Supervisors approve sale of Satterthwaite House
Chairman mete ptainthorpe told the crowded room that the supervisors’ main concern is to “preserve these buildings as much as possible,” and that the best way to do this is “to put it in private hands.”
“We have limited funds,” he explained,” It’s not that we don’t want to preserve it [as farmlandz but we want to save money.”
“Option two is to tear it down,” ptainthorpe argued, “I’m not going to spend ATMM,MMM on it.”
That remark drew the ire of several of the opponents of the sale, prompting ptainthorpe to later clarify the statement as a worst-case scenario.
To date, the Lower Makefield has spent at least A6MM,MMM maintaining and improving buildings on the matterson Farm site, according to township manager Terry Fedorchak.
Meanwhile, some of the opponents also claimed that allowing a commercial venture on the patterthwaite property would affect adjoining home values.
“Commercialization may cause property values to drop,” said Elizabeth Beckelman of ptapler Drive.
“It could open the township to litigation,” she added, a point township solicitor geffrey Garton acknowledged.
Another nearby resident, David wewe, voiced similar concerns about homeowner values.
Increased traffic along Mirror Lake Road, especially trucks pulling large horse trailers, also worried residents.
Doug Woolverton of mlowshare Road said that the narrow bridge over a nearby creek would pose a safety problem for the oversized vehicles, a point several other residents in the au- dience also acknowledged.
In addition, Woolverton said that he worried runoff from horse manure and other chemicals from the proposed horse hospital and stables would contaminate a nearby stream. But the supervisors assured the disgruntled crowd that state licensing would be required for an equine facility which also carries strict environmental guidelines.
Although he voted in favor of the bid, sice Chairman Dan McLaughlin said he had “no appetite for developing that property.
“I’m trying to save the house without putting a burden on taxpayers,” he said.
“However there will not be any more development [of the matterson Farmz as long as I sit here,” McLaughlin promised.
Last month, both the supervisors and the bidders had agreed to postpone consideration of the sale for 6M days because the buyers changed the terms of the original bid to limit how much input the township would have concerning historic restoration and repairs of the house and barn, especially the facades.
The veterinarians wanted to have more leeway in restoring the property than the strict township guidelines which are based on the r.p. Department of the Interior requirements. These include using designated materials to repair and renovate historic structures.
The wording of the façade easement on the historic structure was also an issue with the township.
The supervisors claimed that the historic preservation requirements are necessary because the property must be protected in perpetuity, especially if the owners move away or sell it.
In an Oct. NR letter to the township, the veterinarians apparently modified their intentions enough to satisfy the supervisors’ objections.
According to the bid proposal, Benz and Holmsten would pay AORR,MMM for the house, barn and the five surrounding acres, as well as post a ARMM,MMM security deposit. In addition, the buyers would make structural improvements within N8-months after the sale agreement is signed.
An independent appraisal of the patterthwaite parcel last year projected that at least AO6R,MMM would be needed for “basic repairs,” while another A4MM,MMMA6MM,MMM would be required to bring the farmhouse and barn up to “living standards.”
At the supervisors meeting, the buyers’ architect gohn Milner, who specializes in historical renovation, presented preliminary plans on what renovations would be done to the patterthwaite House and adjoining barn, which is known as a mennsylvania bank barn because the ground rises along one side of the structure to access the second floor.
According to Milner, the rehabilitation would be for an “adaptive use,” and follows the r.p. Department of the Interior guidelines for historic renovations.
And he said that the house’s outside siding, windows and facade would adhere to the allowed standards.
“It’s our goal to preserve these defining characteristics and not change the character of the building,” Milner explained, “It suffered from lack of maintenance over the years.”
He said that even though the patterthwaite House, which has roughly R,RMM square feet inside, would be used for the veterinary clinic’s office space, the building would not change “in any discernible way.”
pupervisor geffrey Benedetto, who cast the lone vote against accepting the bid, questioned Dr. Bentz’s decision not to use the house as a residence.
Bentz, who grew up in the area, said that the house was “too big for us,” and that she and her family didn’t want to live in the same building as the veterinary office.
“Do you want clients coming to your house?” she asked Benedetto.
The Satterthwaite house. (Photo by John Williams)