Tredyffrin Township

PA volunteer firefighters can now ease funding woes by soliciting drivers on the side of the road – Is this what we want for our first responders in Tredyffrin?

Firefighters fundraising 1PA Governor Wolf signed new legislation last week (Act 57) which allows first responders to solicit donations at stop signs or traffic signals.  Fire companies will need to get written permission from the local municipality and the solicitations are to drivers are limited to controlled intersections (stop signs or traffic signals) and are required to have the necessary liability insurance. The new law goes into effect within 60 days.

This new fundraising legislation may be a useful tool for some volunteer fire companies in Pennsylvania; particularly rural or areas suffering severe economic issues.   But the question for Tredyffrin residents is whether we want to see our volunteer firefighters soliciting drivers on the side of the road as a way to fill budget gaps.

Representatives from fire companies (Berwyn, Paoli and Radnor) that serve Tredyffrin Township residents have repeatedly voiced concern about the increasing demand for fire and rescue services and the lack of reliable funding.   As a result, T-E Fire Companies Funding Coalition comprised of fire companies from Berwyn, Paoli, Radnor and Malvern was formed with a mission to work with government officials to provide sustainable and adequate funding.

The ongoing need for recruitment and retention of volunteer first responders remains a concern.  The time demands for volunteers are so severe, both fire-related and otherwise.  Because people are spending more time on their ‘day’ jobs – there’s just less discretionary time to do anything else, including being a volunteer.  For those who do manage to carve out time for serving as a volunteer firefighter, they want that time to be directed towards firefighting responsibilities not used for fundraising.

The cost to maintain a fire company; its building, equipment, training – continues to increase, with the cost of a new fire truck running in the tens of thousands of dollars.  With the growth of both residential and commercial development in the area, the demand for fire and emergency service also continues to escalate.

According to the Berwyn Fire Company, less than 25 percent of fire service funding comes from the government.  If the fire companies shuttered its doors, the township would still be responsible for providing fire protection. The old formula is no longer working … there is a need for sustainable funding.

Tis the season for budget discussion, including fire department funding – the Board of Supervisors meeting at 7 PM tongiht includes the ‘2016 Preliminary Budget and on Thursday, November 19, 10 AM – 12 PM, the public is invited to attend the Budget Open House at the township building.

Our volunteer firefighters should not be forced to close budget gaps with car washes, turkey raffles, spaghetti dinners or soliciting drivers on the side of the road.  These young men and women need to know they can count on our elected officials to provide adequate and sustainable funding.

The story behind Tredyffrin Township blue & white appreciation signs for police

Most of the political campaign signs have now disappeared from lawns and public areas. However, in their place, you may have noticed the blue and white lawns sign which have appeared throughout the township with the words, “Thank You Tredyffrin Police … We Honor You”. 

Tredyffrin Township police signs

Without a ‘sponsored by’ indication on the appreciation signs, it was unclear what organization or individual(s) was behind the signs. With a little investigation, I tracked down the background story and can report that the public display of support for our local police department began with the efforts of township resident Rich Sherwin and his wife Donna of Malvern.

I spoke with Rich Sherwin and he explained that the project started over his concern for the negative portrayal of police officers in the country. As a result, Sherwin wanted to show his appreciation for the local Tredyffrin Township Police Department.  During a meeting with several Tredyffrin police officers, Sherwin thanked the officers for their service and asked if there was anything the department needed.

Citing township budget cuts and the elimination of two officers, Sherwin was told that the police department was somewhat shorthanded.  Sherwin noted that the officers were not complaining and were supportive of the supervisor’s efforts in keeping the tax base low.

Sherwin learned of the following department needs from the Tredyffrin police officers:

  • Drug sniffing dog (cost $10,000) – the police cited the increasing drug situation in the township
  • Motorcycle (cost $25,000) – to help with monitoring the new township trails
  • Video cams (cost $300/ea., 40 officers = total $12,000)

Following the meeting with the township police, Sherwin sent a letter to neighbors and friends, explaining the details (above) and the designation of November 14 – 23 as Tredyffrin Police Appreciation Week.

