Group examines preserving open space in town

MONT VERNON – A recently formed Open Space Committee will soon start investigating what the town has for open space and different ways it could buy and preserve the best parcels.

The group’s findings will be presented to voters at Town Meeting in March.

Voters decided to form the committee at the 2003 Town Meeting in response to development pressures in southern New Hampshire. The town moderator appointed the group last month, said Annette Immorlica, one of five residents chosen for the task.

The committee plans to identify the town’s open spaces and then rank each parcel’s importance based on criteria to be developed by the group. The criteria will address concerns such as natural resources and which parcels have the most scenic and historical value for the town, Immorlica said.

The group will also determine which parcels may be of immediate interest to developers, given such factors as road frontage, she said.

Open Space Committee members also intend to research different ways to pay for land purchases. Immorlica is aware that surrounding towns sometimes use bonds to accomplish such aims, but given Mont Vernon’s small size – about 2,200 dents – the committee will consider other options as well, she said.

“We’re not going to buy parcels at this point. It’s not part of our charge,” she said.

The group might make certain recommendations at Town Meeting, however, possibly the formation of a land trust, she said.

While the “nucleus” of the Open Space Committee has already been appointed, Immorlica invites interested people to attend the group’s first meeting at Town Hall on Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.

The more citizen input, the better the group can represent the needs and wants of the town, she said.

For more information, call 673-9629.