Development in West Whiteland – Route 30 to Ship Road and down both sides of Ship Road. Bad, dense, not even particularly affordable- just another bunch of Tyvec wrapped cram plans.
The development from various predatory developers in this area heads east until it practically hits East Whiteland. Then you proceed to Easttown and Tredyffrin all the way down to Radnor Township.
Too much, too dense, cheap, fast build and rather pricey. Nothing affordable. This is stressing our infrastructure including the human variety, and squeezing our school districts to a breaking point.
Wherever you live get active in your community. Make elections have a focus on all this overdevelopment from local to state to federal elections. Start talking about the Municipalities Planning Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It hasn’t been updated comprehensively since 1969…and one of the things that first got built THEN was Chesterbrook.
I put together a small reel. Pictures speak louder than words. Be horrified because progress shouldn’t hurt our communities and that’s what is happening.
Ahh development. This is Greystone in West Goshen. One word: HIDEOUS.
Living cheek to jowl. No real gardens. No individuality.
This was once a glorious estate. Of course, while it was a glorious estate in recent memory, there was a failed eminent domain attempt. So then after a few years the owners sold to developers. Was one action a direct result of a prior action? We’ll probably never know.
One of the things I love about this development is if you look at the last little bit at the edge of the road it looks like bad military base housing.
It is just too much development. It stresses the infrastructure in West Goshen.
Of course, in West Goshen there is a lot we will never know because everything is a state secret isn’t it? And there is still the questions about the recently deceased West Goshen employee by suicide, but has anyone else notice how no one is talking about that or what the cause was?
Sorry about that little segue, but it was kind of necessary wasn’t it?
OK back to bad development. Another amusement yesterday occurred as I was being horrified by the side of it is the giant Catalyst billboard on Lancaster Avenue in East Whiteland. It shows a giant photograph of lavender or maybe a salvia. Which is perfect for all of these people in these hideous developments, who can’t plant a flower pot full of flowers in their Welcome to Stepford plastic development. All they have to do now is gaze upon the giant electronic TV along Lancaster Avenue.
And this is what we’re becoming: just one bad development after the other. And if it’s not bad residential development now, we have to fear mega warehouses.
So class, where are the origins of these development woes and ills? The very greatly outdated Municipalities Planning Code. I mean it hasn’t been comprehensively updated since 1969, so don’t rush Harrisburg.
If you really want another shock, drive Ship Road in West Whiteland from King Road through to Lancaster Avenue. Try not to run off the road when you see the land laid bare and stripped for apartments and townhouses and other bullshit before you hit the corner.
This is Chester County. Is this what we really want?
I’m going to show you some photos next. They will remind you of all the ugly apartments being built here in Chester County, including next to Will and Bill‘s along 202, or dwarfing the Berwyn Tavern on Lancaster Avenue, or along 29 in East Whiteland. These photos were taken as a passenger driving along 95 towards the Betsy Ross Bridge. Essentially, it’s all the same ugly crap everywhere you go. Cheap to build, charge a fortune. Municipalities and residents left holding the bag.
We need to collectively as a county full of people demand better from our elected officials. And every state election, we need to make overdevelopment everywhere an issue, and we need to demand, not ask, but demand state reps and state senators remember for whom they actually are supposed to work for. And it’s not the largest donor or unions or construction lobbyists, it’s all of us.
Politicians should no longer be allowed to say how they love our area and it’s so beautiful. Or say look at all of the open space because all of the open space is disappearing. The ratio of what we’re saving as open space and farmland compared to development is a very unequal balance.
Pick a municipality. No one is immune from this.
Yes, I hate all of this development. Yes I say it out loud, and for those who think I hate all development, that’s actually not true, but we don’t see any thoughtful development anymore.
People wherever they live, need to take a stand. We need to stop the madness.
I can’t tell you how many people told me I didn’t know what I was talking about when I wrote the post recently about the old Wayne Bed and Breakfast Inn.
Well, one of my readers contacted me this afternoon and told me that she was being destroyed beginning today. A little while ago I was sent a picture which is the first one on this post.
Demolition has begun. Truly a goddamn waste.
