Crebilly Farm Update 1/26/17

Dear Friends,

I truly commend those who were able to attend Tuesday’s PC meeting and so hope others will make the commitment to attend on the 9th.  I had some people ask me Tuesday evening:  ‘Is this doing any good?’ and I sensed the discouragement from the dark cloud that looms over us all.

Yesterday, I had to take a last minute drive to State College.  I hadn’t been up that way in years.  In my travels, I had the luxury of passing some of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful landscapes:  hills and hills of meadows as far as the eye could see… vast forests… winding rivers… cows… horses… open space… peace.  It looked so much like how I remember the surrounding area of Crebilly Farm when I was a kid.

I thought of the question again:  is this doing any good?  Here is my crystal clear and unwavering answer:  YES. IT. IS.  And no matter how small you think your part may play in all of this, it matters- your attendance and participation matters.  We have made a difference.  And we will continue to make a difference.  Though I cannot guarantee the outcome will be what we all want in a perfect world, I guarantee fighting this fight is how we keep what we value.

UPCOMING MEETINGS:
1)Final Planning Commission meeting:
Thursday, February 9th, 6PM, Stetson Middle School.
*Presentation made by PennDot, fiscal impact and recommendations to the BOS

2)First Conditional Use Hearing from the Board of Supervisors:
Wednesday, February 22, 6PM Stetson Middle School
*You must attend this meeting if you wish to obtain ‘Party Status;’  separate email/blog to follow on this subject.IMPORTANT:
PennDot will be making a presentation at the final PC meeting, 2/9.  For those who have questions, comments and/or concerns, please put them in writing and email to the Planning and Zoning Officer of Westtown Township, Chris Patriarca: cpatriarca@westtown.org   *This meeting will begin promptly at 6PM.

Here is a brief recap of the Tuesday, 1/24 PC meeting:
1) Toll consultant gave a revised traffic report:
http://www.westtownpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Toll-CU-%E2%80%93-Revised-Transportation-Impact-Study-2017-1-20.pdf

2) Westtown engineering consultant, Kevin Matson of McCormick/Taylor, presented site layout and storm water management issues; he explained the plan from Toll is generally compliant to code but expressed he has numerous questions that need to be addressed by Toll:
http://www.westtownpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2017-01-24-Toll-CU-Planning-Commission-meeting-McCormick-Taylor-engineering-presentation.pdf

3) John Snook, of Brandywine Conservancy, presented a two-part 3D ‘fly over’ video:  part-one showed the development as proposed by Toll; part-two showed the Chester County Planning Commission recommended development that pushes construction closer to 202 and preserves the open space of the Brandywine Battlefield.
*We will post this video as soon as it is available.

4) How to acquire Party Status (separate email/blog to follow).

LAWN SIGNS:
Lawn signs may be purchased through Neighbors for Crebilly:  neighborsforcrebilly.org.

I believe they are being sold for $10 each.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge the sudden passing of a very kind and genuine man:  Tom Murray, editor of the Daily Local News.  Though I only met him once, I will never forget him.  It was early December when I walked into his office (without an appointment) and asked if he could please have someone from the paper cover Crebilly Farm.  I had my persuasive speech all prepared but it turned out I didn’t need it at all.  He graciously apologized for being short staffed and just like that he introduced me to Adam Farence who has reported on Crebilly ever since.  Thank you, Mr. Murray.  http://www.dailylocal.com/article/DL/20170123/NEWS/170129921
Mindy

4 thoughts on “Crebilly Farm Update 1/26/17

  1. Is anyone talking about purchasing this property? I know that in DE County the folks did this and it was successful. I have heard the price is around 30 million.

