Update: Voters approve Keiser easement purchase

photos by Daryl Hawk

Wilton voters approved a conservation easement with 733 “yes” votes and 141 “no” votes. The vote approves the purchase of a conservation easement for land known as the Keiser property.

The votes were cast after a Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 19, and an adjourned vote Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Clune Center. A total of 874 people voted, for a turnout of 7.6%.

Commenting on the results, First Selectman Bill Brennan said he was “delighted. An 84% “yes” vote says it all. In all, a great team effort by many citizens and officials over a long period of time that eventually paid off with the results that we all hoped to achieve for Wilton’s citizens of today and tomorrow!”

Pat Sesto, director of Wilton’s Department of Environmental Affairs, said, “I am so pleased the community sees the value of protected open space as an asset to the town, just as much as infrastructure, sports fields, or other improvements.  I am proud to have been part of this effort.”

The cost of the easement is $2.5 million. The Wilton Land Conservation Trust will contribute $300,000. Wilton taxpayers will pay $2.2 million through a 20-year bond.

Sandy Dennies, Wilton’s chief financial officer, said the town is planning the final bonding, to be done around Feb. 20.

The easement, however, is effectively final, Ms. Sesto said. “The only outstanding piece is finalizing the trail corridor,” she said in an email to The Bulletin. “This requires some field work to plot the trail around outcroppings, wet areas, etc.”

She must also produce a report that will establish existing conditions and will be used “in the future for benchmark references.” A closing should take place in four to six weeks.

The Keiser property encompasses about 39 acres on Cannon and Seeley roads. Although the Keiser family will still own the property, the easement will ensure conservation of the land in perpetuity. Agricultural uses and public access will be allowed.

Public access would include footpaths through the land.