Stop, Take A Deep Breath – No Really

Stop, Take A Deep Breath – No Really

You probably don’t think about your breath that often. It’s always there in the background, and you are doing it right now. But paying more attention to your breathing can significantly impact your stress levels. When you experience stress or anxiety, you may experience irregular or shallow breathing, which makes it hard to get more air in, and you may even experience hyperventilation. Deep breathing is a practice that enables more airflow into your body and can help calm your nerves and reduce stress and anxiety.

Now that I have your attention, there are four types of breathing; the first type is Eupnea, which is the type you are probably doing right now while reading this newsletter. This type of breathing occurs when you are not thinking about breathing. Also known as “quiet breathing,” both the diaphragm and external intercostal muscles must contract. The second type is diaphragmatic breathing, also known as deep breathing, and the muscle must contract in this type of respiration. As the muscles contract, breath passively leaves the lungs. The third type of breathing is coastal breathing, also known as “shallow breathing,” which uses your intercostal muscles, the muscles between your ribs. If you are stressed, you may be doing this breathing right now (or even unconsciously holding your breath). The last type of breathing is called hyperpnea, also known as forced breathing, where both inhalation and exhalation are active, not passive, due to muscle contraction.

Of all four types of breathing, Deep Breathing is one of the easiest, most convenient, and most natural tools to combat issues like stress, and anxiety, reduce pain and high blood pressure, and even aid digestion. Oxygen does wonders for the body and mind. It cleanses, opens, and soothes different parts of our well-being and is overall something extremely healthy we can all do. Below are some of the benefits of deep breathing:

1) Decreases stress and increases calm. When you become stressed or anxious, your brain releases cortisol, the “stress hormone.” By taking deep breaths, your heart rate slows, and more oxygen enters your bloodstream and ultimately communicates with the brain to relax. Deep breathing also ups your endorphins, the “feel good” chemical. 

2) Relieves pain. Deep breathing triggers the release of endorphins, which not only helps create a feeling but also combats pain.

3) Stimulates the lymphatic system (Detoxifies the body). Breathing oversees 70% of cleansing the body of toxins (the other 30% is through the bladder and bowels.) Breathing releases carbon monoxide, which is important to fully release. If you do not breathe fully, your body must work overtime to release these toxins.

4) Improves immunity. When fully oxygenated, your blood carries and absorbs nutrients and vitamins more efficiently. Essentially, the cleaner the blood, the harder it is for illnesses to stay in your system.

5) Increases energy. The more oxygen in the blood, the better our body functions. It also improves our stamina.

6) Lowers blood pressure. As your muscles relax, your blood vessels dilate, which improves circulation and lowers blood pressure. Deep breathing also slows and regulates the heart rate, which also helps with lowering your BP.

7) Improves digestion. The more you breathe deep, the healthier blood flow you will produce, promoting your organs to function more effectively, including your intestines.

8) Helps support correct posture. When you take a deep breath in, your lungs take up maximum space, and your diaphragm pulls down, so your torso straightens for this to be possible. Next time you breathe in, notice that you simultaneously lengthen and straighten your spine.

Deep breathing is somewhat unnatural for your body, so just like learning any new skill, it takes practice! Try to incorporate one breathing exercise each day. Here is a simple breathing exercise that can be incorporated into your daily routine:

Breathe in calmly through the nose, filling your abdomen and chest, for 5 seconds (or longer, not exceeding 7 seconds). Hold this breath in for 3 seconds. Slowly and gently release the breath through the mouth for 5 seconds (or more, whatever is comfortable). Breathe out through a slightly parted lip or “O” shaped lips. Repeat this five times, or even better, continue for five minutes. Deep breathing should be slow and gentle. Remember to fill the abdomen and not just the chest.

Sometimes when life, work, road rage, or stress gets the best of you, try not to get frustrated or aggravated but STOP and take a deep breath. You won’t regret it.

Source: RefreshMH. “Benefits of Deep Breathing.” Urban Balance, 3 Nov. 2014,

501 Hannum Avenue – West Chester Orthodontics

501 Hannum Avenue – West Chester Orthodontics

After months of working through West Chester Borough, West Chester Orthodontics received Preliminary Approval. The project was first envisioned in February of 2021 when CIVITAS Architects contacted DL Howell to inquire about a property located at 501 Hannum Avenue. DL Howell had prepared plans for the previous owner and had a long history with the property. The new owner, Dr. Christine Ferrell, was looking for a property in the Borough to relocate her practice, and 501 Hannum Avenue was the perfect location. DL Howell prepared numerous sketches in conjunction with the Architect, Agnes Kan, and created a plan that satisfied all the requirements.

