the tale of the bishop tube documents

Bishop Tube 2017 – Photographer Unknown – found on East Whiteland Township Community Huddle Page

Bishop Tube…yes…more, more, more on Bishop Tube. I  do not seek information out, it finds it’s way to me.  Today’s offerings are a slew of documents from the Pennsylvania DEP and other places going back into the 1990s and stopping a few years ago. People have been hanging onto stuff to save for a rainy day.

Someone said to me these few documents tell a story – and can you imagine all the documents we will probably NEVER see on Bishop Tube?

Anyway, after wading through these documents the story being told to me is someone should have cleaned this place up already, and why isn’t this on the EPA’s radar?

Since someone dropped a little “sunshine” in my lap, I am paying it forward and putting them out there.  Just for the record I am not trying to be another Erin Brocavitch. This stuff just found it’s way to me…..

1st Amendment to Consent Order and Agreement PA DEP 1.22.2007

Administrative Record Docket Bishop Tube Site Events from 1998 to 2006

Bishop Tube 1999 Ground Water Sampling Done for DEP

Bishop Tube Cost Recovery 2006

Bishop Tube old media clippings

DEP 1

DEP Analysis of Alternatives Bishop Tube 12.14.2006

DEP and CDP Consent Order and Agreement 3.17.2005

DEP Little Valley Creek Surface Water and Spring Monitoring 8.27.2003

DEP Scope of Work Air Sparging Hot Spot Response 1.26.2006

HSCA Response Justification Document Bishop Tube 3.13.2000

Notice of Prompt Interim Response 3.14.2000

Old Bishop Tube Company History Pamphlet

Prelimnary Remedial Action Work Plan for Soil Remediation at Bishop Tube 3.11.2005

Surface Water Investigation Bishop Tube 2005

And always interesting? Old invoices  Old Bishop Tube and Related Invoices

east whiteland reporting bishop tube site is OFF planning agenda for 3/22

Someone asked me about half an hour ago which meeting in East Whiteland was featuring Bishop Tube this week.  I said I thought only the Planning Commission and they asked me WHERE it was on East Whiteland’s Planning Commission  agenda.

HUH???

So I looked and lo and behold there is an AMENDED agenda…and Bishop Tube is postponed until the April 26th meeting.

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Maybe it is just me, but could it be the shiny spotlight of public attention and outcry caused this?????? Or is it just a scheduling thing?

Recently we had Maya K. van Rossum opine in her professional capacity as the esteemed Delaware Riverkeeper. She has been a powerful and unexpected blessing to the concerned residents of General Warren Village.  She showed up at East Whiteland Zoning a couple of weeks ago and then last week.  (Other post found here “calling erin brocovitch”)

Interior of Bishop Tube 2017 – photographer unknown – found on a community page

Over the weekend Maya contacted residents to encourage them to write Dinniman and Milne’s offices ASAP (see instructions here.)

So as residents are busy writing letters and calling the PA DEP and so on, East Whiteland Planning Commission pulls Bishop Tube from the agenda? (Bishop Tube was discussed at recent Supervisors’ meeting – CLICK HERE.)

Why?

We may never know but keep writing those letters and making those calls, right?

I have to be honest that while I have issues with the density of the development plan (even if it wasn’t being built on a toxic waste dump of a land parcel), where the issues never abate and concerns continue to grow is with the Pennsylvania DEP.  They are the constant from day 1 with Bishop Tube, and I think they concern me most of all (they are being so Limerick here aren’t they?)

So that being said, residents need to keep on going to meetings and call the DEP (717) 783-2300 is the main number in Harrisburg.    (484) 250-5900 is the number to the Southeast regional office in Norristown.  And keep calling State Senator Dinniman’s and State Rep Duane Milne’s offices too.

Bishop Tube is a site that could be redeveloped, but in my personal opinion with much less density AND after MORE remediation than is currently being discussed because of those buried vats or whatever that the former employees talk about and who can argue with that???

