So here I am, making the transition to one of the places I always wanted to live: Chester County. Now it’s all about git r’ done.
I started in Society Hill, transitioned to the Main Line, but let’s face it, the Main Line she ain’t what she used to be. I am discovering more and more the kinds of people I used to prefer on the Main Line have actually moved to Chester County.
In Chester County, you have room to breathe, and you can actually see things like open space, farms, horses…and oh yes lots and lots and lots of deer.
I am not so jazzed about all the deer, truthfully. But the rate of development is taking away their habitat and their natural predators. And every time a deer hunt is proposed to cull the herd the caterwauling and protests I read about are just silly.
One thing I worry about in Chester County is that the many municipalities out here becoming afflicted with the non-listening-we-know-best government disease. This disease is ruining parts of the Main Line, Lower Merion in particular.
You see when local government starts to believe its own hype, it all goes into the crapper. The government becomes so full of itself, it completely starts to forget what attracted people to an area in the first place. A lot of this is caused by unnecessary development.
Unnecessary development starts out like a gleam in a municipalty’s eye. Ahhh the savoring of future ratables. But what municipalities seem to forget is you can’t just build it and assume they will come.
I see a lot of what can only be described as wanton careless development in Chester County. I am fuzzy on where all the boundaries from community to community lie, but truthfully it’s a little startling to see quite so many plastic houses being planted all hodge podge. And a lot of them are planted on top of busy, noisy highways. I don’t get the whole leave the hectic pace of a more urban lifestyle to hear urban noises in quasi-rural areas. And Chester County definitely needs no more malls. They are replete with strip shopping centers and malls.
Now recently there was a failed eminent domain for private gain attempt in Chester County. At Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds, which is West Vincent Township. When I first heard about it, I was appalled. Here we go again – the last time I heard about something that turned my stomach quite so much is when Coatesville tried to seize Dick and Nancy Saha’s farm. I got to know the Sahas a few years back, and they are the loveliest people. Kind and neighborly. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect their land.
At the crux of the West Vincent debacle seems to be a lot of political shenanigans and of course, a Disneyland-esque Redevelopment Plan. The funny thing is, as is the case with many of these plans is I can’t figure out who asked for it. Or why they think they need it.
One development which concerns me greatly was the Toll Brothers one approved by Willistown Supervisors approved on Paoli Pike in 2011. Applebarf, err Applebrook Meadows. This development is right up against Willistown’s border with East Goshen. Close to one of the most awesome park spaces I have seen (East Goshen’s park and walking trails are lovely.)
Lots of plastic houses in the new make me barf affected style of “carriage homes”. Yeah really? Do they even know the genesis of the carriage house and yet they re replacing horses with….you got it, plastic houses. I never saw much coverage on Willistown’s mistake except in the Malvern Patch. Malvern Patch also has reported on the planned super-sizing of Malvern.
In cute Malvern, a developer named Eli Kahn has plans and apparently governmental blessings to super-size Malvern. Look at the renderings for this plan – does that even look like it belongs in Chester County? To me, it will just make Chester County experience some of the over-developed ugliness of North Jersey. This developer also has his sights set on West Chester according to Malvern Patch .
Chester County if it is not careful will become like the congested, over developed Main Line. It’s beauty is in what it is, not some plastic vision of people who just are going to make their investments pay for them and move on.
How do people in Chester County in whatever municipality want their county to look like? Do they envision lots of plastic houses and plastic (turf) fields to go with it? I think people overall want to preserve the integrity of the county, so maybe a lot of these residents from various small and large municipalities need to get together and work with one and other. One of the largest problems I see in Chester County is the hodge podge of zoning. Commercial and residential all higgeldly piggeldly. Why layer on more development when the obvious solution is to deal with what they have? Look at all the little crossroads towns that need a little love. They don’t need a strip mall or plastic houses down the road a piece, they need restoration.
Chester County is a gem and I am so loving exploring it. I would just hate if Chester County ended up looking as bad and over-developed as parts of Bucks and Montgomery Counties in particular.
I am but an auslander at this point hoping that Chester County learns again to preserve the land and a way of life before it’s overly “improved”. Appreciate and preserve the charm of crossroads communities and nature that draws people here in the first place. After all, there is nothing natural about plastic.