The Board of Supervisors held the 3rd in a series of special meetings to discuss future plans for the Brightside Farm. The meeting was held at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Hugh D. Willig, Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Paul J. Hogan, Ed Theurkauf, Stephanie Alleva, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:36 P.M.
Mrs. Ewald announced that Mr. Panizza has authorized mowing for the Deerfield fields, where thistle has become a problem.
Mr. Hogan announced he delivered 6 tarps to the Brightside Farm for covering hay.
No items were brought forward at this time.
Mr. Theurkauf presented several display boards throughout the evening for review and comments. He indicated that parcel lines had been drawn in along with 10-foot contours on the Context Plan. Streams have been marked in blue. He said the site is one of the most prominent vistas in Charlestown Township. From certain areas on the property, nearly the entire site can be seen as well as views from miles away. This vista is what largely motivated people to want to preserve this farm. A consensus was reached that there was great value in preserving the visual and agrarian aesthetics of the farm. Also, the site is not isolated, but fits in with the Township’s open space system via its proximity to numerous trails including the Horseshoe Trail, a trail along Pigeon Run, a potential trail connection along the pipeline to the west, and other trails heading toward Route 401 and to Charlestown Oaks. Not far away is a railroad bed that could serve as a future link to the Chester Valley Trail system. All this speaks to potential for a comprehensive regional trail network.
A Slope Analysis has been added to the Site Analysis plan. Slopes in the categories of 0-5%, 5-10%, 10-15% and over 15% have been added. The southern end of the site is the high point. A low swale bisects the site, which rises again at the northern corner where the building complex is located. In general, it is a gently rolling site. There is a high ground water area at the northern end with seasonal high water tables. Also, in the swale area there is some flood hazard area with an intermittent stream.
Mr. Theurkauf began a review of the most desired activities as they came forward at the last visioning meeting on June 22, 2002. These items were displayed on Concept Plan 3 as follows:
Mr. Theurkauf said this concept plan was devised to depict how the desired program elements can fit on the site. These program elements were perceived by the June 22nd group as having the most appeal. They afford some level of public access while preserving the farm’s existing use and appearance.
With regard to Equestrian Club Use, he suggested a fenced riding ring with an adjacent turnout/pasture area. A small area for horse trailer parking would be needed. This use was depicted near the buildings so the dairy barn could be modified for use as a horse barn. The topography of the area is flat enough to construct a riding ring. Mrs. Ewald asked how this location for equestrian use was determined. Mr. Theurkauf said it was developed at his office taking into consideration that various program elements can expand or contract as necessary. The structures would be needed for the equestrian use to provide for restrooms, first aid, show administration, and horse shelter.
Mrs. Ewald said a focal point for community gathering is missing from the plan. The elements depicted are the parts of the plan, but the cohesive hub is missing. She said this hub should be where the buildings are located. Mr. Theurkauf agreed this is a useful concept, and the building cluster can be looked at as a nexus of activity, adding that the bank barn has potential as an arts and education center. The slope at the picnic grove would make a stage or amphitheatre possible.
Mr. Bingham said the proposal for a model farm is missing. Mr. Theurkauf said he sees a model farm as a mechanism that could be integrated with the uses proposed. To advance a model farm concept, it must be refined and incorporate funding strategies. There are certain do’s and don’ts in the grant guidelines and bond issues that must be taken into consideration.
Mrs. Ewald suggested restoring the apple orchard next to the farmhouse. Loretta Watson suggested a gazebo as a focal point on the property.
There was a discussion of parking lots and access. A large lot is proposed for up to 160 cars close to the building complex. Smaller lots would be available for the picnic grove and CSA. The existing small lot for 3-4 cars at the Wisner-Rapp House would suffice for the Heritage Gardens. The large lot and smaller proposed lots would be gravel and grass only. The existing driveway to the farmhouse would be lined with trees with no parking available. Mrs. Ewald suggested making a one-way loop road from the two existing driveways. The sight distance from Yellow Springs Road is sufficient for both locations.
Water for the CSA, Rapp House and picnic grove was discussed. A windmill to pump water from a well to serve these three locations was suggested. Mr. Hogan said there should be three separate wells. Mrs. Ewald said it would be a good idea to utilize horse troughs such as those Mr. Hogan has on his property. Harry Burhans said he took a trip with Paul Hogan and Irene Ewald to Lancaster County to see how windmills were used there. They made some contacts. He gave a figure of about $5,000 to construct a windmill at the farm, not including the well itself. In the past, he said he led hiking groups to Swiss Pines and along the hike there were three windmills to be seen that operated in the Township which were very picturesque.
Fran Rodgers asked how these projects will be financed and over what time period. She suggested instituting some of the less expensive projects first.
Mr. Bingham said it is a good premise to change the land as little as possible. Use grass parking where possible and rotate the fields so big events move around. Mr. Theurkauf said in his experience, animal use events shouldn’t be moved. Alix Coleman said a decent footing is needed for horse show grounds and it would be hard to move this around. Mr. Theurkauf agreed to keep the parking as low key as possible. Gravel could be avoided except in the driveways.
Jim Scharnberg said the buildings are at the most level spot with good drainage. He also said not to move the uses around. Connect the activities to the buildings, which would support a show ring application well. He cautioned not to make too many pieces to the overall program. Mr. Theurkauf commented that historically, the typical farm de-evolved activity away from the farm complex.
Mr. Theurkauf said he envisions the use of committees to advance program elements. Committees should propose each desired program in terms of establishment, management, maintenance, and operating budgets. He displayed a list of suggested committees and possible sources for members:
Loretta Watson suggested publishing the list of committees on the Internet and asking for interested parties to come forward. Ms. Coleman said the Brightside Farm Committee should go ahead and make things happen. Mr. Willig said the original intent of the BFC was to attend to the immediate needs of the farm and its maintenance issues, but said the Board can consider expanding this into something more. Mrs. Ewald said the BFC has lots of ideas, including use for the bank barn, which dates back to the last 18th-early 19th century.
Mr. Bingham suggested a “job fair” approach for communicating with the public and gaining their involvement with various committees. Mr. Theurkauf agreed that having an event at the farm in place of the September 22, 2002 Visioning Session would advance more results. Mrs. Ewald proposed combining the outreach with the Harvest fest being discussed by the Brightside Farm Committee for October.
Mr. Connolly suggested that the committees be open to anyone interested in participating. Mrs. Ewald said the Brightside Farm Committee will work on planning this event. They can combine the Harvest fest with presentations by various committees showcasing their ideas in order to get people involved. Mr. Bingham said people can create their own graphics at various stations to be visited at the event.
Jack Northrup asked if the farm was open to visitors. Mr. Elmer said the trails are open to the public now, but the buildings are posted as not available. However, arrangements can be made with the caretakers. Mr. and Mrs. Bingham were introduced as the caretakers. Mr. Bingham said he would be happy to make arrangements for a visit. Mr. Elmer suggested that at their next meeting, the BFC will develop a protocol for visitors.
The Board reached a consensus that the next step will be the formation of committees, which will gather information for the various program elements, to be presented at an upcoming event at the Farm. Mr. Theurkauf will write up a summation of what details are needed for their presentations.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:40 P.M. The next business meeting will be held on August 5, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. The next Brightside Farm meeting is scheduled for September 23, 2002.