Under Article 97 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, land protected for conservation purposes requires a two-thirds vote of the State Legislature, and in the case of town-owned land, the approval of a majority of voters in the town, to change the conservation status of the land.
In Massachusetts towns, only 10 signatures are required on a petition to insert an article into the warrant for an annual town meeting.
Furthermore, many towns own undeveloped, vacant land designated as general purpose, without necessarily an intended purpose for these parcels–many are located in wetlands, are very small, or are otherwise unappealing to land developers.
“To see if a town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to transfer the care, custody and control of a parcel of land to their Conservation Commission” seems like a no-brainer next to line items for budget appropriations and tax hikes.
The idea of this project is to generate a candidate list of vacant, town-owned land within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that contains wetlands or is adjacent to land already designated protected open space, ranking by size and proximity to natural resources, and to provide practical lesson plans containing customized local data to Educators, Students, and Conservation Activists statewide.