With the help of State Rep. Warren Kampf, a committee was formed and the Sherwin’s kicked off the program with a $1,000 donation. In hopes of funding a drug sniffing dog as the committee’s first donation to the police, Sherwin’s appeal letter to residents suggested a donation of homeowners of $100 – $1,000 with checks to be made to ‘Tredyffrin Township Police Activity Fund’.  According to Sherwin, the fundraising efforts have raised over $11,000 to date and all checks have been turned over the Tredyffrin Township Police Department.

Beyond making a financial contribution or displaying the blue and white support police signs,  there are other ways to show your support. The ‘True Blue Community Tree Lighting’ ceremony tree lighting ceremony is set for Saturday, November 14 at Malvern Federal Bank in Paoli to kick off the police appreciation week – all residents are invited to attend.  See poster below for other ways to participate:

Tredyffrin Township Appreciation Week

I attended the True Blue Community tree lighting tonight.  Well attended by residents and police, State Rep Warren Kampf led the brief ceremony with a moment of silence for the Paris victims and their families.  As the US and the world morns together over this latest senseless act of terrorism, there was something very moving to see the blue lights and the American flag tonight.

Thank you to the Tredyffrin Township police officers and first responders the world over … tonight our thoughts are with the victims and their families in Paris.

Police tree lighting

Police tree lighting Giaimo

Tredyffrin Township District 1 East supervisor candidates Paul Olson and Tory Snyder respond

Supervisor Candidates for Tredyffrin Township, District 1 – East
Paul Olson (R) Incumbent
Tory Snyder (D)

The Tredyffrin Township Supervisor candidates were asked to answer the following question in 500 words or less.

Please identify a specific character trait that makes you an effective leader. Give an example(s) of how you have utilized that personal characteristic in previous leadership position and, if elected, how residents will benefit from that particular trait.  Be specific.

The two candidate responses follow below in alphabetical order according to last name. If your question and/or comment is for a specific candidate, please refer to that individual by name so as not to confuse the reader. Voters will select one of these candidates on November 3 for the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors.

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Candidate Paul Olson (R) Incumbent
District 1 – East


My name is Paul Olson and I am running for re-election as Supervisor in the Eastern District of Tredyffrin Township.  My wife, Andrea, and I have lived here since 1969 and we raised our family here.

The character trait that has served me well is persistence.  “Persistence is omnipotent” and through it we are able to achieve many worthwhile goals in life.  This is my firm belief.

In my thirty-seven plus years of service to the citizens of Tredyffrin as a Township Supervisor, I have overseen significant changes in this community and I have always been determined to provide quality services at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer.

Through the years, I have always been a dedicated worker.  Now, as an employer in a small family-owned company, I have come to understand and appreciate the importance of the following values:

  1. Team involvement (There is no “I” in team);
  2. A ‘Stick-to-It’ attitude; and,
  3. A ‘Never give up’ approach.

All three are critical, not only in the work-a-day world that most of us experience, but in the Public sector as well.

As one of the co-chairs of the Tredyffrin Library Capital Campaign which supported the expansion of the Strafford Library, I helped to raise more than four million dollars in private money for that project. Persistence and perseverance helped us to achieve that success.  I have worked to bring people together on numerous issues and I have always cared deeply about doing what is best for the community.

Since 2007 I have been a member of the Surrey Services Board of Directors.  I am fortunate to be able to work with this wonderful organization which provides such important services to our older citizens.  Our community is blessed with individuals who give of their time, talent, and treasure for volunteer organizations and volunteerism helps make America the great country that it is!

If re-elected, I will continue to be persistent and steadfast in my efforts to make Tredyffrin an even better place to live and work and play.

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Candidate Tory Snyder (D)
District 1 – East

Forward-looking Leadership

“In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

While it is difficult to identify one single trait that has made me an effective leader, I would say that one of my strongest traits, and one that distinguishes me from my opponent, is that I am forward looking in my decision making.