DL Howell worked closely with the project team, including CIVITAS Architects, Brian Nagle, Project Attorney, Frank Tavani, Traffic Engineer, Patrick Stuart, Landscape Architect and Frank Pancoast, Builder, to finalize plans and begin the approval process with West Chester Borough. Since the site is traversed by a creek and located on a State Highway, there were many challenges for redevelopment. The placement of the structure required a Variance from the Zoning Hearing Board for building setback and a reduction in parking spaces. Other challenges included coordination with the Borough and the streambank revitalization project for Taylors Run Creek. This required the removal of trash, debris and fallen trees that obstructed the stream flow. Lastly, drainage improvements were required for inefficient inlets and damaged storm pipe within the PADOT Right-of-Way on Hannum Avenue.

In working with the Borough staff and Planning Commission, DL Howell coordinated their efforts to design an underground stormwater management and infiltration facility. They also worked to design a decorative screening wall with fencing and landscaping along Hannum Avenue and West Washington Street. This also required the installation of new sidewalks, streetlights, and ADA-compliant crosswalks along the street frontage. In addition to infrastructure, the project Architect also worked closely with the Borough to develop the elevations, building façade and materials that face Hannum Avenue.

Now that all the challenges have been finalized, the project is being approved by the Borough and construction should commence in mid-summer. Dr. Ferrell and her practice are excited to relocate within the Borough to a new building in a prime location. DL Howell is thankful to be involved with this project and wishes West Chester Orthodontics much success.

The Yards at Malvern Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The Yards at Malvern Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The Yards at Malvern, formerly Frazer Lanes, officially opened last month and all those involved with the project were invited to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The final completion of the project started almost five years ago, and DL Howell was involved from the very beginning. GMH Communities, the property owner, initially approached DL Howell to prepare sketches for a 5-story apartment building with an attached parking garage on the properties occupied by the Norcini Trailer Park and Frazer Lanes Bowling Alley. The plan’s development required changes to the Township Zoning and a new district was created to allow for the use. DL Howell worked closely with the project team including Riley Riper Hollin and Colagreco Attorneys, Lessard Design Group Architects, Stuart and Associates Landscape Architects, and Traffic Planning & Design Traffic Engineers to refine the site layout and renderings after review and approval from East Whiteland Township Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Once approved, the plan moved into the construction phase, where D.L. Howell worked with Elford, Inc. General Contractors and their team of professionals. Construction continued for the next two years, and despite some challenges with sitework, highway improvement, utilities and a worldwide pandemic, the project finished right on schedule.

The outcome of all this hard work and dedication is a beautiful apartment building with all the modern amenities one could imagine. The complex offers a variety of apartment size options that provide studios, one and two-bedroom units, and deluxe suites. There is an open courtyard loaded with amenities that offer relaxation and entertainment. The building is complete with meeting spaces, a golf simulator, an exercise room, a pet grooming room, and a bar area. D.L. Howell was extremely honored to be a part of the development team and recognized for our efforts.

For more information on The Yards at Malvern visit

Villa Maria Academy Student Union Building Receives a Blessing from Willistown Township

Villa Maria Academy Student Union Building Receives a Blessing from Willistown Township

After months of planning, Villa Maria Academy (VMA) and DL Howell received a recommendation for Preliminary / Final Land Development approval from the Willistown Township Planning Commission. Work on the VMA Campus began a few years ago when DL Howell was approached to prepare sketches for a Campus Master Plan. The Plan included renovations that consisted of a new loop road to improve student drop off and pick up, a new student union building, parking improvements, and relocation of tennis courts. DL Howell worked closely with VMA staff to refine the Plan and begin work. In 2018 VMA released DL Howell to finalize the plans for a new loop road that included improvements along Central Avenue. The project received approval in the spring of 2018 and was completed before school started in the fall of 2018.

With the success of the loop road project, VMA began fundraising efforts to embark on the next phase of development for the Student Union Building. VMA again approached DL Howell to further refine the campus and prepare various sketches for the building and various options for the tennis courts relocation. VMA interviewed several different architects and general contractors to undertake this expansive project and awarded it to Godshall Kane O’Rourke Architects, The Norwood Company, and Aegis Property Group. DL Howell worked closely with the project team to finalize the building layout and tennis courts relocation. Some of the challenges the project team overcame included designing a unique building that expresses the reverence VMA represents, relocating five tennis courts and designing them within the existing campus, and relocating a network of underground utilities that ran under the building footprint. Additional challenges included strengthening the soil by introducing soil-cement into it, designing a stormwater management system in an Exceptional Value watershed, and developing a plan to construct all this work while school is in session.

The design team excelled in all the challenges VMA presented and finalized civil and building construction documents on schedule. Final approval from the Township Board of Supervisors is scheduled for February 22, 2021, and NPDES approval is anticipated shortly thereafter. Construction is scheduled to commence towards the end of May and will be completed on Easter Sunday, 2022. DL Howell is thankful to be associated with VMA and the group of professionals they assembled for this project.

