Well, is it going to burble over again and Willistown like NOFIMBY (No Farm in My Back Yard) or bad septic and sewer? People say that there is an issue brewing over 8044 Goshen Rd. in Malvern. It’s a very windy and busy road. And now it seems a religious institution wants to turn this into some sort of religious institution property. I mean there?
No, I don’t quite get this whole thing. It’s not something I’ve paid attention to. I think it’s an extraordinarily unattractive house as it stands. It’s not exactly a house where I would say that it would be a crying shame to tear it down and start over, but is this an area where do you actually want other than residential and since it’s residential does that mean it needs a zoning exception? And was it really listed by a realtor in Jenkintown? Jenkintown is the other side of everywhere from here what do they know from Chester County?
This property at 8044 Goshen seems like it was a mention at a February Planning Meeting? And it is some sort of a zoning thing now or since, December, right? I’ve seen it mentioned on a few agendas, but what are they actually doing about it? Are they actually discussing it or are they afraid to discuss it?
Why does Willistown always seem to be growing zoning issues? Maybe they hire the wrong zoning officers for the township? And what about this new manager? Does she ever open her mouth about anything? Willistown is a wonderful area but it seems like it’s having growing pains or something?
Well, that’s also another plan in front of Willistown with this law firm, isn’t it? Aren’t they the Rock Hill Farm attorneys too? They’re good.
And this is yet another seeming zoning issue and land-use issue in front of Willistown? Willistown you’re beautiful, but maybe you need to up your legal game as a municipality, huh? And neighbors, it’s really great that you all been together, but banding together alone isn’t going to do it y’all better find yourselves good land-use lawyers, don’t you think? T-shirts and lawn signs and flyers are not going to solve these issues.
And now the neighbors are also passing out flyers or something? I am glad they are doing that but they will need to be a little more vocal about this I think. I think it’s just a really odd location for an institutional use and it’s not going to be a passive institutional use is it? It could be pretty busy and how will that affect the neighbors?
I think it’s a weird location for a new institutional use, and I’m curious as to why this religious organization thought they were just going to be able to buy this property in a residential area and do this? There are plenty of religious institutions and churches, and what not that co-exist in residential areas but this road is kind of busy and I just wonder how this would work?
Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 7 PM is the next zoning hearing board meeting. And I have to be honest I think this is one of those issues where they might need more than the little Willistown board room don’t you? And that’s where it’s scheduled, that meeting.
It’s like a Catch 22 because it’s not another cram plan housing development, but it’s also contemplating a use of a property that would require a zoning change, right? So I guess my biggest question of all is because zoning doesn’t happen in a vacuum, what happens if you change the zoning here and this current project goes forward but doesn’t last and survive in this location? Then what would be next, what could be next?
I think this is something worth watching. And if other municipalities are smart, they will also pay attention to this. It’s interesting.
If the “concerned” neighbors are smart they would hire a lawyer who could handle this. I would actually suggest a lawyer other Willistown residents hired a while back, the same one I mentioned the other day. Philip Rosensweig. And no I am not getting anything for saying this, he’s a fabulous land use attorney. And he was a good commissioner for many years in Lower Merion Township even when we didn’t agree.
I think this is a really weird place for something like this because of the road, and how an institutional use will potentially affect this are is also a valid concern, isn’t it?
The title of this post pertains to the craziness of Willistown, not AQUA.
Is this gentleman (using that term loosely) safe to be around in the community? He seems dangerously obsessed with Willistown Township Supervisors William Shoemaker and Bob Lange.
Personally I think he is underneath it all, a man with a big case of the green-eyed monster. This man is jealous of those men. He wants to be those men, down to the generational land they live on. I am allowed that opinion. But those men he will never be.
The obsession over these two supervisors in Willistown is unhealthy. The behavior stalkerish and creepy A.F.
I mean how many god damn times do we have to discuss a $250 campaign contribution that was not accepted? Really, is he still saying Bill Shoemaker sold out his township where his home is and family land for $250? Dude you are like a quackery version of Dynasty episode. Or what about the mythical party where supposedly Bill Shoemaker was at the home of Aqua’s chairman? For that especially, who cares and I guess the Pied Piper of Willistown who also hates chickens doesn’t get invited anywhere? Lord love a duck, no scratch that, he might hate them too. Oh and that never happened, this party dinner thing, did it?
