Questions linger for Crebilly

You are currently viewing Questions linger for Crebilly
Preserving Crebilly may have a negative affect on some farmers.

For Dick Pomerantz, the Crebilly Farm/Toll Bros. conditional use hearings were a fascinating process, a process that still leaves many questions unanswered. The obvious question is, “What’s next.” But for the first-term supervisor in Westtown Township, some of the questions are more introspective.

The second round of hearings — Crebilly II — ended earlier this month with a denial of Toll’s application since Toll is no longer the equitable owner of the 320-plus-acre farm and no longer has legal standing. Yet, Toll has not withdrawn its application to build 317 new homes on the land.

Pomerantz couldn’t answer the “What’s next” because he doesn’t know, and it would just be speculation on his part.

But even before the vote, he had asked himself a series of questions:

“Were we truly individuals of courage? Were we truly individuals of judgment? Were we truly individuals of integrity? Were we truly individuals of dedication?”

He said that would be answered by “the court of history,” but he thinks he and his fellow board members were those individuals.

While Pomerantz has only been a supervisor since the start of the Crebilly II hearing, he was previously the chairman of the township’s Planning Commission and has dealt with the Crebilly application for five years.

“When I started with this on the Planning Commission, I said to the audience, ‘I’m sorry that we’re here but, alas we are here.’ I said that because I knew this was going to be emotional…I wanted to find a way to ensure that the public would get a fair hearing, that they would hear it out, and that we would listen carefully. And that we would not be burdened by any preconceptions. That’s one of the things I’m so proud of as a board member that we did exactly that. We didn’t play any games,” he said.

It was the process that caught his intellectual and professional curiosity and mused aloud how well he served his obligations.

“It’s a fascinating process. Until you’ve gone through it, you don’t know what it is. And after you’ve gone through it, you have to be able to look back and say ‘OK.’”

He feels good that he read every document filed and piece of testimony given and listened as carefully as he could to everything that was said. But he still has questions.

“Was I prepared to make a decision had the decision not presented itself because of what happened? I don’t know. We never got to that point.”

While Pomerantz wouldn’t speculate on any of the specifics of the matter, such as what might happen next or how the board might have voted had the plan been different, he wondered about other things that might have impacted the hearings, such as COVID.

“Did COVID help or hurt? Not the decision, but the process. Would Crebilly II have been faster? I don’t know,” he said.

But the relative speed or prolongation of those hearings have raised some rumblings in the community. Some people have wondered whether the supervisors knew about the expiration date on the agreement of sale and if they stalled the process to make it easier to deny the application.

Pomerantz said emphatically that was not the case.

“That’s a fair question, but we didn’t know anything about that,” he said.

He added that the board was taken aback when township Solicitor Patrick McKenna informed the supervisors that Toll was no longer the equitable owner and ceased to have legal standing in the case.

“And none of us know the back story.”

Despite public comments praising the board’s decision, he acknowledged that the supervisors really didn’t do anything to deny the application.

“The process did that. Somebody said to me that the process was like a country road with unbelievable twists and turns and you’re never sure when it’s going to end. But it did.”

Did it end, or is this just a stop sign?

“Nobody knows at this point,” Pomerantz said.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)



Leave a Reply