This beauty is going with barely a whimper from Radnor Township. A property of historic import, which also had been lovingly and meticulously restored. In the place of this great house will be some soullessMcMansions, probably front and loaded to boot.
Also, now gone are so many of trees, and the beautiful gardens. And those gardens had some very old plantings. I think it was an ash tree that was very very old on this property and they didn’t even take cuttings from it. It survived when many of its species did not. Radnor Township pays lip service to being good environmental stewards and tree tenders too, in my humble opinion.
This is a waste. It is purely a waste. And I hope the ghosts of that bed-and-breakfast haunt that new development and future residents. This place could have had an adaptive reuse that could have been worked into this brand new development.
This is why I urged Radnor Township residents to start going back to meetings. And something you should start with sooner rather than later is Fenimore Woods. If you think Fenimore Woods should be left as woods, you know the way it was originally intended, don’t depend on an old politician to be your sole voice who has been commissioner so many times throughout the years that he can’t not act like a commissioner even when he’s not in office.
Get involved in your township before it’s too late. And get yourselves a new manager too. Maybe it’s time for all of you to start adding up all the crazy stuff that has happened under his watch. Are you really better off with him? Or don’t you deserve better? And yes, you can question who governs you and you should. You also deserve a manager who is accessible to residents and you don’t have that.
If any of you take photos of the demolition in process, or have old photos of this place, feel free to send them I will post them.
RIP Wayne Bed and Breakfast Inn at 211 Strafford Avenue in Wayne, PA.
I just posted about the Oaklands Estate Tenant Farm House after driving by a couple of days ago. I said in that post, I feared it would just be torn down. I didn’t know. Now I know that it’s actually true I am going to say that out loud.
A bit after I posted my post, some of the family that used to live in that beautiful farmhouse posted some photos. Of a pool refurbished in 2021 and things like that. The house had huge beautiful gardens and a wonderful library in the house. It was a home, a much loved home.
Some McIlvaine family members were living on site until they had to leave after the sale. They have been kind enough to give me these photos to show all of you.
I get that a car dealership probably doesn’t care about an old farmhouse but we in Chester County should care about our old farmhouses, and I want the memories to survive through photos. The descriptions on the photos have been provided by a family member and I would like to thank Shane McIlvaine in for sharing his precious memories. And these are precious memories for these people.
But when estates have to be settled and there are a bunch of relatives involved, properties sometimes have to be sold. And given the absolute insanity of the real estate market and how developers on a quest to play PAC MAN and gobble up land all over, it makes it hard for individuals to compete to try to save these properties, let alone family members who want to hang on to familial homesteads and be able to afford to buy out other family members.
So when someone else asked Shane McIlvaine about the situation, we all learned some interesting information and the reality of the damage overdevelopment does over time:
“I moved out last year when we sold it to Exton Nissan. The chimney never caught on fire…it was an electrical fire from a poor stucco job exposing a wire…Even though I had just recently refinished the pool, the property was slowly sinking into the wetlands because of surrounding development. It needed hundreds of thousands in repairs. Decided it was time to go when yellow jackets were discovered within the entire back wall of the home. In the 70’s it never flooded and it had a useable pasture for farm animals.…Brand new pool put in 2021. It does make me a bit sad since it had been in the family since the 1700’s. My grandmother lived in the guest house and was the owner. When she recently passed her estate was divided, and I couldn’t afford to buy everyone out of their share of the acreage.”
The house and/or the spring house is sinking slowly into wetlands because of surrounding development. That old phrase you hear about water seeking it’s own level strikes me as apropos in a sad way. This is a real cost of over-development, which sadly is somethings the West Whiteland corridor has plenty of. Water no longer has anywhere to go because of all of the development. And with climate change and increasingly obnoxious weather patterns, where we never had flooding, we have flooding.
And if there was more open space, water would have a place to go. They can engineer stormwater basins and whatnot all they want, but it doesn’t really replace old fashioned open space with room for water to go.
Back to death of a farmhouse….
So Shane McIlvaine is the nephew of former State Representative Barbara McIlvaine Smith who was also Vice President of West Chester Borough Council once upon a time. Shane’s father was her older brother. His dad passed away in 2012, so his aunt became the Executrix.