This man wants to imply Bill Shoemaker is dirty. He wants to imply Bob Lange is dirty. Ok, so he doesn’t have to like them, we don’t have to like him. But these constant posts and harping on a non-issue? BIZARRE. UNHEALTHY.
Of course I laugh that this is the wagon the sewer folks have hitched themselves to. The pied piper of misconstrued facts and personal animus and he is NOT even on sewer is he? What is his end game? Run for supervisor? Run someone else for supervisor?
Like I have said all along, I have no problem with people protesting sewer sales. It’s all how it is approached. And for Willistown, having this as someone involved, creates a lack of credibility for those residents who are fighting this. We are judged by the company we keep, and in polite society, that still counts for something. It’s time to leave this man some rubber chickens.
Willistown, this really needs to stop. It’s all just too much. And truthfully sad. The ugliness is seeping into all of your corners. Is that really what you all are about? Ugliness? I mean damn people, is it PFA time in Willistown?
Where’s the poop? Why right here (see screenshot above.) “If I was a supervisor” he says? But he’s not, is he? Nor is he on sewer, is he? He’s on septic while trying to control the flow of township poop in Willistown, right? (https://www.willistownsewer.org/ )
He is the Willistown website guy for sure. He is also the “Walkable Willistown” guy. (See https://www.walkablewillistown.org/ ) Think about this pretzel 🥨 logic for a second: he would be O.K. with miles of concrete (impervious surfaces) which would mean removal of heritage trees and possible land takings, but sewers are bad and he thinks magically ALL septic users would be strong-armed into sewer lines? That is a fallacy. Someone taking over a municipal sewer system doesn’t mean all septic systems go away, are banned, or whatever. It just means the sewer changes hands, doesn’t it?
Pretty ludicrous so far, right?
The other thing is why does anyone think developers need sewer lines as an excuse to develop? Also ludicrous, because he’s kind of got it twisted (shocker, I know, right?) The development is already here, isn’t it?
Development causes stresses on infrastructure. Infrastructure includes where the poop goes (other than on his posts, of course), otherwise known as SEWER and septic, right?
It’s kind of See Spot Run basic.
Also See Spot Run basic? The fact that Willistown residents need to do their own research and not depend on the local version of fake news, AKA this guy.
Again, state laws protect utility companies like AQUA and that is WHY they can jump rates willy nilly.
Again, local zoning is guided by the State Bible known as the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC.) The MPC has not been comprehensively updated since the late 1960s, early 1970s (I forget which.)
State elected officials (State Senators and State Representatives) are the ones who need to change the laws and update the MPC.
So while Spot is running all over the Internet with fake news and around town designing nasty street signs, perhaps Spot might wish to talk to State Senators and State Representatives to try and solve the underlying issues which if corrected might help slow the roll of development stressing infrastructure causing municipal sewer sales and big companies buying sewer systems and price gauging residents? Just a thought…
Verbal diarrhea makes the world go round, doesn’t it? And here I used to think West Vincent and West Whiteland were the most amusing municipalities to watch. Pshaw, they’ve got nothing on modern day Willistown.
Ciao ciao. Until the next scintillating poop-centric Facebook post appears. Some poop you just can’t make up….Spot undoubtedly sees me as free advertising, well I see him as popcorn worthy entertainment in the made for Lifetime TV movie or Bravo Reality show that Willistown has become.
I used to think Willistown was one of the most beautiful places around. But as the years have gone by, I have found that beauty marred by ugliness within the actual community. We have all read about it when the issues have burbled over into local and regional news. The ugliness can be staggering.
The whole smear campaign against Willistown Supervisors Bill Shoemaker and Bob Lange does NOT sit right with me. A pied piper on a septic has it all wound into the sewer and other issues, and it’s not right in my opinion. So I thought I would de-bunk the myth of the mysterious campaign donation once and for all. It’s why I wrotewhen a gotcha is a big fat nothing. And I also went the extra mile and did my own verification of the facts of the matter, because the below bothered me.
So guess what? It is good that the assertion “Bill got $$$ from Aqua” bothered me. Why? Because it’s not true. It’s FALSE as in a LIE.
