Op/Ed: Keep fighting for Crebilly

I took a drive past my childhood home the other day off General Howe Drive, near Crebilly Farm.  So much change along the way, so many fields once home to cattle, horses and farmland were almost unrecognizable to me. I realize change is part of life but it can sure be hard to swallow sometimes.

My childhood home was on the market again, a dairy barn renovated by my late father back in the 1960s. I wonder if my father ever would have imagined his vision, blood, sweat and tears turned over so many times to new owners. Sad when I think about it.

Soon after, I passed Crebilly Farm. There she was in all her splendor, still looking mostly how I remember her as a child, unspoiled and vast, rolling hills in every texture and shade of green. A familiar and comforting sight, I sighed a breath of relief, for now.

Later that night on my drive home, passing through that same area was like going through an almost black tunnel of trees and corn in the shadows. I wondered how many more years I would have the luxury of seeing her untouched by man and looking so close to how it always was.

A court date will be granted any day now for the Toll Brothers appeal. And as soon as it is, I will do my part to spread the news.  If a judge denies Toll's appeal and rules in favor of the township (and the best interest of the public), it may finally be just enough incentive to get Toll to negotiate a better plan or pull out altogether.

For those just tuning in and those that need a reminder, land on Crebilly Farm is part of the Brandywine Battlefield. The potential loss of our national history plagues me. I want the landowners of Crebilly Farm to be able to sell their land and be fairly compensated.

I believe every landowner deserves that opportunity. In this case, however, the proposed development is so massive and unsuitable for what is already here, it will forever change the charm of this area and the rest of us will pay the price.  If you don't care about history or open space- then you better start to care about the amount of traffic that is headed our way if Toll Brothers wins their appeal.

I will share a quick story with you from my home town of West Bradford. About a month ago, there was a town meeting/hearing held at a local church by the state Department of Environmental Protection regarding a permit of renewal for the sewage treatment plant in Embreeville. Renewal of such permit would mean the sewer water would be dumped directly into the east branch of the Brandywine Creek where so many of us swim, canoe and fish. The meeting was held in the basement of the church and absolutely packed. It was hot as hell and standing room only in opposition. Countless people read letters for the record- politicians, conservancies, environmental groups, non-profits and more local residents than I could count.  That is the kind of public presence we will need at the Chester County Court House when the time comes.

Friends, please stay with this. Do not give up. We simply cannot let this go. Please reach out to the Westtown Township Board of Supervisors, pat them on the back for the work they have done so far and encourage them to keep going. Westtown residents especially:  you need to continue to communicate what you want to your BoSsupervisors@westtown.org

We each need to do our own part and keep this issue in the forethought of all those who will listen and continue to show up and speak up whenever given the opportunity.  Our opposition must not wither — and we will need to pack that courthouse.

If not you, then who?

Mindy Rhodes
West Bradford Township

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