Berwyn is a gem, or was a gem. It’s getting redevelopment within an inch of it’s life, and the development is neither gracious or blending in. Just one cram plan after the other.
The development is garish, jarring, and thus far rather cheap looking. Apparently Easttown Township wants them all crammed in like lemmings.
Easttown officials as in the elected persuasion are not user friendly. They are most succinctly put self-serving, snide, and sanctimonious. They all no better than the peasants. They are quite feudal in attitude.
The erectile dysfunction going up on Route 30/Lancaster Avenue is even more disturbing than it appeared on all the plans. And you know how those plans are presented -always like the proverbial Elysian Fields.
The houses behind the erectile dysfunction look like Lego McMansions and are so crammed together you will hear the neighbors flush their toilets. It’s a cute and cozy relationship between the builder and listing agent too, right? And if there were fewer houses in this nouveau “Berwyn Village”, it wouldn’t be so bad, but once again it’s just too many damn houses.
The erectile dysfunction seems like it’s trying to maroon the Berwyn Tavern. It was the old Fritz Lumber site. Now everyone knew once Fritz closed it was going to be developed, but once again it’s going to be too much and too big. Between all of the apartments here and the monstrosity yet to break ground across Lancaster Ave at “Berwyn Square”, Berwyn is getting supersized in the worst possible way.
When that project is finished it’s going to be as ugly as what has happened and is still happening in Ardmore, PA and elsewhere.
Urban Canyons designed solely to line the pockets of developers. Maybe they will fund a traffic signal here and there, but they will just plop this crap on a community and move onto the next project.
These development projects stresses infrastructure, first responders, and school districts…just to point out SOME of the obvious. Communities are never in my opinion adequately or justly compensated for having to suffer through this crap.
R.I.P. charming Berwyn. Hope the ratables will be worth it, Easttown Township.
I love old maps, don’t you? This is an 1870s map above and at bottom of the post, is one from around 1912. Both maps are of Easttown Township. I have several good friends who live there and many others who used to live there who are concerned about the pace of development and things in the Easttown Township, Chester County. Everything seems shall we say, developer driver and hey is term limits something they should consider for certain boards and elected positions?
Anyway, there is a renewed effort to save Easttown from itself…err I mean the township and connected parties, if I am being delicate enough? I am just posting this and interested parties can draw their own conclusions. It’s a shame that all of the investigative reporters seem to have evaporated because at a minimum Easttown’s government and boards make good theater. They also don’t seem to like recorded meetings, sunshine, or any resident who disagrees with them or doesn’t suck up.
Easttown seems to be a township governed by petty tyranny and those with limited imagination. Oh and they won’t like this opinion but thank you Baby Jesus and the First Amendment for allowing me to be bitchy when the spirit moves me. (The spirit is moving me.)
If you would like to join these concerned residents to #SaveEasttown, please do.
Here are pertinent emails for Easttown: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
I don’t know who the township manager is right now, website says firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are the names of the members of the planning commission and when their terms expire:
When I was little one of the things I loved doing with my great aunts who lived in South Philadelphia at 11th and Ritner was go to not only the Italian market, but to the little grocery store on the corner a few blocks away called Alberts.
Albert’s wasn’t a large store, it was literally a little corner grocery store. But because it was in Italian neighborhoods they had many things you couldn’t find a normal grocery stores. And it was so fun to go in and look up down and sideways as a little kid to see everything they had. I kind of had that experience again today as an adult.
My friends have been telling me to go check out George McLoughlin’s Tasty Table Market and Catering at 10 Leopard Road in Berwyn. Now George never knew it until today but back in the day I had been a patron of another business he owned. And back then that business had catered events I went to including Shipley reunions. The food was phenomenal then and truthfully it’s only gotten better!
I went in to pick up some things for dinner and ended up getting myself lunch. I had this chicken sandwich that was transformative. It is the Chicken Pickle Brioche Sandwich. It was a lightly fried yet super moist chicken breast and Swiss on a brioche roll with this fabulous purple slaw with just a little bit of bacon and pickles. I think everybody should try this sandwich!
