East Goshen Township meeting 10/25/2018. Residents from multiple municipalities packed the board room. Inside and outside the room.
East Goshen got a good dose of the public’s ire in three municipalities over their proposed zoning changes last evening.
Now I am still not sure how the meeting ended other than I don’t think anything was completely decided and the supervisors were clearly annoyed that the public had the temerity to pack the house . I was watching on YouTube and fell asleep.
Here are two photos people sent to me. One from inside the meeting room, and one from the standing room only overflow in the hall. I really do not know what ails the newer commissioners to the East Goshen board but I hope they snap out of it. But I don’t know that they will, do you?
Prior to this East Goshen has always been such a jewel because it avoided this kind of development and it avoided rezoning that would ruin it.
But now? They are all short-sighted. Changing the zoning to add cluster development is a mistake. Not just my opinion apparently given the turn out last night would be my guess. What they want to do isn’t visionary. It’s stupid and greedy.
It adds more traffic, it will crush the infrastructure, it could very well affect the school district, and what about those of us on wells and stuff as all this development affects us too?
What about nature in the equation? These parcels support a lot of magnificent wildlife and more so what about that?
In my opinion, the majority of developers don’t care. It’s all about their profit and the more they can do high density housing no matter how a property sits the more profits they make. Because face it they are clustering the houses because they can’t use all of the land. Another example would be the hideousness going on over on ChurchRoad in Malvern. Or even within the same school district East Goshen sits in. What about Greystone Hall in West Goshen?
It’s all about the money, honey. These municipalities do not care about the existing residents. Neither do the developers. It’s about profit margins. Ratables. Nothing about reality. Nothing about us.
The reality is more meetings throughout Chester County need to be packed. If we don’t stand up a lot more often and demand our open space and farms be saved and respected the pace of development will never slow.
We also need to elect better local politicians. And better state level politicians. The Municipalities Planning Code needs to be updated with better protections.
We need more land conservation and fewer plastic mushroom house farms. We need more real farms.
If we all don’t get more active in our communities we are going to look like parts of Bucks County, Montgomery County, and outside Harrisburg where it used to be open space and rolling farm land. Now it’s development after development punctuated by some version of a strip mall.
Thank you to all of the residents who went last night. Everyone can watch a replay by following this link.
I will note at the end an East Goshen supervisor took a jab at neighboring municipality East Whiteland for not letting residents know this was happening. O.k. not wrong but hey East Goshen did you really go out of your way to get this issue out there? Come on now, wouldn’t you have been just as happy with stealth mode?
Here are the names of the East Goshen Supervisors:
Here is a link to their page on the East Goshen website. It’s time to start contacting them (politely). If the public does NOT keep up the pressure, this zoning will become reality. Even if you live in a neighboring municipality, if you are against this, you should contact them. And contact your own supervisors in your municipality.
Be vocal. Be present. And East Goshen residents? If you don’t like the decisions change the faces of who governs you. Be a stakeholder where you live. Not a sheeple.
East Goshen Township meeting 10/25/2018. Residents from multiple municipalities packed the board room. Inside and outside the room.
East Goshen used to have my utmost respect. Then came pipelines and I was a little unsure. Now comes higher density development (the meeting is this Thursday, October 25th and any decision perhaps may potentially affect residents in East Whiteland and Willistown too unless I am mistaken?) and I am shaking my head. Not them too?
Now I have to wonder who got to whom in East Goshen? Says who precisely that yet another Chester County municipality has to get carved up even more like a prize turkey ?
Why does Chester County need more semi-detached “carriage homes” or TWINS in a single family area? Why does Chester County need more triple townhomes “triplexes”?
The answer is NO ONE NEEDS THIS! Is it or is it not true that this is just a way for developers to make more money? This is not about us as residents, this is about more money, isn’t it?
It is proposed that the zoning in the Township’s R-2 district (the predominant residential zoning district in the Township) be amended to allow for semi-detached carriage homes (twins) and townhomes (triplexes) on undeveloped or under-developed parcels of 20 acres or more.
• Currently, only single family detached homes are permitted in the R-2 at a maximum density of one unit per acre.
There are four undeveloped or underdeveloped parcels with over 20 acres in the Township:
980 Hershey Mill Road (34.7acres)
1469 Morstein Road(20.6acres)
401 Ellis Lane (87.3acres)
204 Line Road (31.9acres)—However,this property (Thorncroft) has a conservation easement that restricts future development to no more than—we believe—two additional residential units, once the tenant house currently under construction is complete. This conservation easement is enforced by the Pickering and French Creek Conservation Trust.
