Village of Valleybrook - Chester Heights, PA
Originally called Valleybrook Village, this 264 townhome development in the Borough of Chester Heights was highly controversial when it was proposed in 1971. The first of many hurdles was designating the building site a Planned Residential Development. A Planned Residential Development or a “PRD” is a zoning variance that a council enacts to permanently change the type of housing that is allowed to be built on the site. A PRD grants permission for greater building density than originally established by the zoning on a lot. Local Municipalities are granted the right to make PRD determinations by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, but they must enact an ordinance or a law to do so.
At the July 3rd, 1972 meeting, 4 council members (Mr. C.Nelson Smitheman, Mr. John DeCampi, Mr. John Moyman, and Mr. Raymond Shisler) voted in favor of declaring the former Stramm property a Planned Residential Development (PRD) changing its 1-acre per residential household zoning to just about .25 acres per unit.
Many citizens came out to speak against the build that would double the population of the borough. Most notably opposition to the PRD ordinance was expressed by Mayor Kelly and Mr. Calvin Powell a resident and a landowner.
After considerable discussion regarding whether the community should be polled for a vote, the veto was overruled with 5 councilmen voting in favor: Mr. C.Nelson Smitheman, Mr. John DeCampi, Mr. John Moyman, and Mr. Raymond Shisler, Richard Wood, Jr., Edouard Houtman.
This vote changed the face of Chester Heights forever, but like all development, what once was a controversial development has become an integral part of our town. After considerable trouble throughout the construction process: (Check out the Council Meeting minutes from 1972-1979).
CHB gained 264 new households, new neighbors, and a place we all love to visit, especially on Halloween, when the Village of Valleybrook fills with families and laughter, lights and smiles, candy and friends.
Below are a few pictures of the construction shared by Charlie Larkin, who served as the lead on the project from 1976-1979, and Betsy Dotts who is a life-long owner – resident. Also, check out the 25th Anniversary brochure that was put together by the Village of Valleybrook Board back in 1999.
Courtesy of Ms. Betsy Dotts