I have been writing about Wildflower Farm in Willistown for a while now. Why? The unending the nonsense they are put through by the NOFIMBY (No Farm In My Back Yard) folk.
I am not and never have been the Wildflower Farm spokesperson, but they are my friends and what they are going through is just awful. And unnecessary.
Recently I have been taking a lot of flak from those I presume to be the friends of the NOFIMBY neighbors. One person in particular kind of just takes one’s breath away. You would think she was the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey, but no she’s just from the Main-gy Line originally. She’s very big on assigning people their place. To her I am one of “those people”.
Not sure what “those people” entails. Fabulous, maybe? (LOL 🤣🤣) This person is significantly older, so I never encountered her (thankfully) before now. Her affect is rather amusing. Maybe I should genuflect and kiss the ring?
Anyway Ryan from Wildflower Farm decided to speak to Willistown neighbors via a local group. I have his permission to share with my readers. I am also sharing a couple of comments from the Democrat who ran for Supervisor in Willistown and failed. As a now former candidate for public office she made herself a public personage by doing this. Some say she will run again, hope not, but if she does I hope she gets a basic grasp on the issues and the basic way government works, other than her interpretation of what is somewhat supercilious / self serving.
Next in screenshots is what Ryan had to say to his extended neighbors. And in part this vindicates his friends and supporters as we are basically called nasty names etc for sticking up for them. Willistown has issues, and it’s too bad a lot of the Grande Dames are gone because they used to settle peoples’ arses down quite nicely.
So there you have it. Hopefully you find the information helpful.
Lily the flower truck was the happy spot to be over in Willistown Township today. And no, there was no neighborhood disruption, no people partying in the street, lines on the road, and parking on neighbors’ lawns. But people were stopping and. buying flowers before a holiday weekend. From Wildflower Farm. It was nice, and not frantic or unpleasant like those more shall we say NOFIMBY would have you think.
How do I know? Simple. They are my friends and I pitched in and helped make the arrangements a lot of you purchased today. And before someone thinks something nefarious, I volunteered to help. I had stopped by to drop off fresh vegetables from my weekly vegetable box that no one in my house will eat, and to take some flower photos. I have taken flower photos there before. I love flowers and gardening.
Wildflower Farm has a big hoop house. Right now with the sea of daffodils growing outside, there is this hoop house full of Ranunculus of many colors that were just so spectacular. It was flower heaven today. But with two little kids home on Good Friday and flowers to cut and arrange for people, I pitched in this afternoon.
This is an actual working farm. I had plenty of time to observe on a beautiful spring day. Their property is a little slice of heaven.
The neighbors would have you believe this property is something that it’s not. Sending out a double sided glossy mailer no better than some nasty political season piece is not inexpensive, but it’s a little obvious and in my opinion is not having their desired effect.
Several people who stopped by Lily’s honor flower “bar” remarked that the reason they showed up was the nasty misleading junk mail they received. They showed up to buy flowers and bear witness to the fact that (wait for it) Wildflower Farm REALLY IS A FLOWER FARM!
The noisiest thing on Castlebar Lane today were the landscaping trucks who literally took up more than half the width of a fairly wide street – they were down at the bottom of the street on the right before Providence Road. I also did notice a man driving a nice red pickup truck driving back and forth in front of Wildflower Farm who didn’t stop to buy flowers. Some woman went by on foot all dressed in black, and a neighbor on one side of the farm parked his vehicle at the top of his driveway for a bit. Guess he was getting his mail.
But other than that, nothing remarkable. It was a lovely day. As I assembled little flower arrangements I pondered why again this is such a threat to these NOFIMBY neighbors? Why can’t they see how nice this is?
I loved working with all of those fresh cut from the field and hoop house flowers. Many of the daffodils had a wonderful and sometimes heady fragrance.
I also saw first hand how hard the Heenans are working. Are they our traditional ideal of what farmers are supposed to be or perhaps even look like? But what are farmers supposed to look like anyway? Is there a farmer stereotype handbook somewhere?
