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a love note to the chester county planning commission

Chester County Ramblings - Fri, 2016-09-16 18:34

Dear ChesCo Planning,

The new website sure is pretty, but what are you doing for us? Are you saving Chester County from overdevelopment? If you are, please let us know how.

I see the planning commission members were interviewed by Kathleen Brady Shea September 14:


On Wednesday, Sept. 13, the Chester County Board of Commissioners announced the kick-off to Landscapes’ second update, Landscapes3.

During a presentation at the commissioners’ Sunshine meeting, Matthew Hammond of the Chester County Planning Commission pointed out that eight percent of the county’s open space enjoyed permanent protection prior to Landscapes; now the number is nearly 27 percent.

Hammond noted that an influx of 150,000 residents is predicted by 2045, reinforcing the need to have a plan that continues the focus on managing that growth through open space preservation, urban center revitalization, and municipal planning assistance.

“We’re very excited to be moving forward on this,” said Brian O’Leary, executive director of the Chester County Planning Commission.

Landscapes3 will involve a two-year effort that begins with a series of stakeholder meetings this fall, to determine the issues and challenges facing Chester County over the next 10 years.

“Twenty years ago, Chester County made a choice to redirect growth, to protect open space and to revitalize our towns and urban communities,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chairman Terence Farrell. “Landscapes and Landscapes2 have served us very well in doing that, but it is time to renew our vision and ensure that Chester County remains a highly attractive place to live, work and visit.”


Ok that’s all nice and fluffy, but how are you preserving open space REALLY?  What land are you saving? Look at all the parts of Chester County at risk, what are you doing? You guys talk a good game, but to be honest I lost faith in you when you hired Brian O’Leary whom I remembered none too fondly from Lower Merion Township where developers say “jump!” and Lower Merion says “how high?”

Montco official is new Chesco planner

POSTED: 09/16/15, 3:46 PM EDT|UPDATED: ON 09/16/2015

A Montgomery County official will be the new head of the Chester County Planning Commission, and will be counted on to oversee the future update of the county’s award-winning land and community planning document, Landscapes2, in the coming four years.

The county commissioners announced the appointment of Brian O’Leary as executive director at their meeting Tuesday. O’Leary currently serves as section chief on the Montgomery County Planning Commission, where he has worked for nearly 30 years.

O’Leary replaces former county Planning Commission Executive Director Ronald Bailey, who retired in June. Bailey had served as head of the commission since 2006. O’Leary will formally begin his work in the county on Oct. 5.


Lower Merion Township will ultimately be ruined by all the development still coming at it, and Montgomery County is a giant development mess.

As the county planning commission you are supposed to seek balance, where is that balance exactly?  How are the rights of existing residents being preserved? How is the agricultural and equine history, tradition, and culture being honored? When arable farmland and open space is gone, it’s gone.

How is allowing East Whiteland develop to the point of being like King of Prussia meets Bensalem positive? Or watching acre after acre of farmland in places like West Vincent and Upper Uwchlan a positive?

How many  developments do we need ? How come residents do not truly get a say in this? I mean you say you want our input, so we give it to you, and up pops another development or strip mall. It is a bit frustrating.

What are you doing to save Crebilly Farm???? Bryn Coed??? Any open space and farmland anywhere throughout the county? Do you care about ANY of the historic structures threatened throughout the county at all?

Is below the future of Crebilly? Liseter II (Liseter WAS Foxcatcher Farm the DuPont Estate in Newtown Township, Delaware County) :

Or maybe it should look like this:

How is any of the current development “smart” growth?  Your Brian O’Leary is even on the board of the Smart Growth Alliance, and allow me to quote them on him:

Through his work in local planning, Brian has seen the importance of smart growth. With smart growth, new development is focused towards existing communities, helping these places revitalize, improve their infrastructure, and create vibrant and healthy neighborhoods. Without smart growth, farmland is lost, people’s transportation choices are limited, and the economy suffers.

So are we supposed to all hop into our smart cars now and jump on board the New Urbanism Fairy Tale Express? Brian O’Leary is a resident of Penn Wynne or Wynnewood in Lower Merion Township so seriously, what does he know from open space? And that is whose hands our future is in? Have any of you dealt with the congestion that is the Main Line recently? Or seen community after community torn asunder by development and the constant whirl of political shell games? Well I did, and I want better for the gorgeous county I now call home.

