this is progress?

DSC_0042Once again I turn to why we need to stand up for the land.  We do not need so much development.  We have a lot to consider and once open space is gone, it is gone for good.

Moderation is the word that should be used when it comes to development, only that never happens.  There are way too many giant developments.  Let’s hit the pause button and see what our infrastructure and natural water sources and so on and so forth can actually tolerate for a while.

But that never happens, does it?

Case in point is the great mistake of Delaware County.  Newtown Township approved the giant Toll Brothers plan now in progress on the old DuPont Estate formerly known as Foxcatcher farm on Goshen Road and Route 252 in Newtown Square.

DSC_0054An entire little Stepford City, composed of around 450 homes and amenities (i.e. other structures) will rise from where there was the gentle rise of hills, fields, forest. Of course I wonder about all the natural water sources on the property and will they be preserved and cared for?  Will they have a septic system like Byers Station where the septic fields smell a good part of the year?

Most of the old and historic buildings and houses on the estate were bulldozed for this “progress”.   They will now build Tyvec McMansions with preposterously pretentious names like “Liseter- The Bryn Mawr Collection”.

Newtown Square is also facing development from that “Ellis Preserve” site which was formerly the Ellis School and ARCO Chemical and other things. I think all in all Newtown Township officials haven’t a clue as to what they have done and in 20 years there will be regrets, and lots and lots of unmanageable traffic and other issues.

Of course no one realistically expected the DuPont Estate to survive intact.  After all, once crazy John went to prison for shooting Dave Shultz how much interest did the family have in dealing with all this? There were three challenges to the will of John DuPont, but never a mention I could find of preserving part of the estate in any way.

So now we are where we are today.  I think Newtown Township Officials DSC_0055should have fought for a less dense plan, but hey they will learn.

Look at the photos.  Look at the savagery of development. Look at all the clear cutting of practically every standing tree and blade of grass and for what?  For plastic houses that will not survive the test of time?  I have said it before and I will say it again: this land looks raped.

I am so glad this isn’t too close to where I live.  But this is the case in point as to why the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania needs to update the Municipalities Planning Code and give municipalities the power to legally hit the pause button on development —- a temporary moratorium as it were.

A few years ago a bill known as HB 904 was proposed in 2007 and 2009 – it was even discussed in an Inquirer article. Lobbyists from the building industry and developers and other  groups killed this bill.

Anyway, the photos speak volumes, don’t they?

playing chicken to cross the road

DSC_0056I will preface this post with the fact I was a passenger in the car.  I was not driving. I had someone give me grief in another post multiple times because they could not grasp the concept that while I may have been driving, the poor photos taken with my cellphone camera were done when I was STOPPED in traffic, NOT moving.

Last evening we were coming down Goshen Road to attend an event on the Main Line.  As we approached the intersection of Route 252 and Goshen Road, after barely recovering from viewing the incredible savagery that Toll Brothers has inflicted upon the once beautiful DuPont Estate formerly known as Foxcatcher Farm, we noticed the traffic seemed to be in a huge snarl.  It was after all around 5:30 P.M., which in my mind is still rush hour.

This is Newtown Township, Delaware County, by the way.

So we quickly realized the traffic lights to the intersection were OUT. ALL OUT. As in the very major and always busy intersection of Route 252 and Goshen Road. A lot of people almost got hit trying to navigate through this intersection as only a small percentage of drivers were even attempting the “you go, now I go” taking turns thing that you are supposed to do while carefully navigating intersections with traffic signals out.  Typical arrogant and aggressive driving prevailed creating a rather dangerous situation.

There were NO police officers to be seen.  There weren’t even those short stop signs out that police put out when the lights are out.

So I tried looking up Newtown Township Police Department to let them know they needed someone out there ASAP.  Guess what?  There really isn’t a phone number you can call.  Every phone number to the police department I looked up had a recording on it.  Newtown Township  Police Department doesn’t want to talk to those they protect and serve, apparently.  They only want you to waste precious time calling EVERYTHING in on 911 which goes to Delaware County Dispatch which is MILES away.

This is why they need a non-emergency or alternate phone number that is answered.  Ordinary people don’t know what exactly constitutes a 911 emergency by the definition of a police department and we don’t want to get hollered at for phoning in something they do not feel is an emergency.  The other thing is when you call these county seat dispatch centers the people answering the phones do not necessarily understand WHERE you are calling from.

If Newtown Township Delaware County Police doesn’t want someone answering the phones in their station although you know there is always someone there, then their phones at night should feed into dispatch automatically and not make people feel like they can’t contact the police department.  All it would be is a simple call forward, and surely they can afford that? Especially with all the money the township will make selling themselves to Toll Brothers, right? Speaking of Toll Brothers, there were little red flags all around that intersection last night – you know like utility companies and others use to mark?  Did this development in progress have anything to do with the traffic lights failing at rush hour?



the haunted estate of goshen road?

Before Goshen Road becomes a Chester County Road it is in Newtown Township when you cross 252.  On the corner of 252 and Goshen Road is the estate once home to the now deceased John Du Pont who killed Olympic wrestler David Schultz in 1996 at his Newtown Square estate.

Foxcatcher Farm is the name of the property and it has been rotting for years.  You can see quite clearly the deterioration of the houses and barns when the leaves are down.  Today I decided to stop on the road and snap a couple of photos – I had my camera and a zoom lens.

The gatehouse is empty although someone has planted fresh mums in honor of the season.

It is sort of creepy.  What is going on with the estate as in the land?  I know there was an auction a while back and the estate as in all his assets was being challenged in court as recently as this past April.

I know in Pittsburgh they have begun filming a movie about John DuPont – also see “Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Sienna Miller to Grapple With Du Pont Wrestling Murder Drama”

I wonder who owns the estate now?  Is it still the Rouse Group? What are the plans for Foxcatcher renamed Ashford? Will there be many mini manses dotting a once pristine landscape and killing traffic there and everything else? Between that and the plans for the old Ellis School/Arco Chemical known as Ellis Preserve, wow…just wow….

Well no one ever said Newtown Township got it.  Sigh. It would be really cool to photograph the estate before whatever happens happens.