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Clarksburg Unhappy with Proposed Land Sale to State
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
12:08PM / Saturday, November 11, 2023
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Patricia Wilson is sworn in for the town's new Agricultural Commission established at the last town meeting.

CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Town officials are looking askance at a potential sale of 35 acres to the state.
Town Administrator Carl McKinney told the Select Board on Wednesday that the town had not been officially notified but he wanted to alert them of the possibility and that they would debate whether to recommend once that happened. 
McKinney said the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield had been bequeathed the 35 acres in Clarksburg State Park along Bald Mountain. And while it was not currently on the tax roll, selling it to the state would eliminate any possibility it could be. 
"I can't say I'm happy with this at all," he said. 
Town officials have frequently expresses frustration with the amount of land tied up by the state, which they say reduces the community's ability to grow and take in revenue. 
"I'm all for saving land ... but we've reached the point where 57 percent of our land is state land and PILOT money we get is meaningless," said Chair Robert Norcross. 
They agreed with McKinney that it would be better for a private buyer to come in and put it back on the tax rolls. McKinney noted that another piece of property not far away was in private hands. 
"It's not that we're against conservation or for the environment," he said. "It's we're against having them take our tax base away."
Board member Daniel Haskins asked if the fact that the property is landlocked by state forest would be an impediment for private use. McKinney said there is a right of access of necessity "because you can't have landlocked land."
The land is assessed at $65,900 and is located off West Road. 
"We're the smallest, landwise, community in Berkshire County, we're a town of 8,000 acres ... and when you repetitively remove property from the tax roll it makes funding the operations of the town that much more difficult," McKinney said. 
He said the payment in lieu of taxes provided by the state are "incredibly unfair" because of the way the state assesses fair market value. 
"We're at the whim of Boston and Legislature," McKinney said. "I don't think enough attention is being paid to the carbon sequestration and cleaning up the air that the land that we have here provides for the commonwealth."
The board asked if he could talk with representatives from the diocese and the state on their plans. 
In other business: 
McKinney reported that the culvert work had been completed on Middle Road in preparation for paving next spring through a MassWorks grant. Also, the emergency repair on the West Road collapse is underway. The work is being done by Northern Construction and has included washouts on Gleason Street and Horrigan Road from the rainstorm on July 10. 
In terms of other projects, he said he was working on getting better estimates on the cost of replacing the roof on the Clarksburg School and that it may include some engineering to determine if can support solar panels and has been in contact with Thomas Bona about permitting for the lift at the school. Bona volunteered to take the lead on that project. 
• The tree warden will be asked to assess a tree leaning near the entrance of the Community Center that has already lost some limbs to see if it should be removed. 
• The board appointed Patricia Wilson of Middle Road to the Agricultural Commission, bringing the new commission up to three members. Wilson was sworn in Wednesday. 
• The board voted to close Town Hall on Monday, Nov. 13, in observance of Veterans Day. Most public institutions were closed Friday but Clarksburg's offices are normally closed Friday. 
• A cemetery lot with two graves was sold to David and Nancy Nuvallie.
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