For those of you who are interested in hiking, dog walking, bicycling and horseback riding in various parts of town, the preservation of the “Liberty Mutual” forest of 70 acres adjoining Hopkinton Area Land Trust’s Deer Run Sanctuary of 12 acres would be a much-enjoyed resource on the side of town closest to Ashland. With North and South Legacy Farms housing developments and already two commercial solar farms (off East Main Street and on Wilson Street), this area has great need for such a large forested parcel with trails, wildlife habitat and a lake. The Growth Study Committee has marked it in yellow for open space conservation.
As oxymoronic as it would seem, a solar company has plans to clear-cut the heart of it and dislocate the trails, natural streams and wildlife homes for yet another commercial solar farm. Residents from all parts of town have enjoyed these trails while owned by Liberty Mutual. Unfortunately, the buyers of the property will not negotiate a price of sale to the town. With residents and abutters alike crying aloud to save the forest, the only way to do this is to take it by eminent domain, whereby the Select Board would be authorized to take the property, and, completing the necessary steps to do so, the title would immediately rest with the town. A professional appraisal would determine a just price to the solar land owner. Present thought discourages cutting forests to fund the sunlight to operate solar energy.
Eminent domain has succeeded in Nantucket in conserving natural parcels from development, to leave resources for residents and wildlife. This is good planning. I urge Town Meeting to vote yes on Article 45.
— Ann Karnofsky, Hopkinton, chair of Save the Forest group
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