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Last Minute Lachat Glitch Concerns Weston

Weston residents and the Board of Selectmen expressed concern over the Nature Conservancy's proposed change to the separation agreement.

A last minute glitch in concerning the Lachat property is forcing the town to renegotiate an important provision, according to an announcement made at Thursday’s Board of Selectmen meeting.

Selectman Dennis Tracey informed the board that that wants to amend terms pertaining to the endowment fund; the Nature Conservancy controls the Lachat endowment, where it is part of a large fund worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Connecticut Attorney General would not approve the separation agreement unless the endowment funds stayed within the control of the Nature Conservancy.

Currently, Weston may draw down five percent per year for Lachat property maintenance. The proposed terms would allow the Nature Conservancy to raise or lower the draw down amount, causing concern among residents.

Tracey felt that there is a “very low risk” that the conservancy might decide to lower the drawdown amount.

“If they increase it, we get that, too,” he added.

Nevertheless, residents who attended the meeting questioned what the town would do in the event the maintenance costs exceeded the permitted drawdown, prompting one to suggest that the town ask for a provision limiting the downside.

“Put a lower bound on it,” said Selectman David Muller. “A ‘not less than,’” he added.

First Selectman Gayle Weinstein suggested that Tracey continue to negotiate with the Conservancy on behalf of the board, a motion the board approved.

Tracey abstained from the vote.

Oak Lane, Revisited

The board also discussed business hearkening back to retired First Selectman George Guidera’s era.

In the mid-1990s, three property owners on Oak Lane purchased land on the street for the purpose of increasing their lot sizes to two acres each.

One of the owners, Austin Ganz, appeared at the meeting along with Ken Whitman, Weston’s tax assessor. According to town and bank records, a land transfer was supposed to take place that would have increased the property sizes and lengthened the road.

A letter that was produced at the meeting from Peoples Bank indicated that a land transfer was supposed to take place, but Weinstein was not able to find a record of the proposed transaction in town records.

Weinstein indicated that she would speak to Guidera for additional background information and find out the process for completing the transfer.

“One of the things we do in government is catch up,” said Muller. “It’s up to us to remedy that.

In other board news: 

  • The board unanimously reappointed Lynn Pokorny as the town’s Infection Control Officer.
  • The board unanimously appointed Marilyn Parker as a Zoning Board of Appeals alternate, replacing Ken Edgar.
  • The board unanimously appointed Lori Pace to the Weston Sustainability Committee.
  • The board unanimously reappointed Joan Rizzi-Henderson to the Weston Library Board.
  • The board unanimously voted to approve the Building Department’s $17,700 request for new software; the Board of Finance must now approve the request.
  • The selectmen decided to form a five person Legal Review Committee, which they hope to have up and running by October 1, 2012. The town is actively searching for committee members; interested residents should contact Town Hall.

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