Three acres off Ledges Road approved for an eventual sale

Voters have backed the Conservation Commission’s plan to sell off three acres on Ledges Road as a building lot.

A special Town Meeting approved the sale on a voice vote on Wednesday, May 9, in town hall before the selectmen’s meeting.

The three acres proposed for sale would be subdivided as a potential building lot from a 28-acre parcel the Conservation Commission acquired in 2012.

At the Town Meeting, John Katz made the motion that passed, specifying that the sale be approved “with such restrictions as the Conservation Commission deems appropriate.”

The wording Katz offered was aimed at addressing the concerns raised, mostly by neighbors, during the meeting and also at an April 4 public hearing.

The central concerns were that a house might be built relatively close to the road — as two nearby houses on Ledge Road were recently — with too many trees cut down to make way for the house and septic system. With the steepness of the land east and north of Ledges Road there were concerns about potential for runoff from the site.

“In this last rain,” a neighbor said, “there was significant erosion on two properties next door, which brought silt onto my property and the Titicus RIver.”

Another concern was the potential for noise during construction of a house on the lot.

Before any house construction the property would have to go through a formal process under the jurisdiction of the Planning and Zoning Commission, and discussion at the meeting pointed out that the siting of a house and septic system on the property would be questions for review during that subdivision approval process.

At the May 9 Town Meeting, Ed Tyrrel supported the motion made by Katz.

“I think the Conservation Commission is going to exercise their best judgment,” he said. “The Planning and Zoning Commission will control steepness and control wetlands.”

Conservation Commission alternate Ben Oko, who advocated for the lot sale during the Town Meeting, recalled that when the 28-acre property was acquired by the Conservation Commission in 2012, the Town Meeting that approved spending $825,000 on the tract had known of and agreed to a possible sale of one three-acre building lot from the new open space.

The understanding was that three acres might be sold to help replenish the open space fund.

Responding to a question from The Press last week, Oko said the Conservation Commission doesn’t have a specific open space purchase in mind that would require a quick sale of the property.

“We are certainly in no hurry to sell at the present time,” Oko said.