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Stewardship plans for preserved properties


As the Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board starts 2019, its focus is on stewardship plans for properties already acquired.

There will be, no doubt, new acquisitions to buy for preservation with money provided through a 2 percent tax that property buyers pay. But this board, under the leadership of its chairman, Gordon Gooding, has recognized the need to ensure that workable plans exist for all preserved properties acquired with CPF money in past years.

That means determining which properties need ongoing maintenance to open paths for hikers and providing signage showing where the public property lines end and private properties begin.

St. Mary’s Road residents are well aware of this through the preserved land fronting their street that once housed a nursery.

Two parcels from the nursery were acquired in 2001 and 2003. Now, according to CPF Advisory Board members Edward Shillingburg and Joe Denny, there’s a need for a single stewardship plan for the land.

Because the land extends northward to an area near the Islander, there was a suggestion from Mr. Shillingburg about providing some parking for the trails in the area around Route 114. But some committee members are hesitant, concerned about relatively heavy traffic in that area. Currently, parking to access the trails is only at the St. Mary’s Road entrance.

Nonetheless, a proposed stewardship plan was endorsed and will now go to the Town Board for final action.

There is also concern among CPF board members about signs to warn hikers about hunting on some properties. Ideally, Mr. Denny said he would like to see signs that could be changed when hunters are on the land, but not restrict hiking when hunters are not in the field.

Plans call for setting a meeting with Animal Control Officer Beau Payne to discuss ways that guarantee hikers can use paths, but not put themselves in danger when hunters are shooting on certain town managed properties.

In addition, the committee will oversee placement of markers on trails. Members want to find a way to use small signs that indicate where private properties adjacent to the CPF lands are so hikers don’t overstep the boundaries and disturb the privacy of owners.