There is also a failed politician in Willistown desperately seeking relevance (for another run for something perhaps?) who wishes to essentially say I am a bad person etc, etc in her nonsensical passive aggressive manner. I am not having any of that, either. She made herself a public figure by running for public office and therefore becoming a politician, and espouses much publicly so I am in turn expressing my opinion here. I will start that she announces before she speaks at meetings that she ran against Bill Shoemaker for Supervisor. She of course, lost. It’s odd and she did it at the most recent meeting. ( See willistown needs a sedative.)
I block this person on social media who was a recent enough political candidate for elected office, so I don’t see the nonsense unless someone sends me a screen shot. Well several someones sent me a particular screenshot.
Shall we file this whole thing under we hold these untruths to be self-evident? Again, I block this failed politician so I’m not sure where it appeared, but it is in response to the post I wrote after watching the Willistown meeting earlier this week live.
She was right there at the meeting in front of the township cameras, and you can see her on the videos and meeting rocking back-and-forth on her feet in a blue pattern summer dress.
So I don’t know if she had listening issues that evening, or what the deal is but I did not hear supervisors say they were too busy to read/answer emails. I did hear supervisors say, including one of her political persuasion, who said that some of the emails received would have delayed responses because some of the emails sounded like they needed more involved responses. Is that actually unreasonable?
What I also heard is I don’t think all of the supervisors are even on social media, some of them who are don’t have time to read all the back-and-forth drivel on social media (which is reasonable as they work), and most importantly they don’t govern via social media. That reality seems to escape this politician without an elected office.
She seemed upset to be on camera although she was right there front and center of the camera’s range? What she also neglects to mention in her remarks is this was a public meeting and people have the right to record it. And the reason people recorded it was so what actually happened could be seen accurately. No interpolation, actually seeing it unfold as the events of the night occurred. The township records the meetings too. And if you watch her on the meeting video was she also recording / photographing at least parts of the meeting? Sure appeared that way, did it not?
And where she also needs to buy a clue is one reason a lot of municipalities need to sell sewer systems is because they can’t afford them in part because of the stresses development puts on infrastructure.
The sewers don’t cause development, but development causes infrastructure expenses all across the board to go up, and no one ever wants to talk about that cost of development because why? Oh yes the other thing that this failed politician doesn’t understand: zoning with regards to development. The Municpalities Planning Code (MPC) is the state bible which guides all local zoning in Pennsylvania. It needs to be comprehensively updated. That would require state elected officials who are state reps and state senators to actually enact an act of the state constitution to perform a comprehensive update the MPC, just like they are the very same folks who need to amend the laws that protect corporations like AQUA at expense of residents vis-à-vis rate hikes!
Large tracts of land are sold to developers because they are ponying up the coin to buy said land. They are developing because the current zoning as dictated by the MPC allows it. The development stresses infrastructure including sewers. Development is also causing overcrowding in school districts which is another conversation entirely.
Like me or dislike me, I am entitled to my opinions on a meeting where the behavior of the majority of residents was deplorable and inappropriate. You can feel passionate about a local issue without acting like a crazed mob of thugs.
I am sure this failed politician will next blame the lack of rain and climate change on the sewers. This is why you don’t allow failed politicians like this to actually make it into office. She is just as bad as a Marjorie Taylor Greene even if she sits on the other side of the political aisle.
And regarding the size of the board room in Willistown: I have no idea what the board room looked like before this. What I do know is townships out here seem to ALL mostly have small boardrooms. No one asked for a larger venue ahead of meeting advertising time, so a larger venue was not sought.
And also there’s another sad reality of local government and that’s usually nobody much shows up. This time people showed up because they were led to believe that a decision was happening on something that decision was not being made on that night.
Also, if I can find the sewer on agendas and minutes going back quite a ways, why can’t anyone else find it referenced? It’s time to also stop saying no one told the residents when the residents weren’t paying attention, isn’t it?
