Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Great News: "Camp Clark" property Preserved Forever

Preserved Forever

Pete Mandell and Joe Larson

What news would Camp Clark alumni most want to receive? If you returned to the shore of Lawrence Pond in Sandwich, and parked on Great Hill Road across Lawrence Pond from the Camp Clark site, and saw an array of mega-mansions where once you swam, played ball, and sailed, you would be experiencing what many others have on returning to a memorable location on Cape Cod.

 Our news to you is to encourage you to make that return trip. You will not have the sad experience that others have suffered. That's because in 2003 the Town of Sandwich and the Cape Cod YMCA entered into a legal agreement called a Conservation Restriction to ensure that the land that was Camp Clark, and now owned by the Cape Y as Camp Lyndon, will never be turned into a subdivision.

 In Massachusetts a Conservation Restriction is provision in law whereby a landowner may give or sell the development rights on land, in perpetuity, with state approval, to an approved conservation organization. In this case, the Cape Y (landowner), sold the development rights to the Town of Sandwich Conservation Commission, which is legally obligated to preserve the land and ensure that it is maintained only for organized camping. The Cape Y continues to own the land and to pay much reduced property taxes (because it no longer can be developed for a pricey profit) to the town. Each Conservation Restriction is worded to spell out what can and cannot be done on the property in the future.

 In 2000 the Town of Sandwich enacted a town zoning bylaw that created what they call the Three Ponds District, comprised of land and water in the area surrounding Spectacle Pond, Triangle Pond, and Lawrence Pond. Camp Clark alumni will recall that the Quincy YMCA owns Camps Burgess (an arch rival in softball) and Hayward that border on Triangle and Spectacle Ponds. The bylaw has, as one of its purposes, the preservation of open space, rare and endangered species and habitats, and the scenic character of the District.

The District bylaw set the scene for the Town of Sandwich Conservation Commission and the Cape Cod Y to negotiate and sign, on December 17, 2003, a Conservation Restriction in return for a payment of $500,000 by the Town to the Cape Y. The restriction spells out what the Cape Y, and any subsequent owner may do with the land. In the case of the Camp property, the Cape Y all future owners, are prohibited from building homes, retirement developments, assisted living facilities, bed and breakfast places, nursing or convalescent homes, or open space residential developments. Also prohibited are mining excavating, dredging or removing soil, loam, peat, sand, rock, or other minerals or natural deposits. "Buffer" zones have been established for more limited uses. Also established is a Surface Water Protection District consisting of all the land within 300" feet of the shoreline of Lawrence Pond. The owner retains therights to fishing, boating, hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing (Ski Cape Cod!), camping and other outdoor recreational and organized camping activities.

The Town of Sandwich Conservation Commission has also purchased Conservation Restrictions on other land in the Three Ponds District and is legally responsible for ensuring that the conditions of all the Conservation Restrictions are complied with. The Restriction on the Camp Clark/Camp Lyndon land has been filed in the Barnstable Registry of Deeds (Book 18158 Pages 155-171). The Registry's web site is http://www.barnstabledeeds.org/getConnected.php  The web site allows the public to see, but not download and print documents. You have to order them at $1.00 per page.

The bottom line is that, barring action by the Massachusetts Legislature, the Camp Clark/Camp Lyndon property will forever remain a place for camping of the sort we were all lucky to experience. We encourage Camp Clark Alumni to send in comments about this news.

This great news comes to us from two of Camp Clark's most loyal alumni. Pete Mandell and Joe Larson. I would like to thank them for all that they have contributed and continue to contribute to this website. Their shared memories have informed and entertained us all. Thanks again Pete (Marylou) and Joe (Wendy).

Pete Mandell (L) and Joe Larson (R). 
2012 photo taken by Wendy during a recent visit by Joe and Wendy with Pete and Marylou at Pete's home in GA.

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