Pattye Benson

Community Matters

958 Mt. Pleasant Road . . . vacant lot remains haven for dumping and . . . much more!

Back on March 22, there was a town hall meeting in Mt. Pleasant. Residents of the community, representatives from the township staff including Mimi Gleason, Mike Pilotti, Steve Norcini and members of the police department and board of supervisors met for public discussion. The meeting allowed an opportunity for the residents to voice their concerns on a variety of issues, including the long-abandoned vacant lot located at 958 Mt. Pleasant Road.

You can tell by the old cement steps, that there was once a house on the property but what remains on the lot is a mound of crumbled concrete and ever-increasing trash (broken bottles, tin cans, car tires, etc.). According to one of the neighbors, the overgrown lot has now become a haven for rodents and she now has to deal with the rodent problem in her own home.

Knowing that the Board of Supervisors were adding discussion of a student housing ordinance to their upcoming agenda, I decided to visit Mt. Pleasant for an update and I am including photos with this post. I will say that the vacant lot looks much better in the springtime; not because it has been cleaned up or that dumping has stopped but because the overgrown lot is now green rather than the deserted, abandoned look in the winter. Nevertheless, the problem remains at 958 Mt. Pleasant Rd.

I have confirmed that the absentee owners of the vacant lot live in King of Prussia. Apparently they bought the lot (with house) a few years ago, immediately took down the house which was in disrepair and intended to sell the lot and make a profit. Unfortunately, the bottom fell out of the economy and the couple has subsequently separated, leaving the lot to become a community dumping area. I have been told that the owners have not been entirely responsive to township outreach although there was some discussion from one of the owners about erecting a 6-ft. chain length fence across the front of the property. This situation on Mt. Pleasant Road is an enforcement issue; I suggest a letter from Tom Hogan, township solicitor might encourage some movement on the part of the owner to clean-up the property, get a fence up and signs to indicate ‘private property – no dumping’ under penalty of law.

Something else interesting about the vacant lot — it’s located directly across from 961 Mt. Pleasant Rd. which is clearly a college house rental for quite a number of students. This house has a driveway that goes around back of the house with a large parking lot and a commercial trash dumpster. At 2 o-clock on a Thursday afternoon (not Friday or Saturday night!), I found it extremely interesting that there were 7 cars parked in the parking lot behind this house. From the back of the house, there are several exterior doors indicating multiple apartments in this house. Two college girls were on the front lawn in bathing suits enjoying the summer weather. I asked them if they ever saw any dumping across the street and although they had not, it wasn’t a stretch to think that as parties at this college house spill over on to the front yard and in to the street – that vacant lot directly across from this house makes a great disposal for empty beer and soda cans. Here was a direct case where a sign posted for ‘no dumping’ might make a difference.

As long as there will be discussion re the student housing rental ordinance, could we expect to hear about the status of the vacant lot? Also, remind me – is the Panhandle area, (including Mt. Pleasant) covered by Supervisor Paul Olson?

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  1. An equally horrendous and possibly owner-occupied house behind Casey’s (train tracks) in Berwyn…probably Easttown but what is the likelihood of anyone caring??

    1. I think I know the house you are referring to — there’s one or two abandoned cars in the drive and the house is all overgrown. Someone actually lives in that house? It’s next to the train overpass by Old Lancaster Rd? I think it is in Easttown rather than Tredyffrin, but that shouldn’t make a difference. It’s interesting when it’s a house that is occupied (vs an abandoned or empty house) — I would suppose a ‘fine line’ when it comes to intervention or enforcement of the care of the property. I guess an owner next door to the property would have to complain, but to who? Are there laws that force people to take care of their property . . . if the junked cars are on their own property or the house is overgrown, can the owners be forced in to cleaning it up? Obviously, it a house is in a planned community where there are enforceable homeowner association rules something can be done. Curious question.

