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Land Use - News

Posted on: February 24, 2020

Greenwich Land Trust & Town of Greenwich partner to purchase over 72 acres of woodland from Aquarion

72 Acres of open space to be protected through a public-private partnership.  The partners not only include Greenwich Land Trust, it also includes Aquarion who has agreed to sell the property at below market value – a bargain sale.


Value of this property:

  • Big block of land
    • Ecological value associated with more land
  • Curb appeal
    • “rural” characteristic rated high in PoCD
  • Ecologically sensitive – development would have been particularly destructive
  • Connectivity to other open space
    • Ecologically important
    • Better user experience
  • Effort to protect this site 10 years ago suggested 7-14 lots were feasible
  • Aquarion was looking for $10M back then

Rules of acquisition

  • When water company wants to dispose of land it goes through an approval process with the CT Public Utilities Regulatory Authority – PURA.
  • Statutory hierarchy gives towns the first right of refusal for open space use – then land trusts, then state
  • Statutory incentive to water co. to preserve land to benefit shareholders
  • We are fortunate Aquarion was motivated to maximize return for shareholders
    • 90% preservation
    • Two lots @ 4 acres each
  • Statutory restrictions mandating open space-only is part of deed

The Deal

  • 100-acre parcel, class 3 lands
  • Land was valued at $6+M for 100 acres, including the three lots
    • Open Space value of $3M – $4.5
      • Appraised open space acreage value range - $26/ac. to $48/ac
        • $1.6M - $3M for 62 acres
        • At time of appraisals, only 62 acres was being offered as open space
      • Tax assessor values open space in this area at $30/ac
      • Lot value range - $1m – 1.5M
  • Negotiated a price of $2M
    • 8 Acres reserved for two lots off of Cherry Valley Road
    • 72 acres of open space
    • Important “donut hole” lot extinguished
      • Particularly important for user experience and ecological integrity of open space
  • GLT and Town will each pay $1M to Aquarion
    • GLT will own property
      • Maintenance responsibility
      • Best suited to take this on successfully
    • Town will have overlying easement
      • Should GLT close shop, land reverts to Town
    • For $14K per acre, the Town achieves open space goal and public gains access to 72 acres of connected open space


Appraisal Report M. Gold

Appraisal Report O. Neil

Appraisal Report REAA

Appraisal Report K. Fazio

Lake Avenue concept

Class 3 Lake Ave Parcel Area - GLT

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