Development to retain 90 acres of open space

By Rachael Scarborough King
April 21, 2008

GUILFORD — More than half of a new subdivision in north Guilford will be preserved for agricultural uses, according to an agreement between the developer and the town.

The Board of Selectmen voted Monday to accept 90 acres of open space within the 150-acre Northern Heights development. The land will continue to be used for farming, Town Planner George Kral said.

The 35-unit subdivision, on Crooked Hill Road near the Guilford-Durham town line, is part of the Wimler farm. When the Planning and Zoning Commission gave developer Brian Ferris permission to build on the land, one requirement was the preservation of the open space.

Under the agreement, the town will take ownership of the 90 acres, contingent on resident approval at a town meeting, Kral said. On Monday, the selectmen set the town meeting for May 19.

Kral said that the open space was part of the developer’s original proposal.

“The land is now used for agriculture,” he said. “It’s kind of rolling fields and hay fields, and it’s particularly scenic as well, and it’s an area of town that is suitable for agriculture.”

He added that the town will look for somebody to farm the land, but those details have not been worked out yet.

Guilford’s Agricultural Commission, the first in the state, is working to identify the town’s farms and regulations about farming. Kral said that town planners would like to see more agreements like the Northern Heights one that allows for the preservation of open space and local farms.

“Not all land is really suitable for agriculture, of course, in fact most of it probably wouldn’t be, but in this part case it definitely is,” he said.

Ferris, the developer, could not be reached for comment. According to the Web site for Brian Ferris Construction, groundbreaking on the houses could start in May.

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