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.
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.
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.)
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?
Today Radnor Township is being visited because THEIR planning commission meeting Tuesday September 6th has a big old bomb of a plan which will affect Tredyffrin Township residents in Chester County. The pretentious A.F. name is “St. Honoré” for the development and there is an as equally pretentious A.F. street name proposed of “Rue St. Honoré” .
Zut alors! Mais oui, très prétentieux for a developer whose late father was born in Chester, n’est-ce pas? Which is why I found a better name to propose: Dégueulasse (disgusting, revolting, sh*tty, swinish, putrid) and Rue Dégueulasse or perhaps even Rue Dégoûtant? (And yes, dear developer, I can have these opinions.)
The location of this plan is DoDo Land in Wayne on Strafford Avenue, first mentioned on this blog in 2020. I had written about it then because of Tredyffrin Township residents and Radnor residents, because it just seemed like a shall we say, greedy development prospect?
What is even more concerning is if you look at the planning packet in it’s entirety, it looks like two more properties are folded in? 211 Strafford Avenue and 227 Strafford Avenue?
Here is the packet below. I don’t trust things to not disappear on agendas, so have fun wading through. It also has things on yesterday post concerning Garrett Hill:
Look, this is a lot to digest with VERY little time to do it. I know that Tredyffrin residents were VERY, VERY concerned the last time plans for DoDo Hamilton’s property came up in Radnor. Then I remember the strip the house sale.
And I wouldn’t say DoDo wouldn’t do this, because it was a fact she sold other properties for development when she was alive, correct? Including further out in Chester County? What I also seem to recall were neighbors being super concerned even while DoDo Hamilton was alive about stormwater management issues as a result of this property. And people were super concerned about stormwater management last time this property came up in Radnor, so, what now that it seems two additional properties are part of this?
Without strong preservation ordinances, things like “vinyl windows with short lifespans replace historic wood windows that could be made energy-efficient,” Prichard says. “In the end, all of thesesmall changes lead to a drastic overall change in the appearance of historic neighborhoods, even when no buildings are lost in the process.”
“Unfortunately, I think it’s gone.”
Radnor Township commissioner Jack Larkin is referring to the mansion at the corner of Strafford and Eagle roads once occupied by the late Campbell Soup heiress Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton. The township is powerless to stop the razing of the Victorian-era home for a residential development. As written, its preservation ordinance “is very vague,” says Larkin. “We don’t have the authority to preserve private property, [and its location] would make it very difficult to build around it.”
The developer, Haverford Properties Inc., didn’t respond to several requests for comment, and it seems residents are mainly concerned about the density of the development. “There hasn’t been an attempt to save [the mansion], nor any significant community outcry over its impending demise,” says Prichard, a Radnor resident and member of the township‘s historical commission.
Now I don’t know if Haverford Properties is involved in the development at this point, do you? What I see from the documents in the planning packet, it’s C.F. Holloway. Yessss people, Cas Holloway, and is it fair that some refer to him as a neighborhood killer? Look what he did in Ardmore. The houses he took down were gorgeous old stone Main Line houses, and he pushed people out that I knew who were renters in one address, so IF 211 Strafford Avenue is being folded into this plan, what happens to the Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn?
The Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn is a historic home. I remember when the original B & B owners were looking for approval a bunch of years ago, and you would have thought they wanted to add rapists and murderers to Radnor Township. Ha, those residents should be careful what they wish for, right? In 2016 The Radnor Historical Society honored the Wayne Bed & Breakfast.
Local Garden Tour Friday, June 7, 2013, 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Nominal fee of $10 and reservation required. Tour four unique gardens surrounding wonderful homes in Radnor and Tredyffrin Townships. The tour begins at the garden and greenhouses of Mrs. Dorrance Hamilton (only open from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m.). on Strafford Avenue. Then visit the Victorian garden across the street at Traudi and Bob Thomason’s Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn. The Thomason’s property features a 110 foot copper beech, thought to be the second largest in the state, wonderful outdoor spaces for sitting and relaxing, including a large pool and spa surrounded by gardens, and an inviting porch that wraps around the circa 1890 inn. Myrna and Paul Paluba will host at their creatively executed, multilevel garden with raised beds, water features, and a peace garden for contemplation. Maud Walker will host at her garden which is highlighted by an unusual collection of trees and shrubs, including a magnificent weeping beech, whimsical garden decorations, and a replica of an Irish garden shed. Directions to all of the gardens will be provided at the Hamilton property. Further information, including how to make reservations, will be sent to you in March. This event is cosponsored by RHS and the Radnor Conservancy.
