The Board of Supervisors held a special meeting to discuss future plans for the Brightside Farm. The meeting was held at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Hugh D. Willig, Chairman, Paul J. Hogan, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Kevin R. Kuhn, Michael J. Rodgers, James E. McErlane, Esq., Ed Theurkauf, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:36 P.M.
Mr. Willig explained that the purpose of tonight’s meeting is to become more focused in the visioning process for the Brightside Farm. He provided background on the two adjacent parcels on Yellow Springs Road, the first a 20.6 acre parcel purchased in 1996 and the second a 55 acre parcel purchased in 2000. The structures are all located on the 55 acre parcel known as the Brightside Farm, where members of the Pyle family continued to live until mid-2001.
Mr. Willig explained that Thomas Comitta Associates has been engaged to act as facilitator during the visioning process. He then turned the meeting over to Mr. Theurkauf, who introduced Dale Frens as the first speaker.
The Township’s Historical Architectural Consultant, Dale Frens, distributed a report entitled Highlights of the Conditions Assessment for Brightside Farm, which will be incorporated as part of the minutes in its entirety. He presented data from this report including architectural highlights of the farm, general periods of development of the buildings, general building conservation issues and potential adaptive re-uses of the structures. Mr. Frens encouraged the development of oral histories of the farm through interviews of family and neighbors. He noted that as the farm modernized, it expanded yet didn’t demolish the historic core, which remains intact. Preservation of the minor outbuildings is important in the understanding of how the farm functioned economically. Rehabilitation of the structures should observe the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation in order to keep the farm eligible for the National Register. Very little emergency repair is needed at this time except for some tree removal and the installation of triple track storm windows on the farmhouse before summer. Mr. Frens has also detailed short term and long term repairs needed on the structures.
Bill Gladden, Open Space Coordinator for the Chester County Parks & Recreation department (CCPC), provided a brief overview of the CCPC grant program which began in 1989 and has provided funding for parks, open space, agricultural preservation, northern tier agricultural preservation, planning and acquisition throughout Chester County. To date, the County has been able to fund all projects with merit.
Charlestown Township applied for an acquisition grant under Round 13 for the 55 acre Brightside Farm. Mr. Gladden said Round 13 was the most heavily subscribed grant round, with over $10 million requested. The County granted Charlestown Township $450,000 toward the acquisition of the Brightside Farm. This was the entire amount requested, and was awarded based on a scoring system that the Farm scored highly on, primarily due to the adjacency of the 20.6 open space parcel, since linkages of open space are a top priority. However, at present the 20.6 acre parcel is not permanently protected. This will be required in order to obtain the Round 13 grant on the adjacent 55 acres. Mr. Gladden referenced the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions document that must be executed and recorded at the Recorder of Deeds office prior to the Township receiving the grant funding. A copy of this document will be incorporated into the minutes in its entirety. The text will also be posted on the Citizens’ website shortly. The maximum valuation for grant determination purposes is $31,000/acre, which includes a 50% match from the Township and totals $900,000. Since structures are not eligible for grant funding, and since the Township paid in excess of $900,000 for the Brightside Farm, the property must be delineated into two parcels, with one 29 acre tract (29 acres x $31,000 = $900,000) to be placed under the Declaration of Covenants. The remaining 26 acres will contain the structures and will have no county restrictions imposed on them, although a conservation easement is recommended. An easement of this nature would be more flexible in allowing a variety of future uses.
Mr. Gladden referenced the Declaration of Covenants Article III on restrictions, noting that the land must be available to all county residents and have the potential for broad public use. Restrictions include:
Mr. Gladden opened the floor to questions.
- Bob Jones asked if the 29 acres to be under covenant can be transferred to another parcel. Mr. Gladden said yes, if the parcel is adjacent and allows for a similar or greater potential use.
- Bob Elmer asked if the 29 acres must be contiguous with the 20.6 acre parcel, and Mr. Gladded said ideally, yes. Mr. Elmer asked if fees can be charged for programs, and Mr. Gladden said in most cases, yes, giving examples of a fundraiser for the park or a community day picnic. Mr. Elmer asked about a partnership with the Great Valley Nature Center and whether they could use the land in exchange for the charging of fees for their expertise and educators. Mr. Gladden said this would probably be acceptable. He explained that there are many gray areas that would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.
