OPEN SPACE ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Philip Warbasse (chair) | Rick Hendra (Secretary) | John Barringer (Member) | Caren Caljouw (Member) | Ron Wolanin (Member)

Contact: openspace@oakham-ma.gov

Address: 2 Coldbrook Road, Unit 1, Oakham, MA 01068

Regularly scheduled meetings are held the 4th Thursday of each month, September through June at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall.

The Open Space Advisory Committee promotes the open space and recreation goals of the community, as collected and presented in the Open Space and Recreation Plan filed with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. The plan makes recommendations to realize those goals, including a seven year plan of actions to help Oakham residents maintain the character of the community by identifying threatened resources in need of protection, improving management of existing protected lands and guiding appropriate future development. The OSAC pursues that action plan.

A solicitation of public opinion by means of surveys of residents and open public meetings, confirmed that Oakham's "rural character" was considered an important characteristic to protect and maintain along along with its farms and open space. This rural character is represented by tree lined roads; expanses of undeveloped land along roads; and ready access to back-land and open space for outdoor recreation - walking, skiing, mountain biking, fishing and nature appreciation. The OSAC works to preserve and promote access.

In addition to assisting various town boards and committees in making judicious and informed decisions about preserving the resources and character of the community, OSAC makes recommendations on future possible town acquisitions of open space. Specifically as private land in Chapter 61 changes hands, the town is eligible to exercise a right of first refusal and meet the offered sale price to acquire the property. The OSAC draws on the Open Space and Recreation Plan to prioritize key properties and works with local land trusts and conservation agencies for additional support, as needed.

Just as importantly, the OSAC works with Oakham landowners to help them appreciate the opportunities available through Chapter 61, conservation restrictions, and estate planning to protect their land for their families and for generations to come.

As a service to Oakham residents, we have posted the Open Space and Recreation in its entirety, as well as a suite of maps of Oakham, which depict its zoning, land use, protected open space, soils, water resources, and other important features of the community.