LONDONDERRY — Conservation officials are working on the details that will govern 23 acres of property considered to be among the town's most scenic and historic. 

The Conservation Commission is moving forward on its acquisition of 23 acres of Moose Hill Orchards property to be placed under conservation care with a price tag of about $1.1 million.

The property is located along Pillsbury Road near the corner of Mammoth Road and consisted of popular Mack's apple-picking sites and a pumpkin patch.

Another five acres of nearby Mack property were part of a separate town warrant article that voters approved at the polls in March.

The Planning Board gave conditional approval at a meeting April 7 for the subdivision of the parcel into two separated properties, with five acres to be under town ownership and the remaining as the conservation land with restrictions placed on its uses.

Conservation Commission member Mike Speltz said at an earlier public hearing that the 23-acre portion of the overall Mack property is in the heart of Londonderry, near the historic Grange hall and would be a valuable protected asset.

"Londonderry is remarkably blessed with prime agricultural soils," Speltz said, adding the property is part of what "makes Londonderry Londonderry."

That includes the popular apple orchards and pumpkin patch that is a big draw to the community and beyond. The property also has prime trail networks. 

Having the property under conservation control would also support the health of nearby wells in the Southview and Century Village condominium complexes.

The Commission is responsible for $700,000 of the cost, with the remaining amount coming from grant funding through a Drinking Water/Groundwater Trust Fund grant.

At the recent Planning Board meeting, Speltz also noted that a small strip of land connected to a town ball field encroaches on the 23-acre property that will be under conservation protection.

Negotiations will take place to address that land.

"When it's time to rebuild the field, they will move that area out of the restricted area," Speltz said. 

 

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