OSPC seeks to resolve more open space in limbo: Killiam Farms and Pine Hill

Tonight, the Planning Board’s agenda includes discussion of a letter about unresolved open space issues at Killam Farms and Pine Hill.

The letter from the Open Space Preservation Commission was originally submitted to selectmen. It requested help to resolve issues “that have been a long time in limbo.” The issues include an unfulfilled promise made to Town Meeting voters 9 1/2 years ago.

Lack of process to resolve open space issues has long been a complaint of the OSPC. In August 2013, the commission cited Killam Farms as an example when they publicly addressed the problem.

Complaining about lack of response from the Planning Board, the OSPC letter reached out to the BOS for help:

The OSPC has made numerous attempts to follow up on these items through the Planning Department and has gotten nowhere so is now asking the Board of Selectmen’s assistance on bringing these items to a resolution

The letter details the history of their efforts stretching back almost 10 years. 

Killiam Farms

As of July, OSPC said the open space parcel was “shown as Town owned on the assessor’s maps although it was never accepted by Town Meeting.”

The space was first slated for acceptance in 2001 but fell through the cracks.

In 2007, OSPC reported to the Planning Board on “old oil drums, tires, possible wetland filling” they found while walking the site.

A joint meeting was recommended between the boards and developer. Seven years later, this still hasn’t occurred.

OSPC claims to have “followed up several times with the Town Planner and was told Town Counsel was looking into what could be legally required of the developer.”

Pine Hill Conservation Restriction

Before accepting this parcel at the 2005 Town Meeting, voters were told that a Conservation Restriction (CR) would be placed on it.

Since 2005, the OSPC has made inquiries to the Planning Board as to the Status of the CR. A couple of draft CR’s were forwarded to the OPSC for comment the last being in August of 2007. . .

To date no CR has been placed on the property, although the OSPC has attempted to follow up on the issue numerous times.

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Al Hamilton
9 years ago

I am familiar with the Pine Hill issue as I live in the neighborhood. The Parcel in question is currently held by a not for profit trust (as are a number of other parcels in town). The developer of the property transferred the land to the trust (with the Town’s knowledge). To the extent that the Town had any leverage it was with the developer and that leverage, with the acceptance of the roads and release of performance bonds is long past. The town, to the best of my knowledge, has no contractual relationship with the current organization that holds the land. Unfortunately, this is an example of the incompetent job that the Town has done in the past, crossing T’s and dotting I’s with respect to our development rules.

Equally troubling, is the fact that town officials have never reached out to our neighborhood regarding these issues. At the time of the development a group of neighbors was represented by counsel to work with the town and developer to come up with a plan that we could all live with. Town officials have never reached out to our neighborhood to ask our opinion about how the land could be managed or what the preferences of the neighborhood might be.

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