Much of Pimpneymouse Farm set aside for conservation

Chappaquiddick property will be used for public recreation.

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Salt marshes are an important habitat that's a part of the Pimpneymouse Farm lots. —Courtesy of MVC

A Chappaquiddick property will be used for public recreation.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission unanimously approved a plan Thursday to preserve 171 acres of land at the historic Pimpneymouse Farm on Chappaquiddick for conservation and public recreation.

Two conservation groups, the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, will each purchase and manage different parts of the property. The Land Bank will lease additional acreage for farming, but has not determined how much. 

The 221-acre coastal farm dates back nearly a century, and was the subject of the 2010 book “The Last Farm on Chappaquiddick,” by the late owner Edith (“Edo”) Potter, an early conservation leader on the Vineyard. 

Adam Moore, the head of Sheriff’s Meadow, said the two conservation groups have signed a contract to pay nearly $14 million for the 171 acres. 

Sheriff’s Meadow will purchase 84 acres for $5.78 million, and the Land Bank will buy 87 acres for $8 million. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has awarded a $1.25 million grant to help with the purchase.

In addition to the conservation land, two lots on Litchfield Road, each about half an acre, will be donated to an affordable housing group, although none has been chosen yet. 

The rest of the farm will remain with the Potter and Slater families, who are relatives of Edith Potter, who died in 2018. They intend to reduce the number of lots where buildings can be built from six to two. They will also protect nine acres abutting Cape Poge. 

Moore said fundraising is underway, but the purchase should be completed by year’s end. He said he hopes to open the Sheriff’s Meadow portion to the public within a year after that. 

James Lengyel, the Land Bank executive director, said it would take at least a year for the Land Bank portion to be ready for public use. 

He said the organization needs to inventory species on the property, and then develop a management plan. The plan would require review by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission and the Edgartown Land Bank advisory board, an often lengthy process.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Pimpneymouse Farm is a wonderful piece to preserve. However, and this is a big however, how many working island families could be housed for what they just spent on this project?

  2. The property they’re donating/selling is worth a lot more, more than $100m, and could instead be sold to someone who won’t change anything about it so there won’t be any environmental effect. If they really want to give it away, then sell it and give the $100m to the Mother Teresa charities, or any number of good charities. Or keep the $100m and be rich forever. All the transaction does is eliminate value without any corresponding gain for anyone, except for the land banks which gain tremendous wealth. And then what will the land banks do with all that wealth, given human nature they’ll wind up doing something which the donors never envisaged. If no-one wants the property to ever be built upon, that’s fine, but don’t complain about the lack of housing in MVY.

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