      For many years, I have watched a house on Irish Rd as I drive by it quite often going from Malvern to Lancaster Ave. — the house is down from the high school, close to the log cabin. The house would be completely covered in overgrown vines and vegatation and I assumed it was vacant. Then every so often (2 or 3 times that I am aware) it would be all cut-back and it would take awhile for it the overgrown look to creep back. I think someone told me once that an elderly person lived in the house all alone — so sad. Of course, I then wonder about the person’s family and the neighbors . . . doesn’t anyone care? However, just today as I drove by I saw a large commercial dumpster and there was a contractor’s sign out in front and the porch was jacked up. Looks like some major work is about ready to get started – now I am left to wonder about the elderly person. Maybe one of the Paoli readers can shed some light.

  2. This may be the rental house on the Doyle and McDonnell nursery property? When the school district talked about buying that property, some older couple (I think– long time ago) came in and begged not to be thrown out of their home.

  3. It wasn’t an elderly person.who lived on Irish RD..this person went to work everyday. We can’t pick our neighbors but none of us want to live next to homes that look like this. The neighbors did care and did everything possible to get the property taken care of. This person became ill and the property has been sold.

    1. maybe, then, the free or private market will correct this situation, as you said, the house being sold. Or, maybe the federal government can buy it.

  4. Chet, we all get it – you’re a republican. Is it really necessary to take every opportunity to simply repeat a tenant of the republican ideals. Those of us who are republicans understand them and others most likely don’t care. Although, I defend your right to repetitious as it is consistent with free speech principles. Add something of substance maybe?

  5. Since this seems to continue…..the property was sold to a developer who has had to completely redo the entire house When the renovations are completed will be sold again and hopefully it will NEVER become so neglected

    I am a 22 YR TT resident ..For the past 2 yrs the house next door has been a “college commune” .they all moved out last weekend. I’m hoping the property gets sold and I get nice new neighbors.

      1. Regulations on college student rentals would be a very good thing. As would some proactive oversight from the supervisors. Specifically, Paul Olson: Mt. Pleasant is in his district. He needs to do something tangible on behalf of his constituents there, and he also needs to be held to account for his 30-year record of inattention to all things Mt. Pleasant.

  6. The silence from Paul Olson on this matter is deafening. I would venture to say he has no clue what is going in with this issue.

    2012 can’t come fast enough.

  7. Yes, I agree the silence is odd. Paul Olson was the first person I contacted regarding the problems in Mt. Pleasant. I sent him a very nice email back in the middle of 2009. I never received a reply. Maybe he never received it. Who knows? Anyway, I don’t think he’s ever uttered one word in public regarding the problems with college students, vacant lots, or land development. I know he and Evelyn Richter have met one resident of Mt. Pleasant. To what end, I’m not sure.

    I do understand that some people want to get rid of Mt. Pleasant, build townhomes, increase the tax base among other things …but the fact remains that we are a longstanding community and it will take years before a complete changeover occurs. In the meantime, we will stand up for what is just and fair.

    Some Mt. Pleasant History —

    1832 – Mt. Pleasant was founded by a group of malcontents who left Great Valley Baptist over the issue of slavery.
    1880 – Small lots were sold to Italians, Irish and African-americans against the wishes of some surrounding neighbors.
    1932 – Mt. Pleasant parents fought segregation in Tredyffrin/Easttown school district during the historic Berywn School Fight.
    1960’s – Mazie B. Hall, Mt. Pleasant resident, teacher and community activist, and Margaret Collins, a wealthy quaker and real estate agent, fought for Fair Housing Laws
    2010 –

  8. I agree that Mr. Olson should be part of the solution to the issues in Mt. Pleasant . Here is a stupid question, has anyone from Mt. Pleasant picked up the phone and called or had a personal conversation with him about the issues?

    1. “I agree that Mr. Olson should be part of the solution to the issues in Mt. Pleasant . Here is a stupid question, has anyone from Mt. Pleasant picked up the phone and called or had a personal conversation with him about the issues?”

      You’re kidding right? The guy has been on the board for 30 years!!!!!!!!!

      1. It has been my experience with the BOS over the last 30 years that they really do not have much of a clue about what is going on in the township. There have been some exceptions, but not many. If you want a supervisor to get involved, ask them. Not by sending an email, not by posting the problem to a message board on the internet. Contact them directly – yourself. That is the only way to really get their attention. Then, keep after them – squeaky wheel gets the grease,

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