SEE:

I am guessing it is stay tuned on Bishop Tube, yes? But apparently Wednesday, residents get the evening off.  For any questions of why they are no longer on agenda please call East Whiteland Township.  

Final questions to leave everyone with: what does the EPA think of this site ?  You would think they knew all about it, right?  And what role or roles does politics play here and not merely local, but shall we say a larger scale?

Interior of Bishop Tube 2017 – photographer unknown – found on a community page

Interior of Bishop Tube 2017 – photographer unknown – found on a community page

Somewhere on Bishop Tube site  2017 – photographer unknown – found on a community page

 

Read this old Washington Post article about what TCE and other contaminants did to a town years ago:

March 13, 1989

 

toxic nightmare site bishop tube goes back to zoning…

This photo was taken in 2010, long before I lived in Chester County. It was taken by d.coleman in June of 2010. I found it on Flickr. This is a screen shot of photo with attribution and description as found in yellow. Photographers have been photographing Bishop Tube for years and I hear that high school kids find their way onto the site as well?

This photo was taken in 2010, long before I lived in Chester County. It was taken by d.coleman in June of 2010. I found it on Flickr. This is a screen shot of photo with attribution and description as found in yellow.  Photographers have been photographing Bishop Tube for years and I hear that high school kids find their way onto the site as well? I will note I have only ever taken photos from OUTSIDE the chain link fence.

Bishop Tube is a toxic site. It has been through remediation to a point, but I can’t find anything for 2015 in as far as a public accounting of where the clean-up is. Now maybe an update exists, but is it posted publicly anywhere that is easily accessible?  I am including a letter from Chester County Planning Commission from 2014 I do not think I shared before ( chester-county-planning-on-bishop-tube-march-2014 ).

Something that jumped out at me from said letter:

RECOMMENDATION:    While  the  County  Planning  Commission  supports  single-family  attached and multi-family residential development in the Suburban Landscape where infrastructure capacity can support such development, along with the implementation of adaptive reuse and infill strategies to redevelop abandoned industrial brownfield sites for moderate to high density multi- family housing designation, it does not appear that this location can support the density being proposed due to its existing physical and environmental characteristics.  Additionally, the amendment petition does not appear to be consistent with the Township’s Comprehensive Plan and its vision for Community Mixed Use.  The Commission recommends that East Whiteland Township deny the applicant’s zoning ordinance and zoning map amendment petition.

 

So that was 2014.  We are now in 2017.  East Whiteland has had Bishop Tube as a guest star topic at many meetings since then.  So truthfully, I don’t know which iteration of Constitution Drive Partners LP anyone is looking at.  Constitution Drive Partners = Brian O’Neill, remember?

Well, this plan is up in front of East Whiteland Zoning NEXT week January 23:

bishop-tube-zoningHERE in case you can’t see all of the fine print:

LEGAL NOTICES

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the East Whiteland Township Zoning Hearing Board conduct a continued public hearing at 7:15 p.m. on Monday, January 23, 2017, at the East Whiteland Township Municipal Building, 209 Conestoga Road, Frazer, Pennsylvania, to consider Appeal No. 2016-24 Application of Constitution Drive Partners, L.P. and 9 Malin Road Development, LLC (collectively, “Applicant”) for a variance from Section 200-57.C.(6) of the East Whiteland Township Zoning Ordinance to permit single-family attached dwellings and townhouses in rows of more than six units, with associated driveways and grading to be located in both steep slope and very steep slope areas of the property formerly the site of the Bishop Tube complex (which is currently a brownfield site improved with dilapidated industrial buildings), located at 9 South Malin Road, 10 South Malin Road, and 1 South Malin Road (Tax Parcels 42-4-321, 42-4-321.1 and 42-4-321.2) (collectively, “Property”). The Property is located in an RRD (Residential Revitalization District) Zoning District. The public hearing was opened at the Zoning Hearing Board’s November 28, 2016 meeting. The Applicant has subsequently amended its Application to request a variance from Section 200-93.B of the Zoning Ordinance to permit the proposed retaining walls to exceed the permitted six (6) feet in height. On the above date, the Zoning Hearing Board will continue the public hearing and may render a decision on Appeal No. 2016-24. Anyone with a disability requiring a special accommodation to attend should notify Joseph T. Leis, Zoning Officer, at 610-648-0600 x 268. The Township will make every effort to provide a reasonable accommodation. Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco Attorney for Constitution Drive Partners, L.P. DL-Jan 10, 16-1a

Steep slope and very steep slope.Still the key here. They want to increase site density if they want relief from steep and very steep slopes, right? How many hundred units do they want?  Last count was what, 264? And before that over 300?