It actually doesn’t matter what the issue is in this particular township, it’s how everything is approached at public meetings on the part of the public. there are so many people that scream and shout first and think later. They make these offensive comments about the supervisors essentially being their employees. They are your elected officials. Yes they should be responsive to residents, but when residents are acting irrational nobody responds to that. But they aren’t your boys and girls and what they get as far as compensation is a pittance. It’s not a real salary, more like a really small stipend. And local elected officials no matter what residents think, spend almost a second full-time job as far as hours dealing with residents and township business every week
The same thing goes with the township staff. A lot of people are incredibly rude to a lot of the people in this township, a lot of whom are very nice and hard-working. I do have a caveat for that however, because in Willistown in the past they have had Township staff that I always thought literally “what were they thinking” because they had a lot of former Radnor Township employees who migrated west after the scandal years in Radnor. A former zoning officer who wasn’t very good immediately comes to mind.
The thing about choosing township staff anywhere is sometimes I don’t think you have a very big pool to choose from, and they all seem to migrate between municipalities. But I definitely think it would behoove municipalities in general to do a little more homework.
Willistown has a new township manager. I don’t even know what her name was she was announced at the meeting but there were so much hubbub you couldn’t hear it really watching the zoom. I do think she needs to step up and be visible and do things like help take control of the meetings and help the supervisors run the meetings more efficiently. in other words, a township manager literally has to manage. That is also a balancing act because her bosses are the elected officials.
Township managers and township employees work for the township as in the municipality, they don’t work for individual residents and that is often what residents assume. However, things like taxes that residents pay go towards salaries, so it’s not like there isn’t a connection there.
Every single time Willistown residents don’t get their own way these days a lot of them scream “corruption.” Trust me when I tell you, you don’t know from true municipal corruption. I have seen residents fight actual corruption. And then there is this whole thing about being offended by two supervisors because they are related by marriage, and their family has owned land for generations. So what? It’s neither immoral, unethical, or illegal. And that whole argument is
As I have said before, I’m not actually in favor of municipalities selling out their sewer systems to big corporations. But it’s often not as simple a conversation at times as “don’t sell.” I think that is the case here.
No matter what happens, if Willistown is to survive, the residents have to stop the baseless ad hominem attacks and stick to the actual issues and actual facts. And they have to be more proactive, less reactive. They need to consistently participate in where they call home, and that doesn’t just need to happen in Willistown, it sadly needs to happen most places.
Here’s hoping Willistown exorcises it’s ugliness. Start with public meetings.
It is my opinion that certain individuals seem to be trying to incite a riot in Willistown? What do the want, a mini January 6, 2021 in Willistown? WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THIS TO WHERE YOU CALL HOME?
So I am going to once again ask is this is about the sewer issue or personal animus on the part of whomever seems to be driving the bus on this issue now and WHY????
I almost titled the something in the water post “Hey Willistown don’t let reality get in the way of your delusion”, but then I decided that was just a little too rude. But it’s about these signs. We all keep seeing them and not all of them are actually in Willistown.
It makes you wonder why these signs have to be so nasty and where they originated from.
Above is a screenshot from a second Willistown sewer website called WillistownSewer.org which apparently will be replacing SaveOurSewer.org. In addition to lawn signs there are also BUMPER STICKERS:
Ok, do Willistown residents realize their issue is being hijacked for personal animus?
And why are these signs targeting two individuals (Supervisors Bill Shoemaker and Bob Lange) in Willistown all over as in also outside of Willistown? If y’all don’t want us non-Willistownians commenting, maybe don’t post the signs outside of the township for starters?
Ok, I am waiting. I know it is time to cue the refrain of “She doesn’t live in Willistown, she shouldn’t say anything!”
No I don’t live in Willistown. I wouldn’t want to at this rate because people are mean as snakes. There is this nasty edge meets a misplaced sense of entitlement no matter what the issue. And to me, this whole sewer issue has turned personal, which defeats the purpose of trying to win an argument in the first place. Next example? Here, this screenshot:
So. The thing about political campaign donations is companies and individuals associated with big companies give out political donations like jelly beans. Both sides of the aisle, always similar amounts to candidates on both sides to hedge their bets a lot of the time. I mean is this guy implying in his opinion that an honorable man sold out his municipality, an entire municipality, for $250? For real? My opinion is political candidates should not take donations from big old corporations. All of these corporations want something, even if it is just a certain perception. And then these donations will always do more harm than good, also because of perception at times.
I have not shown all donations, you can look yourselves. Democrats and Republicans and organizations.