• In addition, theoretically, undeveloped parcels of under 20 acres that are contiguous to any of the 20+ acre parcels listed above could be combined so that more acreage would be affected, provided the respective owners can agree on any terms of sale amongst themselves. See the map for more detail about the abutting properties.
Who is driving this bus ? Don’t you love how open space is suddenly “under-developed parcels” ?
Hershey Mill Road is twisty-turny and floods in a few places. It also is pretty busy on one end because of Villa Maria’s lower school. It also happens to be a beautiful road just the way it is because it actually maintains its character pretty much from beginning to end. I don’t think it can handle more development even if someone wants to change the zoning to make it happen. Just my opinion of course, but my opinion nonetheless.
And then let’s talk about Morstein. Up at the end of Morstein where it meets Boot Road it already is townhouse city on one side. I am not sure which municipality it is, but it is West Chester at that end.
However, Morstein off West King is very different. Until recently it was one of the last bastion of horse farms and beautiful rolling fields at the edge of East Goshen and East Whiteland. It is already under siege for development from the East Whiteland side, as the small farmette that was 1530 Morstein is about to become a cul de sac of new McMansions “Red Barn Farms“.
Right across the street at 1535 Morstein and 1537 Morstein are two McMansions on postage stamp sized lots. They were created by a two lot subdivision a few years ago. The lot originally had a small stone house, and was long down into the woods. But heaven forbid a small house on a deeply wooded lot remain unmolested right? (I will note for the record I would not have found it to be a bad plan if they had only built one house)
So two McMansions are shoehorned in at 1535 and 1537 and they stripped so many trees to create this Nirvana of Naked Acres that the street behind and alongside now see and hear all of the traffic from Morstein and also get to look at two new houses that only have stone veneer on the very front, with the three remaining sides looking like kind of naked beige boxes. From the side and rear the houses are stunningly unattractive for what they have cost. Again, just my opinion, except I know many people share it.
If this East Goshen zoning change goes through, 1469 Morstein is the same side as the two lot subdivision so I have to ask if the East Whiteland roads of Collegeview and especially Anthony will be affected? How could they not?
Anyway, I think the change zoning is potentially problematic. Here are screen shots of what East Goshen emailed out about below. They do not broadcast their meetings, so especially if you are adjoining municipalities and are concerned about this you need to go to the meeting in person. If you are going to be affected by this potential zoning change this might be your only opportunity to speak up.
You can CLICK HERE to check out the Willistown Development List. And I think much like East Goshen, Willistown records nothing so if you do not attend meetings, you don’t necessarily know what is going on do you?
(I am not going into Easttown’s , Tredyffrin’s or East Goshen Township’s sock drawers at the moment because they aren’t in Great Valley School District. Doesn’t mean I don’t wonder about development and politics there too, but I digress…)
But anyway…. a lot of us wonder if Great Valley School District has Captain Oblivious at the helm because there is SO much development in various stages in this school district in Chester County. People always think it’s just East Whiteland, but multiple municipalities make up this district. And they all are little development islands in a bigger development sea in Chester County.
And no, before all you school district cheerleaders jump all over me, I am NOT questioning how good the district is at present. I am questioning the school district’s perennial lack of interest in a topic which affects all of the families, taxpayers, and most importantly students: DEVELOPMENT WITHIN THE DISTRICT.
According to Niche and Patch as of August 1, 2018, Great Valley is ranked 11th in the state. Think they’ll maintain that if the unchecked development continues? Haven’t they done eminent domain before in this district? How will they remain so good if the schools are so huge we’re ready for Great Valley East and Great Valley West? Are their school board members awake?
Et voilà ! Another development is born in Chester County. Don’t worry all livestock, horses, and crops will fit nicely on top of all of the Wegmans and Whole Foods Markets. And we don’t need open space. Just traffic, pollution, infrastructure woes, and over-population issues, stressed out first responders, and school districts busting at the seams.
And what started all of this today?
The Philadelphia Business Journal heralding yet another development plan for East Whiteland in the Great Valley School District:
GMH Capital Partners has paid $3.2 million in two separate transactions to buy several properties along Route 30 in Frazer, Pa., for a proposed mixed-use development.