Bishop Tube is what they call in crass terms a potential flipper baby site still, correct? Will super high amounts of residential density built on slabs with no basements solve all problems? Or is another use better for the site?

Forget about the problems with the site in the DEP and EPA categories and let us talk traffic, infrastructure, schools, basic township services.  Why does East Whiteland want to be King of Prussia or Bensalem? Is that what the majority of the residents want? Or do residents actually want thought and carefully planned growth versus one construction explosion after another?

How many 1000s of living units are planned, approved, or are in various stages of approval in East Whiteland at this point? That also affects neighboring municipalities and anyone in the Great Valley School District.

And do not forget this interesting developer O’Neill article from December:

Former O’Neill site on Rock Hill Road goes up for sale; was to be part of area’s transformation

Former O’Neill site for sale; was to be part of ‘gateway’ to Lower Merion By Richard Ilgenfritz rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com @rpilgenfritz on Twitter Dec 2, 2016

Bala Cynwyd>> A long awaited building project that was supposed to be part of the transformation of an old rock quarry along Rock Hill Road in Bala Cynwyd has officially gone back on the market. Except for a groundbreaking and some preliminary work a couple of years ago, the approved project never moved forward.

 

The site was to become a mixed-use development proposed by Brian O’Neill, owner of O’Neill Properties.

Monday, Kevin Flynn Sr. of The Flynn Company confirmed that his company has the property at 131 Rock Hill Road up for sale.

According to Flynn, the 8.2-acre site was approved for four buildings of four-stories each with parking decks underneath. There would also be a surface lot and numerous other amenities.

 

O’Neill owned the site since 2004, when it was purchased for $3.5 million, according to online Montgomery County records. In 2014, the site was sold to an LLC called Alexander Street, for $11.122 million as the preliminary work was being done. They were to be the financing arm of the project.

 

Another site across the street on Rock Hill Road had also been owned by O’Neill and had been sold in 2010.

 

It’s not clear why O’Neill is apparently divesting himself in his holdings in that area. Calls to the company this week were not returned.

In Lower Merion Township people went through YEARS of awful meetings over steep slopes and a developer driven zoning overlay known as ROHO.  Has anyone asked Brian O’Leary of the Chester County Planning Commission about this as he would be very familiar with this plan given his time on Lower Merion Township’s Planning Commission?

I can’t see Bishop Tube from my window.  But if I could I sure as heck would turn up at this meeting.  Or if I lived at the edge of Malvern Borough where traffic here would become an issue. If I was a neighbor or affected by Bishop Tube, I would see that board room was packed.

Here are some of the old articles on Bishop Tube:

sometimes….it takes a really BIG and extended village

Ebenezer AME on Bacton Hill Road has been my passion project the past few years as most of my friends and family  and readers know. 

 If my sweet man hadn’t stopped that winter’s day so I could take photos, I wouldn’t have found my USCT soldier Joshua.
I wrote about this  for three years straight  here until things started to click. I am grateful for the help of so many, especially Al Terrell and those amazing Willistown Troop 78 scouts.


We went from a crazy overgrown site that no one loved to today at Ebenezer in Frazer! 
Look at this and be happy – this is what it means to be an American. This is what it means to honor your history and the dead. This is what it means to honor some of our older veterans – as in from the Civil War.


A shout out to today’s guest star volunteers: WCU Student Veterans Group, WCU Men’s Rugby Club, and two WCU Fraternities, Sigma Epsilon (I don’t know if this should be Sigma Phi Epsilon?)  and FIJI. About 50 students total. Kelby Hershey is apparently the super hero at WCU who brought these folks together today for us—and a new grave was discovered!


