Coming Soon to a Farm Near You: New Homes in the mid-$600s!

Western Philadelphia Suburbs Push Back on Development.

Survey markers are popping up like daffodils,  and as daffodils signal the coming of spring, orange survey markers signal development is imminent. Depending where you live, it could be a pipeline, fracking site, shopping center or new housing development.  Some consider it progress, but for many residents,  development is unwelcome as an April freeze and increasingly each new project is matched with an organization to oppose it.

People often feel blindsided by these developments and sometimes wonder why they weren’t aware of them when there was still time to do something.  People are notified, but notices aren’t always in the places you might be looking for them (such as a posting a billboard on the site in question) or written in a way one might understand (a township newsletter might read “discussion of the Brown tract subdivision”, for example). Sometimes you have to go hunting for details because this is not the sexy kind of news reported by the mainstream media. And by the time the big news makes it to social media, the development is halfway through the approval phase.   What if notices for new developments had the same requirements as the application for a liquor license?  If no one sees the notice, they won’t know about the township meetings and if no one shows up at the meeting and the developer has done a reasonably good job of checking all the zoning requirements, the next development is on its way.

There was a time when new developments promised a new tax base to fund schools and  government.  What wasn’t anticipated was the 3 to 4 car family, increasing school bus and delivery truck traffic, turning lanes and one-way problems; all things I’ve learned about from the latest traffic study done in conjunction with the development of Crebilly Farm in Westtown.

202 West Chester
Traffic on Southbound 202 in West Chester. Crebilly Farm to the right.

Picture perfect communities welcome future homeowners with impressive entrances, with names of the very things they’ve eliminated, such as “preserve,” “run, ” “trees” or  “farm.” The homes themselves are gorgeous and I understand why people love them. With stunning granite kitchens, soaring entrances and luxurious bathrooms, what’s not to love? And if you are moving from a densely populated area, this looks like the country. And you can’t blame the developer for wanting to build them, because they are only meeting demand.

But if the descriptions included a dark side it would be: increased traffic congestion, worsening air quality, increased storm water runoff and groundwater contamination, school boundaries being reconfigured to accommodate more students (and yes, increased school taxes) and the decimation of trees or farm land that go away with these new homes.

Citizens are no longer sitting on the sidelines helplessly watching as the bulldozers pave over their favorite vistas.  They are signing petitions, crowd funding, hiring lawyers, putting signs in yards and  making their voices heard at township meetings in record numbers. And with social media, developments are no longer being silently approved. People who care are being heard AND they are making a difference.  Citizen engagement is crucial.

Crebilly Farm
View of Crebilly Farm from Route 926 in West Chester. A current plan has been submitted to build 350+ homes on this site.
New home signs Westtown, Pa.
Advertisements for new homes on the opposite side of Route 926.

And what about that open space that that is promised by the developer in exchange for squeezing in a few more homes? Open space is often the leftover, unusable wetland or retention basin that are off-limits to kids, hikers and dog-walkers.  Does that fit the definition of open space? It is something to think about, as the last remaining large parcels are being developed. And did you know that some landowner/developers had preferential tax treatments prior to development? Accordingly, they may have benefitted from agricultural or be otherwise tax-exempt over the years, meaning that local taxpayers (i.e.; you)  have been subsidizing them as they held their investment until they decided it was time to develop.  Whether for or against development, most people do care about their taxes. These are the types of questions that may be overlooked if not for diligent residents who make them an issue to planning commissions and township supervisors.

To make an impact, reach out to your officials, who are mostly volunteers and citizens with the same concerns as you. If they are taking the time to volunteer, help them. Show up, even if it’s only to listen.  And if you don’t have the time to attend a township meeting, consider donating to the organizations who have the time and motivation to do so. If you can’t change the world, at least you can have an effect on your local community.

Do you have an impending development in your back yard? You might. Whether it’s a neighbor wanting to build a non-conforming garage or a developer wanting to build 300 homes, your township is likely notifying you and asking  you to participate.  I encourage you to sign up for your township e-newsletters to find out. Here are just a few developments underway in Delaware and Chester counties:

Delaware County

Marple Township

Don Guanella  Forest –  213 pristine acres along Sprould Road (Route 320), owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was once home to the Don Guanella School in densely populated Marple township. A plan to build 305 multi-family dwelling units was proposed.  This plan is currently off the table but the property may be back on the market.

Newtown Square

Earles Lake-Earles Lake in Newtown Square, Newtown Township, PA and 9 acres of wooded land are at risk of becoming a 54 townhome community.

