Turkey Farm Historic, 'Part of the Chester Brand,' Residents Say
Chester Borough council asked to preserve the 'historic worthiness' of the property.
Turkey Farm Acquisition, LLC presented its case for rezoning at Tuesday evening's borough council meeting.
During the public-comment portion of the meeting, two members of the historical society and another resident spoke up about their opinions regarding potential rezoning of the property.
"If you go and look at our master plan currently, we did a survey back in 2002, those are the things that we want in Chester," Leader of the Green Team and President of the Historical Society Ed Ng.
"No. 1 was a high quality of life. Every town wants that; what every other town can't say is that they want to maintain their historic downtown area, because most towns don't have a historic downtown area. That was No. 2 on our list. This is part of the Chester brand. The Chester brand is high quality of life...it's got this historic feel to it.
"Whatever we do in rethinking our vision, rethinking how we might change the master plan, rezoning should play to our strengths. We should take those strengths and see how we can use them to the fullest. With regards to the retail, I thought that we were saturated and that it's a zero-sum game. In fact, that's part of capitalism. But the zero-sum game could end up with three half-empty malls, that is not going to look very historic or very high-quality-of-life.
Shade Tree Commission and Historical Society member Marla Jackson also voiced her opinion regarding the town's historical aesthetics.
"Larisons, the building itself, was built about 1800, so it's lasted a long time. There's no reason it shouldn't last a lot longer; from the historical perspective, if that building falls down it's your fault because you have the power to compel the owners to maintain it," Jackson said.
"I think we've let too many things fall down in this town when we could've saved them. Speaking on behalf of the historical society, we do not want that building to fall down. I think we need to support our downtown too. I'm with Ed, it's a zero-sum game. If they spend it at one of the malls, they're not going to spend it downtown. We really spread it out pretty far already, so I'd just like you to keep that in mind too as you reconsider the zoning," she said.
Republican nominee for the council position Liz Gugliemini agreed.
"As somebody who has worked with the historical society on a number of projects for the school I do echo what Ed and Marla have to say. There are other areas for using that property that are preserved as well...it has its historic worthiness. Consider it," she said.
The next step in the rezoning process, Mayor Robert Davis said, is the council will hold another discussion at its next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 2.