Pending sale of Crebilly Farm sparks outcry Posted by Kathleen Brady Shea on July 6th, 2016

The news last week that Crebilly Farm, a picturesque 300-plus-acre property in Westtown Township, was poised to become a 300-unit Toll Brothers subdivision, prompted swift public outcry.

Hundreds of area residents took to social media, many expressing outrage as well as interest in doing whatever possible to stop the bulldozers. Dr. Ryan K. Tamburrino, an area orthodontist, even pledged to donate $300 to the cause for each new patient he receives in July who mentions the preservation effort.

However, questions remain about what, if anything, can prevent Westtown Township’s conditional-use approval, particularly since the developer’s preliminary plans fall within township guidelines.

Speaking at an information session on Thursday, June 30, Andrew J. Semon, a division president for Toll Brothers, said the agreement of sale is contingent upon getting that approval. He said he expected the developer to submit an application later this summer.

Chester County Planning, as the planning department you hold the public’s trust. So what are you doing for us exactly? Why is it we should “trust” you? You do not seem to be slowing down development after development which each one after the other is a cram plan like: or this: Or this: How are those Stepford communities preserving Chester County? Do we have a new agricultural crop known as plastic houses? Does it go with the hideous and dangerous gas pipelines which are snaking through our communities at an increasing rate? But I digress.  No pipeline talk today, back to all this development. These developments are not good planning for the residents of Chester County. These developments are good for lining the pockets of the developers who built them….and then they leave.  They give municipalities a short term junkie fix of ratables and then they have to be sustained and are they long term? Or will we eventually end up with development ghost towns like discussed in this Atlantic article from 2011: The New American Ghost Towns

The Atlantic, DOUGLAS A. MCINTYREMAR 30, 2011

There are several counties in America, each with more than 10,000 homes, that have vacancy rates above 55%. The rate is above 60% in several.

Most people who follow unemployment and the housing crisis would expect high vacancy rates in hard-hit states including Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. They were among the fastest growing areas from 2000 to 2010. Disaster struck once economic growth ended……..Data from states and large metropolitan areas do not tell the story of how much the real estate disaster has turned certain areas in the country into ghost towns.

……These are the American Ghost Towns Of The 21st Century. Each has a population of more than 10,000 along with vacancy rates of more than 55%, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

Is that our future? It very well could be. Unless Chester County Residents rise up now and take back our county.

Yes, them’s fighting words according to some, but when the head of the county planning department doesn’t even actually live in Chester County, how does he truly get it?

The answer is he can’t.  He is not living in our communities, he merely has a job here, collects a salary in the county, and goes back home to a place very different from us.  Not being mean, it’s just the truth.

Chester County residents deserve better.

But how do we get there before the county is destroyed by wanton development?

Here is Brian O’Leary’s e-mail if you would like to contact him to ask him about Crebilly or anyplace else in the county facing wanton development : boleary@chesco.org

Categories: Pennsylvania

Bill Cosby's Request To Suppress Phone Call Denied By Montco Judge

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Fri, 2016-09-16 15:32
It's not clear what the nature of the conversation was between Bill Cosby and Andrea Constand's mother after his alleged indecent assault.
Categories: Lower Merion

One Ardmore Place Construction Granted Noise Ordinance Waiver, To Begin In Oct.

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Fri, 2016-09-16 14:34
Waiver will allow construction at former Cricket Avenue parking lot to begin at 7 a.m. rather than 8 a.m.
Categories: Lower Merion

MontCo Commissioners OK $5 Vehicle Registration Fee

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Fri, 2016-09-16 14:18
Fee to be enacted in 90 days, will help county pay for transportation, infrastructure projects.
Categories: Lower Merion

Cricket Ave. One-Way Extension In Effect Monday, Sept. 19

Main Line Times - Fri, 2016-09-16 14:10
The Cricket Ave. one-way from Lancaster Avenue to Cricket Terrace will permanently extend to W. Athens Ave.
Categories: Lower Merion

'The Entire Election Could Boil Down To Pennsylvania,' New York Times Says

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Fri, 2016-09-16 12:57
Think your one vote doesn't really matter? According to experts, it will — a lot.
Categories: Lower Merion

