Letters: Hill style needs to be preserved

Posted 3/3/21

I understand that times change, and Chestnut Hill must change with the times. Thus, for instance, empty stores must make way for occupied housing.

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Letters: Hill style needs to be preserved

Posted

I understand that times change, and Chestnut Hill must change with the times. Thus, for instance, empty stores must make way for occupied housing. Housing on the Hill is a great choice — I myself wanted badly to live in Chestnut Hill after I was widowed a decade ago, but that’s another story.

Anyway, stores that once brought money to the pockets of small entrepreneurs and into the local area must be replaced by something: apparently housing that brings money, at least, to the developers.

But housing that rises 58 feet, or even 46 feet, into the air, as in the case of the replacement building proposed for the former Sunoco station at the top of the hill? Housing, as in the case of 30 W. Highland Ave., that puts a whole bunch of townhouses (with parking) into a space formerly occupied by two buildings, and sandwiched behind other dwellings? Historical significance aside for the moment, houses I am familiar with do not tower over other houses or crowd them out of elbow room that used to be a small but comfy given.

It’s not like there’s a good trade-off, such as nearby open space that could be bought and preserved for common use.

In Center City or other more built-up and perhaps less historic neighborhoods in Philly, such developments may work very well, but in Chestnut Hill -- where I love to shop and just to wander -- I don’t think this is the way to go. I know the precedent has already been set by the imposing building that was permitted to go up at Germantown Avenue and Hartwell Lane. Does that mean we are committed to allowing that kind of monster at every intersection?

To me, a historic, handsome area of at most three-story buildings such as Chestnut Hill should remain that for the long haul. Preserve the signature style of the area, and we preserve its value.

Jennifer French

Flourtown

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