Other information: Shane McIlvaine has the original deed, William Penn land grant paperwork, and some pictures of the farm workers from long ago.
Let that sink in: this is yet another property that was a William Penn land grant being destroyed for development. (Yes, that is my opinion that too much land, too many farmhouses, farms, open space, etc are being destroyed.) Lloyd Farm in Caln is also crumbling by the minute, was a William Penn land grant. Our history of Chester County, of Pennsylvania, of this very country is lbeing destroyed and for what?
If you look at other countries like the one we spring from originally, England, they value their heritage. In this country, it’s super sad but we do not. Not all of us, but too many decision makers for sure in Harrisburg, for example.
So maybe, just maybe if state representatives and state senators could get off their collective political asses in Harrisburg and do their jobs, which includes updating the Municipalities Planning Code comprehensively to protect the constituency they are supposed to serve as opposed to special interests, that would be awesome. And it’s not all of the state representatives and state senators, but there are so many that are in with all sorts of obvious that they forget whom they’re there to serve.
So hypothetically, speaking, maybe if the Municipalities Planning Code had been updated, there might not be so much development in West Whiteland, and this farmhouse and William Penn Land grant remainder would be worth maybe saving?
We all need to do better. We can’t keep standing idly by as our very history disappears.
Here in Chester County we keep losing what makes this county special. Farms, land, open space, history. We loose it with every devil of a development project we don’t really need – you know like that warehouse development project being discussed at present in Uwchlan Township? Or any of the apartment and townhouse developments we don’t actually need more of in a county once known for farms and open space. It’s all bullshit being shoved at residents as the latest and greatest until it’s not. And it’s not.
I don’t think any bells can be unrung here with this historic farmhouse that’s part of a historic William Penn land grant. That actually upsets me. To follow in screenshots is all the West Whiteland stuff talking about the demolition execution timeline.
One last comment from Shane McIlvaine about all of this development. It makes me sad. He literally has been someone in a farming family who has grown up watching farms disappear. Imagine what he has seen. Chester County has lost so much. When will it stop?
“ It is sad. In the early 90’s when my Grandad and his brothers sold the 300 or so acres between Whitford and Rt100 (becoming Waterloo Blvd and a bunch of condos), I knew it was all downhill for Exton as peaceful farmland. A few yrs later Waterloo gardens sold to a developer when the matriarch of the Le’Bouttlier family passed and that property had to be split between siblings. So will go every other last chunk of Chester County land. Honey Brook is the next target for developers. Our other family farm called Springton Manor towards that direction was sold as well but partially preserved luckily.”
Once upon a time there was a neglected farmhouse on Dorlan Mill Road. Above is a photo I took in 2020. I wrote about it then too.
Today was the last day standing in Chester County for this once beautiful farmhouse. Another historic structure bites the dust and this farmhouse had a slow decline and was it initially demolition by neglect?
You have to wonder why so many of these beautiful old houses have to go bye bye around here? What ugliness will replace this?
I remember years ago when East Goshen was having their yard sale day going to a yard sale here. Or I am pretty sure this was the house. I bought a brass oil lamp that I had electrified. I remember thinking what a spectacular property this was. This has to be the place. I have a pretty good memory for places like this.
So this will be another farm bites the dust, won’t it? Another cul-de-sac subdivision on a road that already can’t handle the traffic it has? More houses in an area that has significant stormwater damage almost every time it rains, doesn’t it? 15 more houses in Chester County. These houses will affect the West Chester Area School District, BUT this isn’t so far from the border with East Whiteland Township, is it ?
This is a spectacular property. I found some more photos on the Internet. And I’m also sharing some of the stuff off of the planning commission agenda. I don’t think residents in East Goshen around here will like this plan. I don’t think their neighbors next-door in East Whiteland will like this plan either. I mean why would anybody like this plan?
Pipeline activists, is this in the midst of any of that?
How many more freaking subdivisions do we need in Chester County?
Well residents of East Goshen and neighbors in next door East Whiteland it’s up to you guys now, I told you about it, here it is. Another potentially bad plan for Chester County. A cluster F of a cluster development is being proposed. Proposed is the operative word if you care about this road which is truthfully rather special.