- Phil Staas asked if the 29 acres must be improved beyond passive farm fields, and Mr. Gladden said there can be as little as a walking trail, but he stressed that the County expects some public use of the space. Mr. Staas stated his concern over more expensive public improvements such as a playground, and Mr. Gladden said this is not required.
- A man who did not identify himself asked if provisions for parking are required, and Mr. Gladden said no, although it is permitted, along with uses such as ball fields, trails, or a tot lot.
- Louse Cantrell-Kehoe expressed an interest in developing a horse ring for the Pickering Pony Club, which requires membership to join. The club is open to all individuals ages 6-21. Mr. Gladden said he would have to look into whether this use would be permitted.
- Vincent Kling asked if the property could be maintained as farmland, perhaps 50-60% of it, and Mr. Gladden said it isn’t the intention of the CCPC for grant-acquired land to be used for this purpose. Mr. Kling stated his concern that users of the park would have to drive there, that there is no good walk-in residential area close by with the exception of the proposed Deerfield subdivision across the street. Mr. Gladden agreed that the Visioning committee should take this into account.
- A woman who did not identify herself asked if it is an underlying principle of the grant program that the public is able to use the land with no fees required. Mr. Gladden said somewhat; there can be no exclusive use claimed by an organization or league. A fee tied to an activity to cover costs is acceptable. He said many Townships audit the books of these groups to determine that they are operating on a non-profit basis.
- Ben Bingham asked if the Township is considering use of part of the property as a self-sustaining farm, how a walkway could be installed without disruption to crops and animals. Mr. Gladden said this could be explored, but suggested that any commercial hub must remain outside county restricted land.
- Mr. Jones asked if the restrictions could be withdrawn in the future if the money was repaid, and Mr. Gladden said no, it is a permanent covenant on the land.
- Mrs. Staas asked about maintenance issues, and whether the Pony Club could be charged rent for their use of the property. Mr. Gladden said probably, yes, or an exchange of maintenance for some scheduled exclusive use could be worked out.
- Debbie Kuhn asked if a community garden arrangement, where people could till 20x20 foot tracts for personal gardening, could be done. Mr. Gladden responded no.
- Alix Coleman asked who makes the decision on what can and cannot be done on the restricted portion of the property, and Mr. Gladden said the County makes the determination upon advice from their Solicitor.
- A woman who did not identify herself asked, isn’t parking required? Mr. Gladden answered no.
- Rick Reis asked if there are guidelines on what percentage of exclusive use is permitted, and Mr. Gladden said the schedule for activities is managed at the municipal level, but the County will monitor the concessionaire agreements.
Mr. Theurkauf introduced Jim McErlane, Esq., Township Solicitor, who provided an outline of the restrictions placed on the 55 acre Brightside Farm parcel due to the use of federal bond funding to make the original purchase. For example, the farm cannot be leased for profit. However, a farm manager could be engaged on a short-term (I year) contract basis to manage the farm and access to this area could be limited. Any improvements would be made by the Township, and not the farmer. The existing agriculturally used areas and buildings are not required to have public access.
The floor was opened to questions:
Mr. Theurkauf said information presented tonight on both county and federal restrictions provided a useful overview that will enable the Township to revisit potential programs and establish priorities. Discussion followed.
Mr. Willig said the Board will schedule the next meeting near the same time in May, and then additional meetings will follow every 4-6 weeks.
Mrs. Ewald moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:48 P.M. The next business meeting will be held on May 6, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Future Brightside Farm meetings will be scheduled over the next few months.
