When development strikes close to home, some might be tempted to throw up their hands and say, "there goes the neighborhood." Not Burton "Gene" Burton, who acted quickly and decisively to create two conservation easements, which will protect approximately 32 acres of land.
Gene and Marilyn Burton are abutters to Salisbury Farm, a 10-lot subdivision located on New London’s King Hill Road. The Burtons purchased four lots, accessible via Mock Turtle Lane, from the development. These properties, including Mock Turtle Lane, have been combined into a single conservation easement donation. Additionally, they have made a second donation of two lots that are located to the west of their farmhouse, which were already in their possession.
Gene Burton proudly identifies himself as a contributing member of the ASLPT. He points out, "New Hampshire is rapidly losing lands to development. If we like things the way that they are now, we may want to do more of this.
Subdivided properties are usually more costly than those that are unimproved, which makes Burton’s action all the more laudable. Karen Ebel, chair of the New London Planning Board, comments, "It is very infrequent for someone to purchase part of a subdivision and then to make a conservation easement donation of it." The Planning Board approved the annexation of the subdivided parcels to Burton’s existing property.
ASLPT Trustee Pierre Bedard concurs with Ebel’s assessment. "We’ve had several instances where donors have purchased adjoining properties, but this is unique because it’s already been subdivided into house lots. Here’s a recent subdivision that’s being ‘unsubdivided,’ if you will," says Bedard. "Burton has put back the pieces of the original farm as much as he can."
Ruth White, a member of the New London Conservation Commission, lives across the street from the Burtons. An avid watcher of wildlife, she has observed many species on the Burtons’ land, including bear, moose, deer, and turkey. Coyote and fox tracks have also been spotted. White explains that the properties constitute a significant "wildlife corridor." She elaborates, "It’s a connecting link between the Clark Pond and the Stoney Brook watersheds, and there would have been an impact on the animals if the properties were developed."
On November 19, 2015, the Burton property was transferred to Jesse and Allison Lewis.