Redevelopment plans proposed for Picket Post Swim Club property in Chesterbook – Plans include saving the historic 19th century barn

In the last few weeks, I have received many emails and phone calls about a privately owned historic barn in Chesterbrook. Rumors have swirled about the deteriorating 19th century timber post and beam barn, its possible demolition and a proposed redevelopment plan of townhouses for the Picket Post Swim Club owned property. For those that do not know the property, here’s a photo of the barn which I took last night.

Referred to locally as the Chase Road barn, its historic name is the Green Valley Farm Barn and is listed in the 2003 Tredyffrin Township Historic Resource Survey with a c. 1890 construction date.

Hidden in the middle of the Ridings, one of the 28 Villages in the Chesterbrook community is a group of original Green Valley Farm properties – the Federal manor home, a tenant house and the barn.  In the 1700s the Green Valley Farm of 800 acres adjoined the Chesterbrook Farm owned by Alexander Johnston Cassatt. Cassatt, the 7th President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, bred thoroughbred race horses on his 600 acres.

Fast forward to 1969, and Richard Fox from Jenkintown bought the property (which would become Chesterbrook) for $2.3M.  There was strong opposition from the neighboring residents to the development of this land. A battle that went as far as the Supreme Court ended and in 1976, they began grading and clearing the 865 acres originally known as “Green Valley Farm”.

In 1985, the large manor house was architecturally developed into three separate condominium units, while maintaining its original style. The tenant house to the property is a single-family private residence and the barn became a part of the community swim club and tennis courts (Pickett Post).

Although the manor house and tenant house are enjoyed and successfully maintained by their owners, sadly the historic barn has not fared as well.  During the last decade, Picket Post Swim Club membership and revenues has declined.  In 2016, the swimming pool on the property was closed to save repair and operational expenses. The property’s sole current use is for tennis while the maintenance, taxes and insurance of the entire 4.8 acres is paid by Picket Post Swim Club.  And without attention, the condition of the 130-year old barn has continued to deteriorate.

In 2018, the community is at a crossroads, with opinions divided on the swim club property and its future.

Picket Post Swim Club placed the 4.8 acre site up for sale and my understanding is that several developers looked at the property but for various reasons did not move forward. One of the significant stumbling blocks for development is the property would need to be re-zoned to R-4 (currently the zoning is Rural Conservation RC).

According to several sources, including John McFadden, the president of Picket Post Swim Club, the township is not interested in the property – although some in the community believe that the township wants the tennis courts and will manage them.

But the Picket Post property is more than the tennis courts, there is a closed swimming pool and more importantly, a deteriorating historic barn. And although the large 19th century barn is a Tredyffrin Township Class 1 historic resource (see below), the structure is not protected from demolition. Remember, the township does not have a historic preservation ordinance.

To further explain — In 2003, historic resources were identified and listed in the township’s Historic Resources Survey and classified into three categories – Class I, Class II, and Class III.  Viewed as the most important historic structures (and therefore most worthy of preservation), Class I resources are identified as resources that are listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The survey identifies 47 historic resources, including the Chase Road barn, in the Class I category.

I met with the swim club president John McFadden three years ago about the Chase Road barn and its future. At that time, the barn had already fallen into disrepair, which is more obvious from the inside. Major issues included a weak, sagging wall and roof problems.  The meeting resulted in no clear-cut direction and the barn’s condition has not improved in the intervening years.

As mentioned, a major obstacle for the property is the Rural Conservation  (RC) zoning designation. RC zoning permits one single family home. Since advertising the Picket Post property for sale, one company emerged as willing to taking on the challenges of development. Green Bridge Development LLC has entered into an Agreement of Sale with the swim club and will seek to have the property re-zoned.

As president of Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, whose mission is to preserve and protect historic and cultural resources in Tredyffrin Township for the benefit of present and future generations, I take the role seriously.  When discussing the proposed Chase Road project with the Green Bridge developers, my first question was “what about the barn”? Knowing that the cost to stabilize the large barn had to be over $500K, any plans for the barn would require a significant financial commitment.

After thorough discussion and review of the plans with the developer, I am pleased to report that the barn will be saved. In addition to townhouses, the proposed redevelopment plans include the adaptive re-use of the barn. A fan of re-purposing historic buildings, this is a way for old buildings, such as the barn, that have outlived their original purposes to have a ‘new future’.  With agreement to retain the integrity and historic features of the barn, I support the developer’s adaptive reuse of the Chase Road barn into 4 condominiums.

Green Bridge Development has hired local architect Rene Hoffman of R.A. Hoffman Architects in Paoli to design the project. Below is the rendering for the proposed adaptive re-use of the Chase Road barn —

If you attended the Trust’s 12th Annual Historic House Tour in 2016, one of the featured stops was the Westthorpe Farm Barn, c.1915 in Berwyn. In 2015, Bob Coppock of Coppock Properties and R. A. Hoffman Architects (the same firm hired for the Chase Barn conversion)meticulously crafted two luxury homes, retaining original architectural and historic elements — adaptive reuse of a historic barn at its best!  (See below)

There are some community members who want the Picket Post Swim Club property to remain ‘as is’.  Unfortunately, that is not a realistic option – the swim club cannot afford to keep the property and needs money for its other Chesterbrook swimming facility at Bradford Road. Additionally, the barn continues to deteriorate and in my opinion, is standing on borrowed time. Without financial intervention, the barn will probably need to be taken down at some point in the near future. When that happens, the community loses another historic resource.

There are those who want the Picket Post property to become a community park – again, not certain this is realistic. The purchase price on the property is $1.5M, where will the money come from to purchase and then maintain the property?  Taxpayers?  Grants?  Individual contributions?

Lots of opinions about the Picket Post Swim Club property and its future. The clock is ticking for this property and in my opinion, to ‘do nothing’ is not an option.

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  1. Agree with the potential rezoning and redevelopment of the area as there is no money for any other option,and the property sale proceeds would allow for the Picket post Swim club to maintain and improve the remaining pool and paddle courts.

    If the rezoning is denied, both swim clubs will continue to deteriorate and THAT will decrease the value of the neighboring properties – not the building of new townhouses.

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  2. The deterioration of this barn occurred on Picket Post Swim Club’s watch. Today the only builder stepping up wants to build 3 story condominiums / high volume occupancy homes, the same as those built on the Chesterbrook Shopping Center property. This over crowding causing water drainage / lack of green space plus parking is the issue are causing the local community members to attempt to hold the current zoning regulations.
    Picket Post Swim Club has victimized the local residents by NOT managing this property, we’re just trying to maintain our beautiful community and house values.
    Thank you for reading this.

