Application Filed to Demolish the Clockworks Building in Paoli + Video Clip of BAN the Digital Billboard Lawn Sign Thief!

Tonight was the last meeting of the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors for 2018 and the public was met with a pronouncement by solicitor Vince Donahue.  He announced that at 4:45 PM TODAY, Catalyst Outdoor Advertising filed two applications with the township – the first application to make the current small billboard at the intersection of Lancaster Ave and Rt. 252 a digital billboard and the second application to DEMOLISH the Clockworks building!

No amount of upset and personal appeal to the supervisors on my part was going to save the Clockworks building! There is NO historic preservation ordinance of protection in Tredyffrin Township. Although the Clockworks building is included in the township’s 2003 historic preservation survey, it is meaningless – we do NOT protect our historic buildings in Tredyffrin Township. 

The sadness over the loss of this Brognard Okie building and its memories for many of the residents, is beyond words for me. To live in an area seeped in history, and calling a 300+ year old house my home, yet we do nothing to save our old buildings. My outburst at the meeting over the news was met only with stares from the supervisors – no comment from Chair Heather Greenberg (her last meeting tonight as chair) or from any of the others.

Back when the 18th century original Pugh Road farmhouse application to demolish was approved within 24 hours (and subsequently demolished), I asked the township for a waiting period for all historic properties contained in the historic resource survey.  I guess the clock will start to tick on the Clockworks demolition application starting tomorrow.

Apparently, the application to turn the small static billboard digital will take some legal review according to the township solicitor.  To be really clear here — anyone who doesn’t think that that demolishing the Clockworks building isn’t a precursor to two large digital billboards at this site needs to reconsider their position!

As I said to the supervisors tonight, this is no Merry Christmas news for Pattye Benson and the many other people in this township who care about our local history. Nearly 4,000 people signed the Change.org petition to BAN the Digital Billboard and Save the Clockworks Building in Paoli. None of it mattered — what a tremendous waste of time and effort! I’m just so sad.

At the suggestion of the Tredyffrin Township Police Chief Mike Beaty, I am releasing the video of stolen BAN the Digital Billboard lawn signs from private property. To date there were 93 lawn signs stolen from private property and without any other leads, I have decided to release the video from Dec. 3 at 9:34 AM. It would be great if we could find the person responsible for the thefts and maybe that road will help us fight back against the digital billboard and (I know that it’s a long shot!) maybe help save the Clockworks building if we can find a connection.

Please click on the link below — the police have sent the video out for enhancement but they were not able to find anything further than is on the video. But we’ve got many tech savvy people in the area, so maybe you will be able to help with the video clip.

For example, run the video full screen and take some screen shots at the key moments, zoom in, look at the car (hoping for an ID on make/color) and the person and if you can help identify, immediately call the police and let me know.

 

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72 Comments

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  1. I’m sick about the demolition. As I was about the Pugh farmhouse. We must get an ordinance to protect our historic buildings!
    The billboard will be a blight on our township. This is not Las Vegas! I certainly will not enjoy driving through the intersection several times a week.
    I’ve lived here my whole life, and used to be so proud to be a Tredyffrin resident, but no longer.

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  2. The sign theft in broad daylight is shocking.
    Along with the other person of interest in the Daylesford murder and recent domestic abuse allegation is frightening!

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  3. What a legacy Ms. Greenberg leaves the people of Tredyffrin Township. The landscape of this community will be forevermore changed with the demolition of the Clockworks building.

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    T/E Anonymous Parent Reply:

    Who is surprised?

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  4. What else can we do to help?

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    Pattye Reply:

    Sadly, I wish I could say there was something that could be done. As I said at the meeting last night, when Catalyst first approached the township a couple of years ago there was an opportunity for the township to FINALLY put a historic preservation ordinance in place and to create an ordinance which would oppose digital signs in the township. The handwriting was on the wall and a missed opportunity, nothing was done for historic preservation or on the digital billboard side. A previous person who commented had it right, the legacy of this Board of Supervisors will now change the landscape of Paoli from this point forward.

    To some who don’t care about historic preservation or our local history, they will not see the demolition of the Clockworks building as any great loss. For people like me, who attach significance to our local history and its preservation, there is an overwhelming sadness. We elect people to represent us but right now, I don’t feel anyone of these people represents me.

