People in one Lancaster County community are protesting the upcoming sale of more than 500 acres of woodlands.
The land is in East Earl Township, but it’s owned by the New Holland Borough Authority.
From Beverly Hillard’s property on Reservoir Road, you can get a clear view of a tract of land up for auction by New Holland borough.
It’s one of five tracts the borough is selling on Welsh Mountain in East Earl Township, totaling around 500 acres.
The woodlands attracted Hillard and her husband to their property some 22 years ago.
“It’s quiet. It’s extremely quiet up here and you know, the wildlife and the things around us,” Hillard said. “We wanted isolated. We didn’t want to live in a developed area.”
Hillard isn’t alone. Someone defaced signs advertising the auction and a group called “Save the Welsh Mountain” started up a Facebook page and petition in the hopes of delaying the sale until conservation groups can come up with enough money to buy the land.
New Holland Borough Manager Dick Fulcher said the borough has little choice but to sell. One of the tracts includes a nine-acre reservoir that once supplied water to the borough. New Holland moved to a well system three-and-a-half years ago, leaving the reservoir unused.
Fulcher said the money from the sale would help raise the $3.5 million needed to fund water and sewer system improvements.
“If you don’t deal with whatever assets you have to avoid rate increases, then you would jump your rates pretty significantly,” he said.
Much of the land is part of the Welsh Mountain Watershed Conservation District, which limits how much it can be developed.
Hillard hopes that the right buyer will come forward so that people and area wildlife alike can enjoy the land for years to come.
“I just wish that something could happen so it could be kept the way it is,” Hillard.
The auction is scheduled for Saturday, September 28th at noon at the old Treatment facility at 1156 Reservoir Road, New Holland, Pa 17557.