~ radnor historical society 2012
Ha! With this development when it comes to plantings and trees, wonder what will be left? Don’t answer that, it’s a we shudder to think conversation, mais oui?
Another old thing I found on Developing DoDo land was
Representatives of Haverford Properties are scheduled to meet with Radnor Township residents for the first time Thursday.
The company has not formally submitted plans to the township, but some residents, already disgruntled over development in the sought-after area, say they feel a sense of inevitability. Under what’s known as “by-right” development, Haverford Properties can legally build housing on the parcel.
“They have, without question, the right to develop that property. We have no discretion,” said Jack Larkin, a township commissioner who represents the section of Radnor where the development would be built. “We can never say we don’t want a particular industry in our town because we don’t like what it is.”
By LINDA STEIN | PUBLISHED: January 13, 2020 at 11:30 p.m. | UPDATED: August 23, 2021 at 10:47 a.m.
RADNOR – Although no plans have been filed with the township, word is getting around that a developer has set his sights on the Wayne property of the late Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton, who was one of the Main Line’s iconic grande dames.
“The developer has shown me two concept sketches for the lots; the first is purportedly a by-right plan, and includes approximately 40 homes,” Larkin wrote in his newsletter. “This is, to me, an unattractive plan: Because the units are, by right, single family dwellings, cramming 40 homes onto the two lots means filling them with houses without space for buffers, open space, or stormwater recharge areas.”
Larkin continued, “The second plan would require a conditional use approval by the township, and would put approximately 50 homes into the two lots -41 town homes on the western lot, and nine single-family dwellings onto the eastern lot. Because the homes on the western lot are town homes, they leave a lot of space for the things that are absent in the by-right plan: Stormwater management, sidewalks, buffers, and open space. The density is problematic for me, but with that in mind, it is a good plan.”
“When we first discussed the property, they took my stormwater concerns seriously and the concept sketch they presented had already incorporated stormwater management facilities above and beyond what was required by the ordinance,” Larkin wrote. “Second, when they met with the township engineer for feedback, they promptly incorporated his feedback into their design. Third, they’ve already asked for a meeting with residents to discuss their plans and get your feedback.”
Meanwhile, about 40 nearby neighbors sent this statement to Larkin: “We understand and appreciate the developer’s rights to develop the property, and our goal as a neighborhood is not to squash any development, but to mitigate any negative changes to the neighborhood and keep its current character. For those of us who have lived here many years, we have seen the negative effects of cutting down trees on the Hamilton’s property and the building of just four homes on the corner of Strafford and Eagle Road. Despite the assurances of the engineers, developers, and other experts, our neighborhood has been substantially damaged and our lives negatively affected by ‘tiny’ changes to the Hamilton’s property. There are approximately 40 neighbors on Strafford, Hedgerow, Grant, Forrest, Fairfield, and Old Eagle School who will attest to being harmed financially by the improper regulation of storm water runoff in the past.
“The character of the neighborhood will be drastically changed by the proposed development. Haverford Properties is seeking to double the number of homes within our small community. Our current neighborhood contains 35 acres and 64 homes, approximately two homes per acre. The developers plan to build 50 homes will result in 114 homes, for over three homes per acre. We already have a traffic problem, exacerbated by the fact that our community straddles two townships and counties. The Strafford train station is a delightful anchor to our neighborhood, but it too increases motor and foot traffic. Residents are already fearful to walk on Strafford Avenue. It is a death trap (with) no sidewalks, insufficient lighting, and a dangerous curve in the road. As a community we deserve better from both Radnor and Tredyffrin townships.”
~ delco times 2020
I looked on Commisisoner Jack Larkin’s website and couldn’t find anything about DoDo Land. Perhaps he doesn’t want the general public to see his commissioner musings or has he just checked out as a commissioner?
So here is some other stuff on screenshots to make it easy:
Look, Radnor Township doesn’t care if this gets developed, that has always been my opinion. But it is also my opinion that they make have tarted up the proverbial pig here with a new developer, but this is a plan that is still too dense. And now given the meeting agenda states this meeting is slated for NEXT WEEK AS IN THE DAY AFTER LABOR DAY, residents in Radnor and Tredyffrin do not have much time to rally.
THIS IS AN IN PERSON MEETING – Tuesday, September 6, 2022 – 6:30 PM – Radnorshire Room – 301 Iven Avenue Wayne PA 19087-5297
That is all I have got on this. Residents, you rose up before, just like the residents in Garrett Hill over unwelcome development and more there. Get yourselves to the meeting, but when you storm this Bastille don’t act all cuckoo like Willistown Residents over the sewer sale. Show decorum, make your points, be heard.