Anyway, for those who doubt? It is a flower farm. For real. Also for real? Those neighbors are NOFIMBY.
Now, I am not accusing any particular neighbor over this website since I don’t know YET who created it, unless any of you do perhaps? Also, there is also a flyer that has been distributed. Physically mailed to residents like one of those tacky campaign glossies.
I know, I know, it is a little crazy. Especially since when you heard recently from these neighbors, it was to say “Oh gosh, oh golly, we don’t want to ruin their lives!” (paraphrasing, but here READ THIS).
(If you think an image is too small, click on it to bring it up on your screen larger)
Let’s talk vilified since those farm hating angels feel put out and/or misunderstood, OK? How about this little website recently developed?
Wildflower Farm is a farm. They grow flowers. Oh my gosh, such a threat to humanity, can you imagine????
The “review” they posted in Wix land was a FRIEND for whom they had a birthday party. NO MONEY changed hands. It was two years ago – and the friend thought she was helping by posting a review.
Next the Friendly Sons thing is a NON-PROFIT Ryan Heenan is part of and is a past president of. That was a private event that anyone could host on their property. The Friendly Sons is an Irish organization which is well-respected and has existed since the 18th century in Philadelphia, so do the neighbors have a prejudice against the Irish I wonder? Could this be a modern spin on “Irish Need Not Apply”???
And the winery license thing has to do with HONEY, as in bees make honey. If you want to make mead, you have to have a permit as far as I understand. Maybe I don’t have that completely right, but that is what that is about. It’s not about having keggers for profit.
The “brochure” was a mock up from years ago when they had not done anything and were exploring what to do with the farm. Some web person put together a mock up of a brochure that was never formally developed or distributed and apparently left it on her website as an example of work product. It wasn’t actually a real thing. Did they explore options? Sure, who doesn’t today with a farm if they want to survive? There are actually plenty of fabulous farms in Chester County you can rent space from, so it makes sense they would look into it, right?
The Mother’s Day event last year was their grand opening. Done with permission from Willistown Township.
And as far as the creek issues go, I have been on their property – NO WETLANDS. They did rebuild a stream and put it back that a prior property owner had done stuff to in order to create a winter skating rink thingy, and why didn’t the neighbors complain about that? And how did they get those photos without trespassing? Here I have photos, that I was invited to take (as in I did not have to trespass to get them) :
They do use the barn for things like family parties. But people are allowed to entertain. They even had Santa Claus for a few friends with little in November, 2020 because Santa experiences were scarce due to COVID-19. Yes, there was a photographer, so the kids had their Santa photos. NOT a public event, just doing something nice with a few friends after a horrible year so kids could have some normalcy at Christmas. How is that a horrible thing? The answer of course it’s not, but I would say the Scrooges of Castlebar Lane probably would say otherwise, yes?
It’s time to take a stand against NOFIMBY people in Chester County And to be clear, these people are not doing anything for the benefit of all in Willistown.
This is only about THEM.
And yes Ryan Heenan and family members are in real estate. Real estate investors. So what? So are lots of people.
Wildflower Farm is this family’s HOME. And they grow freaking flowers.
Would the NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane be more comfortable with say an actual developer carving up their ‘hood? Maybe they would like some townhouses or apartments where all are crammed in like lemmings?
And nothing being done on Wildflower Farm goes against state agricultural/farming laws (ACRE law). Local ordinances from what I have been told are supposed to conform to state laws?
I know Willistown people to be BETTER than this. BE better than this. Please contact Willistown Township and politely ask them to stop this madness. Their zoning needs to go along with state law. If it isn’t, they respectfully need to change that. They also need to consider the fact that one of their planning commission members is one of these unpleasant neighbors on Castlebar, and has shown up on stuff about this filed against township, hasn’t he?
And lest I forget to post photos of it, someone indeed paid for a campaign-like glossy mailer to go out about Wildflower Farm. Nothing like harassing your neighbors because you want the advantages of living with agricultural districts which give regular homeowners perks but not living near actual farms, right? And I have to ask again, do they have a publicist doing these flyers and placements? That would be nice to know so people can avoid giving them business in the future, right? And that mailer requires a permit so who got the permit?