The Newtown Square, Pa., real estate company assembled and bought the parcels as part of its plans to develop a four-story apartment building with retail space. Those plans have been going through the approval process in East Whiteland.
Mind you, East Whiteland seems to love development that comes it’s way (just look at this 2017 list.) Not being mean, this township has earned it’s pro-development reputation, has it not?
Just yikes. But when it comes to this particular development can they build if the Alley Pub stays put? After all isn’t that in between Frazer Lanes and the Pioneer gas station? The cheese stands alone? Can they withstand a big developer and survive as long as they choose? Here’s hoping the Alley Pub survives, right? It is after all the last of the old school joints in these parts isn’t it?
Speaking of development in East Whiteland, there is a petition circulating which was created in opposition to a development plan over on Flat Road. The petition is called simply PETITION IN OPPOSITION TO FLAT ROAD DEVELOPMENT. I am not the creator of the petition, but I feel for these people. East Whiteland has been lobbing this around for a while. You can read about it HERE and on HERE. If you want to see the Flat Road plan, CLICK HERE to go to East Whiteland’s site. It’s “only” 47 more homes, no biggie, right? (There was an emergency meeting of the East Whiteland Historical Commission this evening about this too – the historic Amish Cemetery is over there.)
Wrong. Not picking on any development or developer in general but all of these “onlys” ADD UP, don’t they?
Soon there will not be one blade of grass left that is not planned for something.
And all of these “onlys” do indeed affect school districts. That readers, is what I got on my soap box about. Every development adds up through multiple municipalities . This affects school districts. School districts affect taxes, so do you get the vicious cycle?
Remember…is it not true a lot of things get pushed through local governments during holidays and the dog days of summer? We live in a world where we must sadly remain ever watchful…and involved.
Oreo cows!! AKA Belted Galloways (Scottish origin). These are the black and whites who live in Willistown. (Or I think it’s Willistown) Some brown and white oreos live out off of 401.
My husband will tell you I have an affinity for farm animals. Not all. But I do love photographing cows, chickens, and goats. And horses, ponies, donkeys. Can’t forget them. (But I digress.)
Anyway….here’s hoping cow photos aren’t too controversial since today someone told me I was posting/writing too much “liberal propaganda”. Sorry not sorry, poor darling, but Ivana’s shoe line isn’t to my liking and she’s shutting down her fashion empire anyway.
I saw Duffy’s Cut today. It took my breath away. It is such a compelling story, and it is an eerie, silent, almost sacred place. Yet it is also an inconvenient history, an inconvenient truth.
When I was little my one grandfather whom I called Poppy would tell me stories of how the Irish were persecuted at different times in this country (John Francis Xavier Gallen was Irish and born in the late 19th century) . When he was a little boy, my great grandmother Rebecca Nesbitt Gallen was in service and was the summer housekeeper to the Cassatt Family in Haverford. If I recall correctly, he lost a lot of family during the Spanish Flu Pandemic of the early 20th century, but I digress. Poppy would tell me of anti-Irish sentiment and tales of “Irish need not apply”.
My other grandfather, Pop Pop, would tell me of anti-Italian sentiment. Poppy’s wife, my grandmother (my Mumma), who was Pennsylvania German, would tell me tales of anti- German sentiment during both world wars. And so did my own mother. Yes, I am off on a slight tangent here, but for all that the United States was founded as a nation of immigrants, different sets of immigrants have been persecuted at different times throughout our history and even today. Considering the immigrant stock that runs through my veins I identify with this and am basically unapologetic about my views.
So maybe while Duffy’s Cut is one of Chester County’s most astounding and horrific pieces of history, can it also be said cruelty to various sets of immigrants is as much a part of this country’s inconvenient history as slavery and indentured servitude were?
But back to Duffy’s Cut. I heard about that from my Poppy as a little girl, yet we never learned about it in history class in school. Well one history teacher I had knew of it, but it wasn’t taught to us.
I first wrote about Duffy’s Cut in 2013. I happened to be passing by the Duffy’s Cut historical marker at the time, and stopped to photograph it. Given the clouds of mystery and intrigue still surrounding Duffy’s Cut, I think the foggy afternoon was perfect. I also think that given the development occurring in Malvern (borough and East Whiteland) by developers who don’t truly give a rat’s fanny about the area, the history, or the current residents (they care about building and selling projects) it is also appropriate to remember the history. You can never truly move forward into the future if you can’t honor the past, or that is just my opinion as a mere mortal and female.
