The Marion Open Space Acquisition Committee held a special, remote access meeting on October 15 to prepare its presentation to the November 5 Special Town Meeting and its representation to the Community Preservation Committee.
During the meeting, MOSAC Chairman John Rockwell bounced off the membership his Powerpoint presentation under construction for Town Meeting aimed at correcting what he says are misconceptions about the ramifications of MOSAC’s activities.
While the town is concerned that open space purchases subtract parcels of land from the taxable base, MOSAC contends that only one purchase has been made since 2010 and with very limited impact.
That purchase, when first listed the asking price was $589,900. It was subsequently appraised at $310,000, and MOSAC negotiated a price of $300,000. According to Rockwell, this one purchase met nine of the top 11 criteria established through citizen surveys to evaluate such acquisitions.
Furthermore, Rockwell contends that the loss of that $300,000 from total town private property valuation would result in a $1 annual tax increase for a $500,000 house.
Articles 5-8 of the Special Town Meeting warrant will be presented by MOSAC.
Article 5 is to see if the town will vote to authorize MOSAC to spend no more than $250,000 to purchase a Conservation Restriction on 33.7 acres for conservation and passive recreation purposes.
According to mass.gov, “Conservation Restrictions are legal agreements that prohibit certain acts and uses, while allowing others, on private or municipally owned property in order to permanently protect conservation values present on the land.”
Article 6 is to see if the town will vote to authorize MOSAC to accept as a gift for conservation and passive recreation purposes a Conservation Restriction consisting of 1.3 acres. Articles 7 and 8 are like unto Article 5, albeit for respective parcels of 0.2 acres and 7.8 acres.
“There’s been an attack on open space really, as though it’s worthless,” said Rockwell, suggesting MOSAC’s presentation of Town Meeting articles of interest include words from Sippican Lands Trust representative Dot Brown.
“We haven’t bought anything since 2011 and we’re picky. This is a truly remarkable piece of property,” said Brown of the targeted Hoff property acquisition.
Sippican Lands Trust’s campaign wraps up on October 29, and MOSAC will meet on Monday, November 2, at 7:00 pm. to establish a dollar amount to bring forward to the November 5 Special Town Meeting. Marion’s Special Town Meeting will be held on November 5 at 6:45 pm at Old Rochester Regional High School auditorium.
Marion Open Space Acquisition Committee
By Mick Colageo