There’s controversy about a historic plot of land in Farmington as residents fight to preserve what they call a “historic” field.
It’s only three and a half acres, but the possibility of losing the field has prompted area homeowners to create their own website and take-on town council. The more or less square plot of land sits behind several Farmington homes.
It’s a field that’s stood untouched for decades, but the death of the property owner has spurred interest in new life for the plot – possibly a housing development.
“Open space is really important. It’s here for just so long and then they develop it once and then it’s gone forever,” says resident Mike Lecours.
His property sits adjacent to the field, and he admits that his quest to save the land began for personal reasons – a “not in my backyard” sort of protest.
But Lecours says that in the past several months about 200 residents have joined him in pushing for preservation, even starting a site called save-the-field.com.
“It started off as a local issue, but as we learned more and more about the environmental impacts of this, and the historical components of this, it’s just grown into being such a huge issue for the whole town,” says Lecours.
Lecours wants the town to purchase the plot and keep it as open space, but the town has instead decided not to purchase the property, leaving the door open for another buyer – a private developer. If the property is sold to the developer, preliminary drawings indicate they would build four homes in the field, as well as an access road.
Lecours and several open-space supporters spoke at Tuesday night’s town council meeting, urging council members to reconsider.
Both the Farmington Land Trust and Farmington Historical Society have chimed in – also requesting preservation. They say the property was once owned by Deacon Calvin Hatch, the 1st schoolmaster of the historic “Old Stone School House” down the road.
Whether it’s maintaining the biodiversity of the property, or the history, area home owners want the field to stay.
Town council chair, Nancy Nickerson, heard their voices during public comment Tuesday night.
“I think after listening to the comments tonight and hearing from people and what’s happened over the past month, which things have changed… but I don’t know what the council’s decision will be… if there will be a change in the decision or not but I think this really has an impact on the council,” says Nickerson.
While the council’s already decided not to buy, it’s not too late to reverse field, and preserve both the site and the dreams of its admirers proponents.
“Just two weeks ago the town overwhelmingly voted to allocate 3 and a half million dollars for open-space acquisition, for properties just like this, so it comes as a bit of a surprise when now the town council is saying, no, we’re not interested,” says Lecours.
Fox CT wasn’t provided with an official value for the property but residents speculated a $200,000 to $400,000 price tag – well below the $3.5 Million mentioned by Lecours.
The situation remains fluid and it’s up to the executor of the estate of the deceased homeowner to decide who to sell to, but they can only sell to the town if the town wishes to buy.