My family and I joined the Chestnut Hill community in March 2020 after relocating from Chicago. My spouse, two lively boys - ages 5 and 3 - and I fell in love with the natural and built environment and the area’s eclectic character.
My professional passion lies in pursuing common goals among diverse stakeholders. I earned a BA from The University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Throughout my career, I have worked with local and national governments, nonprofits, Fortune-500 companies, startups, academics, and entrepreneurs. Starting my career in financial management for the federal government, I soon moved to Chicago to build and run a boutique consulting firm called The Greatest Good. We helped clients run field experiments and design choice architectures to improve high-stakes decision-making.
Currently, I am focused on raising my boys, independent consulting, and community-building through various projects, including building a library for the J.S. Jenks School. I admire the mission and recent work of the Chestnut Hill Community Association, and I am eager to collaborate with neighbors on initiatives that bring Chestnut Hill together. I look forward to joining the CHCA Board of Directors and leveraging both my professional and personal interests to further enrich the Chestnut Hill community.
I am an associate attorney at Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP. My practice is focused on regulatory and transactional matters in the investment management space. I am originally from Flourtown, and spent many afternoons of my adolescence browsing the magazine racks at Borders at the top of the Hill and wandering the Avenue. After graduating from Duke Law in 2016, I was fortunate enough to be able to return to the area to begin my career and am now living in Chestnut Hill.
The heart of our community is at the intersection of the interests of our community stakeholders. Balancing those interests requires thoughtful leadership. In my work as an attorney, I am regularly required to see all sides of an issue, and chart a path forward which is advantageous to all. These skills will translate well to my work for the CHCA. Chestnut Hill is a unique community, worthy of thoughtful and engaged leadership, which is what I would contribute to the CHCA.
As the convening registered community organization (RCO) for Chestnut Hill, the CHCA has the responsibility to bring the other RCOs together to evaluate development projects in our community that require variances. As an architect and over 30-year resident of Chestnut Hill, I have perspective on what is appropriate for the community and the knowledge of the way the city operates.
I have been involved with the CHCA for many years and in many capacities, as a member of the Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee, as a board member and Physical Division vice president and co-chair of the Chestnut Hill Conservation, Preservation and Development Study among others.
As much as we would like to control development directly, we must operate under the city's rules. I believe that we should work with our councilperson to create an overlay for Chestnut Hill that allows for appropriate development. Currently we are subject to rules that apply to the entire city. We need rules that are tailored to our community.
Obviously, Chestnut Hill is a desirable place to live – and because the minimum lot sizes in Philadelphia are so small, there is space to squeeze in more units without triggering the need for zoning variances.
Ideally, Chestnut Hill will find a way to protect what we have and provide for appropriate growth. Some increased density in the right places is good – it helps support the community and the business district. However, it needs to be done sensitively – and without destroying our historic resources. Destruction is not just demolition, it is changing the patterns and spacing of buildings, removing heritage trees, and adding buildings that don’t respect the historic architecture. We have something very special here and sometimes it is hard to define – which makes it hard to protect.
We need to be loud and clear with the city during the remapping process and beyond to get support to implement strategies to protect what we have and guide our future. As a CHCA board member, I will be that voice.
Lawrence D. McEwen:
I have a 25-year, Chestnut Hill-based architectural practice, and am an adjunct professor at Thomas Jefferson University East Fall’s Center for Architecture & the Built Environment. My practice has been recognized for work at historically- significant sites including Wyck, Druim Moir, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, where we have assisted organizations and individuals to achieve their aspirations and enhance connections with their respective communities.
In 35 years of adjunct teaching at first Drexel University and now Jefferson East Falls, I have taught several generations of students, focusing on the interdependent relationship of built form and landscape, a design attitude consistent with the great physical strength and beauty of Chestnut Hill.
I have been involved in community service since moving here in 1990 and continue to apply my professional expertise as a practicing architect and teacher, and the experience of 29 years on the Land Use Planning & Zoning Committee, to find mutually beneficial solutions to planning issues that confront our community. As we engage with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission on the upcoming zoning remapping of Chestnut Hill, I look forward to ensuring that the Board has a strong voice in balancing appropriate patterns of development with enforceable protections for our historic buildings and landscape.
