let’s talk mt. pleasant in tredyffrin.

Mt. Pleasant is in Tredyffrin’s panhandle, adjacent to Radnor Township. Yes, it is part of Chester County.

I have written about Mt. Pleasant off and on for years. Even when I lived on the Main Line.

Historic Mount Pleasant.

Mt. Pleasant is truly a historically important part of Tredyffrin. And so undervalued it’s horrible.

Because Tredyffrin did not deal with student rentals for so long, this is also where student housing slumlords have set up quite the slumlord student rental shop going back years and years. Suffice it to say, the college students who rent there have historically treated an entire historic area like animal house.

I would like Tredyffrin to take a look at the historic value of Mount Pleasant. They never really have.

The Carr House on the corner of Upper Gulph and Radnor Street Road was built c. 1774. The Carr School was built in 1833. Another house close by according to the deed was built around 1789. 961 Mt. Pleasant Avenue was built around 1810. 941 Mt. Pleasant was built around 1860.

Mazie B Hall house 2010
– Photo courtesy http://www.ttdems.com

And what about the significance of Mount Pleasant over the past 100 years plus as a historic black neighborhood? Let alone a community which survives to this day? Generational residents? I think that’s pretty freaking cool.

You notice a house in a photo above. I don’t even know if it’s still standing, because it was targeted for demolition years ago. It was the home of revered community leader and civil rights activist, Mazie B. Hall.

Now this where I have always been puzzled about Tredyffrin. They have bragging rights to Mazie Hall since she lived in Mt. Pleasant. I think they even named a park after her. So why not honor her 103 years on this earth by trying to preserve the community she fought for and called home? Every time I hear anything about Mt. Pleasant I feel like they are trying to erase what it is, or just deny it’s existence.

Who was Mazie Hall? Read this:

Civil-rights activist and educator Mazie Hall dies at 103
Ryan Richards
PUBLISHED: January 4, 2006 at 10:00 p.m. | UPDATED: September 23, 2021 at 10:47 a.m.

Mazie B. Hall – educator, mentor, civil-rights activist, community leader and friend to many – passed away Sunday evening at age 103.

She was affectionately known simply as “Miss Mazie,” and until only recently she called the Mt. Pleasant section of Tredyffrin her home since her birth in 1902. According to those who knew her, Miss Hall left a legacy of caring and compassion….she was humble, not “stuffy,” and modestly talked about her life. She fondly recalled her luncheon visits to her Mt. Pleasant home, where Miss Hall was a genteel host. She baked a special dessert, Sally Lunn cake, a slightly sweetened teacake, reminisced Rector, serving it with the proper silverware and glasses. The gracious host also took her guest on a tour of the grounds.

“She showed me trees that her father had planted,” she remembered.

Miss Hall graduated from the former Tredyffrin-Easttown High School and then graduated from West Chester Normal School (West Chester University). Until her death, she was the university’s oldest graduate. The school maintains a scholarship fund in her honor…..Her career as an educator also included serving one year as principal at the former Mt. Pleasant School in Tredyffrin in the 1930s. When schools in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District became segregated, she was involved in the movement for desegregation.

She teamed up with long-time friend Margaret Collins to crusade for fair-housing practices on the Main Line during the 1950s. Their efforts influenced the formation of the Pennsylvania Fair Housing Act, the basis for federal fair-housing laws.

Now I knew Miss Collins as I called her. I used to wait on her when I worked at Bryn Mawr Feed & Seed a million years ago. She loved to garden.  She would show up in her crazy beat up old station wagon and I was the one who would wait on her.  I worked there at that nursery after I stopped working in New York. I was totally disenchanted at that time by the financial services industry and decided to explore my passion for gardening professionally. (Suffice it to say working for the widow who inherited and eventually shuttered the business almost killed my joy of gardening for a while, but that is a story for another day.)

Miss Collins, by the time I met her was a very old lady like her friend Mazie Hall.  But what a career they had.   Read about some of what they did on the website Housing Equality Center of PA.  Also the papers of Mazie Hall are curated and archived by Temple University, while her friend Margaret Collins’ papers are at Swarthmore College.

