NEW LONDON — The New London Board of Selectmen made good on a warrant article approved by voters in March by signing an easement drafted by the Conservation Commission after making minor modifications to the document’s language at their last meeting.
The easement grants Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust certain rights for the purpose of conserving the property described as Lot 074/47/000, commonly referred to as the Kidder/Cleveland property.
The lot runs for approximately 550 feet along the east side of Pleasant Street and extends to properties on Seamans Road.
The town purchased the property, which totals about 26.38 acres, in 2016 using capital reserve funds.
During their April 23 meeting, the board heard from Bob Brown and other members of the conservation commission.
Brown reported that the commission worked closely with Ausbon Sargent and received help from Town Administrator Kim Hallquist to draft the easement.
Brown reiterated that an engineering study found that the property is primarily wetlands and confirmed that it is not an ideal site for building.
However, the land is part of the Pleasant Lake watershed. It serves as a buffer for the lake, as the land drains into Red Brook before reaching the 602-acre lake.
Thus the easement will protect not only the land itself but also Pleasant Lake.
“It’s the product of more than two years’ work,” said Brown. “We are very happy with the language.”
Based on a suggestion a voter made during town meeting, the easement specifically listed a dog park and community garden as a low-impact, allowable future use of the property.
However, Selectman Bill Helm was concerned with including those specific allowable uses without properly considering parking limitations of the site.
“I’m enthusiastically supportive of the whole concept here,” said Helm, “but I’m not satisfied that we have the parking situation under control yet.”
After lengthy discussion, members of the commission and Ausbon Sargent who were present at the meeting agreed to remove the specific references to a dog park and community garden.
The selectmen signed the easement that night, and the commission met on Wednesday to unanimously approve the change.
The easement dominated the majority of the selectmen’s meeting, but they also approved Public Works Director Richard Lee’s request to hire a summer intern in the Wastewater Department.
The college student is in a civil engineering program and will assist in gathering information for the Asset Management Plan project. The intern will be paid out of the wastewater budget.
The town is continuing to draft an RFP for studying the Buker Building. Bob Bowers, who spoke against the bond article during town meeting, has given the board suggestions for what should be included in the proposal.
The board will discuss the RFP at their next meeting on May 14.