Good luck. You will need it here, especially Tredyffrin residents because you are neighbors and affected, but Chester County as well as another municipality. Tredyffrin needs to get their township to take a stand and attend the meeting too. And if zoning variances are sought, Tredyffrin Township needs to be a party to this so their residents can preserve their rights, correct?
Yes Virginia, #andjustlikethat apparently there is indeed a Santa Claus. The news out of West Whiteland is La Mimi is gone girl gone.
I remember when she was manager of Tredyffrin. Never thought much of her there (Terri Woodman formerly East Whiteland’s Manager was the Asst. Township Manager at Tredyffrin 1986 – 2001 as a related aside). I remember when Gleason left Tredyffrin she was doing this whole “a job is not a life” thing (What? Would I make this up? CLICK HERE)
Then of course La Mimi popped out of retirement and popped up at West Whiteland (when La Mimi left Tredyffrin, I predicted no matter what that article said, eventually she would pop up as a manager elsewhere.)
But I digress. Suffice it to say, I have not been a fan. (Just like I am not a fan of that Supervisor Theresa Hogan Santalucia and her sunny personality and vast vocabulary and I bet she wasn’t on board with not renewing the contract of La Mimi was she?))
What happened to cause the #breakup? The eternal #pipelines of it all? Over development? Being like the Red Queen / Queen of Hearts and the whole off with their heads this is my kingdom of it all? Who knows and who knows if they will ever tell right?
However, next steps also depends WHICH consulting firm will West Whiteland use to shepherd them through? I remember when a consulting firm wanted to put a piss poor interim in Radnor the year they fired Dave Bashore. (Read this article to learn more why that Radnor Manager was removed.) I forget his name but the guy was from Coatesville and had been one of the supporters of eminent domain attempt of the Saha Farm, remember? (Coatesville folk who showed up in droves to that Radnor meeting long ago might remember.) A lot of times the consulting firms use former township managers who were not the best wherever they were, so here is hoping they vet even the interim candidates carefully. And I think it would be great if the residents could view the public CVs of potential candidates.
BUT the forensic auditors who helped Radnor back in the day sure hit pay dirt. And I am NOT saying anything remotely like that occurred, it’s just common sense that if you are removing a township manager, you look at everything and the staff, right? Just in case things were not always for the good of the residents but a petty little fiefdom or corner store, right?
Happy New Year West Whiteland Township residents. Your reorg meeting next week will be one not to be missed. It will be hybrid so you can go in person or zoom it. Monday January 3rd, 6:30 PM
I received word today that a gentleman from Tredyffrin who was a much loved Supervisor for many years has passed away. If you read his obituary which I will post, it shows what we are losing in today’s hyper-partisan times. Where are our community leaders today? People that quietly serve to forward the greater good?
In 2011 a reader editorial was written and published in then Main Line Suburban Life by then Chair of the Tredyffrin Supervisors Bob Lamina. I actually remembered this and went looking for it today. I am going to quote liberally:
Thomas Jefferson once said, “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” For the better part of 13 years, I’ve had the great pleasure of serving with my friend and colleague Paul Olson on the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors. During that time, Paul has dedicated himself in his public pursuits to ensuring our local government is watchful of tax dollars, preventing wasteful taxpayer-funded expenditures for more government services that his constituents haven’t asked for, or that didn’t support public safety or promote the general welfare of our community…..During our budget deliberations, while many first seek mechanisms to raise revenues to fund additional township services, we can always count on Paul to act like taxpayers do at home: asking where we might first trim expenses.
Paul is also a small-business owner and knows firsthand what it takes to promote economic growth and development and, if we’re not careful, how local government can impede it. He knows from experience the importance of fiscal responsibility and what it takes to make a payroll…..Paul has also been an active volunteer in our community in many ways other than in his elected capacity. A resident since 1968, Paul was president of the Devon-Strafford Little League for five years and also coached the Strafford Eagles youth-football program, now the Conestoga Generals, for seven years. He serves on the Board of Directors of Surrey Services for Seniors, and was co-chair for the wildly successful capital campaign for Tredyffrin Township’s main library in Strafford, raising over $4.8 million in a private-public partnership in the truest sense of the term.
In the spirit of volunteerism that sets him apart from equally well-meaning citizens, Paul was recently honored by the Chester County commissioners for his 400th donation of blood and blood platelets to the American Red Cross, making him the region’s top donor. I asked Paul recently why he’s been dedicated to donating blood platelets for so long. He hesitated, and then told me that he had a very good friend who died some years ago who required this form of blood transfusion. He has committed himself to donate his time, and his blood, to help others who could literally have their lives touched unknowingly by Paul’s unselfish acts of kindness.