BUT…..what is the question no one asked when seeking a GOTCHA? Did Bill Shoemaker accept the check and did it get cashed? The answer is NO. The check was recorded because it was CUT and OFFERED, NOT ASKED FOR. That is a VERY big difference.
“The name of the PAC used for the intended Shoemaker contribution was “The H2O State Political Action Committee”. We wrote a check for $250 to Mr. Shoemaker in September of 2021 which he did not accept. Because the check was issued, we had to report it with the state by law, however, it was not accepted.
Please let me know if you need anything else.“
Yep, it pays to actually do your homework. Check was offer and recorded. not cashed and accepted. And yes, I redacted emails including the AQUA email person. No great love for AQUA but not being the one that gives out their e-mail address. If you all really bother, you too can find publicly available information and whom to contact.
Another thing? Part of the AHA GOTCHA was Bill Shoemaker supposedly went to the home of the AQUA person who lives in Willistown, right? So is the accuser stalking either the Willistown supervisors or the AQUA person? Hiding in the bushes when people entertain privately in their homes? Driving up and down in front of driveways like certain people have done (and I have seen with my own eyes) on Castlebar Lane in front of Wildflower Farm? REALLY????? That my friends, is creepy A.F., yes? And seriously, what business is it of anyone where the supervisors or I socialize for that matter? Lots of people entertain. Lots of people get invited places. SO WHAT? I also have to ask is this is what some rather random woman was over at Sugartown Strawberries recently taking photos of some poster having to do with the Hayride to Hell movie?
Is this now Willistown? Playing I Spy on whomever whenever? Are wiretaps next? Is this like Watergate?
And the person mailing out flyers, creating websites, lawn signs, and collecting email addresses doesn’t work for the township. He wants all of you residents of Willistown to dance to his tune, but instead of just telling all of you to essentially just show up, why didn’t he put on his big boy pants and suggest that he or a group of you contact the township BEFORE the meeting, BEFORE the meeting was to be advertised and ASK like adults if the meeting could be moved to a larger venue? And why does a person who is reported to be on septic CARE about the sewer?
AGAIN, I go back now to these new street signs and bumper stickers because they only target two supervisors. There have always been three supervisors, yet only two are ever targeted. I think that is done as a political motivation and personal animus, and just like the First Amendment may allow individuals to pay for street signs like this, I am also allowed to have that opinion. These are after all the same people who like to point out that Bill and Bob are related by marriage and the families are large landholders. Are they the largest landholders? I don’t know and I don’t care. What that says to anyone rational is they have a vested interest in the Willistown community. Family roots. Generational connections to the land. Why is that bad and they didn’t become supervisors to have a gateway to other things, did they? They have deep roots in the community, which doesn’t make them villains in some bad play or made for Lifetime TV movie. AND if they were NOT involved in the community the same folks would criticize them for that too.
Listen Willistown, civic engagement is good. Misinformation, inciting riots, and mob mentality is not. Careful whose star you’re hitching your wagons to. So far they are doing you and your issue a disservice. Watch which Pied Piper you follow across that field.
I have been writing about Wildflower Farm in Willistown for a while now. Why? The unending the nonsense they are put through by the NOFIMBY (No Farm In My Back Yard) folk.
I am not and never have been the Wildflower Farm spokesperson, but they are my friends and what they are going through is just awful. And unnecessary.
Recently I have been taking a lot of flak from those I presume to be the friends of the NOFIMBY neighbors. One person in particular kind of just takes one’s breath away. You would think she was the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey, but no she’s just from the Main-gy Line originally. She’s very big on assigning people their place. To her I am one of “those people”.
Not sure what “those people” entails. Fabulous, maybe? (LOL 🤣🤣) This person is significantly older, so I never encountered her (thankfully) before now. Her affect is rather amusing. Maybe I should genuflect and kiss the ring?
Anyway Ryan from Wildflower Farm decided to speak to Willistown neighbors via a local group. I have his permission to share with my readers. I am also sharing a couple of comments from the Democrat who ran for Supervisor in Willistown and failed. As a now former candidate for public office she made herself a public personage by doing this. Some say she will run again, hope not, but if she does I hope she gets a basic grasp on the issues and the basic way government works, other than her interpretation of what is somewhat supercilious / self serving.
