As part of the Town of Easton’s normal due diligence research, and prior to proposing any purchase at the 2014 Annual Town Meeting, the town contracted with Nover-Armstrong Associates to evaluate the site for possible contamination. Nover-Armstrong’s Environmental Site Assessment did not reveal evidence of the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products in connection with the site or adjoining properties.
2014 ATM VOTE AND APPROVAL:
Prior to an overwhelmingly enthusiastic vote to purchase the site, various town departments participated in an on-site assessment of the property and were suitably impressed. The purchase price of $5.5 million dollars translated to a little bit more than $35,000 per acre – an excellent value for the town.
524 DEPOT STREET MASTER PLAN DEVELOPMENT TEAM:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE 524 DEPOT STREET PROPERTY
Q: Why was this site identified as a priority acquisition parcel?
The streams, wet meadows and forest land on the site are home to a variety of wildlife, including species listed by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program as threatened or endangered. In addition to protecting the natural and historic character of Easton, acquisition by the Town provides additional protection to the Black Brook watershed, wildlife corridors, endangered/threatened species, the potential for active recreational uses and flexibility for future potential municipal uses.
The map below shows the location of the Gill property in context with other parcels of protected land. The addition of the Gill property provides connectivity and enhances the protection of the natural resources of the Town of Easton.
Q: Is it true that the site is contaminated and is covered in solid waste?
A: Prior to proposing any purchase at the 2014 Annual Town Meeting, Nover-Armstrong Associates were retained to prepare a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report to evaluate the site for the potential presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on or at a property. The Gill property was historically utilized as a pig farm. Nover-Armstrong’s Environmental Site Assessment did not reveal evidence or likely presence of any hazardous or petroleum substances, i.e. contamination, at the site. In their report they did note amounts of solid waste dumping in five locations. The solid waste, likely associated with the pig operation, consisted primarily of general garbage, plastic storage containers, scrap metal, tires, and a significant amount of shredded plastic bottles and newspaper. Nover-Armstrong, at the direction of the Town, performed test pit investigation at each of the solid waste pile locations. The results of their analysis revealed no evidence of spill or release of oils or hazardous materials at the site.
Q. Do structures from the pig farm operation still exist on the site?
Remnants of some of the farm structures comprise portions of the solid waste identified on the site.
Q: Am I able to walk on the site?
A: There are no marked trails on the property at this time. It will be responsibility of the Master Plan Committee to define more specifically the desired uses and development of the Gill Property for: active recreation; municipal use; passive recreation and wildlife habitat preservation. Please support them in this important endeavor for the town.