Edgmont Township

Sleighton School (Middletown and Edgmont townships)There had been a proposed over 55 development by Toll Brothers. At this time approval status is unknown.

Edgmont Edgmont County Club-200 acre golf course on Route 3 in Edgmont township.

Middletown Township

Franklin Mint Property-current proposal for 300+single family and mixed-use nursing facility on a 173 acre site.

Concord Township

Beaver Valley: Potential development of 160 homes on 230 acres which was recently saved and now money is needed to purchase the land as open space. Still more is at stake with Wilmington University.

Thornbury Township

105 Stoney Bank Road: 55 acres adjacent to Martin Park,  currently under agreement and pre-approved for 27 new homes. Known by the township as the Crane Tract.

Sign up for updates: Thornbury Township

Chester County

Westtown Township

Crebilly Farm  300 acres in Westtown township with a proposal for 350+ homes located at the intersection of Routes 202 and 926.

Township Updates: Westtown Township

Organizations: Neighbors for Crebilly , Save Crebilly Farm , Neighbors for Crebilly Facebook

If you want to find out more about regional planning, please explore these sites

While demand for new housing and development of land is a reality,  property rights of  sellers of the land and developers need to be balanced with the property rights of neighbors being affected. The little land that is left needs to be developed responsibly so it doesn’t create the same problems people are moving away from.  It takes time to be involved and there are more projects going on out there than one person can keep track of. With long work hours and commutes, families and responsibilities, it is easy to overlook what’s happening around you and hope that someone else will save the land for you.

If only it were that easy.


Squire Cheyney Farm Park, a 30 acres of preserved space overlooking homes at The Preserve at Squire Cheyney.

Disclaimer: The status of the projects listed above are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, check in with the appropriate group’s Facebook or web page.


Featured post

2016 Photo Contest at Ridley Creek State Park is Announced

The Friends of Ridley Creek State will be holding their annual photo contest on Friday, June 24th at 6pm on the grounds of the Mansion at Ridley Creek State Park.

Now in its 12 year, the annual photo contest was started as a fundraiser for projects at the park and to bring awareness to the “Friends,” the non-profit organization that serves to preserve, protect and enhance Ridley Creek State Park.

Hunting Hill Mansion
Hunting Hill Mansion at Ridley Creek State Park

This year the photo contest will take a new twist and be held outside, weather permitting.  As in past years, this event is free and open to the public. Come enjoy refreshments, photo submissions and experience the park through the eyes of the contestants, including children.

Deadline for submissions is Friday, June 17.

Entry forms, contest rules and previous years submissions are available  at

If you have questions about the photo contest, call the Friends hotline at 484-442-0223.

Photo: Hunting Hill Mansion at Ridley Creek State Park by Pamela Cloud.

Pamela Cloud is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Preferred in Media and has been involved with the Friends of Ridley Creek State Park for over a decade.




Featured post

Crebilly Farm Update 1/12/17

Dear Friends, I am still in awe when I think of the mass turnout for the latest PC meeting.  At least for myself, I must admit- it was thrilling to watch the mechanical room divider raised as the c…

Source: Crebilly Farm Update 1/12/17

Native Plant Sales and Events in Delaware and Chester County

After that surprise spring snowstorm early April, it’s nice to finally hear the familiar hum of lawn mowers, and the most welcome sign of spring, tulips and daffodils dotting the local landscape. And for the serious gardeners, signs for local native plant sales! Plant Sales in Delaware and Chester counties

Every gardener knows that the best plants are the tried and true plants grown in a local garden or carefully selected by educated Master Gardeners. Going to a local plant sale is a great source of information and networking for novice gardeners as well. You’ll meet local gardeners who are happy to share their experience with particular plants .

Garden Geeks by Pam Cloud
This sign says it all!

At a local plant sale, you’ll find the regulars such as lilies and hostas, but you’ll likely also discover a few unusual treasures that are not carried in stores.

At a local plant sale, the salespeople are usually volunteers, and they are passionate about their hobby: gardening. They will know which plants do well in the sun or shade and also which deer resistant plants the deer will eat anyway.

With Earth Day right around the corner, here are a few local gardening events to get your spring planting off to a good start.



Tyler Arboretum Benefit Plant Sale is held on the beautiful site of Tyler Arboretum in Media Pa. At Tyler you can stroll through the amazing grounds and see a wide collection of native species thriving in same the environment you would be planting in. Each season brings something new to its rich and diverse plantings, many of which you will see growing on the grounds of the arboretum.

