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Town Accepts Open Space Parcel

Board of Selectmen okays the donation of two acres adjacent to the Beacon Hill Preserve.

 last week approved the acceptance of a two-acre open space parcel, part of the 10-lot Beacon Hill Estates subdivision that will rise by the mountainous, 70-acre Beacon Hill Preserve.

The two acres, which contain two areas of wetlands, will be open to the public.

“The open space is being donated to the town,” said Town Planner Shirley Rasmussen of the land.  “It’s immediately adjacent to the Beacon Hill Preserve.  It adds a little bit of acreage to that very large land.” 

“The whole Beacon Hill Preserve is extensive,” she said.

“The generic name is cluster development,” she said of the Beacon Hill project, which is an Open Space Residential Development of single-family residences.  “You end up with more usable area.”

The Open Space Residential Development regulation the town adopted in 1974 permits modifications of lot area, shape and setback requirements in order to preserve land as open space. Since that time, according to Rasmussen, roughly a dozen residential subdivisions have qualified for the designation. To learn the history of this property, check out the Branford Eagle article from last year.

The two acres that will become open space within the Beacon Hill development, whose address is 83 Rose Hill Rd., are slated for passive recreation uses such as hiking.

The preserved traprock or basalt ridge the Beacon Hill project will abut has sweeping views of Long Island Sound and New Haven Harbor. The land that surrounds the summit within the Preserve has salt marshes.

The area is part of the Metacomet Ridge that runs from Connecticut well north into Massachusetts, stopping just short of that state’s border with New Hampshire and Vermont.  

In charge of the Beacon Hill Estates project is Shearwater Properties Inc., which is owned by Branford real estate agent Susan Doing. 

Plans for the project, which are on file in the Inland Wetlands Department, call for the restoration of the two acres of open space that, at present, are overgrown by invasive plants. 

susan Barnes September 13, 2011 at 09:26 AM
“The open space is being donated to the town,” The whole process could be looked at as extortion. If you want to do something with YOUR land you must GIVE some of it to the town in order to get approval do it. I think Branford has more than enough open space. It occurs to me that half the town must be out hiking. If only economic development was promoted to the same extent that acquisition of open space is! It is good to know that Ms. Doing will be able develop the remainder of her land on which she pays taxes, which in turn will generate more taxes and perhaps add a few younger families to Branford's declining population.

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