Supervisors investigating whether conservation easements can be placed on township properties to preserve them as open space
By Kelli Siehl, Correspondent, UnionvilleTimes.com
POCOPSON — All who have visited Pocopson Park know of its value to the community. Residents and visitors walk the trails, play tennis and baseball and hold gatherings at the pavilion. Now imagine 10, 20 or more than 50 houses sitting on this same land. That’s right…unimaginable.
Unfortunately, according to township Board of Supervisors Chair, Steve Conary, this could be the fate of Pocopson Park and 13 other township-owned properties.
At Monday night’s township Board of Supervisors meeting, Conary said “there is a lot of township owned property open for sale” if someone decides to do so. He expressed the board’s desire to investigate whether the Brandywine Conservancy could place a conservation easement on some of the properties.
Conary said the issue first came about by looking at all opportunities for open space. The township has until the end of the year to make any commitments under the ordinance that passed when voters approved the referendum in 2006. He disclosed that the township is currently working on several properties they hope will pass but are also “looking to see what else is out there.” According to Conary, two criteria are needed: one, there must be a landowner and two; the landowner must be willing to put the property under conservation easement. “We (the township) are a landowner and are willing to put our property under a conservation easement,” Conary added.
Supervisor Georgia Brutscher concurred that having a conservation easement in place on some township owned properties would act as an” insurance policy for down the line.” She stated that although the current board is pro-open space and pro-recreation, future board members may not have the same feeling about the township.
Township officials have not looked at the individual property deeds in depth to see if there are any restrictions but Conary and Brutscher agreed that this board would like to maintain the township’s rural feel by protecting its open space.