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Preserving our Farmland

East Nottingham Township residents are to be commended for the active part each resident plays in preserving our farmland. The Open Space program in East Nottingham Township has been in effect for approximately five years now after the township residents approved a .5 mil addition to their taxes. At this point, sixteen farms have been preserved to slow down the residential development of this area. This means 902 acres will now remain as farms in a time when southwestern Chester County is quickly becoming a bedroom community for the surrounding cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Wilmington, and Newark. These 902 acres will now continue to add to the rural character of this area forever, thanks to our resident’s participation in the Open Space program.

Many people should feel proud of these changes; but some people are still wondering what does farm preservation mean to them and their interests. There are many reasons why this is a good thing for all the people in Southern Chester County and here are a few of the positive effects of East Nottingham Township Open Space Program.

In the first place, each housing unit in each development, with an average 2.2 children (multiplied by say thirty or forty houses in a normal subdivision) puts enormous pressure on schools: more classrooms, teachers, aides, cafeteria workers, more bus drivers, etc., etc., must be provided. This is paid for by school taxes; therefore, more developments equal higher school taxes for all. Also more developments require water and sewer expansions to meet the enlarging base.

Second, roads and infrastructural projects will benefit from more farms “i.e. open space” and less developments. Again, imagine one or two commuters from each house in each development, heading out to work or schools or shopping and returning in the evening. Traffic slowdowns, wear and tear on roads, and the need for more stop signs and red lights help turn a rural area into a more urbanized environment.

Third, East Nottingham Township has many historic sites. Some of these, such as the Pugh property, will now retain the character of the past. This area is also blessed with some of the most beautiful rural land in Pennsylvania. The soil is perfect for crops and pastures. The creeks, stocked with trout and lined with green spaces, lead directly into the Chesapeake Bay. These preserved acres will continue to add to the good life in this area for all time.

These reasons are based on real facts and figures, but there is also an undefinable quality of life issue here. The Amish population has played a large part in this Open Space Project. Their highly productive farms are a daily visual reminder of what has made this area so picturesque while their farm markets benefit families with good food at reasonable prices.

Southwestern Chester County has an abundance of beauty, unspoiled by the urban landscape found within commuting distance of this area. The plan to preserve this quiet, rural township benefits all of the people here. What does open space do for us? One need only drive around our township to see that our residents are preserving the farmlands that are so vital to this area.