Open Space Preservation Commission – Did You Know?
The Open Space Preservation Commission is a five member board appointed by the Board of Selectmen. Members include representatives from the Board of Selectmen, Conservation Commission, the Planning Board and two At-Large seats. Vacancies are typically posted on the HopNotices board. The Commission typically meets every first Thursday of the month. Check the town calendar for exact dates, times and locations.
The Open Space Preservation Commission was authorized by Town Meeting in 1998, and was approved by the State Legislature (becoming the first of its kind) in 1999. The commission members are appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The commission’s goal is to acquire and protect land from development, to help preserve the rural character of Hopkinton. The commission evaluates undeveloped land, ranking parcels according to several criteria: overall size, wildlife habitat, plant species, watershed protection, recreation potential and proximity to other protected land. The development potential also is evaluated, in order to assess the value of the land, as well as the costs of town services if it is developed.
Most of the funding for land purchases now comes from the Community Preservation Commission fund; additional funds come from rollback taxes from the sale of land classified under Chapter 61, fines imposed for violations of the open space bylaw and the sale of town-owned land. The commission also can accept gifts of land and money from individuals and non-profit organizations.
The Open Space Preservation Commission purchased its first land in 2000 – a 120-acre parcel near Lake Whitehall known as the Cameron property. This wooded land abuts 112 acres of conservation land and nearly 80 acres of land protected under Chapter 61. In addition, there are more than 500 acres of other protected land nearby. The property includes several streams and ponds and abundant wildlife. Its trails are used by hikers and horseback riders. In the near future, there will be a public access road and small parking area; the trails will be improved and clearly marked. Hopkinton Girl Scout Troop 2245 is working with the OSPC to clearly mark and color code a number of trails through this property.
The Open Space Commission, working in part under a grant from the Wharton Trust, has completed the first-ever Hopkinton Trails Guide. This is a living document, with updates and enhancements to the Guide as they become available.
Conservation Commission Office
John Ferrari, Chair 2017-18
How to Get on the Open Space Preservation Commission:
Apply online: http://www.hopkintonma.gov/home/about/hug