Duffy’s Cut is a big deal. What was Duffy’s Cut? Most simplistically the mass murder of Irish rail workers in 1832 around the time of a cholera outbreak they were blamed for but most say in actuality didn’t cause.
…..Duffy’s Cut, the….tale of 57 Irish immigrants who left their deeply divided homeland in search of a better life in America, only to be discriminated against, struck with disease, and tossed into a mass grave beside the tracks within two and a half weeks of their arrival….. The tale of Duffy’s Cut is more than a local story; it’s even more than an Irish story. It’s a story of human indifference and cruelty, of family legends, and of the power of technology to uncover the truth.
In April 1832, a ship called the John Stamp embarked on a journey from Derry, Ireland, to Philadelphia. Aboard the ship were about one hundred Irish immigrants. They left poverty and religious strife in Ireland; they came in search of “The American Dream.” After a long journey, the John Stamp arrived in Philadelphia safely on June 23, 1832, during an unusually hot and humid summer. Historian Earl Schandelmeier III sums up what it was like for an immigrant at this time, “you came over and either made your way or you didn’t.”
…..In charge of a particularly difficult portion of this stretch [of Railroad] was Phillip Duffy, an Irish contractor who lived in Willistown Township, Chester County. He had many contracts with the Philadelphia & Columbia and West Chester Railroads from 1829 to 1849. Track Mile 59 of the former was significantly more difficult than any other mile and delayed the whole project for over a year….Track mile 59, later known as Duffy’s Cut, was a setback. Duffy was in need of men who would work tirelessly for little pay.
Phillip Duffy ventured down to the Philadelphia docks on June 23, 1832, and met the immigrants who had just come ashore from the John Stamp. He greeted the immigrants and persuaded 57 of them to work for him on track mile 59 (Duffy’s Cut). The men were put up in a shantytown and given strict orders not to leave the camp. Duffy’s new laborers were loathed by locals; they were looked upon as less than human…. within two and a half weeks all 57 were dead.
There had been a cholera outbreak. People believed the Irish bought the disease with them. They didn’t as the records for the ship would later prove, but it didn’t matter. Those 57 men (and a woman) were immigrants who spoke mostly Gaelic and lived in the shanty town created to house them next to the railroad (Philadelphia and Columbia line) they were helping create in Malvern.
These immigrants were different. They were “dirty Irish” and locals at the time were suspect of them and threatened by them. I am sorry that sounds awful, but it is an unfortunate truth. I think that and the murder of at least some of these Irish rail workers is why this story has taken so long to unfold and is still continuing.
For example did you know that there is an edition of a paper that was a predecessor (I believe) of the Daily Local called the Village Record.
The October 3, 1832 edition of the paper had an accurate telling of what happened down at Duffy’s Cut earlier that year. The edition of the paper disappeared. The only thing that still exists is the November 8th correction article. The more palatable version of events (yet how was any of it ever palatable or acceptable?)
So my friend and I met with Dr. William Watson at Immaculata today, and he took us to the site. I will not disclose the exact location of the site because well, shall we say, Duffy’s Cut still makes people uncomfortable. And modern day residents who live near this piece of history deserve to NOT be pestered by amateur sleuths and ghost chasers.
Dr. Watson and his brother Reverend Frank Watson became intrigued by Duffy’s Cut when they were given a file that had been in the possession of their grandfather, Joseph F. Tripician. Their grandfather had been a secretary to Martin Clement, the 11th president of The Pennsylvania Railroad. Their grandfather had Clement’s old file on Duffy’s Cut. (And it was Clement who put up the stone monument at the edge of the tracks.)
Photo courtesy or Rev Frank Watson and Dr William Watson – Part of the PRR employee Julian Sachse document from the papers of Mr. Tripician from Martin Clement. This image appears many places including where I found it Duffy’s Cut: The Murder Mystery of Malvern By William S. Patton III, Spring 2014 (PSU.edu)
In April 2010 Smithsonian Magazine had this amazing article on Duffy’s Cut. You can read it online today.
And articles keep being written . Especially because Dr. Watson and his brother and their team have actually gotten some of the remains returned to family descendants in Ireland to be buried with other family members.
