Su­per­vi­sors ap­prove sale of Sat­terth­waite House

The Advance of Bucks County - - FRONT PAGE -

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)

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