Date: Saturday, May 7th  9am-3pm

Take the kids to see the tree houses and walk through the trails. Admission to the Arboretum is free to everyone for Saturday’s event!

Where: Tyler Arboretum, 515 Painter Road, Media Pa.

Shameless Plug: If you’d like to live close to the Arboretum, I have a listing at 66 Vineyard Lane that is within walking distance to Tyler’s entrance as well as the multi-use trail at Ridley Creek State Park!

66 Viineyard Lane in Media
Stop by for a refreshment, free plant and chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Wedgewood Gardens!

66 Vineyard Lane will be open from 11am-3pm on Friday. Stop by and see how convenient this home is to Tyler Arboretum! Visitors will receive a free plant while supplies last and a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Wedgewood Gardens!

Providence Garden Club Annual Plant Sale . This plant sale has been going on for well over 60 years and is held on the campus of Williamson College of the Trades in Middletown township. Funds raised through this plant sale are donated to various environmental programs in the local community and throughout the region. This year’s plant sale will feature plants that attract pollinators such at butterflies and birds so you can create your own backyard sanctuary.

Date: Friday April 29 (9am-2pm) & Saturday April 30 (8am-1pm)

Where: 106 S. New Middletown Road, Media Pa. (1/2 mile north of the Granite Run Mall)

Last year I spotted this unusual plant at the plant sale. With only two left, I purchased it on the spot!

Providence Garden Club Media Pa.
Disporum Flavens, aka “Mary Bells.”


Red Hill Farm  is open for a tour and a taste test some of their offerings this season. You can pick up some plants for your vegetable garden too! Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and an assortment of herbs and cut flowers will be available for sale. See you at the farm!

Date: May 7, 1pm-4pm

Where: Red Hill Farm, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston PA

Click here to read my previous post about Red Hill Farm!

West Chester

Friends of Everhart Park Annual Plant Sale to support Everhart Park. This sale has been going on as long as I can remember; I lived across from the park 20 years ago and used to contribute to this sale.  I still have the same Elephant Ears that I purchased way back when for $5. They have created many babies and the original bulb is about the size of a soccer ball! You’ll find lovingly grown plants that have been divided from local residents’ gardens so you know they’ll do well in yours.

Date: Saturday May 7, 10am-2pm

Where: Everhart Park,  park around Brandywine and Miner Streets in downtown West Chester.

The Paula Coyne Plant Sale/ West Chester Garden Club – great selection of native plants, herbs, vegetables. Find your treasure from members’ gardens. Also for sale in the garden boutique–gifts for the gardener, including hand made leaf castings!

Date: Thursday, April 28, 9am-4pm

Where: Landhope Farms  in Kennett Square at the intersection of Rees 82 and 926.

Newtown Square (Willistown Conservation Trust)

Rushton Farm Spring Plant Sale

A model of sustainable agriculture, open space and natural resource protection, this 6 acre farm is nestled within the 86 acre Rushton Preserve in Willistown Township. This farm has never been exposed to pesticides and herbicides. Stock up on organically grown vegetables and flowers, grown right on the Farm.

Date: May 7 & 8, 10am-3pm

Where: Rushton Farm, 911 Delchester Road, Newtown Square

Composting in Glen Mills, Thornbury township

Did you know that almost 2/3 of our landfills are comprised of organic materials such as yard waste, food scraps, paper and wood waste? While throwing all of these materials in the trash, millions of dollars are spent each year on plastic bags filled with “enriched” garden soil.

What if you could kill two birds with one stone by diverting landfill waste and creating your own rich compost at the same time? Your lawn and kitchen scraps are the only ingredients you need to produce your own”black gold!” Learn how it’s done at an upcoming free seminar in Thornbury! Your plants will love you for it!

Free Composting Seminar – sponsored by Thornbury’s Environmental Advisory Council and held at the township building in Thornbury Township. Presented by Sam Barnett of the Master Gardeners and Penn State Extension

Date: Saturday, May 14th from 1pm-2pm

Where: Thornbury Township Building, 6 Township Drive (off of Cheyney Road), Cheyney Pa.

Free Composters to the First Ten People to sign up!!

Thornbury Township
Thornbury Township Municipal Building on Township Drive in Cheyney, Pa.

Pamela Cloud is a Realtor (and avid gardener) with Coldwell Banker Preferred in Media Pa. serving the Western Philadelphia suburbs, with expertise in Media, Glen Mills and West Chester.


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