It’s a shame that The Daily Local News hasn’t covered this yet. And once again, I have to say thanks to the Philadelphia Inquirer for giving us not one but two articles in 2016.


If any media out there can find it in their hearts to cover Ebenezer, kindly contact me. If there are those out there who want to volunteer, connect with Al Terrell. 

Thank you everyone for your interest. This is 184 years of history, amazing vibrant and important history, and we are all so thankful that so many are starting to realize it. 

Enjoy the photos!

I am closing with a quote that is a favorite of my friend Sara:

”Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Walk humbly with your God .”[Micah 6:8]

thieves destroy staircase at union league

A friend of mine just posted this photo.

A friend of mine just posted this photo taken today in Philadelphia at The Union League.

What is WRONG with people? Would they get so much money selling metal for scrap that they had to destroy the iconic sweeping outside staircase at Philadelphia’s Union League? I hope police release the video showing the theft soon.

Disgusted with humanity. This will be VERY expensive to replicate properly.

Metal thief topples staircase rail at the Union League

Updated: OCTOBER 24, 2016 — 2:39 PM EDT

by Mari A. Schaefer, Staff Writer @MariSchaefer

Police are looking for the thief who removed a brass handrail from a curved staircase at the iconic Union League of Philadelphia early Monday, toppling the its stone balustrade in the process.

A surveillance camera captured the deed as it unfolded at 3:02 a.m. on the north stairway to the leagues main entrance on Broad Street.

“As a result of ripping the brass railing, most of the stone staircase fell,” the league said in a statement. “We will work to restore the staircase to its original condition as soon as possible.”

 

ebenzer a.m.e. on bacton hill road is in the news!

Meet some of my grown-up Ebenezer saviors. The gentleman far left will forgive me as I do not remember his name. Second left is Doug, center is Al Terrell, and far right is my arborist Bob Phipps of Phipps Tree Care.

Meet some of my grown-up Ebenezer saviors. The gentleman far left will forgive me as I do not remember his name. Second from left is Doug, center is Al Terrell, and far right is my arborist Bob Phipps of Phipps Tree Care.

For over three years, I felt like a lone voice in the proverbial wilderness. It also felt crazy to me that no one really cared about the ruins of 184 years of history known as Ebenezer A.M.E. and her old souls buried on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, East Whiteland.

But it ends up, people do care, and day by day she is further released from her green prison of weeds, giant poison ivy vines, overgrowth. Every day we see a little more.

Meet Luke Phayre, our Eagle Scout

Meet Luke Phayre, our Eagle Scout

The tide turned shortly after Kristin Holmes wrote her first article on Ebenezer. This gentleman named Al Terrell told me he was going to get Ebenezer cleaned up.  He will tell you, and I will admit at that point my faith in this happening and being able to keep my promise to Ann Christie that we wouldn’t give up… was waning to say the least.

But Al came along with this remarkable teenager and Eagle Scout from Willistown 78, Luke Phayre.  And little by little, it’s happening.  It is actually happening.

Al is amazing.  He is one of the nicest men I have ever met, and he has this quiet and unassuming determination about him.  He has a deeply rooted faith in God and humankind that has kind of made me have faith again.

And Luke. Luke is an amazing boy, with an equally amazing mom, Kathy.  This boy is hard-working, smart, and articulate.  And yesterday, even as most of his buddies and fellow scouts were off on a camping trip, Luke was at Ebenezer, cleaning up debris.  I can’t tell you how impressed I was with Luke and happy to meet his mother who is also just one of those people you know from the first introduction are “good people”.

Meet Harriet, we discovered her yesterday. ~ Al Terrell photo

Meet Harriet, we discovered her yesterday. ~ Al Terrell photo

Yesterday at Ebenezer, I also met a man named Doug.  He grew up in East Whiteland and told me about how he and his friends played in the graveyard and church.  He said when they were kids (60’s and 70’s) there was still the roof and the floor. And even part of the old altar and a couple of pews.  That now gives us a better timeline as to when the roof caved in taking everything and the floor with it. My guesstimate on that is late 1970s or 1980s.

