Demolition plans for a vacant 196-year-old Berks County house are not budging, despite claims of grave sites being on the property.
A rustic farmhouse at Long Lane and Route 222 in Maxatawny Twp., north of Kutztown, could soon be the site of a Wawa.
Demolition plans for the vacant farmhouse have been quite the talk around the area since it was brought to the community's attention that the property might contain burial plots, said township solicitor Jill Nagy.
"A person came in with some knowledge about the property and provided the township with an excerpt indicating that there might be some historical grave site on the property," said Nagy.
The claim was made by Charles Zimmerman of Gettysburg, who said his family initially built and owned the house in the 1800s, and his grandfather sold the property in 1934.
Zimmerman also said his family's will records, found at the Berks County Association of Graveyard Preservation, indicate there could be members of his family, dating back from the late 1700s, buried on the northwest section of the property.
The problem, Nagy said, is there are no plot markers or gravestones on the property to justify the claim.
"The building will still be proceeding for demolition as long as they don't disturb the area where there may or may not be any cemeterial plots. The police would be in charge making sure that's not disturbed," said Nagy.
"As long as they continue to take the building down and not dig into the ground, we're going to let them continue," said Chief Roger Heins, of the Berks Lehigh Regional Police Dept.
The property's developer had no comment, but township officials said the developer has the proper permits to demolish the home.
For now, the work continues. If workers do stumble upon a burial site, it would be a misdemeanor two under the Graves Preservation Act, said Heins.