EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 1, 2013

Windham family gives 34 acres of farmland to town

By John Toole
jtoole@eagletribune.com

---- — WINDHAM – The Conservation Commission has accepted the donation of 34 acres from the Taylor Farm property next to the town’s rail trail and overlooking Windham Depot.

“It’s priceless for the town,” Commission Chairman Wayne Morris said of the gift from the Taylor family.

The land is at 122 North Lowell Road, on the east side of the road.

Morris said the donation is contingent on Planning Board approval of a subdivision.

The family is keeping part of the farmland that is being marketed for commercial use, as well as a horse barn.

“For the Taylors to donate this, it is huge for the town,” Morris said.

He describes the property as “a wonderful viewscape” in the community.

Visible behind a white fence, the open field has been used for haying up until this year, he said.

“People take it for granted that it will always remain this way,” Morris said. “It will now.”

The property, when combined with other town property, gives the community more than 100 acres of conservation land along the rail trail, by Morris’s estimate.

“This is very important for the Depot, because the backside of the property borders the rail trail,” he said. “This gives us a string of conservation land along the rail trail.”

Commissioners envision a trail leading from the rail trail to a high point on the Taylor farm property that would allow people to enjoy the pastoral view.

“This adds such character to the whole area of Windham Depot,” Morris said.

The town may add to its property holdings along the rail trail.

Morris said commissioners are exploring a warrant article for Town Meeting to obtain about an acre of surplus property from the state Department of Transportation.

That could cost about $8,000, he said.

Other conservation issues likely bound for Town Meeting involve dedicating funds raised from managing town forestland for conservation land purchases and reducing the size of the commission from seven to five members.

Morris said commissioners have, at times, had trouble getting a meeting quorum with a seven-member board.