A public servant is best defined as one who is a team player who works to achieve goals through compromise and mutual respect. Our public servants are also typically resourceful since often funding is limited and in today’s reality perhaps not available at all. But above all, the best characteristic of a public servant is that of being selfless; that is, placing the needs of others before themselves. Thomas Jefferson also said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” Paul Olson is the embodiment of a true public servant who has given much more than he has ever received from our community.
~ By Bob Lamina
Paul Olson was a true public servant. I never knew him personally, never even met him, but he always put community before self. He put community before political parties.
He was by all accounts, a consistent champion of the Mt. Pleasant section of Tredyffrin in the panhandle. This historic black community is too often overlooked and he helped with things like the Carr School/Mt. Pleasant Chapel, Main Line Mentoring, and getting a park named for Mazie B. Hall. Also active with the Red Cross, Surrey Services for Seniors, and so much more including but not limited to the huge capital campaign back a bunch of years for the Tredyffrin Library.
Paul Olson served as a Supervisor in Tredyffrin Township beginning in 1976 until 2019. FORTY THREE YEARS. That is amazing. That is awe-inspiring. I know I could never do something like that. Rest in peace, Mr. Olson.
Paul Wendell Olson DECEMBER 6, 1931 – SEPTEMBER 10, 2021 Paul Olson was a husband, father, brother, friend, and mentor. He was a community volunteer and leader who served on the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors for more than 40 years. He passed away on Friday September 10, 2021. He was 89 years old.
He loved basketball, which he played through his early 60s, including at the Senior Olympics in Salt Lake City. He loved all kinds of candy, which often filled his pockets and always his briefcase and office drawers. And he loved his wife, Andrea, a high school Fiesta Queen and college salutatorian at Iowa State University, whom he married on September 17, 1960, and with whom he raised three children.
He was a small town Minnesota boy, born and raised in Dawson, a close knit rural community in the southwestern corner of the state, the second son of Clarence Eugene Olson and Ouida Rue Olson. He took lifelong pride in his first job, sweeping floors at Hovland Drug Store as a pre-teen, and in his role on the 1948 Dawson High School basketball team that went to the state tournament. He talked fondly of his graduating class of 18 boys and 18 girls and stayed in touch with many of them throughout his life.
He attended Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota, where he studied business administration and history and started at center on the football team. He served active duty in the Counterintelligence Corps of the Army in Fort Hood, Texas, during the Korean War. He made a career in sales and marketing and managed and then owned several small firms in the laboratory testing business. His career took him through Minneapolis, Kansas City, Peoria, and New York, before landing him and his family of five in Devon in 1969.
He made his most lasting impact in life, though, as a family man and as a community volunteer and leader. In addition to his service on the Tredyffrin Township Board, he was active as a member of his church, St. Luke Lutheran in Devon, and in youth sports. He coached for the Strafford Eagles, the Paoli Wildcats, Teegarden summer basketball, and the Devon Strafford Little League, where he also served as President for a number of years in the late 1970s. He served on the board of directors for both Red Cross of Philadelphia, through whom he donated blood on more than 600 occasions, and for Surrey Services for Seniors.
Paul believed that community service, in addition to improving the community, could enrich the lives of those serving and had the power to connect people of different backgrounds and experiences. He would often encourage friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to participate in community life. He was not an enemies person, and there was not a person he served with, worshipped with, or coached who he would not greet with a warm smile and, more often than not, a firm handshake or a hug. Among Paul’s proudest achievements in township government were saving the Strafford Library, establishing Mazie Hall Park in Mount Pleasant, and helping to secure a triple-A rating on the Township’s bonds.
He is survived by his ever loving wife Andrea; his children Mike (Marilyn) of San Diego, Dave (Judi) of San Mateo, and Kris (Bob) of Paoli; five grandchildren Carly, Miles, Michael, Hunter, Jack, Sam, and Maddie; and his brother Don (Barbara).
Services will be held on Saturday, September 25th, at 11AM at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Devon, located on 203 North Valley Forge Road. The family requests that those wishing to express sympathy consider making donations to the American Red Cross.
I removed the names of those who were on the post. At the bottom of the post are a couple of photos I took in 2009 when I was touring Mt. Pleasant with a friend.
What was I doing in Mt. Pleasant back then? Other than walking the little roads Mazie Hall once walked? It was a haven for student rental slum lords back then. In my humble opinion, Tredyffrin Township spent way too much time looking the other way. I went to see for myself.
But as Bacton Hill has essentially disappeared, Mt. Pleasant in spite of being in a township that I have never thought gave a damn about them and the obstacles like off campus student houses that tend to have little respect, has survived.
But this above? Total bullshit and yes I cursed in a post.