    I hope that people will drive by the Clockworks often in the coming days to remember how the corner used to look. Look at the little billboard and envision it digital — and then the final step will be a large digital monument with a reflecting pool. This will be our “Welcome to Tredyffrin Township”.

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  5. This is demoralizing news.
    The only silver lining is that perhaps there will now be a strong movement to protect historic properties in Tredyffrin Township. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the community, Pattye. So sorry they were not rewarded this time, but hopefully will have an impact down the road.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Thank you Joan. If the loss of the Clockworks building would help push historic preservation, I could take solace. But I have been fighting the battle for 20+ years and nothing changes — the can just continues to get kicked down the road until another development plan demolishes a historic building.

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  6. Did all of the Supervisors vote for the demolition? Even the new one who said he was against it? No words from him?

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    Pattye Reply:

    There was no vote needed from the supervisors. A demolition permit application is submitted and without a historic preservation ordinance of protection, there is nothing to prohibit the the demolition. It doesn’t matter if the historic house dates to 1690 (like mine)or was a General headquarters house during the Revolutionary War — if an owner wants to demolish, there’s nothing to stop it. Not one supervisor commented when the solicitor made the announcement about the application or when I appealed to them (as did resident and fellow Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust Board member Pearl Nudy) to do something. S-I-L-E-N-C-E

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    Paoli Resident Reply:

    At this point it is spite by the Supervisirs. The billboard brings in no financial benefit to the Township, the public has expressed strong opposition and a resident from another township wrote about the true experience of one of these “monuments” in her community.

    No words of support to the community from Supervisors, especially the new one.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Anybody who doesn’t see the demolition of the Clockworks building as the beginning of the process really doesn’t have a clue. There’s a significant cost to demolition a building and I’m betting that Catalyst isn’t demolishing the Clockworks building without believing that there will be a huge, looming digital billboard in its place.

  7. This sickens me. Growing up in an area full of historic buildings gave me a life-long appreciation of history in general and love for the part are area played in the growth and development of a new country. I am sickened to be reminded again that nothing was done after the terrible demolishing of the beautiful home on Pugh Road. The township continually disregards what a treasure these buildings are. They are far more valuable culturally than you can ever hope to gain monetarily. They cannot be replaced. Shame on you Tredyffrin Township.

    Can county and state historical preservation groups and news media in Philadelphia help bring pressure to stop this destruction?

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    Pattye Reply:

    Unfortunately in Pennsylvania, historic preservation is left up to the local municipality to govern – as in Tredyffrin Township. So even if a house in Tredyffrin Township is on the National Register of Historic Places, it can be demolished.

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  8. I wouldn’t blame the solicitor for the timing of the notice. If anything, he should be appreciated for getting the word out. What is more calculating, however, is the timing of the application by the property owner. I don’t know how long it takes for an application to be approved and what else would need to be done to prepare the site for demolition….but my best guess is its coming in a hurry and I would not be surprised if it occurs when we are not expecting it – like during the holidays starting next week. Then, once the building is gone, so is the controversy. While we have a fool stealing signs (and really, how stupid can that person be?), it’s petty theft. After this is all over, the BOS will display small bits of anger and disappointment over the issue, but really with just the goal of putting that on the record for their own political gain and in reality they’re just hoping the issue fades away.

    While the community should be proud of its efforts to keep things the way they are, we are up against professionals who know exactly what they are doing. This is not their first brush with local residents. They know the law, their rights, and have the legal muscle to flex when challenged. Our BOS got a lesson on that here, and they just didn’t want the fight. I also believe they didn’t anticipate the uproar. The sad reality is that perhaps it is in the best interests of the township. If we knew a legal challenge would cost the township $100,000 in legal fees – with no more than a 50% chance of success (this time) – is that really acting in the best interests of the township?

    I would have preferred some more candid communications from the BOS. Understanding this is a legal matter and the need to keep things confidential notwithstanding, I have not seen any leadership from the Board.

    And that’s disappointing and disturbing.

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    Paoli Resident Reply:

    T/E Anon

    I believe it is in the best interests of the Township to fight this no matter the cost. It’s clear the Supervisors don’t want to fight it. Many townships and city’s have fought it, like Phoenixville, and won. The question isn’t should we fight it, the question is why aren’t we fighting it?

