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Open Space Preservation Commission

Town Hall
c/o Conservation Commission Office
18 Main Street, 1st Floor, Hopkinton, MA 01748
Phone: 508-497-9757

Welcome to the Open Space Preservation Commission website.

The Open Space Preservation Commission was authorized by Town Meeting in 1998, and was approved by the State Legislature (becoming the first of its kind) in 1999. 

The commission members are appointed by the Board of Selectmen. 

The commission’s goal is to acquire and protect land from development, to help preserve the rural character of Hopkinton. The commission evaluates undeveloped land, ranking parcels according to several criteria: overall size, wildlife habitat, plant species, watershed protection, recreation potential and proximity to other protected land. The development potential also is evaluated, in order to assess the value of the land, as well as the costs of town services if it is developed.

Most of the funding for land purchases now comes from the Community Preservation Commission fund; additional funds come from rollback taxes from the sale of land classified under Chapter 61, fines imposed for violations of the open space bylaw and the sale of town-owned land. The commission also can accept gifts of land and money from individuals and non-profit organizations.

The Open Space Preservation Commission purchased its first land in 2000 - a 120-acre parcel near Lake Whitehall known as the Cameron property. This wooded land abuts 112 acres of conservation land and nearly 80 acres of land protected under Chapter 61. In addition, there are more than 500 acres of other protected land nearby. The property includes several streams and ponds and abundant wildlife. Its trails are used by hikers and horseback riders. In the near future, there will be a public access road and small parking area; the trails will be improved and clearly marked. Hopkinton Girl Scout Troop 2245 is working with the OSPC to clearly mark and color code a number of trails through this property.

Future Preservation of Open Space

The commission generally has a number of ongoing discussions with property owners, and continues to follow up on land that may become available for purchase or as a gift for open space. Commission meetings are posted on the bulletin board at Town Hall.

Anyone interested in helping to preserve lands in Hopkinton through gift, donation or sale should contact any member of the Commission.

The Open Space Preservation Commission, working in part under a grant from the Wharton Trust, has completed the first-ever Hopkinton Trails Guide. This is a living document, with updates and enhancements to the Guide as they become available.

Hopkinton Field Map (PDF)

Hopkinton Trail Guide (PDF)

Fiscal Impacts of Land Use Change

The Open Space Preservation Commission, working with the Land Use Study Committee and Community Opportunities Group, has developed an analysis relating to the fiscal impacts of land use change and development, using Weston Nurseries as the basis for the study, and the Cost of Community Services in general. The following documents should be a benefit to residents as part of the rationale for protecting and preserving Open Space.

Forecasting the Fiscal Impact of Land Use Change is a discussion and assessment of the potential uses that might occur at Weston Nurseries, using a sophisticated modeling approach to analyze fiscal costs and revenue opportunities of several likely scenarios. The report also discusses the latest Cost of Community Services data, which can guide a community in assessing whether a potential type of development has been revenue positive or revenue negative. For some added background about Cost of Community Services in general, see Introduction to Cost of Community Services, a July 20, 2005 presentation to HOPE.

Land Use Study Committee December 20, 2005 Report to the Board of Selectmen summarizes the Fiscal Impacts report and its findings in PowerPoint format, and presents the cost benefits and cost impacts of the various approaches.