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    Lilibet Reply:

    If you attended the developers’ presentation you will see the townshouses as proposed are not at all like the shopping center property which is zoned Town Center & has different building criteria. R4 zoning is different and is what Chesterbrook is zoned (residential that is).
    The builder and engineer have taken into account all the nieghbors’ objections & suggestions, and has even given Picket Post village some parking spaces, which it is not obligated to do.
    Parking in 2-1/2 spaces per unit, if there is a garage, that gives you 4-1/2 spaces. [clean out your garages, people.]

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    James Jaeger Reply:

    You are absolutely right Deirdre Simons. If the current plan goes through it will be a nightmare, not to mention the traffic and parking problems and probably eco problems. I aledge the current owners allowed this pool to deteriorate so they could “justify” selling it for development — hence unjust enrichment.

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  3. It’s great that you support preservation so strongly; it’s an important value. It would help if your article also didn’t completely ignore the current price of preserving this barn for residents of the area–40 townhomes plopped down in the middle of existing communities. There was a reason this land was deed restricted in the first place.

    I’m not saying that it must become a park but you write as if it’s an impossibility. Considering that the township purchased what is now Wilson Farm Park, why couldn’t they purchase this tract? Of course, the supervisors at that time had the foresight to incur a relatively short term cost for the long term gain of the park. It’s not clear that the current board has similar foresight.

    And by the way, the management of the club shouldn’t be given a pass in all this. What do they do to promote membership?

    Bottom line, let’s not ignore solutions that could be more suitable than the developer’s first proposal.

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    Pattye Reply:

    I am all for people coming up with other solutions. And if the Board of Supervisors are willing to purchase the property and make it a community park, that would certainly be a solution. I hope that those who oppose the development plan explore other options and do come up with Plan B, C, etc.

    My focus was intentionally focused on the barn, the Class I historic barn, that is an important part of our local history. My point is simple — to “do nothing” is not a solution — to do nothing the community loses the barn. I get that some people don’t care about the barn and I’ve heard people say that it should just be torn down. For me, that’s just not OK. These historic properties are not protected in Tredyffrin Township — just like the Covered Wagon Inn could have been demolished, so can the Chase Road barn. If it were not for myself and others standing up against the Covered Wagon Inn’s demolition, it would be gone. Without Board of Supervisor support for a historic preservation ordinance, our local history in these buildings is going to continue to disappear. Again — I get it that for some people, our local history doesn’t matter.

    I will agree with you that the current situation exists because of Picket Post Swim Club management issues and I’m certainly not giving them a pass. In my opinion, it has probably been 20 years since significant repairs/improvements were done to the Chase Road barn.

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    mark goldman Reply:

    I have lived across the street from that Barn for 30yrs now….I do not recall any repairs ever being done there. I do like the proposed drawings of the barn townhome renovation, but I fear that the remaining completed development will be too cluttered, and create numerous problems within the neighborhood.

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  4. No one is suggesting we “do nothing”. We just don’t think overdevelopment is the answer. You might feel differently if you lived across the street from a construction site.

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  5. I applaud your efforts to save the barn. And I agree we as neighbors should be able to come up with options. However, we did not know this was happening until very recently. No one saw the property advertised for sale. can you show us where that was listed? No letters were sent except the ones we just got announcing the meeting for re-zoning. Believe it or not we have been getting post cards to join the club as recently as last month, with the chase rd address on it. Therefore, to ask us to come up with a solution right away is not fair. We should be given more time to come up with options and form a comitee. We should have been told a long time ago

    I do however realize the barn is in disrepair and the club is now defunct, however, that shouldn’t mean that we as neighbors should be inundated with years of construction and towering new structures that do not blend with the neighborhood. Needless to mention the added traffic and parking strains it will put on all of us.

    As stated, the property is zoned RC. It was zoned that way for a reason. It was the original goal of the township to have some open space as buffers for R1 clustering. 40 new townhomes is just too much. Chase Road is already a danger zone.

    Also, If RC is allowed one single family home, why wasn’t it listed for sale that way. At least given a try. Is it because a developer has deeper pockets and will pay more or is it something else? Personally I could care less about the paddle Courts or their pool. I care about our neighborhood and the rapidly diminishing space we have left.

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  6. I like the developer’s consideration of the barn structure and interest in bringing it to new life. The rendering looks like a place I would enjoy calling home…that is if the beautiful green space around the barn would still exist. I’m curious to see the plan for the entire area including the 40 townhomes to get a better understanding of the space. Is it possible for fewer townhomes to create enough profit for the developer?

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    Pattye Reply:

    The plan is for 36 townhouses and 4 condos in the barn. In the next couple of days I will put the plan up, and show renderings of the townhouses. The plan saves all the wonderful large trees next to the barn and swimming pool and each of the townhouses have front porches and 50 ft. front yards — very much like a village feel with sidewalks. The townhouses replicate the stone foundation and board and batten of the barn in their design.

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  7. A couple of constructive ideas come to mind:

    1.Will the swimming pool be used for the 30+ new homes?
    2.Could the developer add a small Park like setting with benches?
    3.Small dog park?
    4. Will units have garages? Off street parking?
    5. Small common area for community garden for veggies or flowers?
    6. Can the community build less townhomes?
    7. Will there be a clubhouse or community center?
    8. Off street mailboxes?
    9. Green Roof and Green spaces for native plants, birds?
    10. Can the builder replace sidewalks and roads ?

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    Pattye Reply:

    The Picket Post swimming pool/wading pool were closed several years ago – no longer maintained. The only reason that they were not removed already is that it is too costly and Picket Post does not have the funds.
    Townhouses will have garages as will the barn conversion.
    No community/club house in the plans.
    The plans include new sidewalk trails and roads.
    I cannot answer about mailboxes, gardens, benches, dog parks

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  8. Another idea or two:

    1.Ask builder to put in energy saving street lights for safety.
    2.And those street bumps to keep cars from speeding along.
    3.What will be the condo fees for the new development?
    4.Will it have private or public roads?
    5.Will buses be able to pick up kids who go to a school more than a mile away?
    6.Can the first responders/fire companies handle the new amount of people who will live in the units?
    7.Can the builder /township spell out the responsibilities of the builder to the community?
    8.What are the factors that are looked at in re zoning the property?
    9. How many new estimated students with 36 units? 74?

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    Pattye Reply:

    The developer has held several public meetings and neighbor meetings with residents and perhaps these questions were answered. The developer will be in front of the township Planning Commission, Zoning Commission and Board of Supervisors where the public can ask questions. I do not speak for the developer.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this information. Someone told me about this developers plans but I live in the Panhandle and didn’t know where in Chesterbrook the property was located. The fact that this township doesn’t have historic protection of its buildings is ridiculous. A Class I building anywhere else on the mainline would be protected. If I understand the situation, the Chase Road barn is a Class I property but could be demolished. Please clarify, is that correct?

