Acreage donated to Brookline

BROOKLINE – It’s been two years of effort, but the work paid off as the Town of Brookline has donated a conservation easement on 439 acres of town-owned conservation land to the Piscataquog Land Conservancy or ‘PLC.’

Known to local residents as Hobart-Fessenden Woods, the land had been acquired by Brookline piece by piece over a period of years, at a total cost of $1.5 million. Until now the land was not subject to any easement or other outside restriction that guaranteed its permanent protection. The conservation easement held by PLC ensures the public’s investment is protected in perpetuity, and that a future town vote cannot change the land’s open space status.

PLC and the Brookline Conservation Commission began discussing the idea of a conservation easement on Hobart-Fessenden Woods in May2018, and by fall both sides were committed to move ahead with the easement. The town and PLC had previously worked together to conserve 88 acres of land nearby along the Nissitissit River. To make sure town residents supported the concept, a warrant article authorizing the donation of the easement to PLC was placed on the March 2019 town meeting warrant. The article had the unanimous support of Brookline’s select board and was passed overwhelmingly by the voters on town meeting day. Work then began on deed drafting, survey and title work, environmental assessment, and legal review. Completing all these tasks ultimately took more than a year due to the property’s size and complexity.

“We are delighted to close our third project with PLC and after a catching our breath I’m sure we’ll be looking towards the next one,” Drew Kellner, a Brookline selectman and longtime Conservation Commission member said. “Now more than ever people are appreciating the need for conserved open spaces to get away from the stress that life often throws at them. It is our duty to ensure that those open spaces will be available now and for generations to come.”

PLC’s Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones said the long trek to get the property conserved was worth it.

“The scope was huge, including a large and intricate survey, with many abutting properties to track,” Jones said. “Throughout the process, working with the Town of Brookline was a true pleasure – they were so can-do and motivated to make it all happen.”

Article submitted by Chris Wells.