Hadley TM to take up open space
24y 2 lines light
HADLEY — A new open space preservation bylaw will be among the items on the agenda when voters gather for a special Town Meeting Thursday.
Voters also will be asked to make some budget adjustments, approve a facilities plan for town-owned buildings and the purchase of two new vehicles when they meet at 7 p.m. at Hopkins Academy.
Long Range Plan Implementation Committee Chair Alan Eccleston said the new bylaws aim is to provide an option to landowners who would like to both preserve and develop land.
The law would enable property owners to develop half of their land if they agree to preserve the other half as open space. The option would be not be mandatory and homeowners would still be able to develop or preserve all of their land, as they can now, Eccleston said.
“It is a good idea for the town because we have some of the best farm land in the state and even the country and so we want to preserve as much of it as we can,” Eccleston said. “At the same time, there is development pressure and farmers from time to time may need to sell a parcel.”
The law would be applicable only in agricultural and residential districts and in those places with sewer and water access. A property owner who sought the option would only be able to build a single family home on the land. Duplexes or apartments would not be allowed, Eccleston said.
Small properties in particular would benefit, he said, as the Agricultural Preservation Restriction program frequently does not fund conservation restriction for farms that are 10 acres and smaller.
“This offers the opportunity for those smaller parcels to be saved when they otherwise wouldn’t,” Eccleston said.
Voters will also be asked to make a series of budget transfers, including:
∎$30,000 for a facilities plan of town-owned buildings;
∎ $60,000 from water reserves to purchase a new Ford 350 pickup truck;
∎ $55,000 from free cash to purchase a new John Deere tractor for the Department of Pubic Works; and
∎ $75,000 from free cash to purchase a wheel chair van for the School Department.