Frens and Frens,
Dale H. Frens, A.I.A.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CONDITIONS ASSESSMENT FOR BRIGHTSIDE FARM
Charlestown Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania
Presented April 22, 2002
“Each farm is a segment of the earth’s surface which has been organized in a manner by which its former owners believed they could, and present owners believe they can, maximize their capabilities of earning a living from its operation. Any farm is a culturally organized, economically functional microregion. The farmstead contains the most concentrated array of activities of the entire farm and thereby represents the greatest level of intensity of a farm’s spatial organization. It may be composed of separate structures, but not of independent ones. All farmstead buildings are interdependent, interacting parts of a working unit, spatially arranged to maximize their functional effectiveness and that of the farm itself.” (The Pennsylvania Culture Region A View from the Barn, Joseph W. Glass, p. 171)
The farmhouse and the barn are the core of the farmstead, and cultural patterns can be established regarding their relationship to each other and their orientation in the landscape. On many farmsteads, the supporting outbuildings have disappeared because they have ceased to function and have fallen into disrepair. “All farms have lanes and some kinds of lawn and fencing, most have vegetable and flower gardens, and a large number have grape arbors and fruit trees.” (The Pennsylvania Culture Region A View from the Barn, Joseph W. Glass, p. 170).
Brightside, while not possessing the best individual example of each farm building type in the region, possesses one of the best collections of supporting outbuildings, spatially arranged to reflect their interdependence. Surviving also are remnants of the flower gardens near the farmhouse and the fencing that separated the farmyard from the fields and pastures.
Pyle Farmhouse: Clearly built as a working farmhouse; the surviving attached wash
house and chamber above are significant (probably dating from c.1840).
Pennsylvania Bank Barn: Good example of 18th century style bank barn (probably c.1840)
Spring House: Good example of stone springhouse (probably c.1840).
Wagon Barn: Preserved work shop at loft level.
(Based on physical survey of extant buildings only)
|Early 19th Century:||Original Farm House and Wash House
|Late -19th Century||East Addition to Bank Barn
|Early 20th Century||Farm House Addition
Chicken Houses (?)
Pig Pen (?)
Corn Crib #16 and #5
Creamery addition to Bank Barn
Silo addition to Bank Barn
|Mid 20th Century||Small Cow Barn
|Late 20th Century||Dairy Barn
Equipment Storage Building
Corn Crib #19
“...it is rare to find a farm without a dog, and multiple cats are even more common. As is so widely the case, remaining functional is the key to the persistence of a cultural feature.” The Pennsylvania Culture Region, A View from the Barn, Joseph W. Glass (p 170)
(Mid 19th and early 20th Century)
Main House and addition best suited for continued residential use with the exception of the wash house addition. A presence on the site is important for security, and this building is best suited for residential occupancy. Because of ADA and exit requirements, this building is not well-suited to public use.
Existing area on three floors = 8,416 square feet with well defined circulation and (2) sets of interior stairs. Adequate for (2-3) 2-bedroom apartments. The unique 2-story wash house addition (256 square feet) Should be preserved for public interpretation. Alternately, the oldest portion of the first floor, combined with the wash house could be interpreted for the public (Grade level entrance at original front (south porch) and north door of wash house.).
(Mid 19th to early 20th Century)
To keep the character of the Bank Barn and additions consider using it for animals. The lower part of the bank barn could have a public use, but the threshing floor is not ADA accessible without an elevator. Also, because the threshing floor structural framing is so irregular, extensive reframing will be required for legal human occupancy. It may be possible to get ADA access to the Creamery addition first floor with a ramp. If Brightside is maintained as a farm, this is an ideal place to house large farm animals.
(Mid 20th Century)
In addition to returning to its previous cow barn function, this 360 square foot building would be good for public use as it is accessible and one story. Adequate exits would not be difficult to provide and windows provide light and ventilation on the west side. This could be a classroom, meeting room, a CSA storage/sorting space, office.
(late 20th Century)
This building is easily ADA accessible, and egress could be added if a public function was identified. It could easily remain an equipment storage building, or be converted to public meeting spaces. The 2,560 square feet could be used for Boy/Girl Scout Troop meeting rooms, classrooms, or CSA use. Windows and additional exits would need to be added.
