The Conservancy holds landowner meeting

By Anna Skinner

The yellow on the map shows which of the property owners within the proposed conservancy boundary oppose the conservancy. According to local homeowners, 71 percent oppose the conservancy. (Submitted photo)

The yellow on the map shows which of the property owners within the proposed conservancy boundary oppose the conservancy. According to local homeowners, 71 percent oppose the conservancy. (Submitted photo)

On March 15, a meeting was held at the Westfield Public Library for the concerned landowners placed in the area where The Conservancy addendum will be placed if passed.

Kristin Burkman and Suzy DuBois, organizers of The Conservancy plan, presented the Southwest New Suburban Comprehensive Plan from 2007. Burkman said The Conservancy addendum would build upon the 2007 plan if passed, and provide more details for buffering, open space, context-sensitive plans, architecture and recreation for future developers to follow.

“Our goal is to add some clarity to this, so that when all of you decide to sell there is something we can look at in a concrete way,” Burkman said.

During the meeting, there were concerns voiced by the landowners, such as from Nancy Davis who lives in the area. Originally, there were plans for one house per every three acres and restrictions on architecture and trees that made landowners uncomfortable. The main concern centered on landowners who may want to sell in the future not being able to sell for what the land is worth.

“If you only put one house per three acres, you’re going to get less money for your land,” Davis said. , “(Developers) pay you for how many houses they can get on your land. It could have lowered our cost by potentially 85 percent. It could’ve been very detrimental to us.”

After concerns were expressed from developers and landowners, the plan removed the one house per three-acre restriction. However, the landowners and developers are still concerned with other restrictions.

“I guess the concerns are they want more buffering between (land) so they don’t have to see the houses being developed,” Davis said. She voiced that developers still find that restrictive and may lower chances or prices of the land.

Those in favor of The Conservancy and the landowners and developers reached a point of agreement at the end of the meeting. It was decided that certain landowners and developers will work with The Conservancy when they pitch ideas to see what may work or what may not. The new plan is to enhance the 2007 comprehensive plan instead of creating a new plan.

“The developers and land owners will get together with The Conservancy to come up with a compromise,” Davis said.

Nothing concrete has been decided for The Conservancy and more meetings will be held in the future.