Land buy petition

OK'd for warrant

AMHERST – Selectmen won’t be the ones deciding whether to buy 104 acres of open space for conservation.

On Monday afternoon, resident Bonnie Knott filed a petition warrant article to put the issue of the purchase in voters’ hands.

On Tuesday the supervisors of the checklist confirmed that Knott had signatures from 50 registered voters – enough to make the petition valid.

Now, the issue will be decided at Town Meeting in March.

The town’s Open Space Advisory Committee is recommending that the town buy the land, which straddles the Bedford line, from resident Gertrude W. Martin for $1.89 million.

That was the land’s market value as of Sept. 1.

Sixty-seven acres are in Amherst and the other 37 are in Bedford.

Knott filed the petition because she wanted the decision to be as democratic as possible. “It’s a lot of money all the voters should have their say,” Knott said.

In 2005, selectmen were given the authority to bond $5.5 million for open space and so far selectmen have only spent $300,000.