yes this is a rant.

Development should be a four letter word. Nothing has architectural style and human scale is non-existent.

Nothing being proposed on the Main Line or into Chester County and further out even complements the surrounding areas developers want to build in.

Everything is about maximizing density for developer profit.

The problem with that is there are a lot of moving parts and why is it residents can see the holes in the planning process and the zoning process and the development process and the political part of the process yet no one else seems to be willing to?

Everyone always thinks I am 100% against development. I’m actually not, but I cannot stand what is being shoved into our communities today.

The municipalities get all hot and bothered over the short term high of ratables but are incredibly short sighted as to the future. They don’t even look to protect the basics like stress on infrastructure, stress on first responders, stress on school districts which are all getting SO big.

It’s always QUANTITY instead of QUALITY.

And don’t forget the conditions of approval that they could ask for and sometimes they don’t even try. If these developers want to be in our communities then they can build the roads that will support their development. They can help pay for the schools that their future residents will put children into. They can finish the parks the townships don’t ever seem to have the money to either start or complete yet they have the land. And occasionally, these municipalities could learn to say “no give us a better plan.”

And in some municipalities you have to wonder for whom the township staff actually works? For whose benefit do the politicians work?

Years ago several members of the Pennsylvania legislature put forth an idea for a law. That law was simple it would’ve provided a short term moratorium on development. Just enough for Pennsylvania municipalities to hit the pause button to try to get better plans – like 90 or 120 days or something. The lobbyists for parties who objected to this being put forward killed this thing at least twice.

Also the Municipalities Planning Code of Pennsylvania? When was the last time that was comprehensively updated? Wasn’t it either the late 1960s or 1970s?

And here in Chester County why is it everyone thinks the Chester County Planning Commission’s Landscapes is so fabulous? All I see is a blueprint for over-development. We live in Chester County and we don’t live here so we can feel like we live in Bensalem or King of Prussia correct?

And while on the topic of our Chester County Planning Commission why is it our county level planning is being driven by an executive director who does not live in our county? To me that is just nuts and the worst kind of politics. That in my humble opinion is a person not truly invested in our communities and how can he be, he doesn’t live here does he?

We need change or we are going to continue to lose what makes where we live special. I don’t know about you but every time I look at a plan it is homogenous, boring, uninteresting and not community minded in the least for where ever it is proposed. It’s mall architecture. Bleck.

Once open space is gone it doesn’t come back. From Lower Merion in Montgomery County through to Caln in Chester County and everywhere in between, something has got to give.

And the history and historic preservation also doesn’t seem to matter. And it should.

I have never believed in “build it and they will come” as a reason to develop. And I’m not saying there aren’t areas that are in need of sprucing up. There are. Only the planning and vision that is realistic doesn’t seem to exist does it?

And the zoning? Why is everything high density? And all these special zoning overlay districts? Who benefits besides developers?

But everything is the same: ugly apartment buildings, cheap townhouse communities, fake carriage house communities. Density, density, and more density.

And in a lot of areas people are asking about low income and affordable housing. And we’re not talking section 8 here we’re talking about where do the single mothers go if they want to live in a safe community and raise their children? Where do our seniors go who can’t afford ritzy retirement communities? Where do regular people go who can’t afford McMansions?

And is there the economy to support this development? I was talking to somebody last week who remarked about not being able to work close to home. So are the jobs really here locally that will support the development? In my opinion, no.

Yes this is a RANT. And developers aren’t going to like this post, but none of you were being singled out. I am disgusted with all of it.

We deserve better. We need to demand better.

Development is an epidemic and we need a solution.

another development east whiteland?

valley view farm

I actually have photos of 99 Church Road but don’t have time to dig through them (but I will later).  This property (photo above off Google or Bing) is up for discussion tonight in East Whiteland:

Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan – 99 Church Road – APG – Proposed construction of 43 new single family residential units and the restoration of one existing historic home on the east and west side of Church Road. The property is zoned R-1 Residential and is approximately 41.5 acres and a motion to adopt Resolution No. 23-2016 granting approval of the Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan.

 

EW 1 EW 2

 

Come on, East Whiteland.  I know you can’t stop every development, but 43 new “residential units”  on 41.5 acres? Lord above people, can’t you find any developers who will develop large lots to conserve some open space?

Oh and the house on it is apparently a “Class 1, historic property which dates to pre-Revolutionary time” (See 5/14/2015 East Whiteland Supervisors’ Minutes)

From the May 14, 2014 East Whiteland Supervisors Meeting

So it is being marketed with information on the local schools , so the potential is to add 43 new households with kids here, right? Add that to all the OTHER development in various stages of planning in East Whiteland and elsewhere in the Great Valley School district and is someone going to say with a straight face that these developmnents will NOT impact the schools, will NOT impact our infrastructure, and will NOT affect things like police and first responder coverage?

Here is the listing info I found on the internet:

99 church last viewagent

development opportunity

Marketed as a “development opportunity” by these folks as per broker cloud:

agent info

These folks captioned above are locals? And apparently a couple of these folks above are part of the family that owns the National Bank of Malvern? That is what an article in The Hunt Magazine said circa 2009. Heavy sigh. These folks are legendary in equestrian circles, so one would think they would be able to market this property to other than a developer who wants to build quite so many homes on this parcel?

church roadSome will say it’s “only” 41.5 acres.  Well if you can do basic math, all the acres add up.  Who knew when I wrote my development post earlier, I would be following it up with yet another East Whiteland Development project.

It’s too late to fight city hall on this one unless there are bog turtles or Revolutionary War Soldiers buried there, or something similar, but Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ East Whiteland hit the pause button somewhere, anywhere.

And speaking of the Revolutionary War, how does anyone know this potential development site is clean of artifacts given it’s proximity to other places?

another view church road

from the February 11, 2015 East Whiteland Supervisors Meeting

Every time you turn around somewhere in Chester County is yet another GD development being proposed. And once again you have one where the “promise” to restore the historic asset. Umm East Whiteland, we are still waiting for the developer who “promised” to restore Linden Hall to make good on said promise.  And we all know that if push comes to shove they can’t make these developers do anything, correct? So telling them they have to do something basically doesn’t mean squat, does it?

So we are seeing the slow death of more open space. Fabulous.

2 -11 -15 EW supervisors 99 church road

church road 2

Here is the report from Chester County in the fall of 2015 regarding this plan.  FYI only because this plan is essentially another done deal.

Again I state that we should really pressure all state level elected officials to do a comprehensive update of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code

After all, the MPC is the bible that guides planning and zoning across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Maybe if it was updated to protect and enhance our communities with more control over development and help for historic preservation and land conservation we would all stand a fighting chance?

Just a thought.

Thanks for stopping by.  Sign me development depressed.

chesco 1

chesco 2

chesco 3

chesco 4

chesco 5

Oh and before I close off this post, here is this little something concerning Linden Hall:

Linden Hall 1 linden hall 2