Andy Mack Sr. Open Space, In His Own Words

Much has been said about the need for a willing buyer and a willing seller when it comes to open space. As you read through our book published in Andy Mack Sr.’s own words you may be able to draw your own conclusions on if he was a willing seller. We do know that you will be fascinated by his vision, knowledge and wisdom. You may also learn a little more Londonderry History as you travel this road with an old Yankee farmer.

The Londonderry Conservation Commission had been in negotiation for both parcels, Mack’s U-Pick 4 located near Woodmont Orchards and Mack’s U-pick 3 located near the Historic Grange 44.

In a rush for a grant Cons-Com pushed forward the first “to protect those on Gilcrest Road” and indicated a “willing seller” was not available for the later. Community members indicated on this news site a majority interested in the land near the grange. In a vote of 3-2 the Town Council approved

For more information on the process read;

Town Council will Vote to Preserve 24 acres

and this letter to the editor on the issue, presently includes 40 comments.

Does Unelected Conservation Commission Overspend Taxpayer funds?

Notes re Moose Hill Orchards. Inc – Mack’s Apples to whomever it may concern June 2009

“Most of our Land – approx 300 acres has had its Development Rights (Conservation Easements) sold to the town. The farm has no option but to farm its land and manage its forests and swamps. We have given, with the dale of D.R., the right for public access non intensive recreation. That does not interfere with production of crops and/or business in general.” the introduction by Andy Mack Sr. in a 16 page letter published here at LondonderryNH.net in this online book.

To view this book it is best to “view full screen” by selecting the screen box in the lower left hand corner. Zoom in to read, zoom out to turn the page.

As it relates to the land near the Grange Andy Mack Sr. dreams in this book, “This holds the future of the farm in its acres, I believe. It presents itself as a totally unique site for future sales – cider mill, farm market – a jillion possibilities, Unique too in its potential to provide a meeting place – for the community. How this is to be done most effectively is not wholly clear – a Cider House Cafe, with some special area set aside for “townies”, “local yokels”, whatever, where one might bump into a neighbor (by chance or plan). Community – the town has churches and clubs and eating places, but no place to go, sit back with a cup of coffee, a piece of apple pie, and be comfortable, that you won’t be kicked out for falling asleep in your chair (which you may have provided yourself) or for talking politics for three hours.” He continues on about community and the Internet if you have not yet, please enjoy the flip book presently in beta testing.

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  1. Vote -1 Vote +1jim loiselle

    Take the time to read Andy’s missive, I have. It evokes images of Shangri-la and a utopian vision from 1880. Nothing wrong with that, I might like to live there myself. None of this is an issue or germane to the concerns at hand.

    Woodmont Orchards is no longer functioning as a farm. The chair of the ConComm has ownership interest in this Orchard. She as part of the committee has defined the process in place for the purchase of land for preservation.

    The issue is we continue to pay full price (and in many cases over paid), for land the town does not own. Buying the Mack parcel (correction easement) directly next to Woodmont orchard will potentially increase the value of that orchard – now read future home sites – and then read more potential profit to the owners of Woodmont. Some one please correct me if this observation is in error. We may even purchase parts of Woodmont (?)

    Why the members of town council continue to sherk their fiscal responsibility and ignore the apparent gross conflicts of interest is truly amazing. Also, potentially buying the Mack parcel in the center of town, correction – we are not buying the parcel – only an easement – at the FULL face value of the property will only continue the failed policy of over-paying for land – that we will never actually own. The farmer will continue to farm the land, making profit from the business, and someday actually then selling the land (of course not for the same value it is today) to another farmer. Nice deal all around to the farmer.

    The Town Council needs to step back and consider their fiscal responsibility to all the tax payers in town. No question that Mr. Mack by virtue of his inheritance of large land tracks has “opened” his land for specific community use. A big thank you all around. However, when it comes to the business of town (and that is what we are talking about) Mr. Mack has no more rights as a property owner than any other citizen. If he has a vision for his land let him build it himself or donate to the town. In no way does open space preservation relate to building a vision – even Andy’s.

    Minimally we need to stop the entire land purchase process. Note I did not say open-space preservation process. We need an independent (read no self-serving discussions from the ConComm) and thorough investigation of the actions of this committee and a discussion on a fair and equitable process of buying land. A process that is now out of control, harmful to the tax-payers, and fraught with potential conflicts of interest and for lack of a better term potential ‘insider trading’.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1Tom Freda

    The Conservation Commission draft minutes for its Regular Meeting and Public Hearing over the Mack Easement purchase from July 14, 2009 are now posted on the Town’s website.

    Per the minutes, Deb Lievens when asked why she was not recusing herself from chairing the meeting over the Mack Easement purchase replied that Town Manager Dave Caron told her that she did not have a “conflict of interest in this matter”.

    However, on the actual vote to recommend (again) that the Town Council move forward with the Mack Easement purchase, the minutes state that she abstained from that vote.

    Well, if according to the Town Manager she had no conflict, there was no reason for her to abstain.

    And since she did abstain on the vote to recommend the Mack Easement purchase to the Town Council, shouldn’t she also have abstained from the discussion and vote to release the non-public minutes concerning the same Mack Easement from May 26 and June 9, where she voted yes to not release these minutes.

    Back in 2007, the Town Council noted the following: “It is further noted that Ms. Lievens has been extremely diligent and conscientious in removing herself from any ConsCom discussions regarding any potential or perceived conflicts of interest between her role on the Conservation Commission and her affiliation with Woodmont Orchards. During non-public sessions on this topic, Ms. Lievens recuses herself and actually leaves the building”.

    Since her affiliation with Woodmont hasn’t changed, aren’t the taxpayers entitled to know what else has changed from 2007 to 2009, that now permits someone with a potential or perceived conflict, (at least one where the individual feels the necessity that they must abstain from the vote) to participate in the selection, negotiation and sealing of records on a major public purchase. Isn’t this just further evidence that the current open space purchase process is broken and should not be allowed to continue.

    Isn’t it time for the Town Council to have full and complete answers before it approves this $900,000 expenditure of funds?

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1jim loiselle

    Tom you raise other questions. Why does the ConComm get to say when and if the minuetes it takes in private session are to remain private. What do they have to hide. Why does Mr. Farmer the TC rep on the ConComm want to make these minutes public – what does he have to hide. What does Mr. Brown the current TC-Chair have to hide. When will the other three members finally say enough is enough of this Brown-Famer circus. The TC controls this – what do they have to hide ??

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