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    Pattye Reply:

    Yes, you are correct. No historic building in Tredyffrin Township is protected from demolition. Sometimes people think that if a property is on the National Register of Historic Places, that automatically protects the property. Short answer is NO, it still is not protected in Tredyffrin. You could own one of the Revolutionary War general’s headquarters and have it listed on the National Register of Historic Places and still demolish it. Oversight of historic properties in Pennsylvania is left to the local jurisdiction. There’s nothing forcing a PA township/borough to have a historic preservation ordinance — and sadly in Tredyffrin Township we do NOT have an ordinance to protect properties from demolition.

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  10. Patty
    There is a large group of residents with a much better plan – please reach out to me and I will be happy to update you. You should be helping us preserve this treasure – not destroying our neighborhood
    Shame on you –
    greenchesterbrook@hotmail.com

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    Pattye Reply:

    I sent the following email to you at greenchesterbrook@hotmail.com

    Hello,
    There is much misinformation swirling around concerning the Picket Post property. If you have a plan for this property, I would welcome hearing it.

    Pattye Benson

    The email was returned to me with the following response:

    Address not found
    Your message wasn’t delivered to greenchesterbrook@hotmail.com because the address couldn’t be found, or is unable to receive mail.

    To be clear — I tried to contact you but email was returned. Please provide a working email or contact me at tredyffrincommunitymatters@gmail.com

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  11. If you read the email from DAVID MILLER, you would have learned that the developers for Parkview did the same thing. Said one thing and built another. If the developer gets the zoning change, all bets are off. And Pattye I don’t care if it looks like a nice place to you – you aren’t living across the street from it.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Please see my response to the last comment. If a “large group of residents” have a plan for the Picket Post property, the community would like to hear about it.

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  12. The only beneficiaries are 1. Builder/Developer and 2. Picket Post (specifically John McFadden). Not sure why Chesterbrook should be transformed into a “monstrosity” due to negligence and mismanagement of this club. This should not be a “bailout”. The residents of Chesterbrook have voted with their wallets, even with “bargain basement pricing” the membership and defection rate has been in a nosedive for many years. This is a self serving project for the few swim team members and group of Paddle players to fund the ongoing failed operations with this windfall gain. If approved this may set a precedence for developing the remaining open space areas of this serene community.

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    Pattye Reply:

    OK, so let me ask you what is the solution? What should happen to the property? Should taxpayer dollars fund the purchase of the property and make it a community park? What happens to the 130-yr. old barn? I am confident that the supervisors will not support the cost of stabilization — so would you recommend demolishing the barn? It’s not protected, so there’s nothing stopping that outcome. It the barn is taken down, it will give the neighbors more open space.

    People keep saying that there are other solutions for the property — I’m very interested in hearing those options.

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    James Jaeger Reply:

    Here’s a summary of what I would suggest be done:

    1) Demand that our ELECTED local officials never grant any sort of a zoning decision that would allow the Chase Road Pool to be converted into yet more condos;

    2) The Picket Post Swim & Tennis Club should be sold and acquired by a new group or entity;

    3) The barn should be sold or separated from the overall deal because a POOL project is NOT a BARN project and to commingle the two is a recipe for disaster;

    4) The group or entity that acquires the pool should provide the necessary repairs to the pool. Perhaps proceeds from the sale of the barn could be used to refurbish the pool.

    5) Or, perhaps the barn could be demolished and the land it stood on sold for the funds to rehab the pool and tennis courts. Old rotting barns are a dime a dozen around Pennsylvania. We can’t save all of them;

    6) Prudently upgrade the pool facility so it can be used on a wider scale generating a modest positive cash flow as suggested in my open letter;

    7) Dues and fees for the pool should be reconfigured so that average income residents in the immediate neighborhoods around Chase, Heyward and along Chesterbrook Blvd., can be enjoy EASY affordability AND have membership priority over families from across the township, county and state.

    To do anything different with the Chase Road Pool than to properly repair, creatively refurbish and thoughtfully manage this property would fail to meet the “highest and best use” standard for the neighborhood and its residents. If this were to happen, real estate owners along Chase Road and Heyward Road could expect to see a reduction of their property values of $25,000 to $50,000 in the short-term alone.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Mr. Jaeger — to be clear, the Chase Road barn is a ‘Class I’ historic structure in Tredyffrin Twp. In any other township on the Main Line, Class I structures cannot be demolished — or as you appear to be suggesting “demolish by neglect”. Just as the property of the Chase Road Swim Club was set aside in the original Chesterbrook development plans, so were historic structures in Chesterbrook, including Duportail House, Chase Road barn, Bradford Road barn, etc.

  13. The builders pitch was well prepared but got “tripped up” with some good questions on –> building height, tree preservation, traffic patterns (80+ more cars exiting every morning, parking, child safety and clutter caused by “no back yards” causing the front to be used for some storage.

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  14. As we can all agree, the Picket Post Swim Club has fallen to tough financial times — whether its decreasing revenue due to less members or management issue, it’s a fact which is why the swimming pool was closed several years ago. Once the pool closed, there was nothing left but the tennis courts. Beyond the deteriorating barn, the property is not adequately maintained. The swim club can no longer afford to keep the property and decided to sell it. As private property, the club has a right to sell. However, because it is zoned Rural Conservation, there are limits for the use of the property as follows:

    By right uses permitted in RC (Rural Conservation)zoning include one detached single-family home; public park or recreation area owned and operated by a governmental agency; game preserve, environmental education or conservation facility or other conservation purpose; agricultural use; or utility lines.

    With special exception, RC (Rural Conservation) zoning usages permitted include: memorial park or cemetery; conversion of a single family home to multi-family home; privately owned outdoor recreational area or usage (Picket Post Swim Club) and accessory usage.

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  15. Sadly, there are some in our community receiving personal attacks over this issue, myself included. My focus in writing the post was in the barn and its significance to local history, particularly Chesterbrook’s history.

    Apparently there are some who think that my support for the barn means that I don’t care about the community. Choosing to attack me personally over the issue is not the answer and does not solve the problem. What a world we live in :(

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    James Jaeger Reply:

    Pattye, no one should attack you for supporting the barn. The problem is the barn should not be held sacrosanct.

    As I stated in a previous post, my family has had significant experience with “barn projects” and they are generally NIGHTMARES. A big washington DC preservation trust called the National Trust for Historic Preservation has been raping and pillaging local property owners in Pennsylvania for decades. Anyone who wants the details about this issue contact me personally by email and I will send you a summary of the legal briefs and the damage this entity caused.

    There are many barns in Pennsylvania and they don’t all have to be saved. Local property owners are advised to be VERY careful what predatory trusts and land-grabbers they let into their local communities. These trusts and barn rehabbers use “preservation” to tie up property in all manner of “covenant agreements” and “historic easements.” So here, once again, we have the age-old conflict between states rights vs federal power.

