Northampton may add to conservation land in Saw Mill Hills
NORTHAMPTON — The city is poised to add another 60 acres of conservation land to the Saw Mill Hills Conservation Area, further increasing the amount of preserved land in the western half of the city. At its meeting Thursday, the City Council will be asked to approve a request from the Conservation Commission to buy a 58.2-acre parcel off Sylvester Road from the Szymanski family for $232,864. The meeting begins with public comment at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Puchalski Municipal Building.
Like in past land buys, the money to buy the property will come from grants and donations and not from the city’s general revenue.
The land falls under the commission’s “top acquisition” properties and will fill a major wildlife and ecological gap in some of the most ecologically valuable land in the city. It would be preserved for conservation and passive recreation purposes.
These additional items are on the council’s agenda:
∎ A controversial package of residential zone changes is back before the council after undergoing review by the Ordinance Committee, which examined how the changes might affect property assessments.
∎ Two readings of a pair of ordinance amendments that would establish 56 parking spaces on the lower level of a new Gothic Street parking garage as an off-street parking area in which the public could park for 75 cents an hour on weekdays from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. and 24 hours a day on weekends.
∎ An order authorizing the mayor to accept easements or titles for strips of land near three properties along King Street for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. The land, part of traffic mitigation required under the city’s zoning, is near Lia Kia, Northampton Crossing and Northampton Volkswagon/Country Hyundai.
∎ A second vote to appropriate $77,000 in Community Preservation Act funding to the Connecticut River Greenway Riverfront Park project off Damon Road.
∎ A pair of orders amending council rules regarding executive sessions and quorums.
∎ An order accepting a report from the Stormwater Ad Hoc Advisory Task Force and asking the Board of Public Works to draft an ordinance based on the report.
∎ Two readings on an ordinance amendment prohibiting parking at all times on a portion of the east side of Round Hill Road.
∎ Approval of second-hand articles licenses for Nourelle Vie, 20 Hampton Ave., Suite 180; Kids Kloset, 22 Maplewood Shops; and Market Street Antiques, 50 Market St.
∎ An executive session to approve and release executive session minutes of Jan. 3, 2013, and July 11, 2013.