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    Pattye Reply:

    I like this — “The question isn’t should we fight it, the question is why aren’t we fighting it?”

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    T/E Anonymous Parent Reply:

    You may be right, but we’ll never really know.

    If anything, citizens should recognize what the BOS does (or does not do), rather than listen to what they may say.

    I saw the meeting on video. Not one BOS voiced an opinion on changing the ordinance to preserve historic buildings, nor did they openly ask the solicitor whether such an effort was possible.

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    uglification of route 30 Reply:

    In complete agreement, TE Anon! Fighting and winning sets a precedent that could help in future such “battles”, and where there’s one battle like this, more will surely follow. I am no legal expert, but I do think it’s time to look at the bigger picture involving development all along the Route 30 corridor and the County’s role in controlling it…”monied interests” have decided–for us, the residents–that development, especially high density, is a moneymaker for THEM.

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    WillO Reply:

    Zoning laws are zoning laws. You and I and our neighbors can’t get around them. How exactly does a private company have any more leverage?

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    Pattye Reply:

    Perhaps its all in who you know — just sayin’

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  9. The Tredyffrin Township Supervisors have no use for the average citizen, we are just so much dirt under their shoes. This calls for a massive uprising of pitchforks and torches to descend on the township building to show them who is boss. And, a massive voter turnout to oust the S.O.B.’s who voted for the billboard. I am sure the billboard has already been approved in secret.
    The next thing they will do is sell the sewer authority to Aqua who will triple our bills.

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  10. Just to clarify, that building itself is not that old but the design is?

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    Pattye Reply:

    The house was designed by R. Brognard Okie to replicate the original toll building that stood on its site.

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  11. So Catalyst Outdoor Advertising is the actual property owner? They lease it to Clockworks? I haven’t seen that in print anywhere (I may have missed it) Its amazing its this easy for them. When our small Paoli business wanted a new sign, we had to jump through hoops to get it approved, and it took for-e-ver.

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    Pattye Reply:

    As I understand it — Dale Nelson, the Malvern building contractor is the of the property. In January 2017, he leased the property to Catalyst for 30 years. This past summer, Dale Nelson transferred the property to a Dale Nelson Family Trust which now owns the property. I guess the property was leased with the Clockworks tenant whose days at that location are numbered.

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  12. Concerned residents should continue to call and email their Supervisors. Attend the BOS meetings and keep asking for appropriate Historic Property and Billboard Ordinances. While it may be too late to save the Clockworks building, continued pressure may protect other properties. Many thanks to Pattye who has been shouldering this effort on our behalf for many, many years.

    Perhaps we could threaten boycotts of the advertisers who buy the adds. Cut off the revenue stream for inappropriate Catalyst signs in Tredyffrin. Get the word out now before the advertisers buy in and before the sign is built?

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  13. I like the suggestions above of boycotting advertisers who use the digital billboard. The power of purchasing decisions is one we all have.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Yes, and I think that the next set of BAN the Digital Billboard lawn signs will have the wording “Boycott Advertisers” added to them!

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  14. With 4,000 signatures against it, and it is still done.

    1) whoever advertises in that thing, I’m boycotting. All 4,00 people should do the same. A petition created against the advertiser to bring awareness they are advertising there because 4,000 people were not heard. Next week another advertiser? Another petition! Non stop! It will be known as the cursed billboard.

    2) who creates the rules to protect historic buildings? The board of supervisors? If so, I’d love a list with name, email address and date their seat will be over. Along with a template email people can copy/paste requiring the supervisor to legislate on the issue. And every person that sends each supervisor an email requesting it, cc a local reporter/Philadelphia reporter.
    There must even be a rule about preserving historic buildings from other townships that can be copied, so the board doesn’t have to start from scratch.

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    Pattye Reply:

    As president of Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust (and former long-serving township HARB and Historic Commission member) and owner of a 300-year old house I’ve been fighting the battle for a historic preservation ordinance for 20 years. Over the years, the Board of Supervisors has had its seats filled with pro-developer types, real estate attorneys and the like — who didn’t want to see developers hands tied with a historic preservation ordinance.