Builders Inc. New Corporate Headquarters at 514 Lapp Road

Builders Inc. New Corporate Headquarters at 514 Lapp Road

After months of working with East Whiteland Township, Builders Inc. received the final recommendation from the Board of Supervisors. The project began to take shape in September of 2019 when Greg Hill, President of Builders Inc., asked D.L. Howell to start evaluating the site and review zoning requirements. The property is located on the corner of Old Morehall Road and Lapp Road and is the last remaining vacant parcel in the Great Valley Corporate Park. D.L. Howell began preparing sketches and grading the site to develop the corporate headquarters and take advantage of natural features. The placement of the building and access to the site was vital to the owner, so his building could overlook the park retention basin.

D.L. Howell worked closely with the project team, including Builders Inc., Riley Riper Hollin and Colagreco Attorneys, and Meyers Architects to obtain approval from the Township Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. One of the project’s challenges was developing a parcel located on a busy corner with sensitive environmental features. This involved obtaining a LOMA from FEMA for the unstudied floodplain and preserving the park retention basin. Other challenges included accommodating a future multi-modal trail and designing a ADA compliant sidewalk along Lapp Road. In addition, the site required design for an underground Managed Release Concept (MRC) detention basin due to the underlying KARST geology. Lastly, a detailed landscape design was provided by Stuart Associates in conjunction with JH Trees to create a variety of materials to enhance the corporate headquarters.

Construction is scheduled to commence in early spring of 2021 and occupancy before years end. D.L. Howell will be sure to provide updates, including drone photos and videos, as the project progresses.

TruMark Financial Credit Union Receives Final Approval

TruMark Financial Credit Union Receives Final Approval

After months of working through West Goshen Township, TruMark Financial finally received Final Land Development Approval. The project began to take shape back in August of 2019 when E Kahn Development asked D.L. Howell to start sketching a bank pad on the site. The property is located on the corner of E. Market and S. Bolmar Streets and is the former location of the Autohaus used car dealership and detailing center. D.L. Howell prepared several different sketches until TruMark Financial showed an interest in the location. Once onboard, the sketch was refined to meet the client’s needs and the design process began.

D.L. Howell worked closely with the project team, including E Kahn Development, Riley Riper Hollin and Colagreco Attorneys, KSM Architects, and Heinrich & Klein Traffic Engineers to obtain approval from West Goshen Township Zoning Hearing Board, Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Some of the challenges with the project were redeveloping a small parcel located on a busy corner. This involved securing a variance for the bank sign and obtaining Conditional Use for the bank use. Other challenges were the addition of perimeter sidewalk, including ADA compliant ramps where none existed before. D.L. Howell also designed a small rain garden and underground detention basin to manage stormwater and added some green areas on a site that was previously 100% impervious coverage. The bank also agreed to design the roof to support future solar panels.

The Township Board of Supervisors granted final approval for the project at their June meeting and construction is scheduled to begin mid-summer. D.L. Howell is proud to be involved with another redevelopment project within West Goshen Township and along E. Market Street.

New Jersey Civil Engineering and Land Surveying

New Jersey Civil Engineering and Land Surveying

Civil Engineering and Land Surveying in New JerseyWe are excited to announce that D.L.Howell and Associates and Howell Kline Surveying has expanded into New Jersey!

We are providing the following Civil Engineering and Land Surveying services:

Civil Engineering

Subdivision and Land Development Design & Approval
Erosion and Sedimentation Control Design
FEMA Map Studies and Revisions
Floodplain Analysis
Building Permit Plans
Pool Permit Plans

Land Surveying

Boundary & Lot Surveys
Topographic Surveys
ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys
Title Research
FEMA Floodplain Elevation Certifications
Construction Stake-Out
Legal Descriptions

Please contact us at (609) 301-5481

A New Beginning for Providence Church

A New Beginning for Providence Church

After several months of working with West Chester Borough, Providence Church finally received Land Development approval and now construction is ready to begin. The project began to take shape in the late spring of 2018 when the Church made a presentation to the Borough with some conceptual drawings. The Church then approached D.L. Howell to prepare a sketch plan and attend a Planning Commission Meeting. While working with the Borough the plan incorporated changes to the “West End” of town by incorporating improvements to the streetscape with new sidewalk, landscaping and decorative streetlights. As the plan developed, the Church was required to amend their Special Exception approval allowing them to expand the assembly area within their new addition. D. L. Howell finalized the Land Development Plans and worked with the Borough and their Consultants to resolve all review comments. After working through the Planning Commission and Smart Growth Council, approval was granted by Borough Council on May 15th and the project received Final approval.

D.L. Howell worked closely with the project team including; Rob Fenza and Tony Stancato of Providence Church, Don Turner of Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees Attorneys, Paul Sgroi of Bernardon Architecture, and Patrick Stuart of Orsatti & Stuart Landscape Architects, to refine the plans throughout the approval process. The project plans include detailed grading, utilities, erosion control, storm water management, site details, site lighting, landscaping and PADOT Highway Occupancy drawings. D. L. Howell is fortunate to be selected as the Civil Engineer on this project.