Next in screenshots is what Ryan had to say to his extended neighbors. And in part this vindicates his friends and supporters as we are basically called nasty names etc for sticking up for them. Willistown has issues, and it’s too bad a lot of the Grande Dames are gone because they used to settle peoples’ arses down quite nicely.
So there you have it. Hopefully you find the information helpful.
Lily the flower truck was the happy spot to be over in Willistown Township today. And no, there was no neighborhood disruption, no people partying in the street, lines on the road, and parking on neighbors’ lawns. But people were stopping and. buying flowers before a holiday weekend. From Wildflower Farm. It was nice, and not frantic or unpleasant like those more shall we say NOFIMBY would have you think.
How do I know? Simple. They are my friends and I pitched in and helped make the arrangements a lot of you purchased today. And before someone thinks something nefarious, I volunteered to help. I had stopped by to drop off fresh vegetables from my weekly vegetable box that no one in my house will eat, and to take some flower photos. I have taken flower photos there before. I love flowers and gardening.
Wildflower Farm has a big hoop house. Right now with the sea of daffodils growing outside, there is this hoop house full of Ranunculus of many colors that were just so spectacular. It was flower heaven today. But with two little kids home on Good Friday and flowers to cut and arrange for people, I pitched in this afternoon.
This is an actual working farm. I had plenty of time to observe on a beautiful spring day. Their property is a little slice of heaven.
The neighbors would have you believe this property is something that it’s not. Sending out a double sided glossy mailer no better than some nasty political season piece is not inexpensive, but it’s a little obvious and in my opinion is not having their desired effect.
Several people who stopped by Lily’s honor flower “bar” remarked that the reason they showed up was the nasty misleading junk mail they received. They showed up to buy flowers and bear witness to the fact that (wait for it) Wildflower Farm REALLY IS A FLOWER FARM!
The noisiest thing on Castlebar Lane today were the landscaping trucks who literally took up more than half the width of a fairly wide street – they were down at the bottom of the street on the right before Providence Road. I also did notice a man driving a nice red pickup truck driving back and forth in front of Wildflower Farm who didn’t stop to buy flowers. Some woman went by on foot all dressed in black, and a neighbor on one side of the farm parked his vehicle at the top of his driveway for a bit. Guess he was getting his mail.
But other than that, nothing remarkable. It was a lovely day. As I assembled little flower arrangements I pondered why again this is such a threat to these NOFIMBY neighbors? Why can’t they see how nice this is?
I loved working with all of those fresh cut from the field and hoop house flowers. Many of the daffodils had a wonderful and sometimes heady fragrance.
I also saw first hand how hard the Heenans are working. Are they our traditional ideal of what farmers are supposed to be or perhaps even look like? But what are farmers supposed to look like anyway? Is there a farmer stereotype handbook somewhere?
Anyway, for those who doubt? It is a flower farm. For real. Also for real? Those neighbors are NOFIMBY.
I make no secret about how I feel about the nasty NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane in Willistown.
NOFIMBY = No Farm(s) In My Back Yard.
These people treat their neighbors horribly. They have waged a campaign of terror against the Heenans. The Heenans crime? They came to Willistown with a dream: to create a beautiful small farm and grow flowers.
I have written about this several times now. Truthfully, I am somewhat astounded at how hate for their neighbors drives these NOFIMBY neighbors. How their hate for farms in a township that grew on farms seemingly drives them. I mean what is the public supposed to interpret from their actions? Apparently they would prefer a townhouse development or some other form of plastic mushroom development instead of a FLOWER farm?
Of course I am also astounded that I still don’t see Willistown Conservation Trust coming to the defense of Wildflower Farm, aren’t you? But given how many great swaths of land are in play in Willistown in general these days, I wonder what they are doing? How can they stand idly by and not truly take a stand for small farms at least?
But I digress.
Wildflower Farm needs our help. Please write to Willistown’s Township Manager Sally Slook at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please tell Willistown to amend the zoning so farms and agricultural uses of land are protected. It also can’t hurt to tell the township that you specifically support Wildflower Farm and the Heenan family specifically.
I will also point out that Willistown Township has been very supportive of Wildflower Farm. This crap is NOFIMBY neighbor driven IMHO.