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    Pattye Reply:

    All ‘old barns’ in Pennsylvania area NOT Class I historic structures — Chase Road barn is a Class I historic structure. If there was a historic ordinance of protection in Tredyffrin Township (like every other township on the Main Line) there would be NO discussion of demolishing the Chase Road barn. You don’t have to worry that the historic preservation of the Chase Road barn is going to slow anything down — the Chase Road barn IS NOT PROTECTED and can be torn down.

    My husband and I own a c.1690 house in Tredyffrin Twp and just like the Chase Road barn, if no one cares about preservation or our local history — just tear it down! I get that I fight an uphill battle — I saw it clearly when I took a stand against the Covered Wagon Inn in Strafford and fought to save it. If residents don’t care about history or its preservation, I see why there’s so little support for a historic ordinance in this township.

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  16. The asumption is the Township will approve rezoning, what are the odds?

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    Pattye Reply:

    If you are asking me the odds, I have no idea. Those who oppose the re-zoning are making their voices heard loudly. And to be clear, there is a process to change zoning — first to the Planning Commission, next in front of the Zoning Hearing Board and then to the Board of Supervisors. IMO, the re-zoning application could go either way.

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    James Jaeger Reply:

    If the township approves rezoning, every one of the officials responsible will be looking for new jobs come the next election. As a political documentary filmmaker I will make that my pet project.

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    Watching Reply:

    Will be sure to tell the supervisors that they have been warned by the Chesterbrook filmmaker. I’ll bet that they will be worried by your threat.

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  17. What are you suggesting happens to this property? All I have heard thus far is 1. It should be left “as is” which is not an option or 2. The township should take over the property. The township does not want this property. If the township were to convert to “open space” who will have to pay for that? We as TE residents will. There is no need for another park when you can walk to Wilson Farm Patk from this location.

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  18. Aside from the a redevelopment plan for 36 townhouses and adaptive reuse of the barn to include 4 condos, I am not certain what some of the people want or who will pay for it.

    Those that say keep it like it is – OK, if you go along with that suggestion, is the township going to take over the tennis courts and manage? What happens to the barn? For those that suggest the 4.8 acre property as open space, I’d say that short of winning the lottery, is the expectation that township [Tredyffrin taxpayers] underwrite the cost.

    I am told that there is a plan by some of the neighbors who oppose the rezoning/redevelopment — but that their strategy is ‘not to disclose’ the plan. I’d say they might want to float their suggestion ‘sooner’ rather than ‘later’ if they want it to have any traction. I’m in the dark as to what this ‘plan’ is.

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  19. The Chase swim and tennis club have had financial difficulties for many years, in part because of poor fiscal management. For years they tried to solve the problem by raising rates, which got to the point that one could belong to the local YMCA for a close to a full year for what the swim club charges for approximately 3 months access. It’s ridiculous, and the main reason that my family no longer belongs.

    As for the barn, I am all for retaining historical sites, and re purposing as it makes sense. Let me point out in the years that I belonged to the swim club, the barn was used largely only for storage and little was done or spent for maintenance. And so to me it’s current condition is of no surprise.

    I feel that changing the use of this land must be evaluated more completely and thoroughly before letting it be rezoned, sold and developed with more townhouses in an already crowed area of Chesterbrook. From what I’ve read of the plans, this plan would be another atrocity to the original plans and designs, much like what has happened at the Shopping Center, where the only winners are the land owner, developers and township in being able to collect more taxes. Having attended a number of the sessions of the planning board, it was clear that this was the original plan from them anyway; residents of Chesterbrook be damned.

    Even so, I would support the re-purposing of the barn, but does it have to be made to townhouses? Perhaps, there could be a greater Chesterbrook or township community use. Have actual alternatives been explored, other than to help bail out the Swim Club? They originally received the property for a nominal fee for transfer of title, why should they substantially benefit now from its sale? I don’t feel we as members of the Chesterbrook, township or county communities have such an obligation. As for the tennis courts, they should be donated to the township for public use; there are none in the area except those at some schools for such a purpose, and would be a worthwhile addition to the area.

    When discussing the pools, I think it important to add that the still open pool on Bradford Road presents a large nuisance in the summer when there are swim meets since there in not adequate parking, and the street becomes filled with many many vehicles making it hard for local traffic to pass. When the shopping center was still intact, people could be encouraged to park there and walk to the pool, which already has changed the initial intent of the design of Chesterbrook…too crowded, too tall, not adequate open space, drainage problems that were noted as concern at early review meetings. Not a lot is unknown in such a proposal as with the Chase pool area, and developers must be kept honest, made responsible if the product does not meet the promises. What has happened in the shopping center should not be allowed to happen at the Chase pool.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Thank you for your thoughtful and respectful comment — it is much appreciated.

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  20. There is a real value to having open space, regardless of how close it is to other open space. As fas a the “township” not wanting it, the citizens are the township. If (and iI know it is an if) we want it, they could find a way to do it, much like Radnor Township did with Ardrossan open space and our township did with Wilson Farm Park years ago. Chesterbrook already bears the brunt of traffic and other issues to support all the office buildings here that contribute revenue to the township.

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  21. Something needs to happen to the Chase Road property. The property was already going downhill but when the pool closed a few years ago, it has gotten much worse. The roads in this part of Chesterbrook are private (owned by the homeowners not the township) and are not adequately maintained. I keep hearing keep the Chase Road property as it is and don’t want to see the property developed. That is one opinion but there are some of us who don’t think it looks all that great the way it is and wonder who is going to foot the bill if the township takes the property.

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  22. Agree with you 100%!!! As a member for over 25 years, I have seen great times but, hard to sustain with lack of members and general upkeep.

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    James Jaeger Reply:

    Lack of RICH members that simply decided to go elsewhere. Were this an affordable community pool — as it was intended to be by Chesterbrook developer, Rouse — it would not be “hard to sustain.”

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  23. Thanks, Pattye, for increasing our awareness of this issue, which will send clear signals about how the community wants Tredyffrin to evolve.

    The Club wishes to sell the property and appears to be allowing it to fall into disrepair. One potential buyer proposes to purchase the property subject to re-zoning that will allow for repurposing of the 130 year old barn and for another 36 townhouses. The consequences will include increased traffic, more school enrollment and reduction of open space – factors that the original zoning of Chesterbrook was arguably designed to limit.

    If our representatives decline to approve the re-zoning application, the Club will have to continue as-is, fail, or find another purchaser. The value of the RC zoned property is unlikely to be $1.5 million, though. (A ploy developers often use: “well, the only way the numbers work is if we get approval for [n] times the density”. Based on an assumed, but not set-in-stone and maybe inflated, purchase price!). Maybe someone would find the value in purchasing the property at a nominal price, converting the barn to residences and giving the tennis courts to the Township?

    As many have suggested here, this seems to be worth a full exploration of all possibilities before approving such an extreme measure as re-zoning.

