Land Appropriate for Acquisition as Open Space
The 2020 Open Space Plan (PDF), generally guiding the Open Space Commission's land acquisition goals, does not identify specific parcels of land that may be desirable for town open space.
The reason is that such identification may adversely affect negotiation and price for the acquisitions, affect the marketability of properties, or otherwise impair the town's negotiation position.
The Open Space Commission is cognizant of the requirements of Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") and will generally weigh price negotiations and contract material terms for specific properties in executive session as permitted by the FOIA.
In consideration of the 2020 Open Space Plan, the Town Plan of Conservation and Development, and the Connecticut Green Plan, the Open Space Commission lists the following criteria to be considered in recommending land for future acquisition. Properties that meet multiple criteria are more likely to be recommended to the Board of Selectmen for acquisition.
Property adjacent to or in close proximity to existing town open space properties; to Old Lyme Land Trust preserves; or to other conserved land that will meet the Commission's goal of building large, unfragmented greenways and forest blocks and advance the goal of a town-wide trail system.
Parcels that provide refuge to wildlife fauna and flora; serve as natural strongholds in the event of drought, flood and other disturbances; and that can facilitate adaptation by both wildlife and humans, are said to be "resilient." Resilient property can particularly help mitigate climate change. Components of resilient land include complexity/geodiversity and connectivity.
Associated with resilience, property that protects wildlife, with special emphasis on habitat that supports endangered or threatened species as identified in the State of Connecticut's Wildlife Action Plan. Properties may, per their physical characteristics, be designated to preserve nature as "forever wild" sanctuaries.
Property that protects surface and sub-surface natural and drinking water, including wetlands, sources of rivers and streams, ponds, vernal pools, aquifers and drainage systems. The Green Plan gives priority to the acquisition of lands that protect high-quality natural waters and drinking water resources.
Article V, § 219-42, of the town's subdivision regulations explicitly mentions open space needs such as "preservation of natural resources such as, but not limited to, unusual topography, wetlands, aquifers, agricultural land, wildlife habitat, visual corridors and vistas."
Property that offers opportunities for active and passive outdoor recreation and education.
Property that is important for coastal preservation and/or provides access to the shoreline and tidal waters for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, crabbing and other water related activities.
Scenic / Special Features
Property with unique and significant features such as vistas, or visual corridors to provide the same, ridgeline conservation, caves, steep slopes or other unusual or rare topography should be considered for preservation.
Property that offers historical or archeological significance that also meets important open space acquisition criteria.
Land eligible for state grants or other non-municipal funding according to grantor guidelines and that also meets important open space acquisition criteria.
Desirable land that is available at reasonable cost, as determined by professional appraisals, with title and ownership free of potentially adverse issues.
Land that will not subject the town to excessive maintenance or carrying costs, such as the inspection