Haven’t we all had enough of this crap yet? Why do we as Americans allow this?
This behavior is not acceptable. It terrifies communities and with good reason. Tredyffrin Township is doing what exactly about this? Are they in contact with the pastor?
If you read this and live in Tredyffrin, I would say send this church a donation even if it’s not your church and write your commissioners and demand change.
A friend commented today that whomever thought all this new construction was a good idea has hopefully made buckets of money ruining the area.
Among other things I blame the Chester County Planning Commission as well as the various municipalities.
Now these aren’t thoughts I wouldn’t expect from this person but are they wrong? So much construction and so many unfortunate, truthfully ugly apartment buildings. It’s just too much.
Start in Easttown and move west. From fakakta apartments they want to build essentially in the shadow of traditional and lovely Devon Horse Show neighborhoods via rezoning, to the supersizing of Berwyn Village.
Move onto East Whiteland. Apartments everywhere in various stages of development. Ugly, architecturally unfortunate buildings utterly devoid of charm.
And West Whiteland. Oh we can’t forget West Whiteland. A sea of apartments and wait until they develop at Ship Road and Lancaster Avenue which will create the urban canyon corridor from hell.
Here we are at King of Prussia west. And it literally sucks.
The tale of two cities errr ….Chester County.
Here we are in one of the most beautiful counties in Pennsylvania. But due to greed and urban sprawl, how soon before Chester County is referred to as formerly one of the most beautiful counties in Pennsylvania?
We are getting towards the end of 2020 and even in this brutal year of the global pandemic known at COVID19 the development has continued it’s relentless march across Chester County.
I have to ask when will it stop? Single family, multi family, fake carriage homes, apartments, town houses whatever it is ALL TOO MUCH.
The photo I am opening this post with speaks volumes. The first thought is aren’t we all lucky to have such great first responders in this area? But it’s the second thought that bothers me and makes me ponder. The location is on the photo. Route 30 and Route 100 in Exton, West Whiteland Township.
If there was LESS development would perhaps there be LESS flooding when a big storm rolls in?
It’s kind of what came first the chicken or the egg kind of a conversation, but Chester County, we need to have it. Yesterday is a clear indication we need to have it.
A disclaimer: I am using flooding photos sourced off of Facebook. Some from the Classic Diner folks, a friend, and just photos that have been publicly posted. People captured in the moment storm flooding images yesterday and I want you all to look at the photos and think.
Think about our communities.
Think about our safety, the safety of our first responders during storms like this.
Think about the pace of development out here.
Think about the need for better stormwater management and less density.
A friend of mine took the photo above yesterday. This water is insane. I haven’t lived here long enough to know if it ever flooded like this before. They also took the next photo. It sure looks like those boats were ready to launch, right?
However, it still renews my suggestion that East Whiteland Township is but one of many municipalities which needs to look at their stormwater management codes/rules and reevaluate immediately due to the constant development around here. I also think that East Whiteland and her neighbors to the east and west (West Whiteland, Easttown, Tredyffrin for starters) need to revisit the pace of development, period.
And there needs to be a conversation with the Chester County Planning Commission and their Landscapes quagmire which has this part of Chester County becoming the next King of Prussia. Come on now, I am not exaggerating see this screenshot from Landscapes:
This man has always been development first oriented and he lives in Lower Merion Township in a densely populated area. Don’t misunderstand me, he lives in a lovely area, but it is extremely unlike out here. And as per bios of him I have read, he grew up in an area even more densely populated than where he currently lives. So how can Brian O’Leary really get Chester County? Sure he works out here, but he doesn’t live out here so how can he get our day to day 24/7/365 experience? So when I see the density the Chester County Planning Commission says in hunky dory for certain parts of Chester County, it literally makes me queasy. Brian O’Leary is captain mixed use, high density. There already is one King of Prussia. There already is one Bensalem.
So Brian, what do you have to say today for the flooding in some places? Can you kindly put your planning brain to use over stormwater management and perhaps a density slow down? Yesterday’s flooding shows we desperately need another plan. A better plan. The more development which occurs, the fewer places for water to go. Common sense.
So many people are without power. So many people lost so much due to flood waters. People also lost homes due to falling trees. Yesterday was a very bad storm. But as temperature and weather patterns change due to climate change, we have to adapt. And we have to change. We can’t keep doing what we have been doing. Or more specifically, we can’t keep allowing the same patterns of development to continue.
Change won’t be easy. Change won’t happen overnight. There are a lot of politics involved to say the least. But I am tired of politicians also driving how we should want to live in our communities. We need more open space, less development. We need less high density development and some real/better stormwater management plans. Municipalities can’t just play lip service to this any longer. They also need to put existing residents first and quit drooling over the quick fix one-time hit of ratables when a new development occurs.
