Franklin board encourages barn restoration | Local News


Franklin Township supervisors are encouraging restoration of a historic barn near the western edge of Adams County.

The supervisors last week heard an update from Kurt Fleshman, who purchased the property known locally as the “Totem Pole Barn” last year.

The barn, believed to have been built between 1790 and 1810, is at risk of collapse on one side due to an eroding stone foundation.

Fleshman described his plans to shore up the foundation, repair the roof, and repaint the structure located along US Route 30 across from Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium.

He has engaged the Wolfe House & Building Movers of Bernville, Pa., to jack up the barn so the foundation can be rebuilt.

Fleshman said he hopes to repaint the Mail Pouch and Totem Pole signs that once advertised the chewing tobacco and local live theater for decades.

The supervisors assured Fleshman that once the structural issues are addressed, it is likely he will regain the occupancy certificate that was rescinded.

Fleshman, owner of Whistlepig Alley Antiques in Almond, North Carolina, said he plans to use the barn in his business for antique storage. But, he emphasized, his interest in the property is also to “preserve it until others determine its future use.”

Fleshman is working with Historic Gettysburg-Adams County’s barn preservation program, which has promised a $2,500 grant to assist with the costs of restoration.

“I really appreciate all their help,” he said.

“The biggest concern of the supervisors is the barn’s unsafe condition, which you’re about to address,” Supervisor Chair Chris Santay said.

Assuring Fleshman the township will be patient in awaiting cosmetic improvements, Santay said the supervisors will be happy “if you shore it up so it doesn’t blow over in the next storm.”

Solicitor Bernard Yannetti was directed to draft an ordinance that would enable the township to recover costs incurred in enforcing the zoning code.

While property owners who violate the code may be fined and are liable for legal expenses, currently the township bears the costs for the time of its zoning officer and others involved in enforcement.

A small number of property owners tend to be “repeat offenders” and the township “spends thousands of dollars to enforce,” said Yannetti.

As required, the draft of the ordinance will be publicized, and a public hearing will be scheduled.

• The supervisors dealt with several other residential property matters and offered advice to an owner who anticipates conflict with a neighbor over drainage issues. Supervisor Matthew Williams offered to accompany the property owner in discussing the matter with his neighbor.

• Action on a request to adopt a resolution supporting Adams County’s participation in AMERICA250PA, the statewide celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, was deferred.

• Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Todd Witalec visited the supervisors’ meeting, saying he sees better resident participation in Franklin than many other townships. Witalec commended the board for welcoming people to its meetings.

The supervisors’ next regular meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 2 at 7 p.m.

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