Letter: Land trust will be vigilant on Cumberland property

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In the ongoing conversation about the Payson/Broad Cove property in Cumberland, it’s important to remember three important points.

First, unlike all other conservation easements the Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust holds, the easement written by Marion Payson and her lawyer allows for development and reserves significant landowner rights. The Payson heirs’ decision to sell the family land to a developer has resulted in consequences that they may not have intended, but are allowed based on the terms of Marion Payson’s easement; the property has changed from a one-owner estate to a major subdivision with 10 owners and Town Reserve.

Second, the sale and development of the property has resulted in increased monitoring and enforcement responsibility for CCLT, which we are fully capable of exercising. We take this duty seriously. We’ve hired natural resource and legal conservation professionals and consulted with other experts. Our stewardship team is monitoring the property at least weekly. We’ve issued easement violation notices to the developer and the town and required a remediation plan. We recommended a citizen committee draft a property management plan, which was just adopted by the Town Council.

Third, the town submitted its proposed parking and access plans and we are carefully reviewing them for approval, rejection and required conditions, based upon adherence to the easement’s terms. We recognize that change is hard, but regardless of the landowner, CCLT will continue to vigilantly enforce the easement terms and monitor activities over the long term to protect the beauty and natural resources of this special property.

Penny Asherman, president
Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust