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CHARLESTOWN TWP., PA-The township pays $3.1 million for development rights at Avon Lea Farm close to the intersection of Charlestown and Pickering roads near Phoenixville from the owners, the Stonorov family. Members of the family will retain approximately 75 acres of the 270-acre property.

With the purchase, “we are assured that no more than five new principal residences will be built on the property,” Kevin Kuhn, chairman of the township’s board of supervisors, tells GlobeSt.com. “If the family were to have sold the farm to a residential developer there would have been a minimum of 92 new homes constructed.” Under the agreement, “we don’t own anything. There are two easement holders–the township and North American Land Trust,” which is based in Chadds Ford, PA “and the easements are held in perpetuity. If someone tried to develop and build on the land, the trust would block it, regardless of who eventually might head the township.”

Edgar Scott, owner of Chadds Ford-based Core Realty Capital, which has worked with other area owners of historic properties, represented the Stonorov family in the sale. “This approach has enabled them to offer for sale a few large parcels of the farm, obtain market value for the land and preserve open space.” He tells GlobeSt.com that three parcels of 40, 55 and 60 acres, respectively, have been sold to individuals for between $1.5 million and $2.2 million each. One 40-acre parcel remains to be sold. “Two residences can be built on one of the parcels,” he adds.

The late Oskar Stonorov was a sculptor and architect of the international style. Among his Philadelphia-area projects are Hopkinson House, a 536-unit residential condominium on Washington Square Park and the Embassy Suites Hotel on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which includes one of his sculptures.

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