Plan for mixed-use building on Cricket Avenue moves forward

Main Line Times - Fri, 2016-09-16 11:25
The Lower Merion Building and Planning Committee Monday night recommended the Board of Commissioners approval of the preliminary land development plan for the new mixed-use building on Cricket Avenue across from the better known “Dranoff” project of One Ardmore Place.
Categories: Lower Merion

The 50 Best Places To Teach In Pennsylvania: Lower Merion Is 1st

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Fri, 2016-09-16 11:22
Where are the best Pennsylvania school districts to teach?
Categories: Lower Merion

31-Year-Old Driver Of Motorcycle In Route 202 Crash Dies, Police Confirm

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Fri, 2016-09-16 09:00
Authorities confirmed Thursday that the 31-year-old Penn Valley man had passed away due to injuries sustained in the crash.
Categories: Lower Merion

Man Sentenced For Breaking Into Montco Home, Raping 6-Year-Old Girl

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Fri, 2016-09-16 09:00
In a nightmarish incident last November, a man broke into a Montco apartment and raped a 6-year-old girl. He was sentenced Thursday.
Categories: Lower Merion

Beer comes to Wawa, at least one of them

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2016-09-16 07:02
That's one small step for Pennsylvania, one giant leap for beer lovers.

Gottahavva brewski? You bet.

Pennsylvania beer lovers will now see a little more 'convenience.' You'll now be able to snag a six-pack of your favorite suds at your local Wawa. Well, at least one of them.

The Delco-based convenience store giant finally got the green light to sell beer at their store out on Naamans Creek Road in Concord.

Don't get too overjoyed. This will work the same way it does now at supermarkets. You will still have to visit a separate part of the store and pay for your beer there. You won't be able to grab a Shorti and pay for it and your beer at the same time. Or reach into a cold case at the cash register and 'tap' some brew on your way out.

And you're still limited to two six-packs at a time.

But at lest it's progress.

For now, this only applies to this one Wawa store.

The company is not yet talking about its future plans and whether it will look to expand beer sales

. One problem it will face is trying to do this in existing stores. The as usual byzantine Pa. laws still require this notion of a separate part of the store.

Actually they have to create a separate restaurant space inside the store to qualify for the restaurant license.

Right now there are more than 250 supermarkets across the state that sell beer. Many of them now have the ability to sell wine as well.

Add one Wawa to the list.

It's one more step for Pennsylvania out of the Dark Ages when it comes to the sale of alcohol.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Pride of Swarthmore

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2016-09-16 06:51
If you only read one story today, make sure you don't miss the saga of Patrick Houston.

Who's he?

Well, for starters, he's a student at Swarthmore College.

You may have seen him on TV this week. That was him introducing President Barack Obama during that big rally for Hillary Clinton on the Parkway in Philadelphia.

But that's not even half the story.

Read about his amazing journey here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Sept. 16

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2016-09-16 06:45
The Daily Numbers: 7.2 percent spike in personal income for Delco households from 2014-2015, tops in the Philly suburbs.

24 percent boost in Chester County.

67,584, median income for Delco households.

3 Upper Darby officers injured in wild melee with suspect.

2 6-packs at a time, what you will now be able to buy at one local Wawa, out on Naamans Creek Road in Concord.

110 degrees, heat reading in an upstairs classroom at Walter Senkow School in Upper Darby during last week’s heat wave, according to union.

3 nailed in a Chester drug sting.

3,000 dollars in cash seized during the bust.

0, what it will cost some seniors to use SEPTA services once they get the SEPTA key card.

100! And Happy Birthday wishes to Edith Hebble of Ridley.

23, age of Swarthmore College student Ken Houston, who introduced President Barack Obama during rally in Philly this week.

13, age of youth wielding BB-gun who was killed by police in Columbus, Ohio.

1 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones recalled.

15-2 shellacking of Phils by the Pirates last night.

4 homers surrendered by Phils starter Jerad Eickhoff.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Get ready for the Ryan Howard farewell. The Phillies brass say the slugger will get most of the starts at home as he prepares for the end of his stellar career with the team.

I Don’t Get It: Not many people are volunteering these days. That could prove to be a costly problem for Delco towns.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those still willing to answer the alarm.

Quote Box: “We’re talking about business that actually wants to expand their footprint and purchase other businesses to make something even better.”

- County Councilman John McBlain on riverfront development.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The dwindling volunteers

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2016-09-16 06:16
They are one of our most valuable resources.

