Open Space
Goals and Criteria
Due to increased and ongoing development pressure in Scituate, the preservation of open space is becoming increasingly important. With property values rising in recent years, the acquisition of open space has become increasingly difficult and urgent. The CPA is a proactive tool for the community to preserve our quality of life, the purity of our water, control property taxes and find a balance between economic development and preservation.

The CPC solicits input from the Town’s Open Space Committee, Conservation Commission, Recreation Commission, as well as other Town boards, committees and the public, in identifying goals for open space protection, which include:

Goal 1:
Protecting aquifer and aquifer recharge areas to preserve quality and quantity of future water supply.
Goal 2:
Balancing open space with development demand to reduce service demands and tax burden on the Town.
Goal 3:
Increasing the Town’s ability to protect environmentally sensitive, historic and culturally significant properties.
Goal 4:
Improving public access and trail linkages to existing conservation, recreational and other land uses.
Goal 5:
Protecting rare, unique and endangered wildlife habitat.
Goal 6:
Preserving the Town’s rural character.
Goal 7:
Utilizing open space protection strategies (purchasing development rights as an option to outright purchases of property) that maximize protection at the lowest public cost.
Goal 8:
Enhancing the quality and variety of passive and active recreational opportunities for all age groups and abilities.

The following are examples of the types of open space (and recreation) projects that the CPC might consider funding:

Purchasing land or interest in land (development rights) to protect public drinking water supply, preserve natural resources, maintain scenic views, build green belts and trail systems, and enhance active and passive recreational opportunities.
Purchasing community-enhancing green space outright or purchasing development rights through mechanisms such as permanent conservation restrictions or agricultural preservation restrictions.
Matching or augmenting funds available under various land trust or conservation programs.
Exercising rights of first refusal when lands are removed from temporary agricultural and forest land restrictions (e.g., Chapter 61, 61A).
Securing parcels of land that, when preserved, are deemed to have a significantly positive net fiscal impact on town finances.