By Alex McCurdy
Dear Board members:
I am writing to express my support for a full preservation effort by the Board of Selectmen to exercise the Town’s First Right of Refusal (FROR) to acquire the Couper Farm land.
In the years before (and since) I became a selectman in 2006, I have known this community to share a common planning goal in the preservation of its heritage farmland. Nothing is more intrinsic to the community we know as Littleton than this farming heritage. In every public forum, over many years, preservation of key farmlands and open space has been identified by the townspeople as essential to us retaining the “small town” feel so many residents came here for. Today’s reality is there are not many opportunities left to secure some of the heritage and iconic features of this community. This is precisely why, some time ago, the town formed a committee to seek ways of preserving one of our most iconic pieces of heritage lands, the Couper Farm land. This committee fell into inaction because we were told time and time again that the land was not for sale.
Now that its status has changed and it’s being offered to a developer, the time to act swiftly and decisively has come. I can think of no more important property than the Couper Farm. I believe public officials should recognize that there is a mandate, via public sentiment as expressed in all our recent planning initiatives and in prior surveys, to preserve key elements of our rural character. In addition to preserving one of the key pieces of land that identifies Littleton, this patchwork of fields is on the State highway with thousands of cars driving by a day has an aesthetic value and visual relief that has no equal.
Another matter I’d like to raise is the way by which the Couper Farm has become available for purchase. It is ethically perplexing and complicated that the spokesperson trustee for the Couper Estate has had a long-time and ongoing business relationship with the developer making the offer to purchase the Couper Farm and is at the same time a high-level public employee in Littleton. Continue reading