Putney Looks To Purchase Wetland Property

Bellows Falls Shopper Feb. 1. 2012

Putney Looks To Purchase Wetland Property

PUTNEY, VT. - In the pursuit to purchase a wetland parcel near Sandhill Road in Putney, in December the Town of Putney came to an unofficial agreement with the owner of the property, while the Putney Conservation Commission (PCC) looks to raise the funds in order to buy the parcel.

Photo by Joe Milliken

According to PCC chair Pamela Cubbage, a $20,000 grant proposal was recently submitted to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to help purchase the parcel but unfortunately, the grant application was recently rejected. Moving forward, the commission continues to look for alternative ways to raise the funds needed.

"The $20,000 grant request was not funded, as the property's location in the Source Protection area worked against the request," Chris Ryan said in a recent interview. Ryan is the Putney Town Manager. However, the fundraising is still ongoing and the conservationcommission continues to pursue funds for the property."

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, located in Waterbury, Vt., is designed to preserve, enhance, restore and conserve Vermont's natural resources for future generations. Its many programs manage and regulate a variety of environmental issues including air and water quality, pollution, waste reduction programs and issues many of the state'senvironmental permits and grant programs.

Although a sale agreement has not been signed, land owner Pauline Wilson had agreed to give the town and conservation commission a period of time to generate the funds needed to purchase the wetland property. An appraisal of the parcel was estimated at $40,000, with the real estate broker settling on a $30,000 price tag, along with the agreement that if the land is preserved, it be named after the Wilson family.

Both the PPC and the town select board understand the importance in conserving the 28.5 acres of land not only for possible recreation activities, but also the town's water system because the wetlands do abut the town's water source. The town was also looking into the possibility of utilizing reserve funds from the water system account to put towards the endeavor.

In another recent development, an application for a subdivision of land was submitted to the town in late January by Wilson and Basketville, Inc., also based in Putney. "The recent subdivision was actually a lot line adjustment on the southern border of the property with Basketville," Ryan said. "The application asks to transfer 1.9 acres of the level land at that end of the property, which resolves a problem with a building setback."

Moving forward, the commission has already raised a few thousand dollars to put towards the project. The PPC hopes the town can also take $5,000 from the water fund, however, without the $20,000 grant loan being approved, alternative solutions must be found through fund raising efforts and other possible grant opportunities.