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The original item was published from 10/5/2023 11:33:02 AM to 10/10/2023 10:05:00 PM.

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Posted on: October 5, 2023

[ARCHIVED] TOWN OF ENFIELD CONSERVATION COMMISSION HOSTS OPEN HOUSE TO HELP HOMEOWNERS FILE FOR OPEN SPACE STAT

The Town of Enfield Town Council recently adopted the Public Act (PA) 490 open space classification to provide landowners with an option to protect their undeveloped land and as a temporary preservation of open space property. This classification does not permanently protect the property, but it is a valuable tool to help reduce the tax burden on open space parcels that do not meet the PA 490 farmland or forest land classification.

 “This is a long time coming for Enfield,” said Mayor Bob Cressotti. “This issue has been discussed for years, and I am glad that we have finally, formally, adopted the Ordinance which is going to allow people to preserve portions of their properties as open space, while enjoying a break on their taxes.”

 “It’s really important that people come to this information hearing,” said Council Minority Leader Ken Nelson. “We can create the programs to help with tax relief, but the residents have to take advantage of them and be their own best advocates.”

 To encourage eligible Enfield landowners to apply before the October 31st deadline, the Conservation Commission is holding a Workshop meeting on Tuesday, October 10, at 7pm, to assist interested landowners in learning more about the program and whether they are eligible to apply. M-30 application forms will be available for Enfield residents to apply on the spot, and the Assessor will provide an overview of the program. Members of the Conservation Commission will be able to show parcel maps using the Town’s GIS and NearMap technology. The meeting will be held at the Town Hall, in the Scitico Room (first floor). The meeting is open to the public. 

 “The Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development has identified the entire Town as an eligible area for open space designations,” said Bill Cote, chair of the Conservation Committee. “The property must also be unimproved and vacant; and must meet one of the following minimum area requirements:

  1. A single parcel must have at least three acres of excess land; or 
  2. Multiple parcels must be owned by the same owner and must consist of contiguous parcels, totaling at least three preservable acres in its natural state; or 
  3. A single parcel that is less than three acres may be eligible provided that it abuts Town-owned or State-owned open space, parks, or riverfront property. 

"For individual property owners seeking PA 490 Open Space classification, open space shall be any site or area of undeveloped land equal to 3 acres or more. Undeveloped land means land without buildings, roads, driveways, or other permanent structures or activities,” said Karen LaPlante, vice chair of the Conservation Commission. “We hope property owners come talk to us so we can help explain the program and the valuation language so they understand the fac that the land that receives Open Space Classification shall have an assessed value set at fifty percent (50%) of the excess acreage value set at the time of revaluation, and to help them fill out the forms.”

 Applications are accepted from September 1st to October 31st. To see the M-30 application that residents would need to complete and return to the Assessor’s Office, please click here: https://www.enfield-ct.gov/DocumentCenter/View/23533/Open-Space-Application-M30

  Information on Open Space:

 The State of Connecticut’s General Statutes (12-107a) states that it is in the public interest to encourage the preservation of farm land, forest land, and open space land in order to maintain a readily available source of food and farm products close to the metropolitan areas of the state, to conserve the state’s natural resources, and to provide for the welfare and happiness of the inhabitants of the state and that it is in the public interest to prevent the forced conversion of farm land, forest land, and open space to more intensive uses as the result of economic pressures caused by the assessment thereof for purposes of property taxation at values incompatible with their preservation as such farm land, forest land and open space. In 1963, the Public Act 490 was enacted to allow assessment on farm, forest, or open space land to be based on its current use rather than market value.

 The term “open space land” means any area of land whereby the preservation or restriction of the use would 1) maintain and enhance the conservation of natural or scenic resources, 2) protect natural streams or water supply, 3) promote conservation of soils, wetlands, beaches or tidal marshes, 4) enhance the value to the public of abutting or neighboring parks, forests, wildlife preserves, nature reservations or sanctuaries or other open spaces, 5) enhance public recreation opportunities, 6) preserve historic sites, or 7) promote orderly urban or suburban development.

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