(late 20th Century)
In addition to returning to its previous use as a modern dairy barn (or stables), this building could be adapted for public use. The first floor is accessible and access to the 2nd level could be through an elevator. (The exterior ramped entrance to the second floor is too steep for ADA standards.) The Creamery addition could become a reception area or management office for the site. The upper level has about 4,480 square feet of minimum 8 foot high ceiling area available with the possibility of a loft or mezzanine over 1/3 of the area. This could be useful office space (possible Township office space) or public meeting space with the addition of windows. (1997 Architectural Program for Township offices required 3,392 square feet + core spaces (elevators, restrooms, egress stairs).
The lower level has 6,400 square feet available for public use if the milking units are removed. At the east end of the first floor the pit area could be used for vehicle or other large equipment storage.
Deed Restrictions, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions and Other Documentation Issues.
Chester County Park
Land and Open Space
Declaration of Covenants, Condition, and Restriction
THIS DECLARATION, made this ______________day of _____________, 20____, by the ________________ of ____________________________, Chester County, Pennsylvania, (hereinafter “Declarant” and “Municipality”).
Municipality, by Deed dated _____________________________, acquired a certain parcel of land from ___________________________, et ux, containing ___________acres identified as Tax Parcel Number(s) _____________________________________________ located in __________________________________, more particularly described in Article II, Section I hereof and further being more particularly described in Exhibit “A”, attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference (hereinafter the “Property”).
The Commissioners of Chester County have designated a portion of the proceeds from a County bond issue, for grants to municipalities within Chester County for the acquisition of land for open space, recreation, public access parkland, and natural resources conservation.
Pursuant to the guidelines and criteria of the Chester County Landscapes 21st Century Fund Grant program, Municipality has received such a grant and has used the proceeds from said grant for the acquisition of the Property.
As a specific condition of the aforesaid municipal park land and open space acquisition program, any Municipality obtaining such a grant and utilizing the funds for the acquisition of park land or open space land agrees that a covenant requiring the continuous use of said land for recreation, public access park land, and natural resources conservation shall be recorded as a restriction running with the land. No additional or future restrictions may be placed on this land without the express written consent of the Commissioners of Chester County.
Municipality desires to place a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions declaring that the Property shall be utilized perpetually for park, recreational, and natural resources conservation purposes only and shall be available to all County residents. Further, Municipality desires that this Declaration shall be recorded as a covenant running with the land and shall bind the Property in perpetuity.
NOW, THEREFORE, intending to be legally bound hereby, Declarant hereby declares that the Property shall be utilized perpetually for public park, recreational, and natural resources conservation purposes only subject to further restrictions of use more particularly described below in Article III. The Property shall be held subject to the restrictions set forth in this Declaration, which are for the purpose of insuring a continuous use of the Property for the purposes indicated and which restrictions or covenants shall run with the Property. The municipality shall manage and develop the property for recreation and public access parkland in a manner that preserves the integrity of natural resources such as stream corridors, steep slopes, wetlands and state or globally rare species.
The following words and terms which are used in this Declaration shall have the following meanings:
The use of the Property as defined in this Agreement shall be restricted to open space/park land/recreational/natural resources conservation purposes. The Property shall be utilized perpetually for public park, recreational and natural resources conservation purposes only. If, when and as it is deemed inappropriate to utilize said real estate for active park, recreational and natural resources conservation purposes, it is agreed, understood and hereby declared as a declaration, restriction and covenant running with the land that the utilization of the Property shall be for passive recreation or open space. The term of this restriction shall be perpetual and it shall be a covenant running with the land. No additional or future restrictions may be placed on this land without the express written consent of the Commissioners of Chester County. The municipality shall manage and develop the property for recreation and public access parkland in a manner that preserves the integrity of natural resources such as stream corridors, steep slopes, wetlands and state or globally rare species.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, Declarant has executed this Declaration the day and year first above written.
|COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA||:|
|COUNTY OF CHESTER||:|
On this _____day of______, 20___, before me, the undersigned officer, personally appeared __________________________________who acknowledged himself to be the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of ____________________________________Township, and that he, as such Chairman, being authorized to do so, executed the foregoing instrument, for the purposes therein contained, by signing the name of ___________________________Township by himself as Chairman.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I hereunto set my hand and official seal.