The Easton Board of Selectmen unanimously signed off on three restrictions designed to ensure that historic land near the center of town would always remain undeveloped.
Pending state approval, a conservation restriction will be placed on the 36-acre Governor Ames Estate. Additionally, there will be a conservation restriction on the abutting 15.8 acres of the Langwater Estate and a Historic Preservation Restriction on the Ames Gate Lodge and the 2.6 acres surrounding it. All three restrictions were approved by Selectmen this week.
The Trustees of Reservations, which recently acquired the Gov. Ames Estate, will fund the Langwater Estate conservation restriction. The Gate Lodge historic preservation restriction will be funded by Historic New England, a regional heritage organization.
The restrictions on the Langwater Estate and Gate Lodge, which are still owned by the Ames family, are "to protect the scenic quality of the land on both sides of Langwater Pond as viewed from the Governor Ames property," according to Trustees of Reservations Vice President for Land and Community Conservation Wesley Ward.
The Town of Easton will fund the conservation restriction for the Governor Ames Estate, which will be open for public use. At Town Meeting in May 2011, the town
Ward said there would be two areas on the land that will not fall under the umbrella of the conservation restriction. The areas will be reserved for wastewater discharge from the sewage treatment plant at the Shovel Shop renovation, which is currently under construction less than a mile from the Ames Estate.
"We’re very impressed with the preservation work at the village and we understand the need," Ward told Selectmen.
While the Langwater Estate will remain in the possession of the Ames family, Ward said the Trustees would be given an opportunity to buy the land if they ever decide to sell beyond the immediate family.
Additionally, Ward said the Ames would allow two tours per year at Langwater land and Gate Lodge.
"The Ames Gate Lodge and Langwater property will continue to be owned by the Oliver F. Ames family. Neither document will affect the private status of the Langwater property and Gate Lodge," Ward said in a statement. "While general public access is not permitted, two public tours of the restricted land and the Gate Lodge will be arranged annually by The Trustees and Historic New England."
Documentation will now be submitted for state approval.
"We’ve had tremendous cooperation from all the aspects of the town, particularly the chair of the board and the Town Administrator," Ward said. "It’s been a great pleasure to work with [Acting Planning Director] Stephanie Danielson, and the Conservation Commission and particularly the chair of the Community Preservation Committee [James Lee]."