And OMG BUS TOURS? 😛 😛 COME ONE. What do you think they are The Barnes Foundation or maybe Dorney Park or Dutch Wonderland? 😛 😛
Here is a mash-up of little video snippets from when they opened last year. Tell me you think these neighbors are normal in the way they treat the Heenans?
I mean dayummmm, it’s almost Good Friday and Easter is Sunday. Way to nail the Heenans to a proverbial cross or try to, right?
You literally can’t make this stuff up: The NOFIMBY Neighbors Who Want To Crucify Their Neighbors For Easter.
I love the smell of “placed” media, don’t you ? It’s marvelous spin describing a working farm as “an event venue”.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about a little piece that has appeared in places over the last day or so. It’s about Wildflower Farm. But this time, it’s from the neighbors perspective. And I am of the opinion, and allowed to have the opinion that it smells of professional placement. It’s not even honest, is it?
Yes it’s a clear case of spinny, spin, spin isn’t it?
I mean let’s get real these neighbors will do anything to get this farm and these people out of their neighborhood, won’t they? And you have someone who is portrayed as Mother Freaking Theresa in a sweet little media-esque blip when she has shown her true colors even at public township meetings?
And the Emmy goes to…the NOFIMBY (no farm in my back yard) neighbors of Castlebar Lane.
Oh bless their cold, dark hearts and clap, clap, clap. Cue the tiny violins of pity with a side of barf bag. Sorry not sorry that is how this makes me feel.
By Leah Mikulich Published: 5:30 am EDT April 6, 2022
Wildflower Farm in Willistown Township has been a point of contention for months, as neighbors believe they have been demonized on social media and ignored by township officials, writes Davis Giangiulio for Main Line Tonight.
However, when its opening event drew around 100 people, Gray and several other neighbors voiced their concern, and it ultimately led to a call to the police…
Gray is adamant about one thing.
“We are not trying to shut down the Heenans,” she said. “We just don’t want an event venue in our neighborhood.”
The neighbors have complained to the township about the farm. However, after the Heenans reached what neighbors allege was a “backroom deal” with the township without anybody else’s input, they decided to involve lawyers.
Let’s unpack this: It’s not an event venue, it’s a farm. And is it REALLY true that some affiliated with these people tried to inquire or perhaps set up the farm early on when they made a folksy, friendly inquiry to see if they could host a small gathering there? And was the answer not essentially that the Heenans did not know then it would be possible? They were not told yes, no deposits were taken, and no “event” was planned or held, was it? It was a fishing expedition, wasn’t it? Yes, yes person who asked, I know this happened and I know who you are and I found that very sad that you stooped so low to shall we say, curry favor with whom you perceive to be the popular kids of the McMansion set?
Let’s also discuss Our Heroine of Castlebar Lane. When we last left she was (metaphorically speaking) wringing her hands in a seemingly “placed” puff piece? Their side or just her side? Are we to interpret that the NOFIMBY neighbors aren’t really so bad, they just fear for their PUBLIC road in Willistown Township? That they really aren’t UNneighborly when they call the police on their neighbors? And is this the neighbor with that Brooklyn Bridge project of a Mt. Rushmore berm that always seems to be being worked on whenever I have popped over to visit my friends the Heenans? And that’s a funny thing, Our Heroine always seems to have lots of vehicles in and out? I mean, maybe I am imagining things, but does she have a home based business that generates traffic? Or is that just berm building?
And was it not Our Heroine who said
“It’s beyond comprehension why they would invite the public to come and spend time in the country.”
“Bringing the public into the neighborhood is completely unacceptable.”
And while we are at our revisionist history best, if these are neighbors NOT trying to ruin the lives of other neighbors do we remember them at a township meeting in Willistown December 2021? By all means, explain how they are lovely people not trying to ruin their neighbors’ lives?