Critics of my thought process will undoubtedly say I can’t tie this storm and over-development together. But I can and I have. Because if there was MORE open space, LESS development, BETTER stormwater management plans, and LESS high density development would some areas have potentially had LESS flooding yesterday? Now I know that doesn’t mean everywhere that flooded yesterday, but in some places I believe people might have fared better.
But until we try as communities to do things better, we will never know if we can do better, will we? So how about it residents of Chester County? Can you ask your elected officials for change?
📌”Dec 27, 2019 · Bentley Homes heads back to the Main Line, buys land from Valley Forge Military Foundation. Valley Forge Military Academy Foundation has sold five properties adjacent to its Wayne campus to Bentley Homes for $1.65 million.”📌
I realized where it was yesterday on my way home from a skin cancer procedure at Penn Medicine in Radnor. That corner where Upper Gulph Road meets Radnor Road (Radnor Street Road when down the road a piece in Radnor Township, Delaware County.)
This location is Tredyffrin Township, Chester County.
Now Valley Forge has been selling and or leasing land since 2010 according to an old article I found in the Delco Times. So it shouldn’t be a surprise. Except in 2010 this deal was with a neighboring academic institution, Eastern University.
Valley Forge is one of the academic institutions that people wonder if they will survive COVID19. There are a lot of schools across the country that may or may not. This global pandemic affects enrollment (see Forbesarticle from April, 2020 and Deloitte.com for example.) Schools were already rocked by student visa issues given the current isolationist tenor of this country which is affecting the ability to host foreign students. Coronavirus just puts them more into uncertain times, financially.
But a development on this corner? High up on a hill? Will everyone around them be their storm water management program? And why does another Main Line McMansion project need to occur?
The irony is in a time when people are starting to question whether or not they want to live on top of one and other as we are still experiencing a global pandemic , development is not slowing down. It seems to be at a fever pitch. And this development will also impact the Tredyffrin Easttown School District which seems to be rather crowded already?
Now someone will snap these homes up I suppose, except it all depends on the economy in general which has been rocked by COVID19 if we’re honest.
📌”Valley Forge Military Academy Foundation has sold five undeveloped lots along Radnor Road at Upper Gulph Road to Bentley Homes for $1.65 million, writes Natalie Kostelni for Philadelphia Business Journal.…“I was building on the Main Line for years and the market died,” Tom Bentley said. “Now, we’re coming back to the Main Line. We return.”
During the Great Recession, Bentley built smaller homes, townhouses and multifamily properties further west in Kennett Square, Chadds Ford and Exton…..Bentley has also accumulated three lots on the east side of Radnor-Chester Road not far from Lancaster Avenue in Radnor and a dozen lots off Newtown Road in Easttown.”📌
Development keeps on rolling doesn’t it ? Are there really people to fill all these developments from single family to townhouse to apartments?
Pay attention to Tredyffrin’s neighbor Easttown. They also have development looming. Which will also feed into Tredyffrin Easttown School District. And then head west. More and more development.
Policy Committee Agenda February 4, 2020 – 7:00 p.m. Room 200, T/E Administration Offices 1. Approval of Minutes of the January 21, 2020 Policy Committee Meeting 2. Public Comment 3. Review of Policies for 2nd Reading Policy and Regulation 1120: Communications with the School Board Policy 4350: Health and Safety in the Workplace Policy 5223: Promotion Policy and Regulation 5405: Student Substance Abuse Policy and Regulation 8040: Emergency Preparedness 4. Information None 5. Follow Up from Previous Policy Committee Meeting Policy and Regulation 5401: Student Discipline Policy and Regulation 6151: Staffing the Educational Program (Class Size) 6. Policies and Regulations for Review and Discussion Regulation 3233: Federal Fiscal Compliance – Procurement Regulation 3323: Procurement Regulation 3380: Travel Reimbursement Policy and Regulation 5001: Enrollment and Registration Requirements and Verification of Student Residency 7. Policy Committee Goals 8. Future Meetings Policy meetings for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year will be on March 3, April 1,and May 5. Unless advertised otherwise, all meetings are held at the Tredyffrin/Easttown Administration Offices, 940 West Valley Road, Suite 1700, in Room 200 at 7:00 p.m.
My friend and fellow bloggeress, Patty Benson has written about this today as well.
I learned of a troubling situation from the January 21 meeting of TESD Policy Committee. Although I was not in attendance at the meeting, I reviewed the video of the meeting and would encourage all reading this post to do likewise (click here for video).
