At the meeting of the Farmington Township Board of Supervisors on April 17th, we voted to approve the removal of deed restrictions imposed by the Warren County School District on the former Lander Elementary School property, of which the Township is a partial owner.
We are very much aware of the effects of Louis and Dianne Enos to redevelop the property. The Enos' have rehabilitated several run-down properties in the area. They are very responsible people and have an excellent track record. Because of this, we were encouraged that they purchased the Lander School, hoping it would soon be redeveloped for the betterment of our township.
However, the Enos' have had difficulties with various permits, regulations, and other issues and their plans have not progressed as they had hoped. As supervisors we have intervened to help as much as we can and will continue to do so.
We are concerned that the deed restrictions on the property impose more hurdles for the reuse of the property and are at a loss to understand why the restrictions are in place there, yet were not imposed on other schools the district sold. In particular, we strongly disagree with the prohibition against the property being used as a school. This would rule out many worthy uses including a preschool, Head Start center, vocational school, or a Christian school. We note that the Lottsville, Seneca, and McClintock schools are all used as Head Start centers and the Jefferson school is to be used for a seminary - educational uses. Also, at least two parties were interested in using the Pittsfield school as a Christian school, though it now is owned by the WCCBI and sits in ruins.
The property and building for the Lander School were acquired and paid for by the taxpayers of Farmington Township for education. The school district's current stance in opposition to the use of the property for education is at cross-purposes with what may be the best use for the residents of our township.
It appears that the school district has singled Farmington Township out unfairly - none of the schools mentioned above, nor the former Lacy, North Warren, Market Street, Home Street, Starbrick, and Irvinedale schools have deed restrictions of any kind. If you are counting, there are 11 schools with no deed restrictions.
We urge the Warren County School Board to remove the deed restrictions on the Lander School to allow the Enos' the best opportunity to redevelop the property to the common benefit of our Township and County.
Scott R. Wenzel
Farmington Township Supervisors