The world has taken notice of Duffy’s Cut and what happened there. Perhaps more so than around here truth be told. However, in 2012 an Inquirer reporter named Kristin Holmes wrote a wonderful article about the Duffy’s Cut workers remains which were given burial space at West Laurel Hill Cemetery.
When the bodies of the 57 Irish immigrants were dumped into a mass grave in 1832, it was a secret, perhaps meant to shroud a violent end.
But 180 years later, in a ceremony to commemorate the railroad workers’ deaths, there was pomp and fanfare.
Bagpipes, a procession, and a regal, 10-foot high Celtic cross grave marker were part of a funeral service Friday meant to give five of the 57 the proper burial they never had.
The observance at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd was the culmination of a 10-year research project, known as Duffy’s Cut, to determine the fate of the workers who stepped off a boat from Ireland in June 1832 and were dead eight weeks later.
While most died of cholera in an epidemic that swept the region, researchers say some may have been slain in an act rooted in fear and prejudice….The investigation began in 2002 when the Watson brothers, 49, read a secret file that mentioned the workers and a mass grave. The papers were left to them by their grandfather, who worked as a secretary to the president of what was then the Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad, and is now part of SEPTA.
The brothers began research that would eventually involve geophysicist Timothy Bechtel; the Chester County Coroner’s Office; Earl Schandelmeier, an adjunct professor at Immaculata; Janet Monge, the keeper of skeletal collections at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; and others. Project researcher John Ahtes died of a heart attack in the midst of the investigation….
The men from Donegal, Tyrone, and Derry Counties sailed to the United States and were promptly hired by railroad man Philip Duffy of Willistown. The mass of workers lived in a shanty near the tracks. The washerwoman served them. Within eight weeks, they were dead – of cholera and other causes.
Four skulls unearthed at the shanty site show signs of blunt trauma, investigators said. One has a hole that might be from a bullet.
The men probably were the victims of anti-Irish sentiment, the fear of cholera, and prejudice against immigrants, researchers say.
“Their sacrifice has been our motivation,” Frank Watson said.
“Their sacrifice has been our motivation.” How beautiful a sentiment is that?
In the spring of 2013, the New York Times continued with another part of the story: they covered the remains of young John Ruddy being returned to his descendants in Ireland:
MALVERN, Pa. — They laid his bones in a bed of Bubble Wrap, with a care beyond what is normally given to fragile things. They double-boxed those bones and carried them last month to the United Parcel Service office on Spruce Street in Philadelphia. Then they printed out the address and paid the fee.
With that, the remains of a young man were soon soaring over the Atlantic Ocean he had crossed once in a three-masted ship. His name is believed to have been John Ruddy, and he was being returned to the Ireland he had left as a strapping teenage laborer. In 1832.….Three weeks ago, the Watson brothers joined a small crowd gathered in a church cemetery in the small Donegal town of Ardara. They prayed and sang under a limestone sky, as a young laborer, late of Duffy’s Cut, received his delayed but proper burial.
Decades ago, just before the Pennsylvania Railroad was auctioned off, Watson’s grandfather — who worked for the company — saved key company records before they were destroyed. Among them were documents that hypothesized the location of the mass grave and reported the deaths of 57 workers.
The documents also clearly stated that the information was intended to remain a secret.
It was a “crazy coincidence” that the railroad company’s records survived through his family, Watson said.
The papers confirmed fears of a cover up. If the men’s deaths were due to cholera, why weren’t they recorded in a local paper, like most cholera deaths were at that time? And why would some of the bodies have been brutalized?
The answers remain elusive.
Have you noticed when you mention Duffy’s Cut you get many reactions/opinions? Ok I get it. Some day the entire truth will come out….and I wouldn’t want to be related to people who either took part in making these workers disappear or the cover up which ensued. It will be like saying you are related to Benedict Arnold. Or a slave owner. And it is something else historically wonky that basically happened in East Whiteland. (Dare I say it? Has the East Whiteland Historical Commission ever opined on this? Participated in research in any way? Or just erected a slightly historically inaccurate sign?)
But it is part of our history around here. And for those of us with at least partial Irish lineage, well, don’t you just want to know? Will finally learning the truth be so bad? John Ruddy from Donegal and the woman Catherine Burns from Tyrone have been returned to their modern descendants and buried in Ireland. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to identify the remains of more workers so that they could be sent home to their modern day descendants and rest in peace?
