Land Bank acreage, revenue was up in 2005
New purchases added 204 acres
The Martha's Vineyard Land Bank purchased 204 acres at a cost of $22.5 million and received $12.6 million in transfer fees last year, according to the agency's 2005 annual report.
It was a good year for the public land conservation agency that has purchased 2,614 acres for public use and enjoyment since voters created it in 1986.
After expenses and debt service the Land Bank ended the year with $6.8 million in surplus revenues available for new purchases, $2.9 million more than was projected in the 2005 budget. The Land Bank is funded by a two-percent fee on real estate transactions.
"The Land Bank continues to be grateful that sellers are willing to sell their properties into conservation and add to our nice network of public lands," said James Lengyel, Land Bank executive director. "The Land Bank will be opening up more public properties soon and I expect that Islanders will enjoy visiting them very much."
The Land Bank 's most expensive and single largest land purchase ever was 190 acres in Oak Bluffs formerly owned by Corey Kupersmith, the would-be developer of the Down Island Golf Club.
The Southern Woodlands Preservation, as it is now called, set the Land Bank back $18.6 million and ended a bitter political battle over the fate of several parcels of land that once included a public campground.
The new Toad Rock Preserve off Moshup Trail in Aquinnah is a small property with a big view distinguished by a boulder that figures in the cultural history of the Wampanoag Tribe and is said to resemble a toad. The 2.8-acre property, purchased at a cost of $600,000, provides a view of Nomans Land island and the ocean.
The Land Bank also added to its existing holdings across the Island last year: 4.1 acres ($172,500) to the Gay Head Moraine bringing that property to 94 acres; 3.2 acres ($2,950,000) to the Three Ponds Reservation on Chappaquiddick; and 4 acres ($193,235) to the now 89.1-acre Wapatequa Woods Preserve in West Tisbury.
In addition to land purchases the Land Bank opened the Cross-Chappaquiddick Trail and continued work on a revised management plan and study of Ice House Pond in West Tisbury.
Administrative expenses accounted for 3.25 percent, or $384,028 of the land bank's 2005 budget. The Land Bank spent $473,232 for land management and $4,102,191 or 35 percent of the budget on debt service to pay of the cost of previously purchased properties.
According to the year-end report, as of Dec. 31, 2005 the Land Bank treasury contained $13 million and the agency was in active negotiations to purchase various properties whose aggregate value exceeds $67,500,000.
Land Bank purchases and management plans are approved jointly by the local Land Bank advisory board, made up of appointed members in each town, and the elected Land Bank commission.
The elected Land Bank commissioners are: Michael Stutz, Aquinnah; Pamela Goff, Chilmark; Glenn Hearn, West Tisbury; Thomas Robinson, Tisbury; Priscilla Sylvia, Oak Bluffs; and Edward Vincent, Jr., Edgartown. Edith Potter of Edgartown is a state-appointed member of the commission.