    I don’t know how important tea-leaf reading is here, but is it an indicator of Township thinking that that the title of this item on the Planning Commission agenda item is “R-4 Zoning Map Amendment”?

    Note that also on Thursday’s Planning Commission agenda is a proposal to develop the eastern part of the Swedesford Plaza shopping center at 400 – 450 West Swedesford Road into a “multi-family building”.

    [Reply]

  24. I really doubt there is a legitimate alternative plan by the local residents, and if their plan calls for the township (meaning all TE taxpayers) to buy this property and turn it into a park for the benefit of a small group of residents, that will not fly either.

    I would suspect any approved plan will likely have a lower density, and from the initial sketches, the units and proposed layout looks like a positive addition to the area.These units will likely have a higher price point than the surrounding , existing units so that would tend to raise the values of the neighboring properties.

    As far as the claims of mismanagement by the pool club, it’s more a function of the Chesterbrook residents not supporting the pool club by joining , and the resulting revenue not supporting the operating and capital expenses. I’d like to see some proof of the mismanagement that is being claimed – but maybe BOTH pools should be sold and the properties redeveloped.

    [Reply]

    James Jaeger Reply:

    >I really doubt there is a legitimate alternative plan by the local residents,

    Not true. See the plan I proposed below.

    >and if their plan calls for the township (meaning all TE taxpayers) to buy this property and turn it into a park for the benefit of a small group of residents, that will not fly either.

    Rouse built this pool for the local community and he used it to sell the development of Chesterbrook. I was there. This pool has been over-priced so much it has driven out the local residents.

    >I would suspect any approved plan will likely have a lower density, and from the initial sketches, the units and proposed layout looks like a positive addition to the area.

    Not at all. This proposal will create over-density, serious parking problems and environmental problems as there is a stream and meadow across the street. Reconfiguring open areas and recreational facilities so yet more profit-making monstrosities is NOT how to make Chesterbrook great.

    >These units will likely have a higher price point than the surrounding , existing units so that would tend to raise the values of the neighboring properties.

    These units will look like the over-priced monstrosities put up at the Chesterbrook shopping center. I for one will move out of Chesterbrook if yet more condos are built.

    >As far as the claims of mismanagement by the pool club, it’s more a function of the Chesterbrook residents not supporting the pool club by joining , and the resulting revenue not supporting the operating and capital expenses.

    No this is totally false. The Cheserbrook residents I surveyed over the course of 10 years when I was a member of the pool, all told me that they coudn’t afford the $700+ initiation fee and then the $700 – 900 membership fee plus the $75 hold-over fees if one couldn’t afford to be a member every year. Plus, as I review in my open letter below, the pool was not only over priced — to serve cross-township, cross-county residents of greater means — it was operated on a minimalist business plan. Usually closed down during some of the best-weather months, the pool could have generated revenues in a number of additional ways. Plus, the mere fact that the pool ownership/management has been commingling the BARN problems with the POOL problems indicates they have no sense of proper property management. The barn should be sold off as its ownership and rehabilitation are a whole set of problems unrelated to pool management. If need be the barn should be demolished and the land it sat on sold and this is where re-hab funds for the pool can come from. Barns are a dime a dozen in PA.

    >I’d like to see some proof of the mismanagement that is being claimed – but maybe BOTH pools should be sold and the properties redeveloped.

    Maybe you are an apologist for predatory development and unjust enrichment.

    P.S. And this plan to to use sale proceeds from the Chase Road pool to upgrade the Cherterbrook pool — well if funds can get this pool solvent, why cant’t they get the Chase Road pool solvent?! The Chase Road pool is in a MUCH nicer location and has much better overall aesthetic and pastoral appeal. The Chesterbrook pool is like a desert.

    [Reply]

  25. Chesterbrook residents haven’t been joining (and have been defecting) for a reason. At the same time, neighboring clubs are thriving and have “wait lists” to join.

    [Reply]

  26. Thank you for an informative historical presentation and concern for barn property as well as trying to spell out the issues. Ultimately, any decision comes down to people accountable to the community and voting public and, hopefully, in their best interests.

    As part of former Picket Post member family, we sense great frustration from words exchanged here and otherwise. This frustration if not anger seems related to sudden even surprising to some what appears ram down, cram down of ONE very recent development proposal. Consider this whole issue has been probably festering since 2015 or before.

    What has emerged are active constructive discussion and A NUMBER of ALTERNATIVE IDEAS that could be viable for this site. Know awareness exists not to burden taxpayers while still achieving results that may work and should definitely be heard and considered. People have been thinking and very constructively. This family alone has been among many others actively participating. These alternatives may not provide relief let alone windfall to a private club but are aimed to benefit greater public (who do vote).

    To me and many others inside and outside this situation, being faulted for not supporting the club or its position parallels railing at consumers for not buying a product found unacceptable, unworthy for whatever reasons that somehow it’s owed ‘support’..regardless. If something doesn’t sell, it doesn’t sell. We have heard no one want to keep things ‘as is’ but many wanting an opportunity to offer ideas toward more open workable space. Citing the existing site as ‘somewhat developed already’ and space constrained because of paving, tennis courts, barn goes the way of criticizing in greater magnitude NYC Central Park that it could be partially or even totally developed for residential and/or commercial purposes. Yes, Wilson Park and others exist, yet these 4.8 acres are zoned Rural Conservation already and deserve to stay that way as what appears the intent and the vision of Chesterbrook’s developers ‘creating’ this space in a dense development area plan. And an historic barn should have its chance too.

    Thank you for this consideration and to all working for collective, constructive solutions.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    Thank you. I look forward to hearing all viable solutions for the property, especially those plans that include saving the historic Chase Road barn.

    [Reply]

  27. For those that may not have heard, the Chase Road project has been removed from tomorrow’s Planning Commission agenda. The re-zoning project will be on the Planning Commission’s agenda for July 19.

    [Reply]

  28. This barn will be a nightmare project and will cost much more than $500. My brother owned a similar barn in Chester Springs (Anselma Mill) and this project almost destroyed him. The barn should be sold off and the pool and tennis courts kept. That is the only prudent thing to do with this property. By commingling the BARN problem with the POOL problem, you are creating a problem that cannot be solved. The pool must remain. It’s the highest and best use of this property and was the original intent of the Rouse developers when they built Chesterbrook. Having grown up in Devon, I knew the family. Possibly one or two unites could be built in the barn, but the pool has been miss-managed by McFadden & Co for years. Properly managed and priced, this pool could serve the LOCAL residents as it was intended to do before all manner of mercenary interests intervened.

    [Reply]

  29. CHASE ROAD POOL
    Highest and Best Use for Chesterbrook Residents

    21 June 2018

    Dear Property Owners & Residents of Chase & Heyward Roads,

    I don’t know about you, but as a resident-owner on Heyward Road, my wife and I seriously object to the selling of the Picket Post Swim & Tennis Club (“Chase Road Pool”) and using the real estate for anything substantially different from its original intended use – a pool and tennis facility.