It would be really nice if municipalities would stop blowing smoke up all of our collective asses in Chester County about open space. It would be really nice if local supervisors made state representatives and state senators earn their keep and update the Municipalities Planning Code before Chester County is overdeveloped out of existence.
Driving by you wouldn’t know that this place in photo above on South Whitford Road actually had a historic house back there. All you would see were really, really high weeds. And this photo doesn’t even do how high the weeds are in places justice.
The address is 105 S. Whitford Rd.
Here is a 2019 Internet photo:
Apparently this house is something that the historic commission of West Whiteland Township is aware of. It appears to be on their inventory. Interestingly enough the supervisor who is the liaison to the historic commission is none other than Saint Theresa Hogan Santalucia. So is she aware of the condition of this property?
Apparently it changed hands recently or within the past few months?
It’s like the grass hasn’t been cut and I’m not exaggerating, it hasn’t been cut since who knows when if at all this year. So if this is a historic house, what is going on? I mean there’s already some wicked demolition by neglect going on at the Joseph Price House, on the same stretch of road, right?
So another question would be West Whiteland has a codes department right? I don’t know the Director of Codes (Codes Barbie) who is also the Fire Marshall but I always see her on the West Whiteland zoom meetings with lots of make up and flipping her hair …. so is she aware of this? What’s her name? I have to ask in her dual role why she does she look at or inspect these properties? Or does she? Or is she just a selective stones buster? I mean you would think that properties like this or the Joseph Price House would be an issue given shall we say certain conditions? So does demolition by neglect count for anything according to these people?
I mean we’ve got Bossette Tweed posting her merit certificates publicly on social media but ummm what else???
Wouldn’t you say that the way certain properties are treated with historic value qualify as a “difficult situation” in West Whiteland Township? Again, this address in on the West Whiteland historic resources map?
And then there are the two business entities I found on the deed file:
So obviously someone owns the property actively, so what is happening there? It’s 9 acres give or take, right? Will house be preserved? Will a business go there? Will it be subject to development? I ask about development because of an old listing for the property from a couple of years ago. Showing screen shots below this, and another embedded document.
So what’s the plan? Demolition by neglect until someone submits a plan? I was told the house had tenants until not THAT long ago?
What started me being curious? A note and photos I received. I already have inserted a couple of the photos, but here’s part of the note from one of my readers:
What is West Whiteland now doing with historical properties? The house at 105 S. Whitford road was just recently sold. It’s been months the grass is very high. This house was not too long ago inhabited. It is now owned by 105 Whitford Rd llc. If you Google can’t really find much. The only mention of it was when the daycare was being built and if there was any impact….It’s a historic house and WW recognizes it as that….They sold it and it hasn’t been taken care of since January…the grass looks like it would be way above my knees, maybe close to my waist in spots!!
~ West Whiteland resident who drives by location often
So I realized I literally drive past there at least once a week en route to PT. I can tell you it’s overgrown enough that I forgot there was a house there. Personally I keep noticing trash along the curb of what may or may not be part of the property. There was also a car repair place at the corner with a sale sign.
In any event, West Whiteland is NOT the only township that turns a blind eye to neglected properties and/or empty or seemingly empty but falling apart historic properties. It just is always a puzzle when these townships act like they can’t SEE some of these properties.
West Whiteland is a mess, and it will be for a while given what they have been through. But people hired by the last manager maybe should be trying a little harder now? And politicians who love to talk about how they love the historic properties in their township who can’t seemingly see things like this? Or when they are pointed out, “didn’t know”? I mean COME ON, you are an elected official in this township and you live there!
If you live in West Whiteland, please get familiar with your history. It’s not all commercial and a sea of new apartment and townhouse developments. And this post is most definitely NOT a criticism of the West Whiteland Historic Commission because they do a very good job. Their supervisor liaison, not so much a good job doer, and this post is also an additional criticism of her. In my humble opinion, she one of the wonkiest local politicians out here and an embarrassment to her township as well as Chester County Democrats. Why doesn’t she just resign already?
