We are urging everyone to attend this important meeting about the Wood Lot.
The Coalition to Protect Natural Plymouth, through its Save the Wood Lot Ad Hoc Committee shared this letter with us:
***Beginning of Letter***
I would like to share some information with you regarding the County Woodlot, the 106-acre parcel of forest and meadow behind your sub-division.
The zoning consists of 20 acres of Light Industrial at the northern end on which the County Commissioners have installed a cell tower and attempted to develop a fire fighting training facility that never got off the ground.
In 2010, the County entered into a deal with a local businessman for $345,000 that granted him the right to remove the sand and gravel from the site. After our court challenge, I’m sorry to say that several acres of the forest have been cleared and sand and gravel mining operation has begun in the County Woodlot.
The remaining 86 acres in the southern portion, below the powerline right-of-way, are zoned Rural Residential and abuts the Tall Pines community and Town conservation land.
This year, the Commissioners made purchases of two lots adjacent to the County Woodlot for $675,000 that has given the County additional access to the property. Such access makes it more likely the County will seek to further develop the Woodlot.
We anticipate that in the coming weeks the commissioners will take under advisement the findings of a seven-member committee that has been charged with determining what is the highest and best use for this land.
This could include selling the land to the highest-bidding developer and/or allowing further sand and gravel mining or other industrial uses to occur.
I’d like to encourage you to attend the meetings of the County Woodlot Wood Lot Land Use Sub-Committee and show them that you care about the land near your home. The next meeting is November 15, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at the Plymouth County Administration Building, 44 Obery Street, Plymouth, MA.
You can find postings of the Woodlot Subcommittee meetings on the County’s website at plymouthcountyma.gov. Please check this site for last minute cancellations.
More information about the Woodlot is available Online at https://savethecountywoodlot.com/.
You may direct questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sharl Heller, 204 Long Pond Road, Plymouth, MA 02360
The County Woodlot lies within the Massachusetts Natural Heritage BioMap2 data layer for “Core Habitat.” Other data layers show that the Woodlot is marked “Critical Natural Landscape” and is covered by the data layer “Physical Resources” as a “Sole Source Aquifer” recharge area.
Deeded to the County in 1917 for the “Inhabitants of Plymouth County” as a woodlot for public use, the residents of Plymouth have had free and unfettered access to the Woodlot for wood gathering, hunting and recreation.
Beginning in 2008 the County Commissioners have eyed the Woodlot as a source of revenue to cover budget shortfalls. Most recently the forested land in northern portion was scraped and a sand and gravel mining operation is currently in operation where once some of the most beautiful forest on the property existed.
An on-the-ground ecological assessment of the County Woodlot is needed to understand the full value of the County Woodlot as a recreational and natural resource.
Please take the time to attend the County Woodlot Subcommittee meetings and express your thoughts on the highest and best use of the property in your neighborhood.
****End of Letter****
The County Commissioners like to play games with the Open Meeting Law, and instead of posting meetings well in advance, they do the bare minimum posting only 48 hours before the meeting. Naturally, this prevents the public from knowing about the meeting until almost the last minute. It forces the public to constantly check the County website for the meeting notice to find out when it might be.
It makes it almost impossible for anyone to actually attend the County’s meetings, including the Wood Lot meetings, because it’s practically impossible to find out in advance when they are. This, of course, is exactly how the Commissioners like things — keeping the public in the dark and instead of embracing open government, doing everything they can to sidestep the law.
We will do our best to inform the public of the Wood Lot meetings, since so much is at stake for this wonderful property located in the heart of the Plymouth Pine Barrens. Despite the County’s outrageous shell games, dishonesty, and blatant disregard for the public’s interest, we will continue to push for transparency.