To the Community of Chestnut Hill: An open letter regarding 415 W. Moreland Ave

Opinion July 2, 2014 0 Comments

Is Hill land more valuable than its home?

Is Hill land more valuable than its homes?

At the Chestnut Hill Community Association Board meeting last Thursday night, the Board discussed the value that we as a community place on maintaining the integrity of being a National Historic District.

Chestnut Hill’s status as a National Historic District was established in 1985 to officially recognize and protect the remarkable collection of outstanding properties that Chestnut Hill contains. This status has, over the past 30 years, helped to protect and maintain much of what makes Chestnut Hill so outstanding.

This discussion took place because one property, 415 W. Moreland Ave., is currently threatened with demolition and subdivision. This property is listed on the District’s list as “Significant,” the highest ranking. While the property is not currently in good condition, there are many old properties that, over the years, have been saved from the wrecking ball by people who cherished them as irreplaceable assets to the community. The Chestnut Hill Historical Society’s inspection of this property concluded that it is nowhere near being too deteriorated to restore.

The CHCA Board voted to strongly support the CHHS’s opposition to the demolition of this property, and to support its opposition against the land being subdivided to allow two new homes to be built.

This act would be not simply an injury to the National Historic District, it would create an example for future developers. Both the CHHS and CHCA have offered to work with the developer going forward to develop alternate strategies for the property.

The value of properties in Chestnut Hill is strong not because of new large homes that could also be found throughout the Delaware Valley. It is strong because we have an irreplaceable collection of properties that is widely known and respected, is registered nationally, and is limited in quantity. It’s a precious resource. We have what we have, and it needs our protection.

Please sign the online petition at www.change.org/petitions/opposition-to-demolition-oppose-the-demolition-of-415-west-moreland-avenue-and-the-plans-to-subdivide-the-property-and-build-two-new-homes

Will Detweiler

President, Chestnut Hill Community Association

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