So sorry for going off on a tangent, but when I think of Mazie Hall and all that she accomplished, I think of Miss Collins. And when I think of Mt. Pleasant, I think of Mazie Hall. And that’s part of the historical context of Mt. Pleasant. The history matters.

Back to Mt. Pleasant. It still suffers from off campus student housing woes and 2022 is no exception. Now depending on the year there are some houses that aren’t so bad, and then there are other years where all the off-campus houses in Mt. Pleasant are bad. This year I’m going to start with one house in particular.

This house is a real party palace. and if they were smart college students and just didn’t throw ragers seemingly every Friday afternoon, maybe they wouldn’t bother their neighbors so much? The house is the student rental at 985 Mt. Pleasant.

I am told the Tredyffrin Police were there around 5 PM. And then I think a bit after that. And apparently again at some point after 8 PM. I am told the first two visits were just one officer, but the third visit around eight was at least two officers.

The kids put up blue tarps so neighbors can’t see in the back, but you can hear them just fine. Super loud.

And the thing is this, there are some college students who coexist in residential neighborhoods with absolutely not a problem. They do their thing, their neighbors do their own thing and it’s fine. But then you have the ones who do the animal house. And the sad thing is Mt. Pleasant is one of those areas that is victimized by the student houses every year.

Like I said before, some years are better than others. This year I’m only hearing about this house so far . I actually heard that there were a couple of other rentals that the landlords stopped renting to students and started renting to regular people, and residents in Mt. Pleasant think it is so nice to see flowers outside instead of old beer cans.

It’s time for Tredyffrin Township to show Mt. Pleasant some respect. They also need to actually pay attention to off-campus student housing, not just pay it lipservice.

And the kids that live off campus? Do we really think the majority of them would behave this way where they grew up? I mean there’s no knowing for sure, we know they want freedom and they want to have fun, but they just need to remember they’re living and co-existing with people who have real jobs, have families, and are entitled to a reasonable expectation of quiet enjoyment where they live.

And to off campus student housing landlords? Just because you don’t live there, it should still be a little bit more than an income investment. You have also invested in another community. Try to give a damn once in a while, eh?

west chester borough this looks like dr. suess construction doesn’t it?

Of all the photos I took yesterday this is the one getting the most attention. I knew it was S. Walnut St. but I could not remember where until one of my readers wrote in that it was Walnut and Lacey.

This looks like Dr. Suess built it, doesn’t it?

So West Chester Borough: tag you are it. People seem super concerned about this construction project at S. Walnut and Lacey and are you all concerned as the borough?

I mean this SHOULD have gone to planning or something right?

Is this something that has gone through planning? And possibly zoning? Because doesn’t it look like an extra room is being added on?

I am not an engineer, I don’t pretend play an engineer or architect, but if you look at the building, is everything the way it should be?

Is this student housing? Because if it is don’t you want those kids to be safe?

Tag you are it, West Chester Borough.

pa state rep sue helm wants to take away your rights.

 
Meet State Rep. Sue Helm. The architect of the disaster bill known as PA HB 809. Quite simply stated, this bill would render any local municipal government useless in the ability to control off-campus student housing. 

Basically, if you live near animal house, your local municipality would not be able to do one thing about it and well you could get tons of these group rentals where you live and have no say. It is kind of ironic that a Pennsylvania a Republican State Representative seems to think private property rights are so subjective, but hey this is the very nature of politics, right?

Local officials are asking their constituents to contact Representative Helm regarding HB 809. So I did. I did a post to page on her Facebook page. Maybe I should have e-mailed her at shelm@pahousegop.com or tweeted at her @RepHelm because mysteriously like everyone else I know who contacted her through Facebook, the post disappeared. There are no “posts to page” permitted I guess?

Now I was polite, after all she has broadcast all over she is fighting breast cancer. I really wish to be respectful of that as I am a breast cancer survivor. But when I and others take the time to comment on HER legislation PA HB 809 and every comment seems to disappear, what’s to respect ?

I was polite. I asked her if she had ever lived with problem student rentals where she lived? Asked her if she had ever woken up to 20 cars on a neighboring lawn and beer cans and bottles everywhere?  (I did) 

Had she ever been unable to park on her street because the off campus student rentals always took all the parking?  