Volunteer firefighters not only save lives - they save untold amounts of money for every town in Delaware County. But there is a problem.

There is not nearly enough of them. And that need grows every day.

Simply put, people are not volunteering today the way they did in days past. There are a lot of reasons for that, chief among them two-income families that don't leave a lot of free time for volunteering.

Springfield Township this week joined Tinicum in utilizing federal grant money to do something the township has never done before. That would be hire professional firefighters to supplement the dwindling number of volunteers.

It's something a lot of towns in Delco will likely have to consider.

Unless, of course, they want to consider merging fire services.

Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen. It's a very controversial topic.

In the meantime, read our editorial on the latest "Cause for Alarm."
Categories: Pennsylvania

request from radnor: who was candy hill? (her plaque is deteriorating along with everything else at the willows)

Chester County Ramblings - Thu, 2016-09-15 21:09

The photos were sent to me with the following message:

Radnor Twp has let The Willows Assets deteriorate to a point of no return.
Anyone know what the plaque represents below?

Who was Candy Hill?

The Willows was a mighty fine property. A house, never a mansion.  The architect was my dear friend Sara’s grandfather Charles Barton Keen (Keen is being discussed this month during a couple of Chester County Historical Society Events as a matter of fact.)

The Willows started out life in 1910 for John Sinnott Jr., the estate was originally called “Rose Garland.”

The Zantzinger family began ownership in the 1930s, and renamed the estate “Maral Brook.”   Alfred Zantzinger (1907-1972) married Mary Geist in 1937 and what we know as the Willows today became their home. Their son Alfred (“Gei”) was an ethnomusicologist and independent filmmaker who lived in Devault and is still remembered on the Charlestown Township website to this day.  One of Alfred the younger’s sons is a high school friend of one of my closest friends – at one time he had lent me marvelous old family photos of the Willows, but I lost them on an old computer unfortunately.

Radnor Township purchased the property ca. 1972-73, and it has been a public park and event space ever since. Now truthfully The Willows was acquired via eminent domain (See “Willows Ordinance“.)

But I digress.

No one can get their act together about the Willows in a way that makes sense.  Apparently it will be discussed at some point this fall again in Radnor, but in the meantime who is this lady the plaque was dedicated to?

Seems so sad.

Thanks to my friend Tim for the use of his photos.

Shame on you Radnor for not taking better care of a property you are stewards of. And if in the end the house that is not a mansion is demolished, care MUST be taken with this plaque that it is not lost forever.  Whomever she was she meant something to people.

Remember the state of things like this in Radnor when you go to the polls in November since one of their commissioners is under the delusion she can be an effective state representative in PA 165 – Elaine Paul Schaefer – affectionately know as Elaine Paul Sing Song Voice to some. She loves the cows at Ardrossan, but has been ineffective problem solving across the road at the Willows.  Ask her and the other present and former Radnor Conservancy members about the state of the Willows Cottage, ok?  I hear it can be summed up with one word: mold and is that true? And if so why? They got gobs of money a few short years ago to put that cottage right, correct?

Thanks for stopping by.

Categories: Pennsylvania

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Newest Open Houses

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Thu, 2016-09-15 21:08
Take a look at the open houses in and near Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood...
Categories: Lower Merion

Country Brunch and Auction to Benefit Ryerss Farm October 16th

Chester County Ramblings - Thu, 2016-09-15 18:20

Great cause! Tickets are $95 each and event will be held at Radnor Hunt Club. Check out their website.

Categories: Pennsylvania

West Nile Virus Found In Three Lower Merion Samples

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Thu, 2016-09-15 15:59
Montgomery County Health Department says samples form Ashbridge, Shortridge, and Penn Wynne parks showed presence of West Nile Virus.
Categories: Lower Merion

One Ardmore Place: Limited noise ordinance waiver granted for earlier start times

Main Line Times - Thu, 2016-09-15 15:59
As construction on Ardmore’s Cricket Lot nears, a plan to temporarily replace parking there during redevelopment was not the only topic generating controversy this week.
Categories: Lower Merion

Prescription Drug Take Back Day In Lower Merion: How To Get Rid Of Unwanted Meds

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Thu, 2016-09-15 15:49
Providing a safe and anonymous way to dispose prescription drugs helps to fight both addiction and pollution, officials said.
Categories: Lower Merion