is a well-heeled developer.  If he wanted to, he could turn that barn into a living space adapted for modern use.  It is done all over the country, and has been done successfully on the Main Line and out here in Chester County as well.  Facing Forest Lane in Malvern on a corner of another development street just up from Bentley’s homes on Forest sits an amazing example of a barn converted to living space.  Friends of my family live in another such space on Upper Gulph Road in Radnor Township and there is also another converted barn space on Darby-Paoli Road that once belonged to a family I knew in high school and then to another a woman my mother used to know.  And circling back to Bentley, those houses he is building on County Line Road in Villanova?  It is amazing how many trees did not survive, isn’t it?

The point is, it can be done (the barn saved and turned into some sort of adaptive reuse, preferably residential), only Bentley doesn’t care and Easttown is willing to settle at the expense of its irreplaceable history. Not that Easttown is the only municipality guilty of these travesties.  As a bit if a related segue, I believe it is on one part or near Sugartown Road if you go the back way to hit that Buho Mexican restaurant in Exton you see a neat row of some houses that were quite lovely at one time which are now rotting.  Obviously some developer bought them and got hit by the economy tanking.  It makes you shake your head in wonder.  Every one of those houses could have been upgraded to more modern means if need be, but no, someday they will all come tumbling down for some more plastic boxes.

Chester County municipalities need to collectively wake up before everything is ruined out here.  Once the land is gone, it’s gone. Once the old buildings and historic structures are gone, they are gone.  I know every old house and every old building can’t be saved, but lordy at least make an effort once in a while. And that is the problem: none of these municipalities make a consistent effort any longer.

If any of you out there know anyone that can wrest this barn from Bentley or get him to save it on his own, please do.  Personally when I hear things like this I think next time there is an election Easttown residents should change-up the faces don’t you? It is time that deep pocketed developers stop running and ruining communities, isn’t it?

But if you see Tom Bentley cruising your neighborhood you can’t miss him.  He has a preposterous vanity plate.

Shame on Easttown Township.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Plans to demolish centuries-old barn raises hackles in Chester County

Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer
 Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2013, 3:01 AM

For two centuries, give or take a few years, an enormous stone barn has occupied a patch of land  now at the end of a winding Main Line driveway on Waterloo Road in Easttown Township.

In the township’s historic archives, it is known as the Kennedy Barn. For residents in the area, it’s Mrs. Rossi’s barn; for years, it was part of the estate of Rose Rossi, one of the cofounders of ANRO Inc., a printing company.

But lately, it has been the central figure in the Battle of the Barn, pitting longtime Main Line residents against a builder of some of the region’s largest and most luxurious residences.

The 10-acre parcel  on which the barn sits  is owned by Tom Bentley,  chief executive officer of Bentley Homes.

Bentley wants to build an eight-house subdivision on the Rossi estate and has contended  the barn is unmarketable. Leaving it  intact and building a house on the same lot would violate zoning ordinances.

He has offered instead to demolish most of the barn, leave its ruins on the site, and erect a plaque on Waterloo Road explaining its  historical significance.

On Tuesday night, the Easttown Township Board of Supervisors granted Bentley a demolition permit and permission to begin building his subdivision, with several caveats: He  must take 120 days to market the barn, and if he sells it, he must redraw lot lines in the subdivision to comply with zoning ordinances….Locals have cried foul….  Kemp Littlepage, who lives across the street from the barn, offered to buy it  from Bentley on the spot Tuesday night.

“I wouldn’t sell it to you anyway,” Bentley said.

If you want to call Tom Bentley’s office and tell him how you feel: 610.436.5500

If you want to e-mail Tom Bentley’s office and tell him how you feel: salesinfo@bentleyhomes.com

If you want to tell him on Facebook how you feel: http://www.facebook.com/BentleyHomes

Easttown barn demolition nears reality

 By BRENT GLASGOW bglasgow@dailylocal.com
Posted: Thursday, 01/03/13 02:42 pm
The reducing-to-ruin of a refurbished early-1800s barn in Devon is one step closer following Wednesday’s Easttown Planning Commission meeting.

The commission agreed to recommend approval of Bentley Homes’ application for demolition to the Easttown Board of Supervisors, with consideration given to requests from the township’s Historical Commission.

For months, the Planning Commission has heard from those who hoped to save the barn on the former property of Angelo and Rose Rossi at 222 Waterloo Road, which Bentley CEO Tom Bentley wants to turn into a 10-acre subdivision.