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Developer Puts Forward Three New Proposals for 246-Acre Rock Hill Farm in Willistown

An entity affiliated with developer J. Brian O’Neill has put forth three new proposals for the potential development of Rock Hill Farm, a 246-acre property in Willistown. One proposal involves a third party paying the developer $12.5 million in exchange for placing a portion of the property into a conservation easement that would limit its future development.

The plans put forth by Rock Hill Farm Acquisitions LLC range in density of development and each were detailed in a July 7 letter to the township from Edmund J. Campbell Jr., an attorney representing Rock Hill Farm Acquisitions LLC, the O'Neill-linked entity that owns the property.

The first proposal is referred to as being “by-right” under current zoning. It would involve: developing five residential lots along White Horse Road; developing 17 residential lots in a cul-de-sac on a 100-acre tract that would be subdivided along the eastern side of South Valley Road; and reserving the right to apply in the future other land development proposals on 122 acres along the western part of South Valley Road. That 122-acre segment contains the existing farm house and other structures.

The second proposal would reduce the density and amount of development along the White Horse Road parcel. Under that scheme, the developer would develop a total of 22 lots — one on White Horse and 21 along the eastern portion of South Valley Road.

The last proposal is referred to as a “conservation plan.” Under that scenario, the developer is proposing a third party or a conservation trust buy a conservation easement for $12.5 million. The area that would be covered under that conservation easement, which would limit what could be developed on that portion, is along White Horse Road and South Valley Road.

“As you can see from the conservation plan, it maximizes the area preserved for open space,” Campbell said in the letter.

The O’Neill affiliate paid $25.48 million at the end of December for Rock Hill Farm and its 246 acres in the Chester County community known for its rolling hills and open space. The transaction involved the acquisition of 2320 S. Valley Road and 185 Grubb Road. In addition to the land, the property has a 14,000-square-foot house and several other structures on the property.

An earlier sketch plan filed in the spring of 2021 proposed subdividing the land into 23 parcels. Under current zoning, each lot would need to be a minimum of four acres.

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