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What you can do to help
Crebilly Farm in Westtown Township is one of the last large expanses of unspoiled, unprotected open space in eastern Chester County, Pennsylvania. It's also land on which part of the Battle of the Brandywine was fought on September 11, 1777, with Hessian Jaegers – who were attempting a flanking maneuver of the American lines – taking artillery fire from the American position at Sandy Hollow near the Birmingham Friends Meetinghouse. Yet despite this land's historical importance, Toll Brothers has proposed a huge 317 unit housing development on these hallowed 325 acres where our forebears fought and died for our freedom.
If we are a country which honors the sacrfices of patriots who fought for our liberty, then this battlefield must be preserved for future generations of Americans. History is a continuum through which the present connects directly to our past. Crebilly Farm is a direct link to our past and those early Americans who sacrificed for us. As we treasure and protect other sacred places like Pearl Harbor, Antietam, or the Gettysburg Battlefield, then surely we must treasure and protect Crebilly Farm.
Local taxpayers would also be victims since the Robinson family has had Crebilly Farm enrolled in Act 319* for four decades. Leaving this "open space" tax abatement program to sell their land to Toll Brothers will only cost them the last seven years in unadjusted "roll back" taxes. And then, in exchange for losing this gem, Chester County taxpayers would get increased traffic congestion, higher school and township taxes, lower property values, increased stormwater runoff, exacerbated air pollution, a reduced quality of life, and yet another lost slice of historic Chester County and the Brandywine Battlefield.
The economic value of open space
The costs of losing Crebilly
Unheeded 202 recommendations
* Crebilly Farm has been enrolled in Act 319, "Clean and Green" for 40+ years. This Pennsylvania program lowers tax assessments for enrollees by half. Taxpayers, as a result, must make up the difference. To leave the program (i.e. develop the land) only the last seven years of unadjusted taxes are due. The other 33 years were paid compliments of the community.
Photo: Tom Maher
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