The temporary heroes of New Garden Township

posted Wed, Feb 13, 2013

Examine some of the most tide-changing moments of protests in the history of the United States – the Declaration of Independence, the Women’s Suffrage Movement, the March on Selma, the March on Washington, the Stonewall Riots – and you will soon see that each of these movements grow from the same roots of intolerance.


Explore them with a keener eye and you’ll find other commonalities: Each has gathered strength in numbers; each has organized its platform; each has effectively taken on an establishment with greater influence then they had, each diligently held their ground, and ultimately by differing means, each cause ultimately emerged victorious.


The Jan. 18 ruling of the Hon. David F. Bortner of the Chester County Court of Common Pleas in favor of a land use appeal filed by Friends of New Garden to deny the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) to subdivide their planned White Clay Point outdoor mall in Landenberg did not alter the course of American history. However, the Friends of New Garden – a grassroots group of common, everyday people who live in New Garden Township, who hired an attorney to oppose the ruling of the township’s Board of Supervisors that originally granted PREIT’s request – may be given credit for helping to save, or at least defray the township from becoming a quagmire of traffic and commercialization.


Judge Bortner ruled that the Friends of New Garden “have standing to bring this appeal” and that the Board of Supervisors “committed an error of law” in granting PREIT the waiver to convert the center from a subdivision into a condominium form of ownership. To those who root for underdogs, what sweet words these are to read, and for those individuals and families in the New Garden Township who are vehemently opposed to the construction of yet another Walmart in the area, this victory is pure vindication.


Although we do not yet know the final outcome of this planned, 700,000-square-foot concept slated for Route 41 – inquiries from the Chester County Press to PREIT continue to go unanswered – it is immaterial at the moment. For now, in the spirit of what has drawn the map of America, let’s thank the Friends of New Garden for their initiative and their victory.


Chester County PressEditorial, February 13, 2013

Reprinted by permission of the Chester County Press

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