As a leader and professional in institutional advancement, I have supported the mission of secondary education for over 25 years. As a graduate of Trinity College I earned the distinction of Presidential Fellow. Early in my career, I was instrumental in developing a successful Annual Giving program at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pa., which resulted in significantly exceeding annual goals set by the board of trustees. I have served as director of institutional advancement/director of development at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy for over 25 years.
As a result of the merger of Springside School and Chestnut Hill Academy in 2012, I strongly supported the merger vision and implemented key development-related goals to effect change while recognizing the importance of honoring the traditions of both institutions. During this time of change, I was focused on raising funds to implement the school’s 10-year campus master plan including the award-winning $34 million McCausland Lower School and Commons.
As a dedicated administrator at SCH Academy, I am equally as committed to the Chestnut Hill community. Over the generations, there have been amazing volunteers who have committed their lives to serving our community. I have learned from these role models that to affect positive change, we all need to play our part. Serving on the CHCA Board enables me to support the community in a way that is meaningful and hopefully impactful.
I have deep, multi-generational roots in Chestnut Hill. I have operated a conservation-based real estate practice here for 28 years, facilitating major land acquisition transactions for a “Fortune 5” company, national conservation organizations, a private client base as well as for federal, state, county and local entities.
I have served as chairman of the board of the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust and board secretary to the Montgomery County Lands Trust. As a board member of the Montgomery County Planning Commission, I have had the opportunity to review every major proposed infrastructure and land development project in the County over a four-year tenure.
I have worked for commercial/industrial developers in the Philadelphia area as well as serving as vice president and director of land development for a local trust company. My master’s degree in planning from the University of Pennsylvania has not limited me from learning many different aspects of the real estate market over a span of almost 40 years. I am beginning to enjoy the concept of semi-retirement albeit I can’t seem to let go of interesting projects like continuing to serve as a board member of the Community Association.
I am a freelance Spanish-language interpreter. I mainly work in hospital settings, but I also interpret in community settings such as community centers and schools all over the Delaware Valley. I spent 25 years as a Spanish and English as a Second Language teacher in and around Philadelphia.
I have been a resident of Chestnut Hill for seven years but grew up right above the Valley Green Inn just over the Wissahickon, so I’ve known Chestnut Hill since I was a child. Since I moved here I have volunteered in many settings, such as the Hilltop bookstore, to benefit the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill branch, Pastorius Park Summer Concert series, Friends of Jenks Library and many other volunteer opportunities for both the CHCA and the Chestnut Hill Conservancy. As a resident of Chestnut Hill, I believe in the CHCA and have admired the work they do.
I believe I can be of benefit to Chestnut Hill and be a positive influence in the community while representing the voice of Chestnut Hill. I can assist in providing clarity and understanding with regard to the many issues and situations facing Chestnut Hill. My involvement on the Board would permit me to find opportunities to strategically align ourselves as a more interconnected and unified community.
My family and I have been in the Chestnut Hill community for over 15 years, originally in Wyndmoor and more recently in Chestnut Hill proper, where we fully renovated a historically significant home adjacent to Pastorius Park.
Over the years, my family has become integrated into the area via its many institutions and resources such as church congregations, the Philadelphia Cricket Club, Chestnut Hill Historical Society, Chestnut Hill Youth Sports, Pastorius Park concerts, and running/biking/hiking in the Wissahickon trails. I also am blessed to spend my working hours on the Hill as a tenant in the Kismet coworking office which allows me to walk the Hill most every day, frequenting various shops and restaurants (Baker Street especially!).
Professionally, I am a licensed civil engineer who has spent the past 25 years in the world of land development design and permitting. I am the founder and president of a local civil engineering firm, Landcore Engineering Consultants, PC. I have consistently managed and grown the firm for the past 15 years. Accordingly, I have a deep understanding of matters such as land use, planning, zoning, permitting/regulations, stormwater and site design.
My wife Megan and I have chosen Chestnut Hill as the place to reside and raise our family. This choice was based on the unique quality of life that this area affords. I believe that the CHCA is a key stakeholder responsible for not only preserving that quality of life, but also to seek out ways to continually curate its evolution to ensure its longevity and relevance as times goes on. Accordingly, it is my desire to join the CHCA Board. I feel that my knowledge and experience, coupled with my investment in this area as my family’s home for many years to come makes me suited to this position.