    I will say that some of the supervisors have been supportive of the Trust and the annual historic house tour but still many didn’t want to see owner rights restricted. There is currently a draft historic preservation ordinance floating around the township staff, solicitor, etc. In a couple of weeks, the BOS becomes ‘D’ majority for the first time in the township’s 300+ year history — it is my understanding that the historic preservation ordinance will finally be discussed (and hopefully approved!!) at a public hearing of the Board of Supervisors.

    The demolition of the Clockworks building is indicative of the process to follow — and I have said that if the digital billboard becomes a reality, it becomes the legacy of ALL supervisors regardless of party affiliation. For the record, the following supervisor terms are up in 2019 — Republicans Heather Greenberg (who was chair this year!), Trip Lukens and Paul Olson. Paul Olson will not seek re-election and I need to state that Paul has been the most generous to historic preservation of all supervisors past or present (with the exception of Judy DiFilippo). Neither Greenberg or Lukens have supported the Trust’s historic preservation efforts.

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  15. Is there really no action that can be taken to stop this demolition? I haven’t talked to a single person that is ok with this.

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    Pattye Reply:

    There is nothing to stop the demolition. If there is a silver lining in all of this is that the community is standing together, firmly in its opposition to the digital billboard.

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  16. Devastating course of events. The Board of Supervisors DOES NOT have the interests of Tredyffrin residents at heart. They have only their own and those of the corporations to whom they are most loyal. Their decisions do not reflect concern for residents or their wishes. And none of them love around this particular area of town anyway, so they are not confronted on a daily basis with the fruits of their decisions. Their actions are despicable.

    I wish I had known about the meeting last night. I would have gone. I have a sign on my lawn. Please, what else can we do now? Ask the Board to not approve the billboard? Who is interested in developing an ordinance to preserve historical buildings?

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  17. What are next steps here? I’m thinking we need to identify replacement candidates for the board members and fund them. Perhaps a legal defense fund initiative for historic interests that are separate from the township, given the township is not listening to the wishes of the stakeholders. Thoughts? When is the next T/E Historical meeting…I would hate for this to lose momentum.
    Pattye, in your opinion, what would make the greatest difference today?

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  18. In my opinion as a resident of East Whiteland Township, there was a time when Tredyffrin Township established a kind of “gold standard” in what it did to maintain the safest, most attractive township with the highest quality of life on what might loosely be considered the western Main Line. With its disregard for the obvious disapproval among a large number of residents, along with a disregard for historic preservation and the need to stop rampant development, Tredyffrin Township has proven itself to be far less than that now. Any signage, digitized or not, “small” or not, ANYWHERE along Route 30 is worthy of (and only appropriate to) Las Vegas.. Congrats to all those ELECTED in TT and elsewhere along the Main Line, who have contributed to making the entire area look more and more like a strip mall–end to end on Route 30. Time for another election! Remember, somebody wins on this issue, it just isn’t residents, so make sure your next slate of candidates has no ties to whoever these “winners” are…

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  19. If I were still at Oberlin (graduated in 1965) we would be.organizing a group of maybe 25 people to protest, surrounding the building in relays, so the demolition team can’t work.

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  20. I am in favor of the land owner doing what they want with the land they own, within the current zoning laws.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Which is the argument/opinion that has continued to prevail in Tredyffrin Township and the reason that this municipality is one of the few that doesn’t have a historic preservation ordinance.

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    rl4life Reply:

    The current zoning laws DO NOT allow for the construction of the digital billboard. Not based on it being “digital” necessarily. But that all signs have to have an exemption. Catalyst is suing to get around the exemption. The supervisors have decided to negotiate around the current laws.

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  21. In my opinion, it is totally uncalled for you to ‘“call out” individual Supervisors and their financial contributions to the THPT.

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    Pattye Reply:

    I stated that two supervisors did not support the Trust’s historic preservation efforts — ‘support’ does not necessarily mean only financial. Some have argued that the reason there has not been a historic preservation ordinance in Tredyffrin Township is because for 300+ years the township has been Republican majority. With the special election, the majority of the supervisor leadership is now Democrat and some believe that the ordinance will now pass. Personally, I do not think whether Tredyffrin Township has a historic preservation ordinance or not is about party lines – it’s about about choices individual leaders make which is why I pointed out that Republicans Paul Olson and Judy DiFilippo have both been extremely supportive of historic preservation in Tredyffrin Township.