Fresh research and searching for the truth is underway. That has gotten a lot of coverage the past few months in Ireland, incidentally:
You will notice in the Walt Hunter report the incorrect verbiage on the Duffy’s Cut sign by the stone monument – by the East Whiteland Historical Commission. I mean I guess they tried but they state the wrong year (1834 when the incidents occurred in 1832) and the well wrong cause of death – black diphtheria, and the disease was cholera. The text of the sign is “Burial Plot of Irish Railroad Workers. Died Summer of 1834 of Black Diptheria- East Whiteland Historical Commission.”
Core samples are being taken. Amtrak seems to be cooperating a little more (I call that a true Christmas miracle – hopefully that continues.)
And oh yeah, thanks to the latest Walt Hunter story Duffy’s Cut has even made People Magazine. So what of other local media? Since it was the paper that possibly eventually became the Daily Local (Village Record, West Chester, PA) had that article that disappeared from October 3rd, 1832 how about an in-depth update from our local paper or any of the other Chester County newspapers?
Dr. Watson took us to the little museum at Immaculata where we saw the artifacts and heard the tale. I also find it fascinating how many songs and musical tributes to Duffy’s Cut exist. (You can buy a CD of songs on the Duffy’s Cut Project Website.) But it was when he took us to the site where it hit home ten days before Christmas.
The site feels almost sacred and is so quiet except for the occasional piercing whistle of a passing train or a hawk overhead. Dr. Watson told us not only the tale of the workers but his tale of his grandfather’s file and all the twists and turns it has taken to get this far.
And as his words floated in the air around us and I gazed at a stone monument and surrounding woods, could I heard in my imagination the sounds of the workers? Did they just sort of float in the air outside of our normal consciousness? I am not being fey or deliberately dotty but when you stand there and you hear what happened to them, you can almost see and hear the past…and feel it.
We need to put this right. We need to support this ongoing project as a community. It is part of our history on so many levels, like it or not. We can’t undo what happened, but we can help correct it on some level by finally getting the entire story told.
And finally we can learn from this. Every generation in this country founded by immigrants fleeing persecution, we somehow as a nation seem to persecute over and over different sets of NEW immigrants to this country. How is that showing the religious and cultural tolerance on which this country was founded?
As a society, we can do better. We need to honor our dead locally whether at Duffy’s Cut or the ruins of Ebenezer AME Church on Bacton Hill Road, or farther out towards Kennett Square and elsewhere where other bits of our history is disappearing whether it takes the form of old houses involved in the Underground Railroad, to all the abandoned graveyards that dot Chester County and the rest of the state.
We shouldn’t whitewash our history or pretend uncomfortable and horrific things didn’t happen. We learn from those mistakes. If you cover them up, as human beings we are then doomed to repeat them unless we break the cycle and face the past.
I have a bunch of photos from today from the site and the museum. I will get to them over the next day or so. You can visit the Duffy’s Cut Museum in the Library at Immaculata when the library is open. The actual Duffy’s Cut site is NOT open to the public it is impossibly located to do that, so kindly respect that fact because so many over the years have not. People folly hunting for Duffy’s Cut only jeopardize the work that archeologists, geologists, and historians are trying to accomplish and that is not right.
Before I sign off, a big thank you to Dr. William Watson. He is kind of a big deal history professor and he took the time for us to show us Duffy’s Cut and tell us all about their work surrounding that. Educators like him make all the difference in how you learn and I think his students are so very lucky to have a professor with a passion for history like he has.
This has been a very long post….so thanks for reading through until the end and for stopping by.
In a surprising upset, two Democratic at-large candidates Murph Wysocki and Mark Freed, beat incumbent Michelle Kichline (R) who currently serves as the chair of the Board of Supervisors and Trip Lukens (R), chair of the township’s Planning Commission. In the middle District supervisor race, EJ Richter (R) beat Laurie Elliot (D). Prior to this election, only 2 Democrats (Paul Drucker and Mark DiFeliciantonio) have ever served on Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors. As of Election Day 2013, that number has now doubled.
I am leaving her tea party commentary out of this because that isn’t what the local election results are about. The local results are about dissatisfaction and enough people from BOTH parties wanting people OUT of office. I do not vote in Tredyffrin but if I had to guess as far as Kichline goes, her playing possum when Pattye was targeted by another supervisor had something to do with this vote and as far as Mr. Lukens it is a basic matter of development and what people want for their communities. My hypothesis is simple: he did not listen well enough.