I grew up in the western end of Tredyffrin Township and attended T/E schools. I saw the development of Chesterbrook Shopping Center as the new exciting place to shop in the late 1970s and witnessed its vacancies 30 some years later. I saw the old Wilson farm become Wilson Farm Park and watched Berwyn Paoli Little League create the field of dreams complex.  I have chosen Tredyffrin as my home as I became an adult and parent because I know where we have come from and I can see where we can go as a community. I am invested in Tredyffrin Township and I will contribute to its long term strength and success.

This perspective is essential to taking actions that make sense for Township residents today without burdening Township residents in the future. I believe that this lack of forward thinking among some of our elected officials has resulted in the Township’s moving too slowly and missing out on a number of opportunities to broaden our tax base and provide more amenities for Tredyffrin residents.

Many of my actions first as a member, and then as Chair of the Planning Commission, reflect this philosophy. I always ask what will be the future implications of a decision.  One specific example that I can point to recently is when the developers of the new assisted living facility in Paoli came to the Township with their proposal. While the project had broad political support as proposed, many of the neighbors voiced valid concerns with the project. I shared many of their concerns. As a Planning Commissioner, I was able to add limitations to the Township Code so that this project and any future projects would be presented to the Township in a more appropriate form.

While not all of the provisions that I suggested were adopted, including a greater amount of open space and a better density standard, I believe that it was my specific leadership and direction that resulted in a better project which met a number of resident concerns and set better standards for future projects.

As a Tredyffrin Township Supervisor (1st District, East) I will be one of the seven people who set policy for our Township, who are elected to govern and to address the needs of all residents in the community.  I would like to serve the people of Tredyffrin as a member of this Board, bringing my forward looking leadership and perspective to keep our community strong in the future.

What one specific character trait makes an effective leader? Tredyffrin Township supervisor candidates respond


In August, the TE School Board candidates were asked to answer the following question in 500 words or less:

Although there are many important issues facing the TE School District, what one issue will you focus on should you be elected?  As a school board director, what in your background, experience or education prepares you to help with this specific issue.

All ten TE School Board candidates replied and their responses appeared on Community Matters in August.

Earlier this month, I sent the following email to the Tredyffrin Township supervisor candidates:

On November 3, voters in Tredyffrin Township will go to the polls to select four supervisors — two At Large, one 1st District (Eastern) and one 3rd District (West) seats are available.  To assist voters in the decision-making process, it is important for the public to know ‘you’, the candidate.

People bring varied backgrounds and qualifications to the job of township supervisor; and as voters, we need help in making the right choices on Election Day.  As a result, I am asking each of you to respond to the following statement:

Please identify a specific character trait that makes you an effective leader. Give an example(s) of how you have utilized that personal characteristic in previous leadership position and, if elected, how residents will benefit from that particular trait.  Be specific.

Your response should not be a political campaign plug or a laundry list of your accomplishments. Your response needs to (1) focus on a specific personal character trait and (2) an explanation of how that trait will benefit the residents.

All Tredyffrin Township supervisor candidates are invited to send a response.  Your statement (word doc format) should NOT exceed 500 words and is due no later than October 15, 2015.  Your responses will not be edited and will be provided to the public via Community Matters.  Your participation is completely voluntary and all candidate responses will appear on Community Matters during the week of October 19.

I heard back from all eight supervisor candidates and their responses will appear on Community Matters in alphabetical order (by last name) on the following schedule:

Tuesday, October 20:
District 1 East: Paul Olson (R)  (incumbent)
District 1 East: Tory Snyder (D)

Wednesday, October 21:
District 3 West: Heather Greenberg (R)
District 3 West: Yolanda Van de Krol (D

Thursday, October 22:
Supervisor at Large: Elva Bankins (D)
Supervisor at Large: Lou Horvath (D)
Supervisor at Large: Sean Moir (R)
Supervisor at Large: Trip Lukens (R)

This exercise should be viewed as another tool in the supervisor candidate selection process by us, the voters.  In the next few days, please review the candidate responses and you decide if they understood the question and answered appropriately. Who will you support on Election Day?