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  22. “TBO” and “Nonpartisan” – sounds like some billboard supporters masquerading as residents.

    Making it clear that any goods or services advertised on any billboard will be boycotted is the most effective way to their wallets. Even a relatively small percentage of non-purchasers can be enough to affect profitability.

    Tredyffrin needs to get an Historic Preservation ordinance passed and enforced.

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    TBO Reply:

    Not at all. I am in favor of the land owner having rights. Those rights are limited by the zoning. So, if the billboard is not allowed, I am fine with that. If the zoning allows the owner to tear down the building, so be it.

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  23. The current zoning laws DO NOT allow for the construction of the digital billboard. That is why Catalyst is suing.

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    WillO Reply:

    What’s their argument since they obviously knew the laws before they agreed to the lease?

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  24. The lack of leadership, and the lack of transparency, are items which concern me. The BOS should just come out – individually and/or collectively – and state their opinion. Their silence is not related to the lawsuit or threatened lawsuit yet I think they’re hiding behind it. I think it’s totally fine for one of them to say something like, “I am against the billboard, but acknowledge Catalyst has a right to build it”….Just say something!

    Being on the BOS does take dedication. The pay is next to nothing and the grief is endless. But that should not be a crutch for them – they knew what they were getting into when they decided to run for election. What they believe to be small and trivial matters are important. And it’s just a shame the public can’t get a read for what the BOS is doing with this issue.

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    Pattye Reply:

    I could not agree more — being a supervisor should not mean that you are not permitted to speak and offer your opinion. Not one supervisor responded to me at the meeting on Monday — it was clear to me as they set in silence that they were told in advance not to react. I swear there’s no way that I could have set there expressionless and without comment if I had residents begging for a response!

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    T/E Anonymous Parent Reply:

    Since litigation is involved, they probably have been coached to not say a word at all. A little overboard, but I get it. But if they do really care about the issue, they should be hot under the collar as from my perspective, they are getting bullied around (in their own back yard) by an out-of-towner. How embarrassing!

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  25. My wife and I are residents in the Valley Hills neighborhhod and have been long-term customers of the Clockworks repair shop. Just to clear the air, the CLOCKWORKS BUSINESS OWNERS ARE NOT CLOSING THEIR BUSINESS, AS THEY ARE JUST RENTERS OF THE PROPERTY, AND WILL RELOCATE IF THE PROPERTY IS SOLD. THIS INFO. IS FIRSTHAND FROM THE BUSINESS OWNERS. We are disgusted that the historical Clockworks building may be demolished and replaced by two large digital billboards at the major intersection of 252 and Route 30 — which would be an eyesore. I guess money talks, as the building owner was offered a large sum of money to sell his property. It does appear though that the new (Democratic) township leadership will try to fight the teardown and rebuild, but if the billboards do not get approved, this will derail the sale, which will keep the Clockworks business at their current location. Let’s hope the local residents get their voices heard to thwart the sale and prevent something that only belongs on the side of a major highway — not a local road! Thanks, Patty for all you’ve done and continue to so regarding this important matter!

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    Pattye Reply:

    It sounds like you are saying that there is a sale agreement contingent on the digital billboard approval. I have a copy of the lease agreement which was signed January 2017 between Catalyst Outdoor Advertising (digital billboard company) and Dale Nelson, the owner of the property. The lease was for 30 years but did not include the property ownership changing hands – also did not address the demolition of the Clockworks building. That is not to say that there isn’t a subsequent contingency sale contract between Nelson (now Dale Nelson Family Trust) and Catalyst. And because there’s a contingency, maybe (and I mean a big maybe) if the BOS does not approve the digital billboard, Catalyst would not act on the demolition of the Clockworks building because the ownership of the property would still reside in the hands of Dale Nelson Family Trust. Am I interpreting your comment correctly? Thanks in advance!

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    Mike P. Reply:

    Patty, this is what I gathered from my conversation with the the Clockworks business owners, who have spoken recently with the property owner. My information may not be completely correct, regarding the sale vs. lease of property to the digital billboard company, and as I am not near as close as you have been to what’s going on between the property owner and the digital sign company. The business owners did request that I make it clear (in posting on this social media site) that whatever happens with the property, they are not closing down their business, but would just need to find a new location to run their business out of. Crossing our fingers that this “deal” will not go through!

