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Save The Valley: Activists Continue Fight to Save Pristine Land
Philly

Save The Valley: Activists Continue Fight to Save Pristine Land

Save the Valley – Petition & Background

Foxes in Beaver Valley, Delaware CountyMy BFF sent me a link a few weeks ago to a Change.org petition. After browsing, I realized that 750 acres of woodland & farmland are in danger for a Wal-Mart, a few housing developments & more retail stores.

This area wasn’t in a foreign country endangering panda bears or chimpanzees. Instead, it was in my hometown. My territory where I grew up for 18 years.

Throughout my childhood, I noticed my quaint suburban neighborhood slowly developed from open land to forests cleared and made room for McMansions. Although I wasn’t able to fully process it at the time, more deer and animals dashed onto the back roads. There were even a few tragic car accidents as drivers were killed by confused deer during daylight savings time.

As time wore on, more and more stores were put in on more corners. A 10 minute drive to the local movie theatre delayed into 15 or 20 due to traffic congestion on the highway.

beaver valley development plansFast forward: It’s 2013 and Beaver Valley (or “the Valley”) is another precious land at stake. Nestled in Delaware County, 750 acres hidden behind Route 202 are a wildlife refuge, public lands for hiking and biking, and a rarity in the ever-booming suburbs. It’s so beautiful and rare, National Geographic even recently caught wind and it almost has national park status. Developers want to create a big-box store (rumored to be Wal-Mart), residential homes, an adult community & more. If you’re familiar with Concord Township, you’ll know that my hometown doesn’t need additional homes and DEFINITELY has surpassed its limit of chain retail stores. (Case in point: There are 2 Targets within 10 minutes of my house, as well as every other chain you could imagine…)

Save the Valley released a new 13 minute documentary about William Bancroft’s original vision and the pristine land, which you can watch here:

Overall, development of Beaver Valley would increase traffic (and carbon emissions – pollution!), loss of open space, disastrous impacts on the wildlife & ecosystem.

Local Activists Delay Development Plans (for now)

Starting to sound like a lost cause? A group of activists have delayed the development deals for now.

Local activist Jason Hoover (of Edibikes, which I ironically tried out last year) is the organizer of Save The Valley, committed to saving Beaver Valley from development. As Jason explained how he got involved in the efforts:

“I got involved in this project originally because I wanted to do something to help in the effort to save this land.  I’m a big runner, so I grew up running through the valley.  I know every inch of those two thousand acres like the back of my hand.  I know its beauty and its value.  I heard that the Valley was in danger, so I ultimately connected with the Beaver Valley Conservancy.  They are a non-profit group and are limited in what they can say, so I decided to form an unaffiliated sister group.”

The recent Rezoning hearing on May 14th rallied over 1,000 community members and 7000+ signatures on Change.org, delaying the vote for now. The event caused several local media outlets to come out to Garnet Valley Middle School to capture the action, like this footage from 6 ABC (including an impressive flyover of the beautiful lands):

So what happened to the proposal?

All of the parties withdrew their proposals – either ahead of time or 5 minutes prior to the meeting. The May 14th rezoning meeting only last 15 minutes since there were no parties present. The development companies were hoping to fly under the radar and have their proposals approved with their relationships with local politicians.

Because of the large public criticism, all parties who withdrew are able to resubmit their proposals in 60 days. Although the proposals will likely return, Save the Valley is confident they will once again dominate with a larger public support.

Save the Valley info

How Can You Help Save the Valley?

Save the Valley rallied and showed that community members need to voice their desires and can make a difference. Learn more at savethevalley.org.

However, this issue isn’t over. The development companies can return with bigger plans.

Head over to change.org to sign the petition to Save the Valley.  You can also keep tabs of developments from Save the Valley’s Facebook page. Call one of the township supervisors to mention that you do not approve of these plans – while staying courteous:

  • Dominic A. Pileggi – 610-459-3302 
  • John J. Gillespie – 610-361-0566 
  • Dominic J. Cappelli, Jr. – 484-840-0947 
  • Kevin P. O’Donoghue – 610-459-5656 
  • Elizabeth “Libby” Salvucci – 610-361-0503

And remember – if there’s an environmental issue you believe in, fight for it. Development agencies and companies may put money into the politicians pockets. But voters are the ones that keep them in office.

Your voice matters. (like for plastic bags.)

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

1 thought on “Save The Valley: Activists Continue Fight to Save Pristine Land

  1. Thank you so much for the responsible reporting of this important issue. SAVE THE VALLEY needs people to help us get the word out. Please visit our web site and help us keep the momentum going. We are planning fun events throughout the spring and summer. Help us save this beautiful land!!!

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