LOWER WINDSOR TOWNSHIP MEETING
SEPTEMBER 12, 2002
ATTENDEES: Robert Bair, William Buser and Kenneth Eshelman – Lower Windsor Township (LWT) Supervisors, Don Keener – LWT Manager, John Klinedinst – LWT Engineer, Dave Keiter – LWT Solicitor, Mark Platts – Platts Simon Consulting, Representative Stan Saylor and Jo Anna Shovlin.
Opening Remarks: William Buser opened the meeting since Chairman Robert Bair would be arriving shortly and asked Rep. Saylor to begin the meeting with a presentation on the Lauxmount Farm Project, since LWT Board members and Representative Saylor were on a time schedule Representative Saylor stated Mr. Buser and Mr. Eshelman were given a background on the project by John Klinedinst and Don Keener prior to this meeting. He proceeded to give a detailed outline of what would be expected from LWT to make this project move forward to become a reality or drop the project all together.
1. Lauxmount Farm, which is located in LWT, is a Confirmed Bankruptcy Plan, Chapter 11 – ($8 million dollars in debt). This farm is a great asset to LWT and York County. It would be a shame to lose it to development (i.e. golf course or housing). There might be a possibility of purchasing and making the farm a State Park. Many groups could utilize it for recreation, classrooms for Agriculture Conservation, and a Conference Center for Agriculture Events. The farm also has access to the Susquehanna River.
2. A meeting was recently held on August 29, 2002 with the following: Congressman Todd Platts, York County Heritage Trust, Bureau of State Parks, York County Planning Commission and the York County Treasurer. The purpose of this meeting was to get feedback as to the validly of the project. The general consensus was one of “excitement, approval and how do we make this happen”?
3. On Thursday, September 19, 2002, two meetings have been tentatively scheduled. The first one is at 11:30 a.m. with Senator Armstrong, Senator Waugh, John Plonski Deputy Executive Secretary for Parks and Forestry, (he was designated to attend on behalf of Secretary Oliver), and Felicia Dell – Director York County Planning Commission to seek their support and guidance on this project. Both of these meetings are to be held at LWT for an on site-inspection (if needed) and to secure their support and guidance in pursuing this project with funding.
At this time Representative Saylor opened the meeting to question from Mr. Buser and Mr. Eshelman. Mr. Eshelman asked if there were any other interests in this farm. Mr. Klinedinst stated that there are two developers who are expressing interest. LWT could hold off any potential developers if at tonight’s regular Supervisors meeting they authorize preparation of an Official Map that follows in line with their Comprehensive Plan. By doing so, this would give LWT a year to purchase this farm. This would give LWT the time to explore any and all options. He is looking at the possibility of purchasing the farm directly from the creditors (if they are allowed by law) since the Trustee – Attorney Leon P. Haller (Harrisburg PA is in no hurry to sell the longer it is held up in Court the longer he is paid).
Mr. Eshelman stated one of his concerns during this year is someone would come in and give the money owed to all creditors, and this would end up being a waste of time and energy. Mr. Klinedinst stated with the Official Map in place, LWT could start condemnation process to executed on the property.
Representative Saylor noted the Bankruptcy Court Judge in the Middle District of Pennsylvania passed away and they are waiting for President Bush to nominate a new one. A Presidential appointment, with Senate approval, could take a year or longer. If we cannot deal with the creditors directly, he is going to try and get the case moved to the Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to hear the case.
He reiterated to all the fact Secretary Oliver was very interested and that is the first step in the right direction. Although the state does not have the money, the Secretary can help us to find avenues for revenue. Maybe we could partner with the Fish and Boat Commission, the Game Commission, Heritage Trust, National Conservation Fund and others that could lead to additional sources of funding.
Mr. Bair stressed the importance of getting Mr. Buser and Mr. Eshelman full support and also keeping this project low key. He would not want the Kohr family to hear about LWT”s proposal. The outcome could have a negative impact on LWT with one developer’s proposed plan to purchase this farm and build 1,500 homes. With this amount of homes there would be an increase in the school population. It could result in either and addition or building a new school building. Thus a school tax increase to residents of LWT.
Mr. Bair explained his reason for his sole participation in the fact finding meeting of August 29th :a) he wasn’t sure if the State would come in and support the project; b) he was concerned any leakage would jeopardize the project; c) the LWT Board could be criticized by the Kohr Family; d) legal ramifications; e) approval of the Official Map.
Representative Saylor stated he needed to leave shortly for another meeting, but before he left he wanted to know what the feelings of the board was. He needed 100% commitment from them. If the board approved of the project then we could move onto the next step. The meetings scheduled for Thursday, September 20, 2002 @ LWT. If the board did not agree, he would cancel the meetings. But he wanted to add that LWT would never have this opportunity to work on a beautiful project that would be an asset to York County again. In closing he stated if the project was approved a Steering Committee had to be selected tonight.
Mark Platts added they could develop a Waterway Trail with the water (Susquehanna River) access available from the farm.
At this time Mr. Buser asked Mr. Keener what were his thoughts on the project. Mr. Keener replied, “he felt it was a good project that warrants looking into. The Township did not have anything to lose at this time. Let’s see how far we can go”.
Mr. Bair stated maybe one of the board members could be appointed and all three members could rotate attendance at the meetings
Mr. Buser nominated John Klinedinst – LWT Engineer, Dave Keiter – LWT Solicitor, Mark Platts – Platts Simon Consulting and Don Keener – LWT Manager would be Chairman. He then asked Mr. Keener if he would accept the position and attend meetings due to health problems he was experiencing. Mr. Keener relied his problems were minor and he would be happy to accept. Mr. Buser then asked if Representative Saylor would stay on as a guiding factor on this project. Representative Saylor stated his office would continue to work with the Steering Committee in regard to this project. He could not guarantee funding be he would use every means that were available to him to try and make this project a success. Bill Buser stated minutes should be prepared and maintained form all meetings, at which time Ken Eshelman stated “very good minutes” in order that all LWT Supervisors would be kept up to date on events of the meetings. Representative Saylor stated Jo Anna Shovlin would be available and he also offered the use of his office for any meetings. Mr. Buser also stated that Don Keener would be the perfect representative since he cannot take any action or make decisions on behalf of LWT. He would be there to gather information and report back to the Supervisors for their direction.
Being no objections from the attendees, the Steering Committee was approved.
Notification of the September 19, 2002 meetings will be sent out to the appropriate offices.
Meeting closed at 6:47 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Jo Anna Shovlin Representative Saylor’s Office
PLEASE NOTE: The minutes are not formally approved and are for informational purposes only.