Property Name – Grace Note Farm
Property Owner – Ms. Virginia Sindelar
Easement Owner – Burrillville Land Trust
Easement Type – Development rights
Purpose – Typical New England Farm, habitat, watershed and naturalist setting protection
Public Access – This is private land owned by the property owner. There is no public access
Tax Assessor’s Plat & Lot ID – 206/010
Acreage – 11.5
Date of Acquisition – 12/30/2007
Over the more than 100 years of land conservation in the US, land trusts and conservation organizations have used conservation easements as a way to maintain the desires of the owners, restrict development according to an agreed upon set of restrictions and, in the process, conserve land and the working nature of the land and owner, for all time. There is no other example in the Town of Burrillville that better demonstrates the benefits of a conservation easement partnership than the one placed on Grace Note Farm. For Grace Note Farm was the first, and to date the only one in Town, that has a conservation easement placed on the property. A conservation easement is a covenant or a contract that ‘rides with the land’ making the land and the structures on the property have the same look and feel forever. That means that the farm will always be a farm no matter who owns the property. The fields will always be fields, the cranberry bog, the headwaters of Leland Brook and much more will always look, feel and be the same for generations to come.
On December 30, 2007, the land trust acquired what many call ‘the development rights’ to the property. The owner willingly and voluntarily gave up those rights. In the end, the owner gained ‘peace of mind’ knowing that she has a strong advocate to protect her property forever. The property owner felt at peace that her hard work on the land will never be forgotten. This 11.5 acre parcel is filled with early New England American intervention: a man made pond, old cranberry bogs, a family cemetery plot and a house built in 1771. The Burrillville Land Trust became interested in the Benjamin Smith House, surrounding property, man-made ponds and naturally occurring scenic value for protection under an easement for two main reasons: the character of the land; and the fact that the property has been a working farm for over 200 years. You can literally walk back in the time when you step foot on this land. Property owner Ms. Sindelar had a desire to make certain that her property would never be changed, never be anything other than a farm. With the conservation easement, her wish became a reality. The trust also wanted an example of how a conservation easement can work.
As Grace Note Farm is private property, there is no public access to the farm or to the Benjamin Smith House. The land trust does have events during the year that include walking tours of the property as well as grave-site talks and more. Check out the Events Calendar for what’s happening with the Burrillville Land Trust. And check out our MeetUp group hosted by the Burrillville Land Trust.