History of the Buck & Doe Trust

​"Early in the planning for the conservation and subdivision of the Buck and Doe property, the Brandywine Conservancy envisioned creating a homeowners association to ensure owner satisfaction and address any community issues that arose. The Conservancy proposed that such an organization might oversee architectural design and other aesthetic issues, manage common lands (including the contemplated sixteen-mile community trail network), organize security measures, and assist the Conservancy in enforcing the easement restrictions. It was envisioned that the organization—initially called Buck and Doe Land, Inc.—would assist in reviewing construction, subdivision, and alternate house site proposals from Buck and Doe landowners, as well as encourage neighboring landowners to place easements on their properties.

At a July 23, 1984, meeting, the partners seemed equally divided on the creation of the trust but were unanimous in their opposition to policing architectural design. They did not relish regulating personal tastes, and some noted that while the current partners shared similar lifestyles and interests (notably their support for fox hunting), these preferences might change as land changed hands, leading to conflicts. In response to some partners suggesting that the trust have authority to enforce the easement, attorney Chris Branda emphasized that granting such authority to the trust could jeopardize the easement's tax deductibility.

As discussions about the role of the trust continued into 1985, a general consensus began to form, and the attorneys were instructed to prepare the By-Laws, Articles of Incorporation, and Declaration of Covenants. Buck and Doe Trust was legally incorporated and continues today, but without legal authority to govern house site locations and design or to manage trails. It is primarily a beneficial association of landowners with a common interest in conserving the local countryside. The trust helped raise endowment funds for the Laurels and was involved in the development of the conservation easement that now protects the preserve. In addition to encouraging local landowners to conserve their properties, the trust has since taken an active role in local land use issues, at one time leading community opposition to a proposed new Walmart store, winning significant concessions from the developer. The trust, which has become much more than a social organization, continues to meet regularly, remains active in the community, and publishes a short newsletter about local issues."

Reprinted from Catalyst for Conservation: The Brandywine Conservancy’s Success in Saving King Ranch Lands in Pennsylvania, by David Shields and Bill Benson, 2011, Brandywine Conservancy.