So did you hear the one about the Amish farmer who got $3.4 million dollars for selling his farm to Wal-Mart? Yeah it's happening right in Drumore. You'll never believe what I heard. The supervisors and planning guys in Drumore are in cahoots with the developer of Drumore Crossings. Hey good news! The new Wal-Mart is going to be built by the summer of 2007! All they're waiting for is a decision from these hearings that have been going on the last three years.

Sound familiar? These are just a few of the many "facts" floating around the Solanco area about Drumore Township, the center of Solanco's controversial universe. The goings on in this pretty little piece of Southern Lancaster County has provided enough dirty laundry to fill up a thousand baskets if you were to believe all of the gossip.

What then is the truth about this well publicized situation that never seems to end? It's extremely complicated. However, what I hope to do with this column is clear up a few of the more obvious misconceptions so that at the end you will have a better idea of what is really going on in Drumore with the development of the Drumore Crossings Shopping Center.

To begin with, the Drumore Crossings Shopping Center has no committed tenants. In other words, no one knows for sure whether a Wal-Mart is the "big box store" going into this 370,000 square-foot proposed shopping center. The developer, Wolfson-Verrichia of Plymouth Meeting, has built several other shopping centers which were anchored by Wal-Marts however Wal-Mart's involvement is, as of right now, just a supposition and not an actual fact.

That leads us to another misconception-a finding from the over two years of Conditional- Use Hearings in favor of Wolfson-Verrichia would mean they can break ground and start building. No, it simply means Wolfson can continue to the next stages of the application process. Depending on appeals, county approvals, state coordination and lots of other variables it could be somewhere in the neighborhood of three to five years before ground is broken. In some cases it has taken up to 10 years for a developer to get final approvals to build in a chosen spot.

One of the most misunderstood rumors involves the scenario of what was actually paid to John and Annie Fisher for the farm at 1034 Lancaster Pike at the Buck. The first error is that the farm was purchased by Wal-Mart. It is actually owned by Drumore Crossings, LLC a corporation owned by developer, Wolfson-Verrichia.

The second error is that the Fishers were given $3.4 million dollars for their 89.6 acre property when the purchase became final in May of 2003. County records show that the Fishers received the fair market value of the farm which was just under $500,000. There is an option held by Wolfson-Verrichia that would give the Fishers the balance of the money totaling to the $3.4 million figure. This balance is conditional upon approvals being received to build the shopping center within a set time.

As of today, there are multiple appeals and applications pending for Drumore Crossings. It is expected that Attorney Matt Crème who was the Hearing Examiner for the Conditional- Use Hearings, will announce a ruling sometime in early spring 2006 with regard to those hearings.

Shelley Castetter lives in Bart Township. Her e-mail address is southernexposure1@yahoo.com.

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