My understanding is that a possible settlement has been reached between the township and the Heenans. Again, the neighbors who will be most affected by the traffic, noise, invasion of privacy, liability, and a reduction in the quality of life not to mention our property values have no idea of what has or will transpire through this agreement.
I understand the zoning and the Farmstand ordinance, let’s keep it to a farmstand and not a full fledged business which is what I believe the Heenans intend. You determine the quality of life in Willistown and I urge you to be guided by the long standing nature of what exists here, open space, conservation, protection of the land, privacy, and a quality of life that is the model for other townships.
Letter discovered via RTK written 12/2021
So the Vista piece came out of a larger more expansive “article” from “Main Line Tonight”. They have an interesting “board”. However, I will point out, we are Chester County, and not the Main Line. And Wildflower farm is in Willistown in the heart of Radnor Hunt. Historically speaking, farms were here before any of the rest of us today, yes?
Lonnie Gray wants to make one thing clear: “We are not trying to shut down the Heenans. We just don’t want an event venue in our neighborhood.”
That “event venue” is Wildflower Farm, a 4-acre property that opened in May 2021 on Castlebar Lane in Malvern. Ryan and Lori Heenan billed Wildflower as a flower farm that would host small workshops and classes. But Wildflower’s grand opening event on Mother’s Day of 2021 alarmed neighbors. “We were in shock,” Gray said. “Over 70 cars, 100 people, a pizza truck, and all kinds of stuff. We’re going, ‘Wow this is crazy.’”
It got crazier. According to the Heenans, neighbors interrupted that Mother’s Day event, causing so much commotion that police were called.
From Gray’s point of view, the commotion was caused by the Heenans’ event. She and a few of her neighbors hired attorney Marc D. Jonas at Eastburn and Gray PC to protect their rights as homeowners. “No one is going to want to live next door to that,” she said. “It’s living in a residential area and then having it become something very different.”….. Throughout Willistown Twp., and especially on Castlebar Lane, privacy is a luxury. That’s one of the things that attracted Gray, who purchased her four-bedroom, three-bathroom, 5,000 square foot home in 2013.
I just feel that this piece I excerpted is placed. And oh, not all of the hyperlinks in this piece work. Here are some things released under a Right to Know. Now that the public face of the neighbors of the poor, poor neighbors who feel demonized has been polished and scrubbed like shiny new pennies, how about reading what has flown around Willistown over this issue:
The above is just a sampling. Do you want me to REALLY believe they don’t want to destroy the Heenans and Wildflower Farm? And they talk about “back room deals” ? Where? Are they confusing public township meetings as “back room” deals? Yet they can send somewhat unctuous emails to Willistown Supervisors essentially saying “hop to”?
I just do not GET IT, do you? I mean, and correct me if I am wrong, but do these neighbors NOT benefit from living in McMansions in an agricultural district? And Willistown is one of those places where farms still exist, so if they had their way would farms cease to exist? What’s their next target? Farms like Sugartown Straberries? Heartwood Farm? Ohana Farm? Windy Hill farm? Canter Hill Farm? Willisbrook Farm? That farm with the “oreo” cows AKA Belted Galloways?
Now a lot of what is going on here is of interest to those who follow the ACRE law, correct?
We’ve been talking about Wildflower Farm and the NOFIMBY neighbors for a long time now. How can people be so determined to all but literally kill their neighbors? Why is a flower farm so bad? I still think this is one of the ugliest examples of misplaced sense of entitlement I have ever seen.
At the end of the day, this just makes me sad. These NOFIMBY neighbors can say they are lovely, caring people but the thing is this: actions speak louder than words. If they want to be seen as good, they can’t just write lovely checks to non-profits can they? They actually have to be good. I can’t help but wonder what they are in fact costing the taxpayers of Willistown with all of this swirling nastiness?
Sadly the NOFIMBY drama seems to go on and on and on. As I said the first time I waded into this topic, I think these people are wrong. Their lives aren’t adversely affected by flowers and a flower farm. They are responsible for this swirling ugliness, not the Heenans.
