Today, the Western New York Land Conservancy finalized a conservation easement on the 43-acre Mosher Farm on Keller Road in Clarence, protecting that land in perpetuity. Since purchasing the property in 2009, the Town of Clarence has leased the land to local farmers for agricultural use. Protecting the Mosher Farm was made possible by the innovative and award-winning Clarence Greenprint, an open space preservation program that provides funding for conserving natural land and farmland.
Town of Clarence Supervisor David C. Hartzell Jr., said, “Our town has a long and proud history of farming, and protecting properties like the Mosher Farm is an important way to maintain the character of our community. Protecting farmland is also important to our economy, as each active farm creates jobs and generates tax revenue. I’d like to thank the Town of Clarence Recreation Advisory Committee for guiding the Greenprint program, the Land Conservancy for supporting this effort, and the past property owners for committing to the protection of their land.” He added, “I’d also like to applaud the residents of Clarence for making the Greenprint possible.”
The Clarence Greenprint was implemented in 2002 when Clarence residents overwhelmingly approved a $12.5 million bond authorization to fund the protection of open space, riparian corridors, scenic vistas and farmland in the town. Including the Mosher Farm, the Greenprint program has protected nearly 1,500 acres of irreplaceable land for future generations. Based on a 2013 study by the Town of Clarence, the sale price of properties adjacent to Greenprint-preserved properties had increased an average of 15 percent in the 10 years since the program began.
The study also showed that the average appreciation rate of properties in Clarence following adoption of the Greenprint was five times that of comparable towns in the region and Clarence’s tax rate was 30 percent lower than in comparable communities. Because of its success, the Greenprint program won a Planning Excellence Award from the New York Upstate American Planning Association (APA) in 2014.
Peter Wolfe, chairman of the Town of Clarence Recreation Advisory Committee, the citizen group that guides the Greenprint program, said, “Protecting the Mosher Farm property has long been a priority of ours. As farmland, it is irreplaceable. As natural open space, it adds significantly to the tranquil character of Clarence, and it adds to the high quality of life that our community enjoys. Knowing that the land will remain much the way it is now far into the future is a big victory for the entire town.”
The Mosher Farm property includes incredibly productive farmland. All of the soils on the property are classified as prime or prime if drained by the Natural Resource Conservation Service. While approximately 20 acres of the property are currently in agricultural use, another 22 acres are home to hardwood forests, scrubby grasslands and a variety of wetlands. A small tributary of Beeman Creek flows through the property. These habitats support diverse plant, insect, bird, amphibian and mammal species.
Nancy Smith, executive director of the Land Conservancy, said, “Our region’s natural places – the ancient forests, deep gorges, vast networks of rivers and streams, and rich farmland – are what make Western New York such a great place to live. Sprawling development patterns threaten these special places. Protecting the Mosher Farm, along with the other Greenprint-protected farms and forests in Clarence, is part of the solution to this challenge and is our community’s legacy to future generations. We are especially pleased that the Mosher Farm protects a forested area that is so visible along a bike path and that it will be a permanent scenic backdrop for the playing fields in Memorial Park.”
The Western New York Land Conservancy is a regional, not-for-profit land trust that permanently protects land with significant conservation value in Western New York for future generations. The Land Conservancy envisions a future in which open spaces, working lands, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty are cherished and protected as part of the landscape and character of Western New York. The Land Conservancy is one of 1,700 land trusts nationwide, including 90 in New York State. Land trusts have protected 40 million acres over the last 20 years. For more information on upcoming events or the work of the Western New York Land Conservancy, please call (716) 687-1225 or visit www.wnylc.org.