Saturday, June 26, 2010

Protecting land around Hawksnest

Land around Hawksnest State Park:
pink=State ownership
green=Town conservation
light green=Harwich Conservation Trust
brown=unknown owner
blue=Harwich water (not well protected)
gray photo=private ownership

Hawksnest is an incomplete state park...

There are two parcels on the shore of Hawksnest Pond still in private hands, and undeveloped land on the borders of the park is gradually being developed.  There are tentative plans for a golf course on undeveloped land to the SE of the park. 

There are numerous reasons to protect land around Hawksnest--including habitat for wildlife, protection of several endangered species of damselfly, protection of the groundwater that feeds the pond from comtamination for septic systems, and finally protection of the Harwich water supply.   Hawksnest is within the area that feeds water to town wells.

Here are ways you can help protect Hawksnest park, from the Harwich website:

1.Land donation: Landowners can obtain tax incentives in exchange for donating land to wellfield or wellhead protection use.

2.Conservation restriction: Property remains in private hands, but owner agrees not to develop all or part of it in order to protect water quality. Cape towns will lower property taxes on the land under restriction. Also useful for income tax deductions and estate planning.

3.Charitable sale: Seller agrees to take less money than the appraised market price for the land in exchange for tax deductions.

4.Reserved life estate: An owner continues to live on the property, while conveying the title to a water purveyor or other conservation entity. Income tax deductions accrue to owner, depending on how much longer they can be expected to enjoy use of the property.

5.Current use assessment: An owner of five acres or more enrolls each year with town, promising to keep the land in its natural or cultivated condition, rather than develop it. Property taxes are reduced significantly and the town acquires the right to buy the property if sold for other uses.

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