Conservation Commission proposes sale of Ledges Road lot

The sale of three acres as a building lot — split off from 28 acres the Conservation Commission purchased in 2012 — is expected to come before townspeople later this spring.

The Board of Selectmen scheduled an April 4 public hearing and a May 9 town meeting for the proposal, which was brought before them Feb. 21 by Ben Oko of the Conservation Commission.

Oko told the selectmen that the possibility that the Conservation Commission might eventually sell off three acres as a building lot was discussed — and permission for it made part of the resolution passed — at the December 2012 Town Meeting that had approved an $825,000 purchase of 28 acres between Ledges Road and Old Stagecoach Road.

The tract was purchased for open space purposes, but with the understanding that a three-acre building lot might be split off and sold to help replenish the open space fund — currently about $236,000.

“We proposed it as a way to ameliorate some of the cost of the purchase,” Oko told the selectmen.

“We chose that lot,” he said of the three acres along Ledges Road that the commission means to sell, “because unless you’re a mountain goat it doesn’t connect to the top of the property.”

Oko said Conservation commissioners sought what amounted to “reauthorizing our existing right to sell” the lot because they wanted to be confident the deal would be approved before spending an estimated $5,000 to $10,000 on engineering studies, surveying and maps needed to legally create a buildable, salable three-acre lot out of the larger 28-acre parcel.

“The reason you’re selling it is to generate cash?” asked Selectman Bob Hebert.

“For the open space fund,” answered First Selectman Rudy Marconi.

“It’s a noble cause,” said Selectman Steve Zemo.

After the dates for a public hearing and town meeting were set, Zemo offered Dr. Oko some advice.

“Ben, you know a lot of people in town,” he said. “Make sure they show up.”