“Feeding Thousands” sponsored by St. Luke Lutheran Church in Devon a successful event! Thanks to volunteers and community organizations!

St. Luke Lutheran Church in Devon organized “Feeding Thousands” on Saturday, October 17 (the week of World Food Day).  Groups of 10-12 people from the community were invited to participate.  All that was needed was volunteers to package the meals and a contribution of $500 to provide the ingredients and supplies.

In the past, St. Luke’s has distributed the food through Philabundance and Chester County Food Bank.  According to their website, St. Luke’s is also exploring the possibility of sending some of the meals to Liberia to continue relief efforts after the recent Ebola outbreak.  The church is committed to making sure that every meal is donated quickly and effectively to get the meals to people who are facing hunger.

A variety of local organizations and groups participated in St. Luke’s Feeding Thousands event, including members of the Chester County Chiefs of Police Association and the Chester County Fraternal Order of Police. On behalf of the participating police officers, Tredyffrin Police Supt. Anthony Giaimo, sent a note to me that they were honored to participate in a program to end regional hunger.

Supt. Giaimo explained the process for the event … that the Feeding Thousands volunteers assisted in packaging meals, loading boxes and other duties in a production line. Groups worked in one hour segments, keeping pace ensuring that all needed meals were packed.  At various times during the day, St. Luke’s workers announced the number of packed meals, which numbered in the thousands.

In addition to an update on Feeding Thousands, Supt. Giaimo offered the following … “I wanted to pass this along with the added comment that donations of food this time of year are extra especially important for those who are without food or not having enough food.  It is incredible that just in our region, families need to balance the ability pay for heat and rent with the ability to eat or eat well.”  Well said!

 Police photoMembers of the Chester County Chiefs of Police Association and the Chester County Fraternal Order of Police

“If walls could talk, what stories they could tell!” — Historic House Tour tickets available

The 11th Annual Historic House Tour (hard to believe that it’s been 11 years!) is coming up in a few weeks and final preparations are in full swing!

Tickets for the 2015 house tour on Saturday, September 19, noon – 5 PM and Jazz & Just Desserts, the house tour preview party, on Sunday, September. 13, 6-9 PM at Duportail House are available online at . The house tour is the largest annual fundraiser for Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and all proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships support historic preservation and the completion of the Living History Center at Duportail.

The 11th Annual Historic House Tour features an interesting mix of eight private historic homes in Tredyffrin, Easttown and Willistown Townships plus the Diamond Rock Schoolhouse, an octagonal one-room school house in the Great Valley.  Discover the beauty of historic preservation on the tour, everything from a mid-1800’s French Normandy hunting lodge on Valley Forge Mountain to Deepdale, the original 19th century stone farmhouse and the 1915 English Cotswold revival estate, ‘Deilwydd’.  Enjoy stops at two different 150-year old carriage houses and marvel at how the owners skillfully adapted the buildings to 21st century family homes.

Also included on the tour is a sprawling 1900’s brick farmhouse in Malvern built by sisters, Ellen and Rebecca Winsor. Pro-suffrage activists from Haverford, the Winsor sisters were among 17 Pennsylvania women imprisoned for their “Silent Sentinel” picketing of the White House under President Woodrow Wilson.

We are still accepting sponsorships for the house tour, which helps to make the annual event possible. Ticket and sponsorship information is on the Trust website or you can email me at

It’s great to see many individuals and companies supporting historic preservation through the house tour, along with a number of elected officials and candidates. Its history and the preservation of our historic buildings helps to make this community special!

As the saying goes, “If walls could talk what stories they could tell.” Each featured property on the house tour has generations of original stories to tell!  Hope to see you on the tour!

11th Annual Historic House Tour Poster


Official ground breaking & ribbon-cutting for Chesterbrook … “rebirth of a broken shopping center” Public Invited!

If you live in Chesterbrook or have driven on Chesterbrook Boulevard by the Chesterbrook Shopping Center during the last several months, you will have seen obvious signs of the long awaited redevelopment project which includes both razing and resurrection.