This post is also quite simply a “what is going on here and what will happen to the property and structures on it and why?” That is very important. I am a realist, and not all historic properties can be saved. But when you see demolition by neglect that has been ongoing (Joseph Price house corner of S. Whitford and Clover Mill Road) and newly emerging issues with 105 S. Whitford Rd and identified as the tenant farm to Oaklands, there should be a community conversation sometimes, shouldn’t there be?
Well who knows, but this is what intrigued me today in the ever evolving As The West Whiteland Turns.
I am not trying to jump to conclusions here. BUT when you drive up West King Road and look at the Weston property which is on W. King Road where West Whiteland begins and East Whiteland ends. The property address is 1400 Weston Way, West Chester.
In June of 2020 I think it was I put up a post asking what was going on with the property. You see it popped up in a meeting. It then popped up in October, 2020.
So yeah, that’s a LOT to be right off King Road. And it’s the outer edges of West Whiteland Township, so it’s “they can’t see it from their windows” and essentially, my opinion is they don’t give a damn. If they give a damn would we be doing the future Ship Road Couplet dance and worrying about ALL that development around Ship and 30? And how will that giant Cluster F affect my friends on Ship? Let alone the problem intersections like Ship and King which West Whiteland doesn’t seem to see?
Yeah….so what are the plans for the Weston Property? It’s a lovely swath of land with beautiful mature trees, wetlands, etc. It’s been verrrry quiet for a while about this property, but given the oddness of the “road” thing cut through the woods is that a pipeline something or a development something?
It’s not right, it’s not fair, what the hell happened to responsible development?
The Weston Property being developed is going to dump even MORE traffic on King Road in both directions. East Whiteland residents will be screwed because it’s not their township and they really don’t care about East Whiteland residents objecting, but do they care about what any residents have to say? When Weston gets developed (because I do not think it is an “if”, merely a “when”) West King will be even MORE of a speedway, unless Weston development gets a traffic signal? And then there are the environmental concerns of the constantly disappearing open space, which will mean those down King from Weston will experience more stormwater issues than experienced at present, which can be significant – just look a Lake Little League at the little league fields driveway every time it rains.
Here are some photos of Weston at present. A truly lovely property.
I used to love Avalon as a kid. I stopped going in my mid to late 20s because the more it got developed, the less I liked it.
When I was a kid there was the penny candy story on 7th street. A tiny cedar shake shingled general store down around 7th street that had penny candy. Once when we were really little a friend of our parents and their friends named Weezy gave us each $1 and told us to go “blow our minds.” Root beer barrels, Charleston Chews, Mary Janes, those little colored sugar dots on white paper, caramels, and more. My mother would maybe give us a quarter if we were really good.
When it rained at the beach it was like the sea and air met as one. I remember going as a little girl to the then tiny and old Avalon, NJ library. Not the new library that stands today, but the little old dark one which still stood in the early 1970s. When you went up the stairs and opened the doors they gave that old creaky and heaving sound. Inside the library was dark and had that beach smell of sand mingled with mildew. I remembered picking out well worn copies of Nancy Drew books to take home and read. Or maybe we would go to the Paper Peddler and buy a book or a copy of Mad Magazine (which my mother hated).
In those days, Avalon had really tall dunes and the island began at 7th street. The first few blocks of Avalon washed away before I was born. That was the famous Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962, which was truthfully a Hurricane Sandy-like storm. But the only a block of houses were swallowed by the sea at that time – 6th street. Below that had never been really developed because of tides. This 1962 storm was what caused the Avalon Hotel to be moved to 8th street. As a little girl I remember looking out over those beaches down by 7th street and wondering what the swallowed block of houses looked like? Was it a perfect bunch of houses just underwater like the fictional Atlantis, or a jumble of destruction? After watching the videos I discovered on You Tube which prompted this post, I learned more.
When I was little, the dunes were magnificent. I remember going through the twisty beach paths with mountains of sand and dune grass and scrubby pines on either side and even some old beach (probably rugosa) roses. This is where I first fell in love with black eyed Susan’s and beach daisies which grew in and on the edges of the dunes along with other wild flowers and cacti. In the summers when I was little too you could often see the sea turtles come ashore and lay their eggs and then wait for them to hatch and see all the little turtles head for the sea. It’s where I first fell in love with waxy bayberry bushes, and those memories are why I am trying to get a pair to grow in my own garden.