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    Pattye Reply:

    Yes, fingers-crossed — maybe there is more ‘behind the scenes’ negotiating with contingencies based on digital billboard approval. Putting it on my Santa wish list!

  26. Nice try. Actually, I am not a billboard supporter and I am a resident.

    The historic preservation issue is separate from the billboard and a recurring community hot button. Digging into the information on the Tredyffrin website, contrary to the repeated assertions at Township meetings and on this forum, the Township already has ordinances that provide for preservation of historic resources, beginning in Section 208-122.2. Among many other provisions, the current ordinance describes in detail a process for preserving a historic property from demolition in perpetuity.

    The central issue is property rights. In simple terms, under the existing ordinance, the preservation of a property is at the option of the owner – the owner must apply to have a restriction on their property’s recorded deed that will preserve their historic property. For example, if the Clockworks property had such a deed restriction, the demolition could be prevented.

    Alternatively, there are some that believe our existing ordinance is not “strong” enough and should allow the Township to restrict an owner’s rights to demolish, or possibly even alter their own property. Some communities have implemented these types of restrictions on people’s homes or commercial properties. There have been quite a few lawsuits on this as municipalities have been found to be in violation of the Takings Clause in the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and courts have ruled on both sides of the issue.

    There are many, many people in this community that simply cannot support the local government restricting an owners right to do with their property as they wish, within the current laws.

    I also think there are some who are focused specifically on the possible demolition of the Clockworks property and the electronic billboard and have not fully considered the property rights aspect of this discussion. The fact is there are many owners of historic properties and vocal advocates of historic preservation that have not opted to protect their property under the current ordinance. I don’t know why not – could be they think it would diminish their property value, don’t want to lose the flexibility, … That definitely gives me pause.

    Pretty certain this will be an ongoing township issue.

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    Pattye Reply:

    An opinion that has been in place for years — which is why Tredyffrin Township historic properties continue to remain at risk. I don’t happen to share your viewpoint.

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    Keith Knauss Reply:

    There is a tension between those who want to preserve historic properties and those who want to maximize the value of their historic properties. It might be instructive to look at the experience of another municipality Lower Merion Township that has strong preservation regulations. I’ll choose one recent example that highlights the tension – the designation of St. Borromeo Seminary as a Class 1 historic property giving the Township supervisors veto power over any proposed demolition of the buildings. The Seminary was in contract talks with next door neighbor Main Line Health for the sale/purchase of the property, but the talks ended when the historic designation was implemented. The Seminary is now without funds to continue operation and Main Line Health is unable to construct a senior living facility. I have no strong opinion on the subject one way or the other, but wanted to highlight the tension.

    Lower Merion gives historic designation to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary site
    http://www.mainlinemedianews.com/mainlinetimes/news/lower-merion-gives-historic-designation-to-st-charles-borromeo-seminary/article_325b68d1-d4f3-5f85-8a45-371f39419279.html

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  27. This debate about a garish rogue digital sign could not happen in Radnor Township due to their strict signage rules. Why is this happening in Tredyffrin?
    I favor a petition to boycott future advertisers. When the Covered Wagon Inn was on the line for demolition, CVS was threatened by a boycott. I will boycott any future advertiser on a digital sign. It will take a huge response to make this stick but being perceived as a pariah is never good for business. If enough local businesses refuse to advertise in light of public opinion the sign will not generate revenue. Rothman currently has a sign on the location. They need to know that advertising on the digital sign will hurt their business. If Catalyst can remove protest signs, we should be able to warn future advertisers. Bold move but so was the American Revolution that has roots in our community.

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  28. “In a couple of weeks, the BOS becomes ‘D’ majority for the first time in the township’s 300+ year history — it is my understanding that the historic preservation ordinance will finally be discussed (and hopefully approved!!) at a public hearing of the Board of Supervisors.”

    I’m happy to hear that. I’m not well versed in this matter, but please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help move this forward.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    With fingers-crossed, I’m hopeful that 2019 will bring a historic preservation ordinance to Tredyffrin Township. The ordinance will require the scheduling of a Public Hearing — and when I see it on the Board of Supervisors agenda, I will notify in hopes of garnering support for its approval!

