Wilson Conservation Restriction
Longtime Newton Conservators
Andrée Wilson own a beautiful two-acre parcel
of property in Newton Centre.
Together with a smaller parcel donated to the City years
ago, the area has both beautiful gardens and woodlands and
provides wonderful habitat to a wide diversity of wildlife.
A very long and winding road led to the recording of a
conservation restriction on this property at the end of
September. Richard and
Andrée worked extremely hard for
nearly two years, in spite of significant personal health
issues, to see this through. Why, you ask?
garden and surrounding area, especially in the spring,
simply takes your breath away. And then there were those
nesting Merlins-where would they go if another house or
two were built on the property? It is easy to understand
their wish to leave behind, somewhat intact, a lifetime of
work and pleasure in their natural environment.
Under the terms of the agreement, except for the
approximately .4 acres on which the current house sits, the
property is protected from any future development.
Further, a permanent public right of access is established
through the property along its southeastern boundary. The
public has walked through the property for years, but now
an official path has been established. The property remains
in private hands, subject to the restriction. It can be sold,
but the Conservators, as grantee, must make sure, in
perpetuity, that anyone who buys the property adheres to
the terms of the restriction: no building outside of the
footprint of the house, preservation of the conserved area
to maintain conservation values, and preserved public
access along the path.
Why did this take so long? Permanent conservation
restrictions must be approved by the Conservation
Commission, the Board of Aldermen, the Mayor, and the
Massachusetts Office of Environmental Affairs. A public
benefit must be found. In addition, the IRS must be
satisfied that its public benefit criteria are in place for the
charitable deduction to be allowed.
Some might wonder how we decide what property we
would consider for a conservation restriction. Our criteria,
as well as other useful information about conservation
restrictions and donating land, can be found on our website.
Our criteria are that the land:
- is natural or scenic, is joined to conservation land, or
benefits the neighborhood with its natural properties;
- has been identified by a governmental body as worthy of
protection or is subject to environmental regulation;
- has significant natural habitat, is a corridor between such
habitats, or supports rare or endangered species;
- contains vegetation that helps to ensure the quality of a
Again, we thank the Wilsons for this generous effort and
wish them many more happy years on the property.
Newton Conservators President
Editor's note: The final conservation restriction was approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2012. Andrée Wilson passed away in 2016.
More information about this land