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East Whiteland Supervisors Need To Hear From You

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Do You Want a Partially Remediated Bishop Tube Site Covered With Houses?

On October 9, 2018, new plans for developing the Bishop Tube site were submitted to East Whiteland Township.   The proposal for 93 residential units requests building approval despite the contamination that persists at the site.

The revised development proposal submitted for review and approval covers the same contaminated portions of the Bishop Tube site as the original plan with the same intensity of development.  While 93 units may seem less than the original proposal, it is actually quite comparable – the latest development proposal is now limited to the 13.7 acre Bishop Tube site and no longer includes development of neighboring parcels (which may or may not come later, we do not know).  As a result, the reduction in units is not the result of a less intense development proposal for the Bishop Tube site. As before, the current development proposal fails to consider or address all of the contamination issues at, around, or emanating from the site; with the developer proposing action on only 3 limited spots of contamination.

Given the extent and history of contamination at the site, the level of community and environmental harm a new development will inflict, and the decades of impact neighboring communities have had to endure, it is time for the township to reject this proposed development and to prioritize actively working to secure maximum cleanup of the site and its preservation as natural open space.

The East Whiteland Township Board of Supervisors need to hear from you about this proposal.  Share your thoughts by mail/emailing them at:

Copy your comments by mail or email to the Delaware Riverkeeper Network:

Consider also sending a copy to county and state officials who should also be actively working to protect our communities and environment:   

  • Chester County Commissioners, 313 West Market St., West Chester, PA 19380
  • Brian O’Leary, Exec Dir, Chester County Planning Comm’n, P.O. Box 2747,
    West Chester, PA 19380-0990, ccplanning@chesco.org
  • Senator Andy Dinniman, District Office, One North Church Street, West Chester, PA 19380
  • Representative Kristine Howard, 40 Lloyd Ave, Greentree Office Bldg, Ste 309, Malvern, PA 19355 
  • Patrick McDonnell, Secretary, PA DEP, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg, PA 17101
  • Pat Patterson, Regional Director, PADEP, Southeast Region, 2 E Main St, Norristown, PA 19401

Points to consider:

Groundwater, soil and surface water at the Bishop Tube site are highly contaminated with Trichloroethylene (also referred to as TCE), which is classified as a probable human carcinogen.  The contamination flows into Little Valley Creek that neighbors the site.

The development proposal includes removal of contamination in only three spots, leaving the vast majority of contamination untouched.  This means new families will be brought to a site that continues to be plagued by contamination issues.

According to the PA State Constitution, Article 1, Section 27, the East Whiteland Supervisors have a duty to protect your environmental rights.  Given the highly contaminated conditions at the Bishop Tube site, and no known plan for how that contamination will be fully and properly addressed, how can the Supervisors approve this project and fulfill their constitutional obligations?

While the developer asserts the proposal will not turn Village Way from a dead end into a thruway (stating that it is just for emergency use), the township consultant states: “The emergency access road shall be designed and constructed as a permanent connection.”  Transforming General Warren Village into a cut through for a new housing development would damage the quality of life, safety and potentially property values for those who live in this part of town.

The Township Comprehensive Plan shows a dearth of open space in the part of East Whiteland impacted by this development proposal. Given the Plan goal to “Proactively expand the Township’s open space network …” and to “Establish new Neighborhood Parks in underserved areas of the Township, particularly on the south side of Route 30”, equity demands there be a concerted effort to provide balance in open space preservation and to prioritize preservation and protection of one of the last remaining undeveloped areas in this part of town.

There is a tremendous lack of data documenting the extent of contamination at, and radiating from, the Bishop Tube site, and no plan for its clean up currently exists. Therefore it is unknown what impact new development will have on exacerbating environmental harms at the site and on the ability to implement any proposed cleanup/remediation plan in the future.

Little Valley Creek is already identified by the state as failing to meet state water quality standards because of urban runoff, water flow variability, habitat modifications, siltation, pathogens and PCBs.  In addition, the Bishop Tube site delivers regular doses of TCE to the Creek.  Development of the Bishop Tube site, removal of the trees, construction of roadways and houses, could create pollution inputs and stormwater runoff that would exacerbate existing problems in the creek and create new ones.  Impacts could be felt in downstream communities along Little Valley Creek and Valley Creek.

The high level of development proposed for the Bishop Tube site will impact neighboring property values and quality of life, replacing a quiet open space view with a dense residential development – open space, trees and healthy streams are known to increase nearby property values by as much as 15 to 30%.  Loss of this open space will have an impact concerning to the residents, and will remove a key opportunity to increase open, natural areas in this area of the Township.