Webster Township Completes Larson Land Preservation

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The Webster Township Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program recently closed on a conservation easement purchase from the Dale and Marilyn Larson Trust.

The property is just under 30 acres in size with frontage on the north side of Joy Rd. between Maple Rd. and Jennings Rd. It is comprised almost entirely of prime and locally important agricultural soils, along with nine acres of wetlands and frontage on Brookwater Creek. The property is in the vicinity of one of Webster Township’s large blocks of permanently protected land. The conservation easement ensures that the land will never be developed but it remains in private ownership and is not open to the public.

In 1969, Dale and Marilyn Larson purchased 2886 W Joy Rd, Ann Arbor, a 40-acre parcel located in Webster Township. In 2016, 10 acres were sold which included the house (circa mid-1800’s) and outbuildings. The remaining 30 acres have been kept as active farmland and fallow fields.

Conservation easements are permanent deed restrictions on the use of a property. Purchasing easements costs less than buying the property, and keeps the property on the tax rolls and contributing to the local economy.

In addition to Webster Township’s dedicated land preservation millage, funding support was supplied by the City of Ann Arbor Greenbelt program and the federal Resource Conservation Partnership Program. Webster’s share was 8% of the appraised value purchase price.

Webster Township’s land preservation program is funded by a dedicated millage which voters passed initially in 2005 and renewed twice, all by large margins. The Township has attracted over $15 million of matching funds from other sources, a rate of over $5 to $1 of its own. With this project the Township program has been involved in protecting 2,729 acres, with more projects set to close in the coming months.

Photo courtesy of Barry Lonik

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