Stonington selectmen question proposed Davis Farm acquisition

Stonington — The Board of Selectmen plans to meet with members of the Conservation Commission to get a better understanding of why the commission is recommending the town spend $200,000 from its open space fund to help preserve 168 acres of the Davis Farm in Pawcatuck.

The selectmen tabled a decision on allocating the money at its meeting Wednesday night after Selectwoman Glee McAnanly raised questions about the proposal, saying the commission’s one-paragraph request did not provide those answers.

“I have more questions than answers,” she said. “One paragraph does not tell us why they are recommending this.”

For example, McAnanly said she did not know if the property would be accessible to the public and if the protection ties in with recommendations in the soon-to-be completed update of the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development.

She also questioned why the Conservation Commission is recommending funding for the Davis Farm when it did not support funding for the acquisition of the Coogan Farm by the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, which she said was also a preservation project.

The Coogan Farm project is centered around giving the public access to its land, trails and homestead.

Two months ago, a Mystic resident complained to selectmen that two members of the Conservation Commission, Stuart Cole and Ben Baldwin, voted to recommend the town give the money to the Stonington Land Trust to preserve the Davis Farm even though they are both members of the land trust.

Conservation Commission Chairman Stanton Simm, the land trust’s executive director, did not participate in the vote.

As of May, the land trust had raised $800,000 of the $2 million it needs for the acquisition. The town has $384,000 in the open space fund.


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