malvern: from flying pig to pig in a poke

June 23rd was the last time I wrote about Malvern on this blog. Before that I wrote in May.

I feel that Malvern’s super-sizing via the Eli Kahn development on King Street is a huge mistake.  Having  gone by the site quite a few times at this point, I am profoundly disturbed by what I see every time, and can easily envision for the future.  Yes, it is a site that should be redeveloped. But why not a park and a couple of stores?  Or something Malvern lacks? Sufficient parking?

You know what I think Eli Kahn and Jack Loew’s project is going to be like when it is done?  A super-sized Charleston Greene.  And over the years, how has Toll’s Charleston Greene worked for you ,Malvern?

Hasn’t that been a problem site, with islands not in a stream that are supposed to be traffic calming pedestrian islands that don’t work there anymore than the one in front of Bryn Mawr Hospital does?

I have to laugh every time I hear developers say to those in suburbia and exurbia that living in a “mixed-use”  development on little spits of land or wedged in with a shoehorn next to existing buildings is such an exciting proposition.  Folks, it’s just another New Urbanism Fairy Tale.  Or redevelopment fantasies. Take your pick.

The economy can’t sustain big plans.  And who says people outside a city want to be crammed in like lemmings?  Doesn’t everyone know what happens to lemmings sometimes?

Municipalities dream of ratables like they are drugs and they need a fix.  And then you see reality.  Reality is that if you have ever lived next to a train tracks or a train station, you don’t repeat it.  There is more noise and more dirt, and there is nothing like having your windows open on a nice spring day only to have the unmistakable odor of Septa trains and their burning  brake pads wafting in the window.

And when you live on top of train tracks you also have fire fears during warn months or periods of drought.  Septa and Amtrak also spray heavy-duty pesticides loaded with carcinogens in lieu of weeding.

Of course, don’t even get me started on stormwater management.  You see when you live with rail as the neighbor, you are basically their stormwater management system if they have runoff issues.

I lived across the street from R-5/Paoli/Septa/Amtrak tracks for over a decade, so I know of what I speak.  I also have sat and watched developers promise using too tall tales, and then what happens?  It doesn’t turn out as planned.  After all, when they show municipal fathers and mothers plans at a town meeting, the plans are all lovely with hearts and flowers on a field of green.  Not real scale, and how it will look in conjunction with everything else around it.

I firmly believe with Malvern and this development that after the sheen of new wears off, these developments will end up being apartments going for cheap not chic because living on top of transit has limited appeal unless you want to live in the city, or near the 69th Street Terminal or in a row house near the El.

So at a recent Malvern Borough Council Meeting when a resident asked how much would Malvern get back  now that they have given the keys to the town to Eli Kahn and Jack Loew, it was shockingly low.

Told you so.

So I think Malvern has bought itself a Pig in a Poke.  The town already has a Flying Pig, so it really didn’t need A Tale of When Pigs Fly By A. Developer.

Daddy Warbucks told Malvern they would have big bucks.  And they believed him. Dumb. Real dumb.

Malvern Patch: $60,000: East King Revitalization’s Impact on the Borough

The new apartments and businesses won’t be a windfall for the borough.

By Pete Kennedy   Email the author July 2, 2012

During a discussion of the police services and budgeting at the June 19 meeting of Malvern Borough Council, resident Joan Yeager asked a related question:

“Once the King Street project is completed, how much additional money is going to come into the borough? In taxes and all,” she said.

“Something in the neighborhood of $60,000 a year,” council president Woody Van Sciver said, citing a financial feasibility study done before the project was approved.

“That’s it?” Yeager replied

just wondering….about malvern

As I read yet more and more about Malvern’s great super-sizing plans courtesy of developer Eli Kahn, I can’t help but wonder if in the end, residents will be satisfied with the Emperor’s New Clothes of it all.

Malvern as long as I can remember has had an unfortunate identity crisis – mostly stemming from local officials as opposed to residents.  The borough of Malvern has a charm that doesn’t need super-sizing with giant Tyvec wrapped buildings that will end up looking like a New Urbanism Disneyland.

But hey, I can’t see it from my window.

So to answer the question of a guy blogging on Malvern Patch who writes about the East King Development , as far as at what cost this development?  Well I think you will sacrifice the charm of the area you call home and the traffic will be a nightmare. I think parts of Malvern may end up looking as unattractive as parts of Eagle, another tiny community developers had a “vision” for.

Of course as I read about in the Daily Local about a missing developmentally challenged boy from up King Road, I also wondered how what currently exists up and down King, whether it would be road or street will co-exist with GRAND PLANS? (you have to use all caps because these developer plans are always GRAND.)

I think super-sizing Malvern is a mistake, but hey that is just my opinion.    Part of the reason I wanted to be in Chester County is it isn’t the Main Line, which in many parts has just been ruined  by development.  But now that I am here, I am learning that dumb development plans exist all over.

Which of course is why they need to update the Municipalities Planning Code of PA.

And while we are on the topic of building/development, can anyone tell me what is going on at the former site of Maddie’s on Route 30 in Frazer?  There is some construction going on and yesterday there were also a slew of union picketers going on. Yet ironically enough, the orginal Maddie’s sign remains – my hypothesis there is if they demolish the sign they might have to go through zoning or whatever to get approval.