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Weston and Nature Conservancy Reach Lachat Agreement

The Weston Board of Selectmen voted to bring the Lachat deal with the Nature Conservancy to a town meeting and vote.

Is the end in sight?

At Thursday’s Board of Selectmen meeting at , Dennis Tracey of the Nature Center Building Committee presented the terms of a proposed agreement with that divides the amicably between the town and the conservancy.

The new agreement has three basic principles. The first states that the title to the property will not be divided between the two entities; instead, the town and the conservancy will lease their shares of the property to each other in exchange for use rights consistent with the mission of each.

The town will lease the forested area of the property to the conservancy, who will include it with . The conservancy will lease the meadowed area adjacent to Godfrey Road to the town, which will decide how to use the property.

No decision was reached on the land’s use; the leases are renewable and will last for 10 years.

The second principle states that the town will attempt to modify its conservation easements to clearly allow use of the .

The agreement’s third principal states that the endowment that was created to support the property and its buildings will remain unchanged. The cash that’s available for use will be distributed as appropriate between the two entities.

Precise figures were not available, but Tracey indicated that there is over $500,000 in the endowment, of which over $70,000 can be used immediately.

The Nature Conservancy manages the endowment; that the Conservancy continue to manage the endowment.

“This agreement allows us to use the property the way we want to use it,” First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said. “It was really important for us .”

Tracey agreed, noting that the agreement is “very consistent with the original purposes of the agreement.”

The use of the property and the endowment fund that supports its maintenance . The Lachat residence was almost torn down in the spring but received a last-minute reprieve when residents and a community group, the , stepped forward with an interest in saving the buildings and a potential use for the land.

The town will hold a meeting to allow the public to share their views on the agreement; a town vote is necessary to ratify it.

Another deer hunt?

In addition to the Lachat agreement discussions, the board also heard ask for another controlled deer hunt on two town-owned properties.

This year, the landfill and Fromson-Strassler properties will host bow-and-arrow hunters only. Three hunters will be permitted at the landfill, and four hunters will be permitted at Fromson-Strassler.

As in the past, the hunters have agreed to donate the deer meat to local soup kitchens. The town will keep track of how many deer are killed as well as the number of females.

Bow hunters who are interested in participating in the hunt should contact Mark Harper for qualifications and permission.

Other notes from the meeting:

  • Bernadette Park was unanimously appointed to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.
  • The board unanimously accepted Don Gary’s resignation from the Building Committee.
  • The town will solicit input from residents on how it should respond to emergency situations. A short questionnaire will become available on the town website and on hard copy in town hall in the near future.

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