I am a lover of farms. Small farms matter. All farms matter.
I am also a gardener. Plant more flowers. Stop and smell the flowers NOFIMBY neighbors. Stop this madness, except you won’t will you? So sad.
I make no secret about how I feel about the nasty NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane in Willistown.
NOFIMBY = No Farm(s) In My Back Yard.
These people treat their neighbors horribly. They have waged a campaign of terror against the Heenans. The Heenans crime? They came to Willistown with a dream: to create a beautiful small farm and grow flowers.
I have written about this several times now. Truthfully, I am somewhat astounded at how hate for their neighbors drives these NOFIMBY neighbors. How their hate for farms in a township that grew on farms seemingly drives them. I mean what is the public supposed to interpret from their actions? Apparently they would prefer a townhouse development or some other form of plastic mushroom development instead of a FLOWER farm?
Of course I am also astounded that I still don’t see Willistown Conservation Trust coming to the defense of Wildflower Farm, aren’t you? But given how many great swaths of land are in play in Willistown in general these days, I wonder what they are doing? How can they stand idly by and not truly take a stand for small farms at least?
But I digress.
Wildflower Farm needs our help. Please write to Willistown’s Township Manager Sally Slook at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please tell Willistown to amend the zoning so farms and agricultural uses of land are protected. It also can’t hurt to tell the township that you specifically support Wildflower Farm and the Heenan family specifically.
I will also point out that Willistown Township has been very supportive of Wildflower Farm. This crap is NOFIMBY neighbor driven IMHO.
So in 2014 there was this little video done by one Robert Van Alen, a Realtor. Related to Bonnie Van Alen of Willistown Conservation Trust fame we are to presume? Now I am sure as soon as it is seen to exist still on the internet it will disappear, but until then:
So imagine the joy when a nice young family saw that their dreams to own a farm that sells FLOWERS was possible, right?
But then they moved to Castlebar Lane, which has the neighbors from hell, and yes I can indeed have that opinion. Why are these neighbors so hell bent for leather to make the dream of an organic flower farm an nightmare?
And why are these neighbors NOFIMBY ?
NOFIMBY is a new acronym developed just for this ridiculous issue in Willistown It means No Farm In My Back Yard.
So yes you ask, why are we still discussing this? Because…
Oh yes, the NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane and adjacent streets (because no all in that suit actually LIVE on Castlebar Lane) have now filed suit against their township.
Please note a very neat trick for one neighbor in particular who sits as an appointed official on the Willistown Planning Commission, right? I mean this guy as an appointed official is supposed to uphold the laws of the township like all other appointed and elected officials, right? So how is suing the township whose laws you are supposed to uphold a thing he should be doing? Shouldn’t he step down or be removed?
But I digress.
Because the other wonder is a person who doesn’t live on Castlebar, but has real estate lots there but has other property in Willistown, yet claims to have primary residence in Wyoming? Why would they care? And given their support of Willistown Conservation Trust (see this nifty article on Willistown Conservation Trust website and note photo lower right.) one would think they would find an ORGANIC FLOWER FARM ( Wildflower Farm) TO THEIR LIKING, right?
Seriously, what strange hell is this? So is this really an appeal of Zoning Hearing Board decision, the settlement agreement between Willistown and Wildflower Farm, some kind of private enforcement action against Wildflower Farm, and some DEP thing that the DEP already settled?
Oh and the settlement agreement is executed and public so here:
So now what is the pretzel logic of these neighbors? Why do they hate farms so much? Why did they even move to Willistown Township if they have such issues with farms and open space on farms?
I think this is very sad. Do state laws surrounding farms not matter? Do Willistown’s laws not matter? Do farms and open space not matter? Why is ok for Radnor Hunt, their horses, pack, and follow cars OK to be on Castlebar (a public road FYI), but not a flower farm? Especially when people visiting flower farm park on flower farm? When you think of Willistown don’t you think of horses, Radnor Hunt, open space and FARMS?