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Rural Wrightstown preserves 67-acre property


Wrightstown officials have protected another 67 acres in the township from large-scale development.

On March 2, the Board of Supervisors approved a deal that sees the township purchase a conservation easement on a bucolic 67.11-acre property at Worthington Mill Road and Mud Road (1001 Worthington Road).

“The preserved property possesses agricultural, natural and scenic resources worthy of protection, such as wooded areas, farmland and scenic landscapes,” said Supervisor Jane Magne.

Wrightstown is paying $806,000 for the conservation easement. The full cost of the conservation easement could have been more given the property’s worth and development potential, but landowners Robert and Janice Schimek donated the remaining value, Magne said.

“Because of its size and the number of natural and scenic resources, this was a major property identified in our Township Open Space Plan,”said Magne. “We are really delighted that at long last we have a conservation easement on this property.”

“It’s a key parcel to preserve,” added Supervisor Chester Pogonowski.

In Pennsylvania, a voluntary conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation/natural values – the upshot of which is that significant development is typically prohibited under terms of the deals.

Such easements allow property owners to continue to own and use their land, as well as to sell it or pass it on to heirs. Under the easement agreement with Wrightstown, the Schimeks maintain ownership of the property.

Officials have said that nearly 15 percent of the land in Wrightstown has been protected from further development. That includes more than 850 acres that Wrightstown either owns or holds conservation easements upon. Meanwhile, the Heritage Conservancy, a Doylestown-based nonprofit that specializes in open space preservation, holds easements on another 137 acres in Wrightstown, Magne has told the Herald.

“Wrightstown and Buckingham townships were the first townships in Bucks County to hold open space referendums in November 1995,” Magne said. “We have since held two additional referendums. All were overwhelmingly supported by Wrightstown residents. The desire to maintain a rural, small town environment and to preserve our natural and scenic resources has led Wrightstown to make open space preservation a priority.”