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Clarence to buy 66 acres to prevent development

The Clarence Town Board agreed Wednesday to protect more land from development, purchasing 66 acres for $465,000.

The land, known as the Wood property, is on the south side of Clarence Center Road, east of Strickler Road. Twenty-four acres are being farmed, while the rest is covered by forest.

Town officials expect nearly all of the funds used for the purchase to come from its Greenprint program, which buys or acquires development rights to properties to keep them undeveloped. Land that is already being farmed can continue to be farmed.

Kathleen McCormick, stewardship director for the Western New York Land Conservancy, said the 66-acre Wood property links neatly with neighboring properties that are already protected from development.

“It’s a lovely piece of property that provides working farmland, diverse wildlife habitat and water-quality protection for the Town of Clarence,” McCormick told the Town Board.

Town Board members left open the possibility of carving out part of the 66 acres for a north-south bike path; if so, the town would use non-Greenprint funds, since a bike path would represent new development.

“I think the intent is to keep it open space, but for people who don’t know, we would love to connect the bike path from the southern part of town to where the bike path is now,” said Town Councilman Peter DiCostanzo.

Town Councilman Bernard J. Kolber said the purchase amounts to about $7,000 per acre, which he called “very reasonable.”