The center’s mixed-use development plan uses Tredyffrin’s newly created Town Center District for the 13-acre site with 123 new residential town homes, ‘Parkview at Chesterbrook’ and 30,000+ sq. ft. of commercial space (utilizing the front row of the existing building).

The public is invited to attend the official ground breaking and ribbon-cutting of the “rebirth of a broken shopping center” on Tuesday, July 28 at 11 AM. Invitation below —

Chesterbrook ribbon cutting invitation

PA House Bill 809 would end Tredyffrin’s right to regulate student housing

For rentPA House Bill 809 sponsored by State Rep Susan Helm of Dauphin and Lebanon Counties will change college rental restrictions if passed.

Helm’s proposed legislation claims that it is discriminatory for municipalities to single out students with rental regulations and would short-circuit any municipal ordinance that prohibits the occupation of a dwelling unity by students or unrelated individuals living together.

The proposed legislation would allow a municipality to enact and enforce ordinances that regulate things like noise levels, parking, and health and safety concerns. House Bill 809 addresses municipal rental restrictions that single out students, suggesting that this is discriminatory, based on an assumption that they will be problem neighbors.

PA House Bill 809 would override any current municipal housing ordinances that restrict the use of single-family homes, as college student rentals. The proposed legislation states that a municipality would not be able to prohibit the occupation of a dwelling based on an individual’s matriculation status (that is, if they are enrolled in college) or on the number of unrelated individuals sharing the property.

In the Mt. Pleasant community of Tredyffrin Township, the conversion of traditionally family-occupied homes to student rental properties has led to ongoing problems among the neighbors.  Beyond the late-night noise, increased traffic, liter, illegal parking, the permanent residents of Mt. Pleasant are frustrated with the increasing number of student rentals and what they view as the adverse effects caused by the influx of students.

Because of the ongoing citizen complaints in Mt. Pleasant, Tredyffrin Township passed two ordinances in 2010, which placed zoning restrictions on the student rentals as a way to protect the rights of the permanent residents in the township.

Tredyffrin’s Registration Ordinance requires all homeowners in the township who rent to students to register with the township. The registration requires contact information on the student including the college/university/trade school the renter attends and contact information for the dean of students at the student’s school.

The township’s Zoning Ordinance for student housing is specific and states that all homeowners who wish to rent to students need special-exception approval from the Zoning Hearing Board. The properties must have at least a 10-foot buffer around the home, no more than three student tenants and a specified minimum distance from other student homes.

After many meetings and much discussion, Tredyffrin’s supervisors, residents and property owners, agreed on the township’s student zoning regulations but if Rep Helm has her way, House Bill 809 would override the the ordinances. If the House Bill 809 passes, where would this leave Mt. Pleasant community and its residents?

Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors Approve Wayne Glen’s Conditional Use application, 5-2

Wayne Glenn aerial map

Wayne Glen, NW corner of Swedesford & Old Eagle School Rds.

Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors approved the Conditional Use application for the Wayne Glen project by a vote of 5-2 at the special Board of Supervisors meeting last night.  The proposed mixed-use development of townhomes and carriage homes plus a commercial office development is located on the Northwest corner of the intersection of Swedesford and Old Eagle School Roads in the Glenhardie section of Tredyffrin Township.

Wayne Glen’s developer Arcadia Tredyffrin LLC will be the first developer in Tredyffrin Township to utilize the Trout Creek Overlay District zoning which requires increased stormwater management and flood control in the flood-prone Trout Creek area.  The plan is for 108 residential units and a 240,000 sq. ft. office building.

Arcadia filed its application in April 2013 and many, many meetings have taken place in the intervening two plus years – with the Planning Commission, Glenhardie citizens and homeowner groups, residents, supervisors, township staff, experts, etc.  The township held seven public hearings regarding the proposed project in 2015, where citizens with standing, and experts for the township and developer, provided testimony.

