Posted by: webmaster | August 17, 2011

Wed., August 24, Public Input into Sale of Three WC Boro Historic Properties

County News: Chesco Commissioners Set Date for Building Sale Meeting
By Pete Kennedy
August 14, 2011

A public hearing will be held Aug. 24 to allow public input into the sale of 19th-century buildings.

The Chester County Commissioners voted Thursday to hold a meeting Wednesday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m. for public input into the sale of three properties in West Chester Borough.

The three buildings up for sale are located in a courthouse complex located on the block bordered by Gay, Market, High and Church streets.

Ryan Costello and Terence Farrell voted in favor of the meeting date, while Kathi Cozzone opposed the motion. Cozzone said she preferred to hold the meeting after Labor Day, when more residents could attend.

“No matter when we schedule, it’s not going to be a perfect day,” Farrell said. “Some people will not be able to attend. We will welcome snail mail, email, whatever form people want to convey their opinions in.”

Two bidders are vying for the buildings—Stan Zukin of Zukin Realty, which is headquartered in West Chester Borough, and Exton-based developer Eli Kahn. Both have placed bids of more than $4 million.

The commissioners said the decision is about more than price, and that the Aug. 24 public hearing will be an opportunity for members of the public to discuss other aspects of the sale. It will not be an opportunity for the two developers to present pictures of their intentions for the properties, the commissioners said, because those decisions will fall under the authority of West Chester Borough after the sale.

“We could be talking about two plans, neither of which comes to any fruition. I think it’d be disingenuous to have folks give opinions on plans,” Costello said.

“We have a dual responsibility to the taxpayers of the county and the citizens of the Borough of West Chester,” Cozzone said.

West Chester resident and former borough councilman Bill Scott urged the commissioners to put an historic easement on the 19th-century buildings. Scott admitted he favored a sale to Zukin, but said he was not at the meeting at Zukin’s behalf. Prior to the vote, Scott had also said he favored a September meeting date to maximize attendance.

“I’m eager to have this meeting, and I’m eager to have it be well-attended,” Scott said. “I’ve been involved in this for 10 years, so I’ll be there—if you have it 11 at night, whenever.”

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