I volunteered at the polls for the first time yesterday in Chester County. I enjoyed it and was fascinated by how different it was. What I noticed yesterday as a newbie were the snap judgments I saw given out to people like me by some of the older volunteers because I am open with my opinion. But if they had been targeted the way I was targeted as a new resident by a county party chair how would they feel about the way politics are done out here? And also what I discovered yesterday is to an extent political volunteers are to be seen and not heard and where are we in the political process without our individual opinions? Are we all Stepford on this bus?
Part of yesterday I volunteered with some really nice union guys out of IBEW Local 654. Apparently they were at many polls in Chester County volunteering for the Democratic Party of Chester County. Honestly, these guys were nicer than a great deal of opposing party volunteers I have hung out with over the years. They were so nice and made volunteer hours at a sleepy poll pass more quickly. These guys are Delaware County based for their union.
The county’s numbers have Democratic candidate for Mayor, Dave Burton, beating incumbent Gerard McGlone (R). Burton received 65 percent of the vote, 509 votes in all, nearly doubling the 266 votes received in favor of McGlone.
The three open seats on the Malvern Borough Council, however, are a little less cut-and-dry.
The three republican candidates, William Macaleer, Robert Coughlin and Zeyn Uzman all received about 210 votes, or 11 roughly 11 percent of the vote. The remaining 68 percent of the vote went to write-in candidates, 1,351 votes in all. This is no doubt due to the write-in campaigning done by candidates Todd Lexer, David Barmwell and Matt Radano
Why the Malvern write-in upset is so important is these are regular people who did this without the backing of the two main political parties. Their actions are based on their desire to step up and be counted. Their actions occurred because they want to save Malvern Borough from an ugly, overdeveloped future. These three guys Todd Lexer ,Matt Radano and David Bramwell decided that the residents of Malvern needed an equal voice in their own existence and future and they stood up to be counted.
I completely believe that the actions of the write-in candidates also swept the new mayor-elect into office.
What has happened in Malvern is really cool. Instead of just complaining, these folks did something. And truthfully, they proved local politics are truly local and neither political party can take credit. They did this themselves.
Over in East Whiteland I expect there will be a recount. I am told that Vanguard employee Bill Holmes has retained his seat by NINE or TEN votes over my friend Maureen Martinez.
Maureen should be commended for running a clean and independent campaign. Maureen didn’t run around with a sidewalk petition for a sidewalk to nowhere that probably will never happen and was just an election gimmick, nor did she have the multi-minute robo-calls bashing her opponent that you could not disconnect. She did her own door knocking and listened to what people had to say and answered questions. I think she is a rising political star to watch.
With reluctant congratulations, I hope Bill Holmes gets the message that voters have sent him in East Whiteland. The message is simple and clear and it is that they want things done differently. I listened to what people from both parties had to say yesterday at the polls and this is what I learned people want:
They want televised meetings and a website that is not 30 years behind the times.
They want current and comprehensive meeting notes that are readily and easily available because I am told the majority of residents in East Whiteland don’t have a clue about a lot that happens.
They want abandoned houses and properties dealt with and some better historic preservation
They want the route 30 business corridor to not look so embarrassing.
They want all the sites with problematic environmental issues cleaned up and dealt with.
They want a say in development. East Whiteland might be more commercial than residential, but residents matter.
They want fewer conflicts.
Nine or ten votes is not a landslide victory even in a sleepy off-year election. It’s a message.
In West Chester the upset on the school board is nothing save historic. Congratulations to Joyce Chester and the rest of her slate. Here is the Daily Local on that race:
WEST CHESTER — The self-styled “better direction” slate of challengers for West Chester Area School Board defeated three incumbents and one other candidate in voting Tuesday.
Using the Democratic Party label, the four challengers defeated Republican Party candidates, including three incumbents.
Joyce Chester, Robin Kaliner, Chris McCune and Ricky Swalm are the four Democratic candidates who unseated incumbent board members Sean Carpenter, Ed Coyle and Maria Pimley and defeated newcomer Pam LaTorre.
In the Court of Common Pleas, the Daily Local is calling the race in favor Republicans Patrick Carmody and Jeffrey Sommer.
West Vincent I reported on last night and congratulations to John Jacobs and the others! These candidates had a tough road to get here and they worked hard. Will next up be to retire Ken Miller?