Based on the testimony received by residents and experts, the conditional use permit required additional conditions beyond those imposed by the township’s Planning Commission. Many of the concerns raised by residents during the process were addressed in the compromise contained in the approval of the conditional use application, including the increased minimum road width of 24 ft. from 20 ft.

Knowing that you can never “please all the people, all the time”, there were a couple of Glenhardie residents, Jacqueline and Richard Kunin, who expressed their displeasure at the supervisor’s vote to approve the conditional use.  The Kunin’s have passionately stated their opposition to Wayne Glen throughout the process, claiming that the stormwater and sink hole issues are not adequately addressed by the developer’s plan. They have also continued to cite concern that the proposed project may be located on a sacred burial ground of Revolutionary War soldiers and Indians.

The vote of 5-2 by the Board of Supervisors to approve Arcadia’s conditional use application came down along political party lines – the five Republicans (Mike Heaberg, Kristen Mayock, EJ Richter, Paul Olson and JD DiBuonaventuro  all voted in favor of the conditional use application and the two Democrats (Murph Wysocki and Mark Freed) voted against the application.  Both Wysocki and Freed delivered lengthy remarks as to why they could not support the project. Wysocki used the words “unsuitable”, “unsound”, “unsound” and “unsafe” in describing the Wayne Glen project and Freed claimed that Wayne Glen was “ill-advised” and that the property was “not suitable” for this type of development.

According to Arcadia’s website, the developer states, “With cutting edge techniques for integrating stormwater management and urban design, Wayne Glen will alleviate existing problems with streambank erosion, poor water quality, and flooding.”

The next step in the Wayne Glen project is for Arcadia to submit their land development plan to the Planning Commission.

$9 million for 7+ acres in the heart of Paoli – Will buyer build multi-story apartment buildings?


Paoli Station aerial view

Station Square aerial view, photo courtesy of HFF

In early 2014, Home Properties, a Philadelphia-based developer proposed a 250+-unit multifamily building with structured parking plan for Station Square, the 7.475 acre commercial site at the corner of Central and North Valley Roads in Paoli, owned by the Palmer Group Properties.  Although the current Town Center District zoning allows for 135 apartments on the property by right, the developer sought approval for greater density.

The proposed 4-story apartment complex was viewed as a radical change for the immediate community and concerns were raised as to whether this high density project was a good fit for the neighborhood. Major issues surrounded the proposed project, including increased traffic, density, height, change to the character of the neighborhood, impact on school district, public safety, etc.  Ultimately, faced with many unanswered questions from the Planning Commission and major pushback from the local residents, the proposed 2014 redevelopment plan quietly disappeared.

Station Square is back in the news – According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Palmer Group Properties has retained Holliday Fowler (HFF) to sell the 7+ acre land site with four existing multi-tenant office buildings. Marketing the project for apartments, by utilizing the Town Center District Zoning, which allows up to 135 multi-unit housing units by right, the four aging office buildings that exist on the site need to be demolished prior to the development. Current asking price for the Station Square property is $9 million.

Approximately one acre of the Station Square property will be transferred through eminent domain to Amtrak and SEPTA for the proposed $36 million redevelopment of the Paoli Transportation Center and realignment of a bridge over Valley Road.

According to HFF sales literature, the property is being offered as a “strong development opportunity” and that the “Demand for multi-housing remains healthy throughout Greater Philadelphia, however, a scarcity of Class-A transit-oriented development opportunities exist within The Main Line. With a new development opportunity focused around an affluent population and dynamic location, Paoli Station represents a unique investment opportunity.”  HFF states that “the site is ideal for residential development due to its location, accessibility and strong demographic profile.”

Speaking of the Paoli Transportation Center, I have heard no news on that front.  A check of the Tredyffrin Township website, does not indicate any new or updated information but it does state that Phase I (of the three phases), the Station Accessibility Improvements is set to begin in the Summer of 2016. This construction includes a new center high level platform, elevators and ramps, pedestrian overpass, parking lot improvements, ADA improvements to the existing station building and improvements to the existing rail infrastructure. So, if the township website information is correct, that means this time next year we should see forward movement on the train station project.

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