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Hanover announces deal for land along Greensboro Road

  • The Town of Hanover is working with Trust for Public Land to raise money to turn a 250-acre parcel on Greensboro Road once eyed for housing into a town forest. (Town of Hanover)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 4/30/2020 9:36:36 PM
Modified: 4/30/2020 9:36:29 PM

HANOVER — Town officials are working with two conservation groups to turn 250 acres of woods and old farmland along both sides of Greensboro Road into a town forest, removing a development threat that Hanover residents have opposed for 15 years.

The Trust for Public Land has reached an agreement with the Leavitt family to buy the land, which crosses Mink Brook and includes a brick farmhouse from 1850, for almost $2.2 million, and then would convey the property to the town, which would call it Mink Brook Community Forest, according to a news release from the town and nonprofits on Thursday.

The Trust for Public Land, assisted by the Hanover Conservancy, must raise the money by next January, and overall project costs are pegged at $2.5 million. The news release said an anonymous donor has pledged $500,000 toward the purchase, and that it has also been approved for a $600,000 community forest program grant from the U.S. Forest Service. The deal also hinges on the town of Hanover providing $500,000 in matching funds, which will require approval from the Selectboard, Conservation Commission, and voters at Town Meeting, according to the release.

“This forest will serve as a key piece of the long-term vision to complete a greenbelt around downtown Hanover with new trail connections, a buffer for the Appalachian Trail, and a movement corridor for wildlife,” J.T. Horn, the Trust for Public Land project manager, said in the release.

Adair Mulligan of the Hanover Conservancy said her group has placed a priority on protecting the Mink Brook watershed and described the property as “beautiful and ecologically valuable lands.”

As part of the plan, the farmhouse would be sold on a small lot to help finance the overall project, and a separate 3 acres could be used by the town to build “a small cluster of affordable cottage-style homes targeted to new homeowners,” the release said.

Siblings James Leavitt and Louise Parker in 2004 agreed to sell the property to Paragon Residential Group, a Connecticut developer who planned to build 45 single-family homes, 41 townhomes and a retirement community on the site. Hanover residents opposed to the plan managed to change the zoning, prompting several lawsuits from Paragon which were ultimately dropped in 2018, according to the news release.

The news release thanks the Leavitt family “for being a cooperative, willing seller for this ambitious community conservation project.” With housing in short supply in the Upper Valley, several developments are planned a couple of miles south on the Route 120 corridor, in Lebanon.

John P. Gregg can be reached at jgregg@vnews.com or 603-727-3217.




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