The 2019 Open Space and Recreation Plan identified the need to develop a Right of First Refusal Procedure for the Town to be poised to act quickly on Chapter 61 parcels as part of an acquisition strategy. To address this action item, the Open Space and Recreation Committee reviewed the Mass General Law pertaining to Chapter 61 Lands, as well as the Chapter 61 procedures that other Towns have adopted. After this review, the Open Space and Recreation Committee drafted a Chapter 61 Right of First Refusal Procedure that was adopted by the Board of Selectmen on June 18, 2019.
What is Chapter Land?
Massachusetts offers preferential tax treatment to those landowners who maintain their property as open space for the purposes of timber production, agriculture or recreation. A town containing so-called Chapter Lands forgoes tax revenue that would otherwise be generated by these lands. However, the Town obtains an opportunity to purchase Chapter Lands in the event that these lands are proposed to be sold for or converted to residential, industrial, or commercial uses.
The Town of Wenham encourages owners of open lands used for forestry, farming and recreation to enroll them in these preferential tax programs to help maintain these lands in their current uses.
Current Wenham Chapter Land Map