    As I will more fully discuss below — and I apologize in advance if this letter is too lengthy — I personally object to the manner in which the Chase Road Pool has been managed over the years and how its current owners have done little or nothing to serve the local community.

    Prior to moving to Chesterbrook 16 years ago, I had been a residence of Devon since 1959 and was present in the area when Chesterbrook was built. I therefore know that the Chase pool (and the other pool) was intended as an affordable asset FOR THE LOCAL RESIDENCES and to help sell the condo units.

    Since it’s takeover by present and earlier management and owners, the Chase Road Pool has in my opinion been mismanaged, abused and grossly over-priced. For instance, my family — with two little boys — was barely able afford the excessive admittance fee of some $700+ in addition to an annual fee of another $700+. In fact we had to go without on various years while my boys could hear the other little boys — from imported families of means — splashing and playing just 400 yards away. This was a terrible psychological assault on my boys and family. Then, to add insult to injury, the management of the pool — under John McFadden — would charge a $75 “hold over fee” otherwise I would have been required to pay ANOTHER exorbitant $700+ admittance fee.

    As mentioned, my family and I lived in Devon on Timber Lane for most of my life and we still have a residence there. My father was a psychiatrist so we could afford to be members of Martin’s Dam, an expensive pool that (no offence intended) many consider much nicer than the Chase Road Pool. Yet, given this, the greedy management of the Chase Road Pool has had the gall to charge fees similar to Martin’s Dam. In other words sell to wealthy people that would never stoop to live in a condo in Chesterbrook.

    Now, after years of financially mismanaging the Chase Road Pool to exploit FEWER wealthy members at HIGHER prices rather than to serve MORE members at AFFORDABLE prices — we in the local Chesterbrook community (who do not have incomes like psychiatrists or corporate CEOs) find out that our neighborhood pool “needs excessive repairs” and therefore “needs to be sold” in order to build “40 more condo units” in a neighborhood which is already over populated with condo units, cars and parking problems.

    THIS is no solution for the residences of Chase and Heyward Road. It’s a robbery of their quality of life and property values – all of which will surely crash if such a deal goes through. THIS is McFadden & Co attempting to unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of the local community who McFadden, and the Picket Post Swim & Tennis Club Board and owners NEVER sought to serve in the first place. I allege their MO has always been to mismanage, over-price and destroy a beautiful community pool — then seek to off-load the real estate for millions in profit. All this so 40 gross or excessively large condo units can be built in our neighborhood with over 80 additional cars and trucks, and endless visitors and strangers jamming and monopolizing our condo-side parking slips.

    I am a motion picture producer by trade but I, and my family, have been in the real estate business for close to 50 years. We built and managed the Devon Professional Buildings on Lancaster Avenue in Devon and we have been involved in various large recreational properties on Long Beach Island over the years. Given this experience, I can say with reasonable certainty turning a pool into condos is not the “highest and best use” of the Chase Road Pool property. It may be the most profitable for the developers but not the best for the existing neighborhood as there are very few, if any, neighborhoods across the U.S. that have an aesthetic community pool so close. Most have to travel far or bear the expense of installing a personal pool, no where as nice or large, in their back yard.

    Given these things, the “highest and best use” is what the ORIGINAL, genius developers of this gorgeous, Chesterbrook complex envisioned – a community pool that the LOCAL residences could afford and would universally attend for the benefit and enjoyment of THEIR families – not wealthy strangers from across the township, county and state.

    Again, repurposing the Chesterbrook pool to a condo complex will add ridiculously excessive traffic to the neighborhood streets and it may even have a negative environmental impact on the stream and meadow that are across the street.

    The residents of the Chase Road and Heyward Road communities are well within their rights to vehemently object to this proposed business plan and should hire their own lawyer to take care of their interests. It is appreciated that our Condo Association is concerned about this in the interest of its client-residents, but ultimately the Condo Association has a conflict of interest. The Condo Association may overtly or covertly opt to manage, hence financially benefit, from (40) new condos built on the Chase Road Pool property were development to actually go forward. Thus, again, we residents should retain our own counsel and we should NOT rely on our Condo Association to look out for our interests. We should welcome and thank them, but not RELY on them. YOU are the person that owns real estate on Chase or Heyward Road. YOU will be the one suffering or benefiting. We thus have to RELY on ourselves to fight this commercial exploitation of our neighborhood. Look at the gargantuan, gross and over-priced condos they just built adjacent to the Chesterbrook shopping center. Do you want THAT in your neighborhood?

    Given we are the majority owners of the neighborhood, it is we the residents that have the power to determine what will and will not be built. We have the power to demand that our local zoning officials do our bidding or we have the power and the responsibility to vote them out of office.

    These things said, here is one resident’s opinion of what we should do.
    The Chase Road Pool should be sold to a competent and responsible ownership entity (for more than $1) and this entity should rehabilitate this property to offer a pool, tennis courts, exercise facilities, lounge and refreshment areas and other facilities not available at Wilson Farm Park.

    The current management under the McFadden regime was so insensitive to the potential values of this beautiful club, they would closed the pool every year just when the weather was the best in the Autumn. I and my little boys would often drive by the Chase Road Pool on a sunny, warm September day and wonder “why is the pool closed?” Through the fence we could see the pool, still filled with water, lounge chairs all around — but vacant like a desert ghost town. The reason: “Oh it costs too much to keep the pool open.”

    No McFadden & Co were too LAZY to keep the pool open. They just want to make money, not serve anyone. Did McFadden & Co ever once contact the neighborhood on Chase or Heyward and survey them as to what they would like — what they would support? Never. Had they, we could have given all sorts of ideas, and ideas we would gladly have paid fair and reasonable sums for.

    For instance, instead of offering an overpriced, 2- month membership that excludes the fairest and most beautiful months of the year, why didn’t McFadden & Co offer memberships for 2 – 6 months and allow the members to freely come and go if their financial circumstances changed? Instead of a one-size fits-all membership of $700+ for a minimalist July and August period, how about a $150 dollar membership on a month-to-month basis from say May through October? That would bring in a potential per member revenue of $900 (6mo X $150 = $900). And all the members won’t show up at the same time, especially if the club is open for a longer duration.

    Or McFadden & Co could have priced each month according to demand. If everyone wants to be at the pool in July or August, charge $300 – $500 for July or August. If fewer people enjoy sitting out by the pool in the milder months of April, May, September or October, lower the prices to $75 or $100 per month to entice them.

