All of us together, after five long years, have finally slayed a Very. Big. Dragon. In case you have not already heard, last night the Westtown Township Board of Supervisors announced Toll Brothers ‘no longer had an equitable ownership interest in the property.’ (Page 33 of the written decision from the BOS). The agreement of sale between Toll Brothers and the Robinson Family, owners of Crebilly Farm, is no longer valid. Evidently, for reasons unknown to the rest of us, neither side came to a new agreement for the sake of the Crebilly II application. Therefore, ‘the Board concludes that the Crebilly II Application must be denied as moot for the lack of standing by Toll.’ (Page 34 of the written decision)
The link below has TWO videos of the special meeting; congratulations to Westtown Township- finally, their own YouTube channel just in time for the very last meeting:
Here is the latest Chadds Ford Live article with a recap of last night’s meeting:
Finally, here is the written decision from the Westtown Township Board of Supervisors issued just this afternoon:
What does this mean? I am not certain and find myself in uncharted territory- again. For the time being, it means the iconic land and invaluable American history of Crebilly Farm will remain undisturbed. It means if a new agreement of sale occurs between the Robinson family, Toll Brothers or any other developer, the whole process will begin all over again, from scratch. That is good news because any new application moving forward would have to adhere to the updated comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances. In the past and because of the agreement of sale between Toll and the Robinsons, no other entity such as conservation or otherwise, could enter into the equation. Both parties were bound by the agreement of sale ‘until.’ Now we know ‘until’ was approximately five years and it has become null and void. We have been given the gift of a new opportunity.
We need to give much credit and thanks to Westtown Township and all citizens near and far who spent the last five years continuing to show up, speak up and stand up for a better outcome. Together we have managed to achieve something very difficult and rare, and though I am relieved and grateful for this reprieve, Crebilly Farm has not been saved.We have managed to pull her out of the jaws of the dragon but unless or until the land is put into conservation easement, there will always be the possibility of another dragon. Thanks to all of you, your relentless massive public outcry and your continued efforts in this awareness campaign for many years, our local conservancies such as Natural Lands Trust, Brandywine Conservancy, Chester County Open Space and the Brandywine Battlefield Preservation Plan, Pennsylvania Preservation and the American Battlefield Trust in Washington D.C. are all aware of Crebilly Farm and the rich history held within her. We must not assume or take for granted she will remain as she always has been, ever again. Now is an opportunity for new dialog and new negotiating. Let’s hope we have a willing landowner and let’s hope Westtown township finally gets that open space referendum passed. There is more to be done and I will follow up again down the road. In the meantime, congratulations to all for a job well done. A very fine job indeed.
When I woke up this morning, I thought of something my late father used to say to me: Don’t mess with the Mind(y). Though I know my father loved me very much, and so you do not think I am tooting my own horn, I assure you this was not a compliment. He was raising a very stubborn and very determined daughter that frequently did not listen to him. I have reflected today upon the many naysayers over the years, who frequently told me in no uncertain terms: I was wasting my time; Toll always wins and this is a done deal. I am not going to lie to you- all day today this has made me smile with delicious joy- knowing they were all wrong. And good thing I didn’t listen to them.