So today, Kristin Holmes has another article in the Inquirer.  I had contacted her after the clean up began and had sent her photos.  I connected her to Al Terrell for a follow-up article.  One of the most remarkable things in the article is a quote from an A.M.E. Bishop who would not respond to me when I contacted him:

Duffy’s son, Luke Phayre, 15, and Terrell researched the property and talked with township officials. They also sought permission for the cleanup from the First District of the A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia, and got it. Phayre said he talked to Bishop Gregory Ingram, who sent a letter approving the project and commending Phayre for his initiative.

“I think it’s so noble,” Bishop Ingram said in an interview Friday. “. . . I feel somewhat embarrassed that I haven’t been out there. But I will.

“For anyone to make themselves available to champion a cause like this,” he said, “it shows that in the midst of all the negativity in the world, wonderful things are happening.”

 

This also means to me that the A.M.E. Church is acknowledging Ebenezer’s existence and importance in history. It also gives me hope and the ability to start to forgive the A.M.E. Church  for not responding, not acknowledging.  A boy with a scout project helped them see what we see. That is what is important. Will I ever forget that men and women of the cloth like Rev. Dr. Mark Kelly Tyler, senior pastor of Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia who had an earlier calling in West Chester could never take the time to speak to me when I reached out? Probably not, but that is past and it’s time to look forward.

Bishop Ingram makes a hopeful difference in my mind, so it’s time to forgive them and look forward.

Every time I am at Ebenezer now I get all filled up with tears.  Happy tears that people young and old and in between still care about things like this.  Now I am hopeful she will be preserved and along with her some of the history of the people of Bacton, which was once a very important black community around here.

Meet Luke's mom, Kathy Duffy Phayre. When you meet her you know instantly why she has such amazing children!

Meet Luke’s mom, Kathy Duffy Phayre. When you meet her you know instantly why she has such amazing children!

The people buried in this cemetery bore witness to so much  history.  And they lived it like ordinary people raising their families, working hard towards a better tomorrow.  We owe these people a great debt, I think.

This article which I am about to post is why I do what I do.  And some days it is hard. People love to criticize and castigate from behind their keyboards, semi-anonymous in their vitriol.

This is a strange world we live in where at times you are punished for not essentially being like everyone else, not thinking like everyone else, not being all the exact same homogeneous lump of humanity. And then after a lot of these people criticize they actually go out and mimic what you do, anyway. Imitation is after all, the sincerest form of flattery (or something like that.)

My journey through Chester County thus far has been an amazing one.  And it is home.  So I am happy, so truly happy about Ebenezer.  I have hope for her future and was able to keep my word to a new friend.

Enjoy the article and I will have new photos soon.

Thank you Kristin Holmes for getting it. She is the ONLY reporter from any paper who has taken the time to write about this.

Thank you Al and Luke for your hard work and unwavering faith.

Updated: OCTOBER 16, 2016 — 5:34 AM EDT

truth will out? a curious case of sunshine continues to brew and other tales

tape-face-west-goshenWhen I wrote about West Goshen last week, I did not realize I had ignited some sort of political powder keg and why is that is local governments are supposed to be so open and find it impossible? These people are elected to represent all residents equally, correct?

Anyway, apparently there was a rather heated West Goshen Board of Supervisors meeting last night?  I hear among other things, the recording of meetings was discussed? So as of now West Goshen records/films zero meetings and their website catalog of meeting minutes and agendas are somewhat, shall we say, deplorable? So I do not know the actual agenda. But, apparently the supervisors, or maybe it was solicitor or maybe both had their knickers in a twist about this topic and so did certain residents that in other townships are often referred to somewhat indelicately, albeit accurately, as cheerleaders?

