Open Space Advisory
Since December 1998, three successive Open Space Advisory committees have addressed the important matter of preserving and acquiring open space in North Haven. The first committee, which met during much of 1999, developed a definition of open space as land that is protected against development and is accessible to the public for passive, low impact activities - it also explored possible methods of raising money to purchase open space and identified the benefits and costs of preserving such open space. The second committee, which deliberated for several months in 2000, developed a plan for establishing priorities among open space that remains in private hands and for ensuring its preservation.
This committee recommended the creation of a permanent Open Space Advisory Committee, which would draft an “Open Space Plan” to be used by all Town Commissions and the Board of Selectmen as a guide for the preservation and orderly acquisition of open space in the town. In September 2002 a Town Meeting passed an ordinance that established this committee; it consists of representatives from the North Haven Land Trust and five Town Boards and Commissions as well as a member who represents the community at large.
Because open space continues to be a diminishing resource in North Haven, there is an urgent need to develop a comprehensive program of preservation and acquisition. The Board of Selectmen and the committee feel strongly that such a program will benefit the people of North Haven in many ways. For example, it will maintain and enhance the conservation of valuable natural or scenic resources, including animals, vegetation, and trees; enhance the value of neighboring parks, forests, wildlife resources, natural sanctuaries, and other open space; expand public recreation opportunities; preserve the aesthetic, cultural, and historic aspects of North Haven’s heritage; improve air and water quality; and protect agricultural land. Moreover, it will promote orderly development. Numerous studies in fact show that open space conservation and acquisition is sound economic policy, because the town services that necessarily accompany residential development actually increase the tax burden on residents. Perhaps most important, the preservation and acquisition of open space will enhance the overall quality of life of residents and will enable each generation to fulfill its responsibilities as the trustee of the environment for succeeding generations.