This is a post I have been struggling with. I am a big supporter of Natural Lands. But I am not sure what to think here.
Summerhill Preserve is acreage in Willistown. It was put in preservation. But was the intent of the gift of this land and the preservation of it to make it a public access site, or just a preserved swath of land?
I used to see stuff fly by the past few years mostly about birds and Summerhill. Here are some screenshots and note that these screenshots don’t seem to go anywhere now when you click on the link:
Ok well stuff gets updated and moved around on websites and links get broken. No biggie. But when you go to Natural Lands website and put in Summerhill all you get now is a handful of very old articles mentioning but not centered on Summerhill. I never thought much of it, because I never thought Summerhill was like a place you could just visit, although I am sure I would love it like I love so many of Natural Lands properties. But Summerhill? Not on their list of places to visit. I just checked again today.
Again, no big deal. I have always thought, whether it is right or wrong, even if land is in conservation/preservation, it is not necessarily just open to the public. And Natural Lands kind of always said that about Summerhill. Note this screenshot from a few years ago I found for an event listing about Summerhill :
So then someone randomly asked me what was going on with Summerhill. I replied truthfully, wouldn’t know, had forgotten about it. Why had I forgotten? Because I never knew you could visit it and it had been ages since I even saw something mentioning it.
Well there is a wee problem and Natural Lands is in court with the Summerhill neighbors. And Willistown too I guess? But this is not the same as the strange case of Wildflower Farm and those neighbors. No comparison. Among other things so much of this land abuts private property. It’s not a working farm, it’s land — open space.
If you ever ask anybody who lives adjacent to a trail or conserved land or even a park they will tell you there is good and bad and living La Vida COVID in some cases has made it awkward at times. Sometimes stupid human tricks prevail – leaving trash, trespassing on private property and taking stuff, even urinating and worse from our much loved trails onto private property. It happens. Sadly, it happens. I have heard about it on the Chester Valley Trail and the Radnor Trail even in years past on the trail at Haverford College. People have told me similar stories like this near Willisbrook in Willistown. Stupid human tricks and a lack of respecting boundaries and private property, and of course it makes you wonder if they even respect the actual nature preserve or trail?
This is not the fault of the people responsible for the trails or nature preserves, in my humble opinion. It is probably impossible to babysit all of these properties all of the time and how many operate is somewhat on an honor system of dawn to dusk without real actual bodies on site to close and open properties?
So it begs the question of ironing things out so people know what will happen with what they donate land maybe? And ironing out what the public can and can’t do also perhaps? Is it not OK for preserved/conserved land to just be well passive, pristine, and preserved? As in maybe it’s left alone or maybe it’s an occasional very special space not open dusk ’til dawn to the public? And what if that is what a donor or grantor said in the first place? What if that is what conservation easements said? So maybe you can’t just pave paradise after all and put up a parking lot or you can but not necessarily everywhere?
I remember when the Summerhill place was for sale, conserved land was a selling point (and it was in the Willistown Conservation Trust Barns and BBQ as well):
So yes, neighbors moved in here knowing about the land preservation/conservation. But I think the question from reading an Orphan’s Court thing is original intent vs. I guess Natural Lands wanting to open this up and build a parking lot, etc? But I am having a hard time envisioning how they would even do this because of all of the properties that touch what Natural Lands has if that makes sense?
After reading this Orphan’s Court thing, it makes a person wonder if the neighbors here are wrong? Because if the original intent was just preserved land and that can be proven, are they wrong?
I love Natural Lands. I know some will think me horrible for raising this issue. But isn’t it important? After all you want people to donate land but land in conservation and save it from development, right? That is why I feel this case bears watching. It also looks like there is other stuff other than what is in Orphan’s Court brewing.
I am sharing the Orphan’s Court thing. Not trying to slam Willistown Township or Natural Lands. But this makes for interesting reading and pondering. And these strike me as VERY different neighbors than the OTHER Wildflower Farm thing and a different situation altogether, correct? To me this will be a case that no matter what happens will possibly lay things out a little more clearly for others in the future and will you agree when all is said in done? I am all for the race to preserve open space to quote another organization, but it should be less foggy, and simple right? Or wrong?