    There is no reason the actual pool has to even be open on “off months” thus there is no need to hire life guards or pay for such insurance on off months. But the facility could have been enjoyed for longer and my more people. Maybe a refreshments stand and socializing area could have been established. How expensive is that? People love to sit round the pool in good weather and drink refreshments and munch — even if they don’t go in. They do this down the street at Old Forge Crossing, where I used to live. The Picket Post Swim & Tennis Club has never in my memory made any attempt to do any of this or think outside the box. This is the most unservice-oriented, minimalist, lazy and greedy group of people I have ever seen own and manage a pool — and they have been wasting and abusing this beautiful community asset, with endless potential, for decades.

    I have spoken to a number of your fellow residents and they have every right to be angry and abhorred, as am I, for it is us who have been suffering in silence for decades as we have watched the Chase Road Pool regime deny proper use and enjoyment of this community asset.

    We need to demand that our elected local authorities never grant any sort of a zoning decision that would allow the Chase Road Pool to be converted into yet more condos. We should demand that a) The Picket Post Swim & Tennis Club be sold and acquired by a new group or entity; b) that this group or entity will provide the necessary repairs; c) that it will prudently upgrade the facility so it can be used on a wider scale generating a modest positive cash flow as above suggested; and d) that dues and fees be reconfigured so that average income residents in the neighborhood can be enjoy EASY affordability AND have membership priority.

    To do anything different with the Chase Road Pool than to properly repair, creatively refurbish and thoughtfully manage this property would fail to meet the “highest and best use” standard for the neighborhood and its residents. If this were to happen, real estate owners along Chase Road and Heyward Road could expect to see a reduction of their property values of $25,000 to $50,000 in the short-term alone.

    Sincerely,

    JAMES JAEGER,
    1193 Heyward Road
    Chesterbrook, PA 19087
    610-707-1505 Home
    610-688-9212 Office

    P.S. Please feel free to circulate this letter to the residents and property owners on Chase and Heyward Roads. We should also all keep a close eye on when meetings are scheduled and attend them. We should NOT allow this important issue to slip our attention no matter how many meetings are rescheduled or postponed or how many obfuscations may be presented by apologists of the condo development and destruction of a serious community asset.

    [Reply]

  30. The pools have been “deteriorating” because of miss management and over-pricing. See my open letter for details.

    To do anything different with the Chase Road Pool than to properly repair, creatively refurbish and thoughtfully manage this property would fail to meet the “highest and best use” standard for the neighborhood and its residents. If this were to happen, real estate owners along Chase Road and Heyward Road could expect to see a reduction of their property values of $25,000 to $50,000 in the short-term alone.

    [Reply]

  31. The barn should be a non-issue. There are rotting old barns all over Pennsylvania. Who cares. Preserve some of them but these barn projects usually are nightmares. My brother owned the barn at the Mill in Anselma in Chester Springs. He poured hundreds of thousands into this project — even brought Amish workers in from Lancaster for authenticity — just to see some huge preservation trust (funded by rich movie people from Hollywood) in Washington DC force themselves into the local area and bankrupt everyone involved. Sell off the barn to some sucker-developer and re-hab the pool and tennis courts. Sell the pool to a group that will respect it, properly price and manage it and get it to positive cash flow. This pool is supposed to service the LOCAL neighborhood, not rich people from all over the county, and state. When I was a member of the pool, I noted that few from the neighborhood were members. I therefore asked around the neighborhood and everyone said the pool was ridiculously over-priced and the membership fees were onerous. Keep the pool, get a new owner and management team. That’s the only scenario that will make sense in the long-term.

    [Reply]

  32. For someone who is a Chesterbrook resident and who has such strong opinions on what went wrong with the Chase Road Picket Post Swim Club, why are just now sharing those ideas??? I say, a little late with the criticism. You had something to gain to have been involved with saving the situation before it got to this point. Where were you?

    You must have blinders on when you leave home, the swim club and barn did not just start to deteriorate when it was put up for sale. It’s been going downhill for years!! You think your property values are going to go down with the development project, I suggest that they are already going down. Look around at that property!

    [Reply]

  33. Sorry, I have a hard time with your comment about property values decreasing – if the rundown pool and tennis area is replaced with townhouses in the $500k + price range – it will tend to RAISE the overall property values of the surrounding area – including your house. Simple economics.To claim otherwise really weakens your position.

    As a local resident (but not a Chesterbrook resident) who supports the swim club by being a member (for the tennis and paddle tennis programs), i would love to see that club refurbished and made into a top notch pool and tennis club. But the reality is that will cost a lot of money and it’s very unlikely anyone would take the financial risk. The past can’t be changed – the club is struggling financially and is run down – that won’t change no matter how many letters you write. And i would argue that a thriving pool and tennis club would generate much more traffic and noise that any property redevelopment on the site.So be careful what you wish for – just listen to the traffic complaints generated by the other pool.

    As to your DEMAND that someone buy the pool club and run it “properly” , I would suggest that you and some of your fellow residents get into the pool club business, or at least study the economics of it – maybe what the pool club needs is local owners.But as a pool owner, if you think you can get more than 3 1/2 months out of a pool in this area, you’d better have a pool heater ($$$) for most of May and all of Sept – and don’t expect a ton of monthly memberships for May and Sept. If you ran through the exercise of running a hypothetical p&l, you’d see the reality of the situation.

    As i noted, i belong to Picket Post solely for the tennis and paddle tennis – don’t even use the pool. You have to realize it’s not just a pool club, members can use the tennis and paddle tennis almost all year round. So the price become more reasonable when viewed from that perspective. But it can’t compete with the YMCA which has financial support from many corporate and individual donors. The Y could not survive on just membership dues.So an unfair comparison.

    If your ultimate plan is for the township to buy this property with taxpayer dollars, demolish the rundown structures with taxpayer dollars, to create a pocket park for a few neighboring residents, and have to spend taxpayer dollars to maintain that pocket park – then THAT will have many more taxpayers up in arms than the current proposal does.

    [Reply]

  34. Isn’t it a non-profit corporation, run by a Board of Directors, elected from the current membership? Who the heck is going to buy a non-profit corp that is bleeding money and competing with Lifetime, the Y, and numerous other fitness centers and country clubs in the region?

    Seems to be mute now. Apparently the sale closed already.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    It was my understanding the the sale of the property was contingent on receiving the zoning change, which has not yet happened. The proposed Chase Road development plan was rescheduled from the June Planning Commission meeting to the July Planning Commission meeting. In the interim, perhaps the neighbors have come up with a viable way to save the property. Pushing back against rezoning is not a complete solution — it will stop the proposed development from moving forward but it does not improve the deteriorating property. I am very interested in the neighbor’s plans for the property. And as others have pointed out, don’t think that many non-Chesterbrook residents are going to be fans of a taxpayer purchase of the property.

    [Reply]

    TBO Reply:

    I saw a statement in one of the online reports from the developer that the purchase was finalized at the end of June and had no contingencies. I’ll see if I can find it again.

