There is a wide range of reasons on why you should care about this project and a wide range of people who should care about this. You don’t have to live here to care, and you don’t have to be into history to care. If you live in the area, are into local history, a nature lover, into old buildings, hate commercial development, support preservation, or anything else in the subject area, you should care. I will give detailed reasons on why people on each subject of interest should care.
Why Locals Should Care
As in locals, I mean anybody in Edgmont, Middletown, Thornbury, other local bordering townships, and Media. These problems go throughout a pretty widespread area, but will greatly effect those closest even more. The most recent plan by the Toll Brothers which went into some serious planning, originally called for 397 homes on roughly 168 acres of land. The whole tract itself contains roughly 307 acres; 176 in Edgmont, and 130 in Middletown. Roughly 23 of those 307 acres are now “Sleighton Park” in Middletown, and 116 acres in Edgmont are under an agricultural preservation easement. That’s what leaves them with them with roughly 168 developable acres!
Traffic is one major concern that I will bring up, and this concern for people even outside of the direct area. They claim that since this is a retirement community, meaning 55+, traffic won’t be a major issue. This statement for the most part is incorrect, particularly because 55 isn’t really quite the common retiring age these days, and who said older folks don’t drive? You will also have a lot of staff coming in too, so I predict the number of added vehicles will be around 800. Starting with the direct area, this area of Edgmont and Middletown, although now suburban, still contains country style roads without any improvements for higher traffic flow. These are small back roads with stop signs. Going out onto Middletown Rd (Route 352), and Baltimore Pike (Route 1), you also face major issues. Although better designed for increased traffic flow, these roads still face major traffic congestion during rush hour. There are also tons of new developments near the former Franklin Mint on Route 1 which will also contribute to major traffic congestion.
Increased taxes are another issue with this development. It’s claimed that this will lower taxes since there will no children, which would mean more money in the school system with less kids. While it will lower school taxes, it will not lower your taxes overall, it will likely increase them. I spoke to a member of the London Britain Township Land Trust about this, and he spoke to me about this issue too. With this increased development, more public utilities will be needed which will hence higher your taxes. These include sewers which are currently not in this area, road improvements, and even potential need for better transportation, police, and fire departments. Also, with school taxes, if these developments can’t fill up with 55+ people, they will add families, therefore bringing more kids in the area. With all the retirement communities going up in this area, this is a potential issue that cannot be ignored.
Lowered property values are another huge issue with this kind of development. People choose to live in this area because of it being a lower density suburb. Add more houses, that goes bye bye. With potentially increased taxes and traffic congestion, that also heavily contributes to property value deprivation. Sleighton is also one of the sites I enjoy driving by everyday, this would also be lost.
There are many more issues I will get into relating to this in my other categories.
Why People into History Should Care
This is most likely an obvious one, but part of this may be a little less obvious. Many people know that most of these buildings were built in the early 1900s which is very old. Of the 25 buildings on this property, all will be completely demolished except the chapel most likely, which was built in 1965. I find this absolutely frustrating, as these buildings are highly historically significant and can be subject to reuse. These aren’t simple structures; majority of these buildings include solid field stone walls and custom wood and metal work. They’re essentially irreplaceable. The cottages and administrative building were all built in the early 1900s, and said to have been designed by Cope and Stewardson, world famous architects. All these cottages are unique to one another in some way, none are the same.
What many people don’t realize is the amount of history on this property before the days of the Sleighton School. This isn’t well known, and that’s likely intentional, but there are a few houses on the property that are said to date back to the early 1800s which is very significant. There are also houses and barns still on the property dating back to the early 1800s. Along with that, there are many very old trees which may date up to around 200 years old that are set to be cut down. I don’t know too much about this, but Sleighton may have been part of the Brandywine Battle.
Why Nature Lovers and Preservation People Should Care
This is another both obvious and not so obvious one. Sleighton contains almost 300 acres of open space and has many varieties of plants, old trees, and nature. Going back to an area that was rural until about the 1970’s, Sleighton is one of the last large tracts of open space. 116 acres of the farmland will be preserved, but many of the old trees and plants will be destroyed. Most of the trees on the property are 60+ years old, some even dating up to possibly 200 years old. These trees are unlike any you see around here and there are many different varieties. A few will be saved, but most will be cut down. Sleighton had a horticulture program, so there’s also a very unique variety of shrubs and flowers all around. There is also a lot of unique wild life known to roam around Sleighton.
Why People Against Commercial Development Should
These people should care mainly because this is a big example of it. Little preservation will be done and as many tightly packed, poorly built, and lookalike units will be built as possible. There will be nothing unique here like there is now. Although the intent of this post wasn’t to bash the Toll Brothers, I really dislike them. They offer nothing better than the average commercial builder. They don’t care about preservation, customer satisfaction, workers rights, communities, etc. All they care about is the mighty dollar, no matter what they claim. You can sit down and watch a Toll Brothers construction job, and read their reviews. It ain’t good.