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    1. Hello Liz, Thank you for reaching out. I hope you don’t mind, I cut and pasted your email so I could respond to all of your questions at once:

      EMAIL:
      Hi Mindy,
      I missed the meeting this week but have been attending the others. I was on the facebook page and I can’t see that many people are involved in this.
      Also, went into the gofundme and it appears that only around 3K has been received.
      Can you direct me to the “action” on this?
      Is Brandywine Trust involved?
      I found out that the property has not actually be sold to Toll yet. Is anyone thinking about purchasing the property to save it?
      Price that my friend who does abstracting told me is $30 million.

      RESPONSE:
      I will do my best to answer your questions to the best of my ability. I do not know (nor do I think anyone else really knows except Toll and the Robinson Family) the exact sale number of Crebilly Farm to Toll Brothers. The sale is not final; but there is an ‘agreement of sale’ which means both parties are under contract to each other. (This is briefly explained on the home page of this website). The sale is contingent upon ‘conditional use approval’ from the Westtown Township Board of Supervisors. Those hearings begin February 22nd and will go on for months. IF (and it is a big ‘IF’) Toll does not get ‘conditional use’ from the BOS, there are very good chances they would pull out altogether. If that happens, that could give the conservancies, township, county, state and public an opportunity to purchase the property. And because of the Brandywine Battlefield, we may even be able to acquire funding on a national level. Yet- the Robinson Family would have to be open to this.

      Brandywine Conservancy has been very involved these last few months with presentations at some of the PC meetings (you are probably already privy to this if you have attended those meetings). Conservancies need a willing land owner and unfortunately, in this case, there has not been one. So the best any conservancy can do at this time is be pro-active in their recommendations (as John Snook has been with Westtown Township) and advocate for the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

      I have had an email chain since October which may be read in the blogs on this website. I am not sure I understand what you mean when you say you ‘were on the facebook page and I can’t see that many people are involved in this.’ What I can tell you is that this is so much bigger than social media and I assure you, many people are involved with this. If you are looking for ‘likes’ or comments on the page to gauge what you consider to be interest, I believe in time, that will catch up to the hundreds of private emails I’ve been addressing since October. And in addition to myself, there are countless others advocating in their own neighborhoods, HOA’s, nearby townships and the surrounding area of Crebilly Farm. There are also many historians fighting to preserve the portion of the Brandywine Battlefield on Crebilly Farm.

      I am not affiliated with a ‘gofundme’ account. I believe donations should be handled by a non-profit organization affiliated with one or many of the local conservancies. When I feel confident the right people at the right time are doing this, I will certainly do my part to participate and raise public awareness.

      You have asked me to direct you to ‘the action’ on this. Again, I am not clear regarding your question but will try my best. If you scroll back and read some of the blogs, you may see a reoccurring theme: MASSIVE PUBLIC OUTCRY. By that, I mean the public needs to be dedicated to attending all meetings of the PC and BOS and voice their concerns. That is the number one action to be had. In addition, I have encouraged people to designate block captains and reach out to their local politicians, county commissioners and historic organizations to voice concerns over the pending development and loss of the Brandywine Battlefield (those were mass emails I sent back in October and November with an attached contact sheet; you can read that if you scroll back in the blogs).

      Lastly, there is a group called: neighborsforcrebilly.org. They are due to hold a public meeting 2/16. I recommend you reach out and ask to speak with Ken Hemphill, whom I have tremendous respect for. He is the leading voice behind that group and hopefully will be able to further advise you.

      Sincerely,
      Mindy

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  2. Born and raised here in Chester Co and now raising a family here, it’s so sad to see this beautiful Historic County slowly becoming a small city.
    Too much traffic, too many people. Life is to hurried and competitive here now and making people mean.

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    1. Hello Friend,
      Indeed, Chester County is a very special place and I share in some of your frustration over the drastic changes in what feels like such a short amount of time. If you haven’t already, I urge you to get involved and attend the Westtown Township meetings regarding Crebilly Farm. Participating in this way is how we bring healthier changes to our county and put the breaks on over-development of our beautiful and historic grounds.

      Sincerely,
      Mindy

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