Congratulations also to my favorite purveyor of local honey. Carmen Battavio was re-elected in East Goshen. Congrats also go out to a favorite local farmer. Farmer Bob a/k/a Robert Lange was re-elected in Willistown. These two should teach other supervisors how it’s done.
Yesterday I was reminded again of how local politics should stay local.
I am happy that robo-call season is over and it is nice that life less political can resume! Truthfully I do not have the stomach or tolerance for politics that I used to.
Focus on Malvern Borough continues. The past couple of weeks I have been through Malvern Borough a lot. Just the luck of the draw. But driving up King past the “magnificence” being created by Eli Kahn and David DellaPorta is enough to give me nightmares.
This development which they are pretentiously calling Eastside Flats is unimaginative and looks like hulky, looming Lego buildings that are creating a complete canyon effect in tiny Malvern.
Of course on their artist renderings it is a veritable Vahalla with sweeping land and streetscapes. The reality is the street is narrow and at night it is the same canyon effect and feel that you get on dark streets in downtown Manhattan…only this is Chester County.
There is nothing about what is being built that truly ties into the quaint Borough of Malvern. The horse is out of the barn, so no bells can be un-rung, but lordy is what is being constructed ugly with a capital U. And I can’t wait to say I told you so on the parking. I predict it will be a problem upon completion. It looks like a problem now but I am just a mere mortal and a female. I feel sorry for any house or pre-existing small business that has to exist with this development.
And oh yes, the Whip has bailed so there is no cute anchor restaurant at present:
In a recent interview, Kahn declined to comment on the circumstances of the change in The Whip’s plans.
Kulp said he thinks they’ll have a difficult time getting restaurants into the space
And speaking of restaurants, what is the deal with parking at The Great American Pub at 516 King Street in Paoli? As in how do they have sufficient parking? We almost went there last week for a quick bite to eat but opted against it because the only place to park was in that small neighborhood adjoining the restaurant and we did not want to take up residents’ parking at dinner time.
What municipality is that in? Willistown? Wow they sure approach things in a very interesting manner don’t they? They deny Woodlawn a business expansion in an existing structure on their property with ample parking yet they allow The Great American Pub to act like a bar leech and take all parking of a small neighborhood? The parking is a hot mess and I wonder exactly where the valets are dumping cars, don’t you?
Circling back to the original topic, one more article on Malvern’s development atrocity. Somewhat of a fluffy article from the Inquirer that buys David DellaPorta’s New Urbanism Fairy Tale hook line and sinker. (He has been spouting it for years every time he proposes anything.) Malvern isn’t the town time forgot, it is a little borough that has a borough council that was dumb enough to think supersizing will fix all woes. Urbanization of exurbia. Oh yeah, so fabulous because we all want to live in the inner city, right? They are just doing suburban sprawl of a different kind.
The developer calls Malvern “the town that time forgot” – its main street lined with Victorian-style houses, small boutiques, and local watering holes like the Flying Pig Saloon.
But Eli Kahn and his partners are betting that a $45 million apartment and retail complex on East King Street will help satisfy urban appetites in one of the region’s most venerable suburbs – and entice empty nesters and young professionals looking for a citified environment outside the city.
Construction on the East King Street redevelopment project began in June and includes two large apartment buildings with 190 units, plus first-floor retail space that Kahn envisions renting to restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques. The complex, due for completion in August, also is to house a Whole Foods grocery.
Kahn and his partner, David Della Porta, spent several years buying 11 parcels on the site, and the project has been a decade in the making. A house on one small parcel remains because an elderly resident didn’t want to leave her home and declined to sell, Kahn said.
Kahn said developments such as his – projects that emphasize urbanization over suburban sprawl – could be the wave of the future in the region…
On Thursday, Kahn sidestepped mud puddles and several employees in hard hats as the wind whipped around the corner of the almost-completed apartment complex. Construction was slightly behind schedule because of a cold snap followed by windy weather, but Kahn was optimistic.
“This has been a 10-year journey,” he said. “It’s incredibly satisfying, to add to a little town like Malvern. It’s exciting.”
This development in Malvern has never in my humble opinion really been about the town of Malvern. If this was really about the town, the design would have been more complimentary. This project is all about developer pork and profit. Let’s not delude ourselves to the contrary. What will eventually happen here is people will start to avoid going through Malvern like they are starting to avoid going through Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, and even Wayne because of a lack of parking and congestion.