Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees Assists Brandywine Conservancy In Preserving 577 Acres In Chester County As A Public Nature Preserve

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees is pleased to have represented and assisted Brandywine Conservancy in acquiring and preserving over 577 acres of land in Lower Oxford and West Nottingham Townships, Chester County.  Read more here.

William Burke represented Brandywine which, with invaluable support from the Oxford Area Foundation and grant funding from the Chester County Preservation Partnership Program and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, closed on the acquisition of approximately 577 acres of the Glenroy Farm from the Thouron family, along with an easement over other property bordering the westerly side of the Octorara Creek, for over $6.6 Million. 

The land had been in the Thouron family for four generations and includes open meadows, numerous streams and ponds, walking trails and floodplains and wetlands.

Upon acquisition, the land was conveyed to Oxford Area Foundation, whose generosity made a timely closing possible, and which had agreed to undertake the responsibility for opening trails and for ongoing management and stewardship of the property as a publicly accessible preserve to be known as Glenroy Preserve. 

According to the Daily Local News, “The acquisition means that 30 percent of land in Chester County is now preserved, larger than the sizes of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh combined.”

Said Ellen Ferretti, the director of the Conservancy: “The acreage and diversity of resources made this property a high priority of permanent protection in southeastern Pennsylvania. The transition of the property…to a public preserve will create a unique, contiguous area of public open space that will provide exceptional recreational and educational opportunities the community and will have lasting effects on the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. We simply could not have done this critical conservation project without the funding support of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Chester County” The mission of the Conservancy is to protect water, "conserve land and engage communities”.

According to William Burke, who heads the firm’s real estate practice, the transaction was neither quick nor easy to close. 

Although the interests of all parties were aligned, there were numerous issues that needed to be addressed to satisfy and balance the concerns of the principal parties involved as well as the conditions and requirements of grant funding sources. 

"The project involved issues such as cross-easements for utilities, the easement for the banks of the Octorara Creek, and provisions to help protect the seller’s residual holdings, as well as addressing other issues to satisfy the grant funding agencies.”

Said Mr. Burke, "I cannot tell you how much satisfaction it gives us to have been a part of this extraordinary transaction that will benefit our community in perpetuity. It was a privilege to work with Brandywine, whose commitment was extraordinary. The expertise and tireless efforts of Brandywine’s conservancy staff was awesome. We commend the Conservancy, OAF and the Thouron family for their vision and dedication to preserving this extraordinarily valuable property, and we thank Chester County and DCNR for providing funding for this worthwhile conservation initiative.” 

Associate Daniel LePera also provided assistance in this transaction.

For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Brandywine Conservancy website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Conservancy (middle of the webpage.)  Visit the Conservancy’s Blog, Like the Conservancy on Facebook and Follow them on Instagram.

The Conservancy currently holds over 485 conservation and agricultural easements and has facilitated the permanent preservation of more than 66,000 acres of land.

Related Article:

-- Thouron Family Partners With Brandywine Conservancy, Oxford Area Foundation To Protect 577 Acres along Octoraro Creek In Chester County

[Posted: March 24, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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