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Voters OK land deal

28 acres will become town open space — without cell site.

Dr. Ben Oko of the Conservation Commission explained the open space purchase at Wednesday night’s town meeting.—Macklin Reid photo

A conservation purchase of 28 acres off Ledges Road and Old Stagecoach Road was approved by a town meeting Wednesday night — with no provisions for a cell tower site on the property’s high ridge, as had been proposed in 2011.

But the amended motion that passed does give the Conservation Commission latitude to sell off a three-acre house lot at the bottom of the hill in the future, as a means of raising money to replenish the Open Space Conservation Fund, which will be depleted by the $825,000 purchase.

A 2011 proposal to buy the same land for $1 million — but with part of it to be rented as a cell tower site — drew bitter opposition and was voted down.

About 75 people turned out Wednesday night, and after assurances there was no potential for a cell tower in the proposal, it was passed by a substantial majority on a voice vote.

“I’d like to thank everybody,” said Conservation Commission member Ben Oko, who worked on the purchase for four years.

Although no tax dollars were spent — the open space fund is all donated money — the town charter still required that the deal go before voters, since it is an acquisition of land by the town.

More details will appear in the Dec. 20 Press.

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