    I agree with you. You can stop the rezoning, but that does not solve the problem.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    OK, thanks. Yes, please let me know if you find definitively that the property was sold w/o contingencies (which as I said, was not my understanding). It would seem an extremely risky purchase given that the property requires rezoning to develop.

    TBO Reply:

    Found it. Not sure how reliable the publication is, but…


    The club’s all-volunteer board voted to list the property for $1.5 million, eventually taking a $1.3 million offer from David Ludin of Green Bridge Development. “I’m the equity owner today. My deposit went hard in June,” Ludin tells SAVVY. (So no, it’s not a contingent-upon-approvals sale.)

    A real estate developer, Ludin naturally has no plans to run a club.

    http://savvymainline.com/2018/06/28/multi-family-housing-boom-in-tredyffrin-big-plans-for-swedesford-new-village-play-space-wins-for-willows-brain-fog-all-new-sporting-club-m/

    Pattye Reply:

    Ah yes, I had read this in Savvy Mainline — however, it is counter to what I was told. A couple of months ago, David Ludin’s development partner told me that the Chase Road project/deal was contingent upon rezoning approval (which would make more sense). Maybe we will learn more at the Planning Commission meeting later this month — the Chase Road project was moved from June (due to lack of quorum) to July.

  35. Patty – I think your last comment is the end goal of the Chesterbrook residents opposing the zoning change. But you are right that a much larger numbers of township residents will NOT support taxpayer dollars being used to buy the land, pay to demolish the structures and pay to maintain the space.

    The neighbors plan is not one the majority of people would oppose – have a new owner buy the property , invest a substantial amount of funds to repair and upgrade the property and make it a viable and attractive pool and tennis club for the community. But that ignores the reality of the current situation and capital required to make the club successful. A few hundred or even a thousand members paying $150 a month for the summer is not going to come close to allowing a financially stable club,

    The only way to have a fiscally stable and attractive pool and tennis club is to have ALL Chesterbrook residents pay a yearly fee to maintain the club – it is an amenity that if well run and attractive, would make the Chesterbrook community more attractive and raise property values. But that has likely a ZERO chance of happening.

    A new, upgraded and well maintained pool, paddle and tennis club would have to have more amenities and longer hours – which would likely INCREASE the traffic and noise vs new townhouses. Swim team meets, longer facility hours, longer pool season, tennis meets and matches, adding lights for longer hours – all would generate MORE traffic. And any new buyer is going to want to have longer hours and the residents will complain about that!

    As i understand it, the club is run by VOLUNTEERS, it seems like some of the residents should volunteer or run to be elected to the club board and see if they can find a way to run the club? But they will find the cold reality is – it’s not about poor mgmt – it’s about cold hard $$ and the lack of residents supporting the club, both by working on the club mgmt team as well as joining the club.

    I think the best CURRENT option (assuming that Chesterbrook residents will not financially support THEIR club) is for those opposing the developer to work with him on reducing the density of units, working with the developer to make changes to the units and layout so that it becomes an attractive addition to Chesterbrook and one where the neighboring property values INCREASE , due to higher valued properties built in the area.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    new owner buy the property , invest a substantial amount of funds to repair and upgrade the property and make it a viable and attractive pool and tennis club for the community. But that ignores the reality of the current situation and capital required to make the club successful.

    And therein lies the problem!
    ——————————

    those opposing the developer to work with him on reducing the density of units, working with the developer to make changes to the units and layout so that it becomes an attractive addition to Chesterbrook and one where the neighboring property values INCREASE, due to higher valued properties built in the area.

    Completely agree.

    [Reply]

  36. From a completely outside perspective, does Chesterbrook need two pool facilities?
    And are they really both called Picket Post as shown on Google maps?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    Picket Post Swim & Tennis Club has two locations — Chase Road and Bradford Road both in Chesterbrook. The Bradford Road location has swimming pool and paddle ball courts and Chase Road has tennis courts (the swimming pool closed several years ago).

    [Reply]

  37. I’m sure the density will be cut back for the proposed development, but the majority of the villages in Chesterbrook are extremely dense / cluttered with minimal parking already. I’m sure the final approved plan for this space would be a positive for the area as the market value of these new units will be higher than the surrounding area.And the units in the barn look really nice, but they are only feasible if the other units are built.

    [Reply]

  38. I’m not at all so sure that the number of units will be cut back very much. The developer has to make a substantial profit on the project. Also, if you followed the design and building of the townhouses in the old shopping center, you’d be away that very little accommodation was made to the number of units and the amount of open space even after neighbors and residents of Chesterbrook complained. The planning board is interested in only one thing, to get the maximum tax revenue out of unused properties and land.

    [Reply]

  39. I don’t know all the details of the new townhouses that went up but i do remember some discussions about the units being cut back from the initial proposal – but you are right in that based on the density , it doesn’t look like the units were cut back too much.

    But i will say , in my opinion, that the new redevelopment of the center is a HUGE improvement over what was there before and the traffic count is likely lower than when it was a full center with the grocery store there back in the day.

    I will disagree a little, in that I that I have no problem with the township looking to approve redevelopment of unused / under used property to increase tax revenues – i think redevelopment is a positive , healthy process for Tredyffrin. I just wish that there was a 55+ type community that would be built if a bigger parcel of land came up for redevelopment – there you get the taxes but no increase in the school population.

    [Reply]

  40. I like the idea of repurposing the barn and thus saving it. But why do we have to have 36 additional townhomes? Why not 20? Why does profit and greed have to win over aesthetics and trees and grass? Wouldn’t less townhomes and the preservation of some of the old trees and some green area be a reasonable compromise? Why the need to cram us in like sardines? My math may be faulty, but it seems like 24 units selling for $500 thousand would offset the 1 million they’re paying for the property very nicely, even taking into consideration the construction costs. And they could probably get even more for the new homes if there was some green area around them.

    I have to say that the addition of a wire fence around the whole property doesn’t bode well for any respect for the opinions of the people living around this site. Clearly the builders are making a point that if we don’t give in we’re going to have to look at this ugly fence. It’s not just the fence that’s ugly.

    Also, some of the homeowners who are objecting actually do belong to the swim club, and have for years. We want the swim club to succeed, but not at the expense of the neighborhood.

    Why do the people who object have to come up with the compromise or alternative solution when the builders clearly aren’t willing to do so themselves?

    The last meeting to discuss this was cancelled, and to the best of my knowledge not rescheduled. Instead, the fence… Does anyone know what’s going on?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    If you live in Chesterbrook, close to the Chase Road barn/Picket Post Swim Club, have you reached out to the developers directly. Your suggestions seem worthy of further discussion and perhaps a compromise could happen as a result.

    [Reply]

    Long time resident and member Reply:

    I do, and I haven’t. I can’t imagine them listening to me, but I’m happy to give it a try. Do you have contact information for them that you could share?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    If you email me at Tredyffrincommunitymatters@gmail.com and I will provide the contact information.

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