According to Maggie and Mark Gaines, their 6-year-old kindergarten daughter (who has Down Syndrome) now has a record with the Tredyffrin Township Police Department.
Oh yeah… the video
Start paying attention RIGHT at the beginning. Mrs. Gaines comes on around 1 minute 32 seconds (or there abouts)
Here is a long excerpt from the statement I uploaded earlier in the post:
My name is Maggie Gaines. I’m here with my husband Mark and our six-year old daughter Margot. We live in Wayne. I am speaking tonight to make the School board aware of how its “threat assessment” policy is being implemented in the elementary schools of T/E to the detriment of students.
Our daughter Margot is a kindergartener at Valley Forge Elementary School. And she now has a record with the Tredyffrin police department, because the district alleged she had made a threat to her teacher.
On November 19, Margot, who has Down syndrome and often struggles transitioning between activities, was asked by her teacher to do something she did not want to do. At one point in her refusal she pointed her finger at her teacher and said, “I shoot you.”
I imagine the utterance was not unlike the instances when I’ve told her it’s time for bed and she says, “I hate bed. I hate mommy.” As most parents can attest, I have learned not to take offense. For I know that a short time later she is usually cuddled up to me, while we read bedtime stories and exchange kisses and cuddles before saying good-night.
At any rate, the teacher claimed this response was a “threat” and brought Margot to the principal, who talked to my daughter and quickly determined that she neither understood what she was saying nor meant any harm to her teacher or any of her classmates.
The principal then followed district policy and convened a “threat assessment” team.
The threat assessment team met and determined Margot had made a “transient” threat, which is simply an expression of anger or frustration with no intent to harm anyone. The threat assessment team recommended no disciplinary action. Also, there was no recommendation from the principal, Margot’s teachers nor any other members of Margot’s IEP team to address the “problem” behavior in her IEP since it appeared to be an “isolated” event.
I think most people would agree that this is where the issue should have ended. And yet it did not.
Hours after the threat assessment team met, the principal informed me by phone that the school was still required under the district’s policy to call the police regarding the incident.
I disagreed and argued it was absurd to involve the police for an episode involving a kindergartner who pointed her finger, not in malice, but in protest to a request to change classrooms. The principal agreed to discuss the issue further with me the next day.
After reviewing Policy 5401, my husband and I did not see anywhere in the text that required the school to call the police for a transient threat. That evening I sent an email recapping my concerns regarding the policy to Becky Wills, the principal, Ellen Turk, the district safety officer, Chris Groppe director of individualized student services, and Mark Cataldi, director of Assessment and Accountability.
More than 24-hours after the incident occurred, I received another phone call from Becky Wills and Ellen Turk, who told me they had conferred with the district’s administration and concluded the policy required them to “consult with law enforcement.”
Ellen Turk admitted during our discussion that the purpose of the so-called “consultation” with police was not applicable in Margot’s case. But she said that because this was the district’s policy, she had to follow it without exception for every student, in every situation. There was no room for anyone in the district to use common sense to interpret the policy any differently.
My husband, Mark, and I insisted on being on the phone when the call was made to the Tredyffrin Police Dept. The information that was relayed was the same as what would be given to law enforcement when filing a police report.
They recorded my daughter’s name, birthdate, and address. They asked for the names and birthdates of myself and my husband. And they took details of what had happened.
When I asked Officer Garns, who took the call, if he viewed this as a consultation. He answered “no.” He said he was merely recording what had happened.
I also asked how long the information would be held by the Tredyffrin police department. He said it was entered into the department’s database and would not be deleted or expunged after any reasonable time period. I asked who could access this information, and he said it was publicly available.
I am well aware that we live in a time when parents are concerned for their children’s safety in school. When I think of incidents at Parkland High School or Sandy Hook Elementary School, I too am haunted and disgusted.
But I also think our society and our schools across the country have overreacted with respect to perceived threats, resulting in even finger guns wielded by kindergartners being viewed as cause to alert authorities.
I am chilled to the bone. One reason is I have heard other tales of misuse of this policy in this district. I have heard of parents (don’t know any but have heard they exist) afraid to come forward because they fear being targeted and what exactly is this school district building here?
What would the ACLU or a savvy Americans With Disabilities Act lawyer say to this? This is a child. A small child in kindergarten with Down’s syndrome. Why are Becky Wills, Chris Groppe, Ellen Turk, and Mark Cataldi (whomever they all are ) are working for this district? To instill fear and loathing? I think they have achieved those objectives and should be on their way now, don’t you? Yes.. FIRE their asses.
