Why is BCT selling a parcel to the Town?

BCT - Ellis trail sketch for Hal Oct 2017

Some people have asked why BCT would sell a piece of recently purchased land on Paine’s Creek Road to the Town for off-site parking for Paine’s Creek Landing.  The bottom line is that we are protecting some conservation land, providing a trailhead for a path that will access conservation land overlooking the marsh, and accommodating a part of the Town’s coastal adaptation strategy. Here’s some background information.

In 1996 BCT purchased a 9 acre marsh-front property that comes down to Paine’s Creek.  While a lovely and environmentally important parcel, it did not provide us with clear or practical access from Paine’s Creek Road. Access would allow us to put a small trail on the property and easily conduct our annual monitoring.  The most logical access would have been through the abutting one acre Ellis property.  In 2000, the small house on that property was abandoned and the property fell into tax taking. We tracked the tax taking process, hoping eventually that either BCT or the Town would acquire it.  In 2015, an outside party paid off the back taxes and the court allowed a sale of the land from representatives of the estate of Albiel Ellis. It came on the market for $375,000, a price which is far higher than what BCT typically pays for conservation land.

A few years prior, parking at Paine’s Creek had been reduced because the landing had sustained substantial storm damage. The Town began to look at retreat options away from the extensive beach access configuration at the mouth of Paine’s Creek.

In view of the BCT and Town’s mutual interest in the property, and because BCT could act quickly to purchase it, BCT submitted an offer of $330,000 shortly after the property came on the market. The offer was accepted.   After the sale, BCT removed the dilapidated house and septic system.

Also during that period, the Town was developing a coastal adaptation strategy, including enhancing public access to Brewster’s public beaches. The Trust decided to wait until that process was completed before pursuing discussions with the Town about the use of the parcel. The coastal strategy was approved in early 2017 and recommended alternatives to beach front parking, including satellite parking, shuttles, and pedestrian and bike access. Public survey results also indicated that Paine’s Creek was one of Brewster’s most popular landings. With this information, BCT felt that offering the property for sale to the town was consistent with the strategy.

BCT proposed to sell the one acre parcel to the town for $195,000 with conditions that would protect our interest in the property through a conservation restriction. Specifically, the conditions include:

  1. BCT retains the right to establish a trail head on the property and use the town parking lot for access to the trail.
  2. No structures could be built on the property, there would be a buffer on the northern side of the property to protect the neighboring home and a deep buffer on the west to protect the BCT conservation land.
  3. The parking area would be limited to the disturbed area where the abandoned house and septic system had been removed.

With these conditions, BCT feels that we can establish the public trail, protect the neighbor and the sensitive conservation land, and accommodate the Town’s need to provide off-site parking for Paine’s Creek Landing.

To learn more about the Paine’s Creek Rd. purchase you can attend the discussion tomorrow, Thursday, November 9th from 6-7:30 pm at the First Parish Brewster UU, Parish Room on Main Street, Brewster.    Click here for Town Website listing.

On November 12, Town Meeting will decide whether or not to approve funding for the purchase of this parcel.


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