Commission Votes Against Land Purchase

The Rochester Conservation Commission held a public meeting on Tuesday, December 4, to discuss the possible purchase of land on Alley Road owned by Thomas Gayoski.  Since the land qualifies for Chapter 61A tax relief, Gaysoski is required to file a notice of intent to sell the property, giving the town the right of first refusal to purchase the land.

“It’s the lot with the red house,” said Commissioner Rosemary Smith.  There are three total lots in the area but only the one with the house is for sale.

The issue has been heard at public hearings across multiple committees so each board can offer its recommendation for the property.

“There’s an existing dwelling here and Mr. Gayoski is dividing off this lot.  He’s gone through the Planning Board process to create this lot.  The option is to purchase the land for $265,000,” said conservation agent Laurell Farinon.

She suggested that the Commission recommend to the Board of Selectmen not to purchase the property because the amount of land that could be considered for conservation is negligible.

“There is an area of wetland toward the back of the property but not enough to really make the case for it,” said Farinon.

The Conservation Commission voted unanimously to in favor of refusing the option to purchase the property.

In other business, the Commission discussed the conservation restriction that has been drafted for the Doggett’s Brook property.  The area is located next to Dexter Field.

The Commission made only minor changes to the draft, which will be complete next year.

“We’ll be finalizing this in the new year.  It went before the Land Trust board of directors, it was tweaked, and now you’ve had your peak at it,” Farinon said.

Farinon also updated the Commission the progress with the Doggett’s Brook land preservation project, which would make the land more conducive to hiking and other outdoor recreation.

“We had a meeting to discuss the project [in November.]  We discussed the Wild Lands Trust’s role in the project.  They’re going to help with trails.  We discussed them helping with the kiosk that would be located there, bringing volunteers to do the trail work,” she said.

 Farinon will be speaking with town legal counsel Blair Bailey to explore options for securing other grants that may be available to fund the project.

“It’s really nice area to walk.  You can walk your dogs there,” said Smith.

The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission will be on Tuesday, December 18 at 7:00 pm at the Town Hall.

By Eric Tripoli

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