The whole thing of recording meetings by the public has always been a hot button topic, not just in West Goshen but all over.  The reason a lot of residents will choose to record meetings often has to do with the basic fact that not all municipalities record or film (videotape) meetings, and many are not exactly current  on posting meeting minutes or even agendas. And some townships the meeting minutes are shall we say, sanitized?  So people record them. (and for the record, I have tried to pull up agendas for the West Goshen Supervisors for both August and September of this year, and I got Planning Commission Agendas, which is incorrect as per their posted meeting date.)

Municipalities will say to the public they are worried about privacy in the recording of public meetings held in public spaces.  We’re not talking about Executive Sessions to which the public is not included, we are talking about regular meetings. What is that whole no expectation to privacy in a public space?  And not a public bathroom where there IS an expectation of privacy, but a public board room, where there is NOT, correct?

Ok so yes municipalities will play Captains of Semantics to split hairs in their favor. (Not a dig, human nature, totally understandable.)

So in July I found courtesy of a Google cache that West Goshen was contemplating adopting an ordinance similar to East Goshen’s having to do with members of the public recording of meetings.  The ALSO discussed the possibility of RECORDING meetings so the public could see them in their entirety later, and I would assume that also means they are possibly speaking with Comcast and Verizon regarding a municipal channel that every municipality is entitled to if they so choose?

See here:

west-goshen-july

Ok so got that?  They are discussing their OWN recording of meetings so how is THAT not an issue? It does not compute. Anyway, her is hoping they join modern times because the more open a local government is, the happier the residents and taxpayers, right? And nothing makes residents happier then to NOT HAVE TO go to a meeting to find out what is going on where they live and pay taxes, right? Isn’t it nice to be able to sit in the comfort of your own home and watch a meeting and only have to attend a meeting if you wish to speak at public privilege/public participation?

West Goshen is beginning to sound like Haveford Township in the bad old days  (or West Vincent before last election) and I hope for the residents’ sake that isn’t the case, don’t you?  I don’t really know.  What piqued my curiosity was the case just filed by the resident Tom Casey against the township.  It is about open records, or “sunshine”.

Yikes.

Here is all I can get right now.  These are all filed with the court, and to the best of my knowledge are OPEN and not sealed, unless someone has other pertinent information?  In an effort to be a good citizen, I redacted e-mail addresses and whatnot to the best of my ability with the exception of the West Goshen township e-mail addresses because those are already public.

I am a big believer in sunshine and open meetings and freedom of information where local governments are concerned. I participated in a Sunshine protest in Lower Merion Township in 2010 and photographed it.  I have friends who have taken such things to court in Radnor Township over Right to Know Requests not being honored by school district and won. The Radnor case of a lack of sunshine was a very big deal. As well it should have been.

The situation in West Goshen is also a smelly one and has to do with the sewer plant.  I don’t know all the players or the politics, but I do know quite well the politics of being miserable to residents and even non-residents for discussing topics that local municipalities and school districts/school boards do not want out in the open. Everyone always says when things happen they are “coincidences” but are they really?

I am a big believer in our inalienable rights.  Ultimately the Chester County Court system will decide, and I hope this resident gets a fair hearing in front of the Judge hearing the case. I hope West Goshen lets the resident have their day in court FAIRLY without any outside shenanigans, don’t you?

Here is what I have dug up:

casey-v-wgt-appeal-to-oor-decision-ap-2016-0868-in-chester-cty-court-of-common-pleas_redacted

casey-v-wgt-oor-ap2016-0868-rebuttal

ex-a-b-oor-2016-0868_redacted

ex-c-f-oor-2016-0868

ex-g-oor-2016-0868

ex-h-j-oor-2016-0868_redacted

ex-k-oor-2016-0868

ex-l1-oor-2016-0868_redacted

ex-l2-oor-2016-0868_redacted

I am guessing unless the court posts otherwise that this will get a hearing date in the near future, right? A public hearing that media and the public can attend? Anyway, West Goshen is uncharted waters.  Who knows what will happen? I will hope for the best that they do the right thing and get over medieval style politics, right? After all, they owe their residents (ALL of their residents) to be the best, right?