Wheelwright Property Acquisition
Approved - In Progress
Project Description
Wheelwright Property
This project is funding the acquisition of approximately 47.6 acres of undeveloped, open space land north and east of the Bates Lane “T” and bordering Cohasset from the Wheelwright Family Realty Trust for $809,200, with an additional sum of up to $5,000 also provided for the cost of appraisal, legal fees for closing expenses, and the drafting and recording requirement for conservation easements.

The CPC voted to acquire the property for the lesser of $17,000 per acre or, its fair market value as determined by independent appraisal and survey to be contracted by the CPC. Maxwell Conservation Trust is the facilitator of this project.

The land to be acquired represents three parcels bordering existing conservation property, and has some beautiful sections and old stonewalls. It is almost entirely upland, heavily wooded, with a nice trail which connects to the existing Carl Pipes Memorial Trail. It is adjacent to other conservation property in the so-called West End of Scituate, and is accessible from Bates Lane as well as Indian Wind Drive.

This open space acquisition will preserve quality open space and extend the local trail system for recreational hiking. This parcel meets Community Preservation goals for open space by protecting a high-grade wildlife habitat and by providing land for passive recreational purposes. This important land purchase will augment the largest remaining unfragmented forest in Scituate and provide additional water resource protection.

The CPC believes that the price of $17,000 per acre is very reasonable, but has also limited its approval to the fair market value of the property, if for any reason it is less. The applicant has further agreed, assuming Town Meeting approval, to defer payment pending a possible grant application under an existing and funded state grant program, which if successful, would cover up to approximately one-half of the land acquisition costs. Although the Town intends to seek such grant funds, there is no assurance that any such grant proceeds will be awarded.

This project is not expected to require the Town to incur any material future operating or maintenance expense.

Project Details
The subject property is 47.6 acres, consisting of three parcels. The Ella Bates Pasture is 14.4 acres, the Wheelwright Pasture is 21.2 acres, and the Barn Pasture is 12 acres. These properties are located in the Bates Lane area in the West End of Scituate. The Ella Bates Pasture and the Barn Pasture both border the Scituate Cohasset town line. The Wheelwright Pasture abuts the Bates Lane “T”, and all three parcels are surrounded by or abut previously protected conservation land.
These properties have been owned by the Wheelwright family and farmed by them for many, many years. We are currently researching plot plans for the parcels. The deed for the Barn Pasture refers to a plan done in the early 1900’s by Tower and our attorneys are trying to locate that plan through engineers who purchased Tower Engineering.

The other 2 parcels are shown on another plan which was done in 1970 but not filed. We hope to have engineering plans to show you when we meet to discuss the project.
The applicant requests that all 3 parcels be purchased at this time and does not wish to sell any of these parcels separately.
The acquisition of these parcels will benefit the town of Scituate as follows: This acreage will be part of the largest remaining unfragmented forest in Scituate. Currently, there are approximately 250 acres of conserved forest in the Bates Lane area. This would add another 47 acres, and further protect this important greenway area for recreation, wildlife habitat preservation, and water resource protection. This land is primarily uplands. An Environmental Report is being written by Danena Engineering and will be made available to the committee at a later date. Sections of these parcels are in a Water Resource Zone.
This project is consistent with and supports the goals of the Scituate Open Space and Master Plans.
The amount of $17,000/ac requested has historically been the amount supported by CPC appraisals for open space acquisition in this area.
Ella Bates and Wheelwright Pastures could be developed through an easement off Indian Winds. Barn Pasture could be developed with access through property on Mill Lane in Cohasset currently owned by Dustin Wheelwright.
The Bates Lane Conservation Area has over 3 miles of active trails, which are utilized by a broad range of the community. Boy Scout Troops have been involved in Eagle Scout projects on the trails and have built kiosks. The Scituate Recreation Department sponsors walks seasonally. A bridge across a large rip rap area was built in the Spring of 2009 by volunteers with funding from the Carl Pipes Memorial Fund and Maxwell Conservation Trust. This has improved accessibility to that particular area, especially for seniors. Maxwell Conservation Trust has had the trails mapped and marked for ease of navigation.
The applicant requests that Maxwell Conservation Trust hold the Conservation Restriction for these parcels.
Project Budget Information
The Cohasset Water Commissioners have been approached regarding the purchase of this acreage, and they have indicated that they will not be able to contribute toward this purchase.
Included in this project is reimbursement to Maxwell Conservation Trust for legal costs associated with this project, up to $5,000.
The applicant is requesting that any surveys required by CPC be funded by the committee.
Photos (click on image to enlarge)
Letters of Support
Conservation Commission
The Conservation Commission has voted to support the purchase of the Wheelwright property off Bates Lane for open space and passive recreation. This property abuts town-owned property and has existing trails on it that will connect with trails on the town property. It also has been identified in our Open Space Plan for acquisition. In keeping with the Commission's goals and...
Planning Board
At the December 3, 2009 meeting the Planning Board reviewed the Bjorklund and Wheelwright proposals. The Board voted unanimously in favor of these proposals. The Board voted unanimously in favor of these proposals. These pieces of property are a logical addition to lands already preserved and represent an excellent investment in Scituate's future. These purchases are...