Photo credit: Neil Ungerlider
Kamon Farm Drinking Water Supply Protection and Open Space Conservation Project
The Town of Ipswich partnered with Essex County Greenbelt Association and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation LAND Grant Program to protect 92.9 acres of land adjacent to Turkey Hill, the last unprotected and undeveloped hillside in Ipswich.
Kamon Farm located at 71 Pineswamp Road is a matrix of wetlands, hayfields, and wooded uplands located within both the Parker River and Ipswich River Watersheds. The property offers significant drinking water supply protection. More than half of the property protects and filters water flowing into the Bull Brook Reservoir and the Mile Lane Well.
The previous landowners had owned and farmed the land for 20 years, inherited from their family who farmed the land beginning in the 1950s and 1960s. The Perrys are thrilled to see the property conserved in perpetuity, and to have the legacy of the Kamon family live on in this new chapter of the property. The six parcels that once comprised the Kamon Realty Trust lands were appraised at $1.3 million in December of 2019. There are no residential buildings on the property, however, there are a few agricultural outbuildings.
The property is directly adjacent to Town owned properties and provides natural flood storage in both the Parker River Watershed and the Ipswich River Watershed. The natural filtration processes on site protect and improve water quality downstream, including in Bull Brook Reservoir. Maintaining the property’s natural and working agricultural lands will allow it to continue to be a natural carbon sink, absorbing excess CO2 from the air. Kamon Farm also boasts extraordinary hiking trails, hillside vistas, and quiet respite. Acquisition of this property has created a trail connection to the Town-owned Turkey Hill Conservation Area through established trails on adjacent privately owned conservation parcels. There is significant wildlife habitat in the wetlands associated with Kimball Brook, as well as throughout the wooded boundary areas of the property.
Greenbelt owns the land subject to a Town-held Conservation Restriction, and will steward and maintain the property. The Town’s responsibilities will be limited to routine monitoring of the property under the terms of the Conservation Restriction, and coordinating with Greenbelt on public access. There is public parking onsite adjacent to Pineswamp Road, and the passive recreational trail access is through designated areas of the property, allowing for the agricultural haying operations to continue without interruption.
The closing on the property occurred in August, 2021. Funding from the Open Space Bond Authorization was approved by Town Meeting in October, 2020 and the State LAND Grant was successfully awarded to the Town in November 2020. Greenbelt privately raised funds for their portion of the project.
- Total land acquisition cost: $1.15 million. Property valued at $1.3 million, resulting in cost savings of $150,000.
- $400,000 LAND Grant received by the Town from the State Executive Office of Environmental Affairs in March, 2021
- $400,000 contributed at closing in August, 2021 from Essex County Greenbelt Association private fundraising, who will assume all long term stewardship costs as fee owner of the property.
Cost to the Town:
- $350,000 from the Town's Open Space Bond, to hold a permanent conservation restriction (CR) on the property and assume responsibility for routine monitoring of the property for compliance with the terms of the CR.
Cost to taxpayer: an additional $0.0122 to the tax rate: equivalent to an additional $6.25 annually for a house valued at $500,000
*When visiting outdoor recreational areas in Ipswich remember to abide by current Covid 19 State and local policies. If a parking area is full or open space areas are crowded, please find another area to visit and come back another time. Wear a face mask, keep a minimum of 6 feet apart from anyone not in your "bubble" and respect the health and well being of all while we navigate through this pandemic.