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 where the Battle of the Brandywine began on September 11, 1777, with American Patriots skirmishing with Hessian Jaegers who were attempting a flanking maneuver of the American lines entrenched 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 so that we might be free.
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 and Crebilly Farm is our direct link to 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. The men who selflessly fought and died in that battle asked only that they be remembered. Does entombing in concrete and asphalt the land on which they made the ultimate sacrifice in any way honor their memory?
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 greatly 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.
But nothing is ever a done deal. We need help reaching out to national news outlets to expose the real Toll Brothers on the national stage. We need funds to do this and we need contacts in the entertainment industry who can use their influence to make this happen. When this becomes a national issue, Toll's investors will run for cover and the value of their stock will nose dive. At that point, Toll will need a public relations victory to rehabilitate their reputation by selling the land for conservation. Of course, they could avoid all this by just doing the right thing now. But they should understand that we are ALL IN ON THIS and are prepared to work for a decade if necessary to save this land. Please help us by contacting a few national news outlets...
What you can do to help
The economic value of open space
The costs of losing Crebilly
Show your support for saving Crebilly Farm by putting our sign on your lawn! Please send us a message and we'll tell you where to get them.
Photo: Tom Maher
* 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.
Unheeded 202 recommendations
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