Pattye Benson

Community Matters

We are Standing With the Volunteer Firefighters, Can We Show Support for the Mt. Pleasant Community?

In much the same way that many of our community members have supported our volunteer firefighters in recent weeks, there is another township issue that needs our attention and focus — Mt. Pleasant. For those that do not know, Mt. Pleasant is located in the Panhandle section, off of Upper Gulph Road, in the shadows of the St. Davids Golf Club. Back on November 19, I wrote of the many issues plaguing Mt. Pleasant and their residents, student housing and rental issues, excessive late night noise, drinking, etc.

There seemed to be movement from the township in helping this neighborhood and I was pleased to report that there had been a meeting between residents and Supervisors DiFilippo and DiBuonaventuro. It was agreed that the situation required further discussion and a town hall meeting was scheduled by the Mt. Pleasant Action Group for Saturday, December 19 at the First Baptist Church in Wayne. The meeting was to include Tredyffrin Township representatives including members of the Board of Supervisors, Police, and Zoning Enforcement. However, if you recall our December blizzard hit that weekend and the meeting was cancelled.

Fast forward and we need to get back on track to help this community. Beyond the student housing issues, there has also been subdivision and special exception requests to the Planning Commission for Mt. Pleasant. A subdivision request for an Upper Gulph Rd. property was denied by the Planning Commission in November, suggesting that the Planning Commissioners are now understanding some of the ongoing problems with residential properties converting to student housing. The Planning Commissioners recent ruling to deny the Upper Gulph Road subdivision application was applauded by the residents.

However, there now appears to be a serious environmental situation in the Black Bottom area of Mt. Pleasant. I wrote that Mazie Hall’s house was part of this redevelopment area; apparently scheduled for 9 new homes built by F & H Mainline (This project requires the teardown of houses, including Mazie Hall’s home). As part of the preparation of the site, I have just learned bulldozers arrived on Sunday, December 29 for immediate stabilization of steep slopes that have been wrongfully cleared of vegetation. The developers were told to leave specimen trees in the clearing of the property, however that was ignored and the trees were removed. In their places, trenches were dug to help correct the situation!

Christine Johnson, Mt. Pleasant resident and community activist extraordinaire has been leading this battle (along with other neighborhood issues) for the community. Christine graphically details the environmental situation on her Mt. Pleasant Action Group website and includes photos of the razing of Mazie Hall’s home and the problems now being created by the developers. Christine has been in contact with township engineer Steve Burgo and he agrees that the developer’s on site tree service did go beyond the limit of disturbance, is in violation and will be cited. In regards to the latest development problem, Christine writes, “Is it worth destroying the environment as well as people’s spirits?” Wow . . . can we please help this community?

Township supervisors are you listening? Christine and her neighbors are struggling, they can not fight the battle on all fronts.

Can we re-schedule that cancelled Mt. Pleasant Town Hall meeting as soon as possible? This community needs the attention of the township. Can we show these residents that we care about them and want to help . . . ?

On December 29, Christine wrote the following entry on her website:

Main Entry: gen·tri·fi·ca·tion
Pronunciation: \ˌjen-trə-fə-ˈkâ-shən\
Function: noun
Date: 1964

gentrification: the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents

or a more appropriate definition:

“gentrification: the process by which higher income households displace lower income residents of a neighborhood, changing the essential character and flavor of that neighborhood”

“Gentrification isn’t just obnoxious yuppies bouncing from cocktail lounges to sushi bars. It also involves the systematic removal of working-class people from their homes.”

The issue of gentrification has historically included a strong racial component—lower income African-American residents are replaced by higher income white residents.

Residential segregation occurs with the tacit support of public and private sector institutions and traditions. As a result, an influx of higher income households inevitably will put pressure primarily on historically minority communities.

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  1. Ms. Benson,

    I urge you to consider the critical importance of inviting students and landlords to the table in this dispute. This conflict between students (who are certainly legal residents and contributors to the neighborhood’s economy and efficacy) and neighborhood homeowners is plagued by misinformation and misjudgment, on the part of both students, residents, and landlords.

    Know that though we are only temporary residents, we have similar interests as homeowners and desire to see the neighborhood’s success.

    Do keep us informed, and invite us to the table in this discussion.

    Concerned Mt. Pleasant Student

    1. Dear Concerned Mt. Pleasant Student,
      First off, thank you for your comment. You are right that there are many sides to this ongoing debate between residents, landlords and students. Although I am not the person arranging the upcoming meeting (I believe Mt. Pleasant resident Donna Shipman previously made the arrangements for the cancelled meeting), I think the idea of including the students and the landlords in on the discussion is a good idea. The only way to prohibit misinformation is to make sure that there is representation from all parties. I will send you a seperate email; if you provide me with your contact information, I will make sure that you are ‘kept in the loop’ .

    2. Everyone has been ” invited to the table”.

      I personally gathered the names and addresses of the landlords who own student rentals in Mt. Pleasant and mailed them an invitation to the Town Hall Meeting. Also, every home in Mt. Pleasant received a flyer.

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