Or ever had watched as a friend of mine once did as a college student late at night urinated on her porch and her young child’s toys just because they felt like it.

 I asked her if she had ever been unable to sell great houses for a long time like friends of mine experienced in a Chester County community because their township turned a blind eye and they lived next to animal house. I know people who had similar issues in Radnor and Lower Merion and Haverford Townships and those are townships which regulate student housing.

I neglected to mention had she ever lived next to a slumlord owners student rental that burned to the ground. I did once upon a time. We watched college students who were seniors lose everything a couple of days before Thanksgiving. And because of wind conditions we were scared for hours the fire would jump to our roofs.

If you live in PA please take the time and post a polite message on this lady’s page or email, phone or tweet at her regarding PA HB 809 which will render local municipalities helpless when dealing with off campus student housing. This  bill would hog tie local municipalities and they would be unable to act and help residents and basically it would so bypass any and all local zoning we could get these houses anywhere and everywhere. It would take away our rights.

 Imagine West Chester, Tredyffrin, Lower Merion, Haverford Township, Radnor or wherever you lived with off campus student houses that didn’t have to follow any basic community rules and regulations because the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania took our  rights away?  We already experience this right now if we have any special needs (broad term means more than one thing) group houses in neighborhoods. And much like group student rentals sometimes these houses are ok, but just as often they are not.  

  
Our homes are our castles. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania doesn’t protect us from wanton development even on old superfund sites, and now they want us to just say yes please may we have some more on group student rentals ?

Please Contact Rep Sue Helm and tell her to stop the nonsense known as HB 809. But make sure you contact your own State Rep to and tell them whatever you tell her.

Community Matters: PA House Bill 809 Would End Tredyffrin’s Right to Regulate Student Housing

PA House Bill 809 sponsored by State Rep Susan Helm of Dauphin and Lebanon Counties will change college rental restrictions if passed.

Helm’s proposed legislation claims that it is discriminatory for municipalities to single out students with rental regulations and would short-circuit any municipal ordinance that prohibits the occupation of a dwelling unity by students or unrelated individuals living together.
The proposed legislation would allow a municipality to enact and enforce ordinances that regulate things like noise levels, parking, and health and safety concerns. House Bill 809 addresses municipal rental restrictions that single out students, suggesting that this is discriminatory, based on an assumption that they will be problem neighbors.
PA House Bill 809 would override any current municipal housing ordinances that restrict the use of single-family homes, as college student rentals. The proposed legislation states that a municipality would not be able to prohibit the occupation of a dwelling based on an individual’s matriculation status (that is, if they are enrolled in college) or on the number of unrelated individuals sharing the property.
In the Mt. Pleasant community of Tredyffrin Township, the conversion of traditionally family-occupied homes to student rental properties has led to ongoing problems among the neighbors. Beyond the late-night noise, increased traffic, liter, illegal parking, the permanent residents of Mt. Pleasant are frustrated with the increasing number of student rentals and what they view as the adverse effects caused by the influx of students.
Because of the ongoing citizen complaints in Mt. Pleasant, Tredyffrin Township passed two ordinances in 2010, which placed zoning restrictions on the student rentals as a way to protect the rights of the permanent residents in the township.

Towns fight for limits on rowdy student neighbors
Philadelphia Inquirer
Laura McCrystal, Inquirer Staff Writer
Last updated: Monday, July 27, 2015, 1:08 AM

Disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, underage drinking, public urination, Animal House behavior.
Those are perennial complaints in neighborhoods where college students live, local officials say. And with the start of the fall semester just a few weeks away, that’s why they aggressively oppose a bill that would remove their restraints on student housing.
Sponsored by Rep. Sue Helm (R., Dauphin) and backed by landlords, it would prohibit rental discrimination against students and end limits on the numbers of unrelated people allowed to live in a house or apartment. 
….In all, more than 50,000 students attend colleges and universities in Philadelphia’s neighboring Pennsylvania counties, and campus housing hardly can accommodate all of them.
Disruptive behavior is inevitable when “you combine youthful exuberance with alcohol,” said Carolyn Comitta, the mayor of West Chester, which hosts West Chester University’s 15,000 students