Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Land trust to buy development rights in EWindsor Hill section

By Kory Loucks
Journal Inquirer
Published: Saturday, June 7, 2008 1:39 AM EDT

SOUTH WINDSOR — The Town Council has approved a $100,000 grant to the South Windsor Land Trust to purchase a 2-acre parcel for development rights as part of a three-parcel land deal for open space conservation easements for properties within the East Windsor Hill Historic District.

Pat Botteron, chairwoman of the Open Space Task Force, told the council members that there were three parcels being considered for conservation easements.

Of the three adjoining parcels, 2 acres are owned by the Peck Family, 6.5 acres are owned by the Raymond Family, and 2 acres are owned by the J.E. Shepard Co., for a total of 10.5 acres to have conservation easements.

The parcels are located near the corner of Route 5 and Sullivan Avenue at the northwestern corner of town.

“This property is under development pressure, which is why this is so important,” Botteron said. “This is the gateway to South Windsor,” she said, adding that the land purchase will help to preserve the town’s rural nature.

Paul Oates, a member of the Historic District Commission, agreed, saying purchasing the land for open space “contributes to the feel and look of that area of town… the northern gateway of town,” for a reasonable cost.

Timothy Shepard, of 1909 Main St., told the council members that a couple of years ago a senior housing project was proposed for the 2-acre parcel, which was the impetus for the J.E. Shepard Co. to purchase the property and get it off the market.

The property was purchased for about $100,000, Shepard said.

Town Council member Kathryn Hale said she was in favor of the proposed purchase for economic and aesthetic reasons.

Town Council member Cary Prague said he was also in favor of the land trust purchase.

“I don’t want to see it become a Walgreen’s,” Prague said.

As part of the conservation easement, Shepard said, if the town purchased the land the 2-acre parcel would be conveyed to the Peck family, as long as the Peck family agreed to put the combined 4-acre parcel into a conservation easement.

The Raymond family also has to agree to the conservation easement.

The two properties would continue to be privately owned by the Peck and the Raymond families, but could not be sold to developers for commercial or residential development. The land could be put to agricultural use.

The Town Council unanimously voted to approve the $100,000 grant to purchase the land. The funds would come out of the open space account.

The Town Council also agreed to authorize Galligan and Town Attorney Dunkin Forsyth to execute all documents necessary to fulfill the resolution conditions.

“This is a home run,” Shepard said after the Town Council approved the resolution. “This is perfect for everybody.”

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