WEST ROCKHILL >> As the new year begins, West Rockhill has another 137 acres of permanently preserved land.
Settlement to purchase the land on Catch Basin Road from Sellersville Borough took place Dec. 29, Mary Eberle, West Rockhill’s solicitor, said.
The land, which is the headwaters for Three Mile Run Creek and is in West Rockhill, was formerly part of Sellersville’s public water system. It includes a water filtration plant and reservoir. Sellersville sold its water system to North Penn Water Authority in 2011 but kept the Catch Basin Road property.
Plans for West Rockhill to buy the tract from Sellersville for $850,000 were made public in April of 2017.
“During the course of the due diligence and the surveys and the environmental studies, we found that Sellersville’s owned it for so long that many of the deeds are antiques,” Eberle said at the Dec. 20 West Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors meeting.
“There didn’t seem to be any deed at all to account for 3.2 acres of the parcel,” she said.
The agreement of sale required title insurance in order for the purchase to be finalized, but, without a deed for the 3.2 acres, there can’t be any title insurance for that portion of the tract, she said.
Sellersville, however, agreed to cut in half the price of the 3.2-acre section, dropping the purchase price for the entire property to $840,000, she said.
Eberle said she plans to file an action to quiet title that will assure West Rockhill’s ownership of the entire property. The $10,000 deduction in the purchase price can be used to cover the quiet title costs, she said.
The board has not yet made any final decisions on the long-term plans for the property but thought it was important to preserve the land, Township Manager Greg Lippincott said in a January 2018 telephone interview.
With the addition of the tract, West Rockhill has preserved 16.5 percent of the land in the township, he said. The township’s goal is to preserve 30 percent of its 10,496 total acres, he said.
At the township’s Jan. 2 reorganization meeting, Jim Miller was chosen as chairman and Don Duvall as vice chairman, Lippincott said. The other board member is Jay Keyser, who was chairman in 2017. In recent years, West Rockhill has had a practice of rotating the board chairmanship.
Mary Eberle, of the Grim, Biehn & Thatcher law firm, is West Rockhill’s solicitor. Steve Baluh, of C. Robert Wynn Associates, is township engineer.
The West Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors meets 7 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month at the township building on Ridge Road. The next board meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 17.