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August 6, 2013

Land could be preserved for $300K

Pelham eyes purchase of 56 acres of farmland

PELHAM — The town is moving to preserve another large parcel of land for the enjoyment of future generations.

The Conservation Commission will hold a hearing next week on the planned $300,000 purchase of 56 acres of farmland at the end of Old County Road.

“We’re going as fast as we can,” Commission Chairman Paul Gagnon said. “The market is heating up.”

The town’s conservation funds, set aside 10 years ago, would pay for the land.

Pelham started with about $3 million set aside in 2003 and Gagnon said about $1 million remains. In all, he estimated, the town has protected about 800 acres through the past decade.

No action would be required at Town Meeting. But selectmen also would hold a hearing on the land deal later, probably this month or next, Gagnon said.

The Planning Board will review the proposal, too, because the plan calls for subdividing about 13 acres, including the farmhouse and barn. The board is expected to take up that issue at a meeting Aug. 19.

Gagnon said the deal involves the old Lareau or Sunny Side Farm, a nearly 70-acre property.

Property trustees Ron Harbour and Jean Bradshaw would be free to develop the remaining 13 acres, he said.

The purchase would add to the town’s conservation land holdings — about 500 acres — in the southwest part of town near the border of Massachusetts.

Gagnon said the conservation panel’s aim is to connect land around Cutter Woods to Gumpas Pond.

“This is a plan we’ve been working on for a long time,” he said.

There are no plans for establishing a park on the land, Gagnon said.

“The possibility has been discussed that potentially it could be a community garden,” he said.

But there are no plans for that now and a community group would have to be found at some point to take such a project on, he said.

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