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Chester County Press

Franklin Supervisors vote to support agricultural easement of dairy farm

05/22/2018 10:38AM ● By J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

The Franklin Township Board of Supervisors voted to adopt a funding resolution for the purchase of an agricultural easement for the Stoltzfus farm property at their May 16 meeting.

The dairy farm at Strickersville and Appleton roads will be preserved as agricultural land by the resolution. Board chairman John Auerbach summarized the easement process, beginning with the June 2017 board meeting, at which the board supported the easement at a cost of $144,000. The final funding agreement, received in early 2018, indicated an increase of approximately $76,815. The original estimate covered 80 acres at $4,000 per acre, and the final agreement covered 98.14 acres at $5,000 per acre. Both Auerbach and board member David Snyder felt like this was a move to mislead the township, but other supervisors felt it was an honest mistake, since the original estimate came from a conservation organization, and not the county.

The final vote supported a funding agreement at a cost not to exceed $220,815. The township will not pay any incidental costs.

A report from the township zoning officer updated the board on four ongoing zoning issues:

308 Heather Hills: The bank has settled with a new owner of this property, and a check for $5,178 is being sent to the township;

3300 Appleton Road: The owner has begun cleanup by removing the boats, vehicles and other items. As a result, a District Court date has been continued for 30 days;

3327 Appleton Road: Summary citation papers have been filed in District Court and the property owner will be served;

1651 New London Road: The property owner is intending to start a paving business and was notified that he must fill out the proper paperwork for a change of use.

The board honored former supervisor Norman Hughes, who passed away in April. Hughes, who had served seven years as a supervisor (2005 through 2011), was honored with a proclamation. The board decided to plant a daylily garden at Crossan Park, with a plaque in memory of Hughes. Mrs. Hughes will be contacted to give some of Norman’s daylilies to plant at the park.

Township resident Bob Weidenmuller asked the township to share information about the opioid epidemic. The information has been posted on the township website. In Chester County, a total of 153 people died of a drug overdose in 2017, compared with 106 in 2016, and 81 in 2015. Forty-seven percent of those who died in 2017 were under 35, and 53 percent were 35 or older. Six percent were over 65. These numbers do not reflect those who overdosed and survived.

The condition of the Hess Mill Road Bridge was also discussed. The timber bridge was first evaluated by PennDOT in 2009, and although there were deficiencies noted, they have not deteriorated further over the last six years. Repairs and maintenance have been performed. The township will apply for a grant from the Chester County Conservation District to help with funding for the eventual replacement of the bridge.

State Rep. John Lawrence has provided the paperwork to add the bridge to the Pennsylvania “bridge bill,” which would allow the township to apply for state grant monies.

During public comment at the end of the meeting, resident Paul Overton commented that volunteers could do a lot of the work in Crossan Park. He said there are six trees down on the Banffshire Trails that need to be cut. He suggested the Franklin Sportsman's Association take on the project.

He also discussed the new trees on Goodwin that are protected by plastic tubes, and explained that the tubes should not be removed until they split. Overton also said that the vines wrapped around some mature trees on Goodwin will soon kill them if they aren’t taken down. He also mentioned that on the Pennock Bridge side of the Goodwin property, someone has disposed of a large amount of trash, including air conditioners, that needs to be cleaned up.

Updated township information is available at

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email

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