And while I am loathe to criticize a local police department, don’t they have any leeway here? Why do they want parents and little special needs kids treated this way? And if this school district cries wolf enough, would they even be able to recognize (God forbid) a REAL and credible threat and evaluate it? Where is the actual focus here? It’s too broad a brush of a policy isn’t it? (Read TESD Policy 5401 here)
Why does the Tredyffrin Easttown School District have so many messed up problems? Do they need a new Superintendent of Schools and a school board too? Remember this:
Nora Nissenbaum thought the boy in her sixth-grade class was cute, so they casually texted for about a month. But she didn’t like it when the boy insulted her friends at a school dance — and told him so.
The relationship soured. The boy sent anti-Semitic memes and text messages. A caption for one meme reads, “Orange Jews: 100% Concentrated,” under an orange-tinted photo of concentration camp prisoners standing behind barbed wire….All the while, parents say, school officials kept the trouble quiet and didn’t alert families in the district to a threat that many consider a public safety issue that should have been dealt with swiftly and transparently. And in the absence of a statement from the district, parents found out about what happened through the rumor mill.
So if this mom had not come forward would it be the good old rumor mill again? As I sit and continue to listen to this last meeting on You Tube, I am shocked, uncomfortable, outraged and fearful. A whole lot of CYA going on with that school district and few answers.
There is a problem here and what is the solution??
One thing I would like to know is how many OTHER parents are out there dealing with this other than Maggie and Mark Gaines? Maybe Tredyffrin Easttown School District and the Tredyffrin Police Department should let the public know?
I know policies need to be in place as we live in a crazy world, but when the people who are supposed to be educating and protecting our kids and families seem to have lost touch with reality and file police reports on kindergartners with Down’s Syndrome, maybe there needs to be a closer look, policy adjustment, and an investigation into the people at this elementary school? I don’t get how the police department even went through with this report do you?
I mean do they seriously think parents will continue to volunteer at the school or have their kids involved in this school and others in the Tredyffrin Easttown School District? If I had a child in this district I would be pulling them out of this district. When public school districts piss and moan as to why kids get pulled out of their school districts and put in private and other schools like charters, look no further than something like this.
People, this is OUTRAGEOUS. Who is going to keep the kids safe from their own school district? Is Tredyffrin Easttown School District inspiring the future or fear?
In 2009, lots of people (myself included) started going to billboard hearings in Haverford Township. And in Lower Merion Township. Sometimes we numbered in the 150+ per meeting.
We all also used to protest regularly. The two townships and their solicitors and commissioners were solidly with the community too. They didn’t want these billboards anymore than the residents in these locations.
My friends in small Haverford Township neighborhoods were the most imminently threatened, like my pals on Penn Street, Dayton Road, Lee Avenue, San Marino and more (there are multiple locations in Haverford Township, these were just the streets near me.)
However, my own neighborhood which stretched out behind Our Mother of Good Counsel Church in Lower Merion was potentially affected. And even worse? Where I lived was in a HISTORIC DISTRICT! (Which is why The Lower Merion Conservancy is alerting people to the court hearings beginning today in Media! It’s STILL a historic district!)
Then after a few years of attending meetings which seemed monthly if not more, my life changed. First breast cancer, followed by a move to Chester County, and I thought well at least I don’t have to worry about those ugly billboards anymore, right?
Phoenixville, Charlestown Township, West Whiteland, Tredyffrin now headed for county court, and a lot of them planned for East Whiteland Township.
I get that the billboard company owner wants to sit in traffic and look at his signs￼, but they are his signs. They don’t belong to the community at all. Which is why you see elected officials in Lower Merion and Haverford Townships still fighting for the residents and starting today, if y’all want you can join them in Media:
Also this week? The billboard company is doing a presentation at the Desmond in Malvern on what they want to do in East Whiteland. See this flyer (which I personally did not create but I am sharing):
‼️Is this Chester County or Las Vegas? Good question. ‼️
It’s no secret how I feel about these billboards. I think they’re simply awful. I don’t think they have a place in our communities. I don’t think they do anything positive for our communities. It’s all about somebody else’s sense of capitalism. And while on a certain level I begrudgingly respect their desire to make a buck, they shouldn’t do it at the expense of people in communities everywhere should they?￼￼
The media has not really picked up on billboards in East Whiteland. They should as it is just another in a long long line or list of communities facing the same company.
And why is it that these billboards have to be everywhere? Or anywhere? Let us not forget there are FOUR states in this country that do not have billboards and they seem to live just beautifully.￼ Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine—have prohibited billboards.
The protest photos you are seeing were taken by friends in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania yesterday. This morning I wish my friends who are headed or in court already in Media best of luck￼￼.
As communities near and far we are #StrongerTogether. #NoBillboards