For dinner I got a steak salad, a salmon, and a chicken entree. I also picked up fresh guacamole and this lovely artichoke dip. But of course because this is also a little market I got some other goodies like a fig balsamic vinegar and fabulous olive oil. And a honey comb and Le Bus bread—-I haven’t purchased bread since March I’ve been making it. Oh and a lovely espresso! I couldn’t pass that up!!
And one of the things I liked best about my visit today was speaking with George the owner. It’s been so long since I have spoken with anyone who was excited about anything. George McLoughlin is happy and positive and psyched about the challenge of re-thinking his business. It was so awesome to spend time with him. His positivity is infectious.
And his food is so good. And fresh. And the staff is as nice as George is! And they know the food they are serving. Because what I find very frustrating especially when I visit a new place is you ask a question and they make a face and say “well I don’t know“ and you’re thinking to yourself how can you not know you work here? But there is NONE of that at Tasty Table. You can tell everyone likes being there and that speaks volumes.
Now that I’ve been to the delightful market being created, I will be back. They even carry my favorite sugar cubes for coffee and tea, La Perruche. I haven’t been able to find them locally in a very long time so I am psyched they carry them!
Oh and don’t forget to try the peanut butter cookies and brownies. 😊 And there are gluten free options as well!
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?
📌”Dec 27, 2019 · Bentley Homes heads back to the Main Line, buys land from Valley Forge Military Foundation. Valley Forge Military Academy Foundation has sold five properties adjacent to its Wayne campus to Bentley Homes for $1.65 million.”📌
I realized where it was yesterday on my way home from a skin cancer procedure at Penn Medicine in Radnor. That corner where Upper Gulph Road meets Radnor Road (Radnor Street Road when down the road a piece in Radnor Township, Delaware County.)
This location is Tredyffrin Township, Chester County.
Now Valley Forge has been selling and or leasing land since 2010 according to an old article I found in the Delco Times. So it shouldn’t be a surprise. Except in 2010 this deal was with a neighboring academic institution, Eastern University.
Valley Forge is one of the academic institutions that people wonder if they will survive COVID19. There are a lot of schools across the country that may or may not. This global pandemic affects enrollment (see Forbesarticle from April, 2020 and Deloitte.com for example.) Schools were already rocked by student visa issues given the current isolationist tenor of this country which is affecting the ability to host foreign students. Coronavirus just puts them more into uncertain times, financially.
But a development on this corner? High up on a hill? Will everyone around them be their storm water management program? And why does another Main Line McMansion project need to occur?
The irony is in a time when people are starting to question whether or not they want to live on top of one and other as we are still experiencing a global pandemic , development is not slowing down. It seems to be at a fever pitch. And this development will also impact the Tredyffrin Easttown School District which seems to be rather crowded already?
Now someone will snap these homes up I suppose, except it all depends on the economy in general which has been rocked by COVID19 if we’re honest.
📌”Valley Forge Military Academy Foundation has sold five undeveloped lots along Radnor Road at Upper Gulph Road to Bentley Homes for $1.65 million, writes Natalie Kostelni for Philadelphia Business Journal.…“I was building on the Main Line for years and the market died,” Tom Bentley said. “Now, we’re coming back to the Main Line. We return.”
During the Great Recession, Bentley built smaller homes, townhouses and multifamily properties further west in Kennett Square, Chadds Ford and Exton…..Bentley has also accumulated three lots on the east side of Radnor-Chester Road not far from Lancaster Avenue in Radnor and a dozen lots off Newtown Road in Easttown.”📌
Development keeps on rolling doesn’t it ? Are there really people to fill all these developments from single family to townhouse to apartments?
Pay attention to Tredyffrin’s neighbor Easttown. They also have development looming. Which will also feed into Tredyffrin Easttown School District. And then head west. More and more development.
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￼.
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.￼
Here is a wonderfullittle 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.
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?
“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.
“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 <email@example.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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.