Lakeside Drive land donation gets June 20 hearing

The offered donation of a half-acre of open space off Lakeside Drive was welcomed by the Conservation Commission and Board of Selectmen in advance on a vote to accept the gift — a vote scheduled for a town meeting next Wednesday, June 20, at 6:30 p.m. in town hall.

“We’re happy to take the land. We had a vote — unanimous,” Conservation Commission Chairman James Coyle said at a public hearing last Wednesday, June 6.

“I think it’s a really a nice thing for the neighborhood” said Selectman Steve Zemo.

No members of the public spoke at the hearing.

Coyle said the property was slightly less than half an acre, and would adjoin and enlarge a six-acre open space parcel that the town already holds. There are some trees on it the town might need to take down, he said.

The property is a wet empty lot unsuitable for development and hence of little market value, First Selectman Rudy Marconi told the hearing.

The lot is being offered to the town by a property owner who owes about $21,600 in back taxes — with a balance due of about $40,000 if interest is factored in on taxes that have gone unpaid since 2009.

The town will forego the taxes and related fees if it accepts the land donation.

The fact that the property is unsuitable for a house, and therefore unmarketable, doesn’t mean it’s worthless.

“The value is open space,” said Zemo.

“It does continue to filter our water,” Marconi said in agreement.