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Lease Changes Send Lachat Deal to Town Meeting

WESTON, Conn. – A Town Meeting has been set as Weston and the Nature Conservancy hammer out details regarding a lease agreement of the Lachat property.

Under the agreement, the town would lease 19.01 acres of land from the conservancy, which would in turn lease 22.6 acres of property from the town. Potential changes in the agreement came to light during a recent Board of Selectmen meeting. Selectman Dennis Tracey told the board about a new stipulation, brought by the conservancy, regarding the management of an endowment fund for the land.

During the meeting, Tracey said, “The Nature Conservancy requested a change in that language of the newer agreement, which would say that the payout would be 5 percent or whatever other percentage the Nature Conservancy use as a matter of a policy to pay out endowments.”

According to Tracey, the fund is managed by the Nature Conservancy and has a balance of about $580,000. “The purpose of the endowment is to pay for maintenance and renovation of the Lachat buildings and properties,” he said.

In the original cooperative agreement between the Nature Conservancy and Weston, Tracey said, it was agreed that 5 percent of the balance of the fund would be distributed to the town to cover maintenance costs. “The 5 percent is the percentage that the Nature Conservancy distributes from all of its endowments,” he said.

Under the new proposed lease change, Tracey said, the “conservancy has requested that the agreement be modified to say that if the Nature Conservancy changes the percentage that it generally distributes to endowments, up or down, that new percentage would apply to the Lachat endowment.”

“Do I think it’s a huge risk? No, I think it’s a low risk but it is a risk,” Tracey told the board.

When asked to comment on the status of the agreement, Tracey said, “We are currently engaged in negotiations to resolve the issue.”

The Town Meeting on the proposed changes will be held Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7:15 p.m. at Town Hall, 56 Norfield Road.

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