- Written by Administrator
- Published: 27 January 2008
Selectmen Chairman Betsy Sullivan and Selectman Andre Martecchini decided to wait until Selectman John Tuffy could be present before taking action on a proposal to buy .94 acres of land on Keene St. for its assessed value of $6,900.
Unanimously approved by the Conservation Commission and the Community Preservation Committee, the land purchase would buy the town almost an acre of former farm land and preserve 200 ft of frontage on Keene St.
According to Conservation Administrator Joe Grady, the property is 75 percent wetlands and 25 percent upland and is not buildable. The parcel abuts and links to existing conservation land and town holdings, he said. It is part of the town’s Western greenbelt and is at the headwaters of Keene’s brook. It contains old stone walls at the rear of the property.
Buying this land will provide permanent green space along Keene St., said Grady.
The Conservation Fund would be used to buy the land, owned by Priscilla Harris. At the 2003 annual town meeting, voters approved using $100,000 from the Community Preservation Act for the Conservation Fund, which allows the Conservation Commission to buy small parcels.
Martecchini questioned why the town should buy the acre, since it was unbuildable and buying it would not only cost money, but take if off the town’s tax rolls.
“I question the rationale for doing it,” said Martecchini. “If it’s not buildable, is this the best use of $6,900?”
“Its value is really in its road frontage,” said Grady. “That’s what it’s going to preserve – the character of Duxbury.”
Grady said the purchase prices falls within the range that the Conservation Commission pays for land in Duxbury – between $3,000 for wet land and $11,000 for better land.
Sullivan favored the purchase: “I think it’s a reasonable price and it’s a very good use of the Conservation fund,” she said. “I see it as a protection issue.”
Sullivan said the land may be unbuildable now, but in the future, laws could change, or it could be linked to a buildable parcel. However, she agreed to reopen the discussion when Tuffy could be present.
In other business, selectmen:
*Signed a quit claim deed for a gift of land on Autumn Ave. from Robert and Gerald White to the town. Grady said this was almost three acres of wet back land on which the town had the right of first refusal. In a deal with the owners, the town got the land and a 20 ft wide access easement to Autumn Ave. and the developers were able to add another house lot.
*Opened and closed the warrant for the Special Town Meeting, which will take place within the annual Town Meeting on Saturday, March 13. The special town meeting warrant contains six articles including taking the final action to offset the health trust deficit of $1.325 million; funding new water mains for Tremont St. selling the Fire Department’s Humvee, and funding DPW and clerical union contracts. The town holds a special town meeting within the annual town meeting because any financial action approved at the special can be undertaken right away. Financial transactions in the annual town meeting must wait until the beginning of the town’s fiscal year on July 1.