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  29. Patty, I just wanted to update our last string of communications. I spoke with the Clockworks business owners again, and you are correct in that there is no planned sale of property at the moment — just the current 30 year lease agreement with the digital sign company and the property owner. The lease agreement with Clockworks business owners has ended and they are currently on a month-to-month lease. The business owners are not privy to the agreement between the property owner and digital sign company, but I would presume the lease agreement would be contingent on the digital sign company getting all their land use approvals granted by TD Township. Let’s cross our fingers, and please continue to keep everyone in the loop here.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Thanks Mike — your information lines up with what I am hearing. It appears that the Clockworks building future hinges on the approval of the digital billboard by Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors. Crossing-fingers (and toes if necessary!) that the news for 2019 is NO Digital Billboard in Paoli and Clockworks building survives!

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  30. While I am against the billboard (I’ve seen the size if the one down 202 by Garnett Valley) and for saving the property, I’m a little perplexed by the the near unanimous response and attitude that “some one else”, meaning some governmental agency , should be the ones to save properties like these. So if there is such huge support for savings historic buildings in Tredyffrin, maybe a start would be for the concerned citizens to set up a fund and do it themselves.

    4,000 people signed the petition, why not start a “Go Fund Me” page and challenge those 4,000 signers to donate and start a non profit (ala the Open Land Conservancy) and have the funds to proactively buy and protect historic properties in T/E.

    Don’t give me the cop out that “we pay taxes and those taxes should support this effort”. That route doesn’t always work – Clockworks is exhibit A. Sometime , you need to take action personally.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Your answer to protecting historic buildings (in lieu of a historic preservation ordinance) in Tredyffrin Township is for concerned citizens to set up a fund an purchase them? How is that other places, like Lower Merion for instance, have ordinances which protect their historic properties – why shouldn’t we?

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  31. Patty – I’m not saying Tredyffrin SHOULDN’T have the same ordinances to protect historic properties – but the fact is we DON’T, and that limits what can be done to save properties because they are owned by individuals that have rights as property owners.

    So if you don’t expect the township to enact an ordinance, and you and others (including me i will note) want to protect historic structures, what other option is there besides having a foundation that identifies historic properties and raises funds to protect them via purchase or deed restriction payments to owners?

    The government , even local government, is not always the solution. I don’t know the value of the Clockworks property but imagine if there WAS a foundation already set up that had notified the Clockworks owner about the foundations wishes to own or lease the property for preservation purposes if they ever decided to sell or lease the property. At least there would have been a chance to save the Clockworks building – after all , in the end this is a financial transaction for the current owners.

    Petitions, signs, articles – they are all well and good IF there is a realistic chance to influence local leaders – but what’s wrong with being preemptive?

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    Pattye Reply:

    Thank you for clarification. Yes, a foundation set-up to save historic properties in Tredyffrin Township would be a noble undertaking and one that I would support. However, owning a 300+ year old house myself, the ongoing maintaining of the property is not for the feign of heart. I have long maintained that offering tax incentive to owners of residential (or commercial) buildings to encourage restoration and/or adaptive reuse of historic structures could help to save the properties.

    As for the historic preservation ordinance in Tredyffrin Township — I’m going to believe that hope springs eternal and with the increased awareness and interest, 2019 will be the “Year of Historic Preservation” and the Board of Supervisors will pass the ordinance. Currently in play is a draft of the ordinance – it just needs to find its way to a meeting for discussion, a public hearing and hopefully passage.

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  32. In my opinion, the existing structure is ugly and I see no reason to protect it if that’s what the owners wish to do. I am indifferent to digital billboards versus traditional billboards; if you don’t like it, don’t look at it.

    I grew up in Easttown township and no longer reside there. I dislike older structures. They do not have the amenities and require serious upgrades to electrical, plumbing, and HVAC simply to be usable. Take the auto tags place across the street – it is extremely cramped inside. Some buildings require numerous upgrades to meet modern building code and ADA requirements. This alone is reason enough to demolish old structures.

    Many residents in the community have demolished old homes and built new, or simply used the old exterior as a ‘structure’ to avoid additional taxes. This is entirely logical because the older structures are largely inadequate for modern needs. The only concern this is of the current owner.

    I don’t recall this kind of outcry when the ESC building was demolished years ago. Besides, it’s not like people park their cars and just stare at this building. Pay attention behind the wheel.

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