The Open Space Committee
The purpose of this Committee is to work with the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board, other town committees, townspeople and other resources engaged by the Town, to oversee the implementation of the Open Space Plan (Master Plan 2003). It is understood that this Committee is advisory in nature, and all recommendations, findings, etc. will be reported directly to the Selectmen.
The Board of Selectmen, several recent local questionnaire surveys, and the 2003 Master Plan process have all recognized and acknowledged that Peterborough’s open space is a precious and invaluable resource that is in need of on-going study and protection. In addition, the Master Plan contains a specific recommendation for the establishment of a permanent open space committee.
1. The Open Space Committee (OSC) will identify priority parcels as determined by the Open Space Criteria outlined in the 2003 Master Plan and will, as appropriate, recommend to the Board of Selectmen the purchase of these parcels or of the development rights to these parcels.
2. The OSC will actively pursue voluntary land donation and/or donation of conservation easements by landowners. The OSC, while working closely with the Board of Selectmen, is authorized to negotiate in good faith on the Town’s behalf with landowners, and to communicate with duly-licensed professionals, including attorneys, land surveyors, natural resource consultants, and appraisers.
3. The OSC will determine criteria by which landowners are offered incentives and ensure that these landowners are subsidized when appropriate for any direct costs related to easements, including required appraisals and surveys.
4. The OSC will work with the Conservation Commission to manage the administration and maintenance of the parcels
5. The OSC will continue to explore reasonable approaches to implement the goals of the Open Space Plan, including but not limited to creating a financial support structure for voluntary easements, facilitating educational outreach to landowners and townspeople, and advocating for a creative mix of funding for acquisition of land or development rights
The OSC shall consist of seven (7) members, all of whom have voting rights. No more than two members shall represent the Conservation Commission. One member shall be the Selectmen’s ex officio representative; this member may vote, but may not serve as Chair.
This Committee will perform its charge until such time as the Selectmen choose to ends its job. Membership on the Committee will be by appointment of the Selectmen for a term of 3 years. The Committee will elect its own Chair and Vice-Chair annually following the March Town Meeting. All meetings of the Committee will be public and will be posted in the Town House.
The schedule for meetings will be established by the Committee to suit the convenience of its members, consistent with the above charge. Other business of the Committee, such as minutes-taking, will be as set forth by the Committee.
Current Committee Members
Ed Henault, Chair
Francie Von Mertens, Conservation Commission