These videos done by the Avalon History Center are wonderful. It takes you back to the 1700s…and all the way through to today. And with the 19th century photos what I never knew before was how heavily forested the island was. Cedars and oak trees…and even cattle at one point. In the late 19th century there was a sawmill on the island that gave developers back then their wood for structures…and eventually deforested the island.
By the 1970s when we first started going to Avalon because Ocean City even down in the gardens was getting too developed, Avalon was developing but there was still a lot of room and cool old houses. The grey monster a big grey stone house around 10th street, and the cute little yellow cottage around the corner. I was fascinated by the old houses, a lot of them literally humble cottages. My parents’ friends owned the historic cabin on 13th street once owned by Woodrow Wilson when he was at Bryn Mawr College.
Listening to the history lectures presented by the Avalon History Center I literally watched a time line of how a small community became overdeveloped over time, including a garish recent example known as the Utz house that is this utterly vulgar high dune gobbling mega McMansion that created such a battle it even made the New York Times.
The New York Times also featured the reminiscences of a beach goer long ago that resonated. Jen Miller is her name. She talks about her memories before it became a summer McMansion boom town:
“On a hot August afternoon in the late 1990s, I waited at Donnelly’s Deli in Avalon, N.J., for our family’s sandwich order. This was a rare treat. We were a bologna-and-cheese-on-white-bread kind of family, loading up the car with beach chairs and boogie boards and a basket of towels for the drive to the Avalon beach from our trailer at a campground a few miles away.
But on that day, near the end of the summer, when my mother was tired of fixing our family of six a summer’s worth of beach sandwiches, we went to this one-story, brick-front deli that smelled like chips, sweat, pickles and meat, to let someone else do it for us.
In 2005, Donnelly’s closed, and the building was torn down — along with the rest of the block. In its place now is a three-story retail and residential building whose first floor features a Lululemon and a Lilly Pulitzer, both open for the summer only….The erosion of local character that I saw take over the South Jersey Shore is underway there too.
But who cares, other than some old, nostalgic saps like me? Someone who on a recent cold spring day walked around town worrying that Circle Pizza and Avalon Freeze would go the way of the deli, to make room for a strip mall I could see in any other wealthy town in the country?”
I totally get her sentiments. I am one of those who remembers communities in the proverbial “way back when” of it all for lack of a better description. But what we see happening in and already has happened in quaint beach communities is happening on an even larger scale out here. Farms and estates and any open space getting gobbled up for condos, townhouses, and housing developments of all shapes and sizes where it’s crap, not quality construction and it’s packing them in like lemmings. You can’t even garden in a lot of these communities.
Watch these videos. It’s a cautionary tale as well as being a very well done history of a place I once loved…before McMansions and trying to make it the South Jersey Hamptons. The difference is in the Hamptons, they actually DO historic and open space preservation, it’s just ungodly expensive.
Oh and don’t forget to check out the news about the high rise in Miami that had half the building just collapse overnight. Surfside. Some news report said something about what the building was built on and how it was sinking. (see this story HERE.) This news is a cautionary tale of development for sure, and it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
And some day in a time far far away, maybe some historical society will be doing oral history videos and presentations where we live, and will talk of a time before pipelines arrives, and development gobbled up all the forests, farms, open space, and little hamlets.
I mean seriously, how many more fields of plastic Troll houses does one municipality need?
This is on the agenda for this evening June 21. I’ve included what I found on their website and a helpful screenshot of some of the who is who in this Township, and don’t you find it fascinating that the township solicitor who is the township solicitor in a lot of other townships locally as well where big developments are pending including Troll Brothers?
Between the proposed use of eminent domain in East Goshen to the continued travails of “Berwyn Square“ or whatever they’re calling it now in Easttown, to Crebilly in Westtown, development of the week in East Whiteland, West Whiteland, and more, poor Chester County is going to cave into the ground from development and possibly even bad pipelines, right?
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but figured people should know. Thanks for stopping by.