CHARLESTOWN - On Nov. 12, only two months after the purchase of the land formerly known as Whalerock, the Charlestown Town Council discussed ways to protect the land from future development.
The plan brought to the council by Thomas B. Gentz, town council president, involved the creation of an ad hoc committee to prepare a management plan which would work to bring one or more conservation easement(s) into the equation. A conservation easement is basically a way for property owners to bring conservation groups such as The Audubon Society to their land and allow them to design trails and manage the wildlife.
“When you buy land, it’s like buying a bundle of sticks,” said Town Solicitor David Petrarca Jr. “A conservation easement is like giving away (or selling) the development stick.”
The ad hoc committee plan was struck down by the council after some discussion; a motion to grant the project to the conservation commission will be discussed at the December meeting. Because the conservation commission exists for this purpose, it was questioned why an ad hoc committee was suggested in the first place.
“I don’t see the benefits of having an ad hoc committee,” said Councilor Daniel Slattery. “It makes no difference if it goes to an ad hoc committee or to the conservation commission. Why not use the processes we already have in place? I’m sure they could do it in the three months time that you have listed in your motion.”
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