Protecting a Payday member’s farm from ‘developers’

By Dean Kendall, Payday men’s network

Payday men’s network along with Global Women’s Strike was instrumental in Payday member Dean Kendall winning protection for his late mother’s farm – the fields and woodland which nurtured him as a child and where he still resides as its caregiver. The farm is near Leesport, Berks county, Pennsylvania, USA.

Red-tailed Hawk, May Apple, Great Horned Owl, Red-backed Salamander – all living on the farm

Read the leaflet issued at the opening round of a 7-yr battle, primarily against Dean’s co-heirs (“the creditors” mentioned in the leaflet), who initially agreed to protect the farm with a conservation easement, but were soon turned around by the big money they thought its sale could bring.  This was in 2006 at the peak of the housing bubble, when several proposed big development projects threatened adjacent land.

After collapse of the housing bubble in 2008 and various failed attempts over the next 5 years at potential other ways to protect the farm – which had to include selling it because Dean had no money otherwise to pay off the co-heirs, who were demanding cash – the co-heirs finally recognized that the farm would not sell for more than it would if protected by a conservation easement.  In 2013 they agreed to sell to a local young couple who were happy to have the land thus protected – and happy for Dean to continue living there with them in exchange for his share of the inheritance taken off the price.    

The farm’s woods and fields continue to be home to all the creatures the leaflet speaks of and more, “in perpetuity” – unless a pipeline company or their ilk use Eminent Domain to override the easement.  But in that case the battle will be rejoined, only bigger, more broad-based and not hamstrung by the “best and highest use” (ie, “most money”) legal doctrine that the co-heirs’ veto power was based on.