Available Projects (Still Open for a Volunteer)

Available Projects (Still Open for a Volunteer)

June 07, 2011Land Committee Minutes

Items for Follow-up

Available Projects (still open for a Volunteer)

□Create a power point template for upcoming outreach presentations (based on current CCF presentation).

□Create public/private educational presentations to market our services.

□Good photos needed of landowners on their easement properties for Easement Profiles.

Committee Chair:
Mark Yarbrough
Proposed Date of Next Meeting:
07/05/2011 / Members Present:
Sandra Greenway (CCF staff), David Morgan, Scott Norris, RJ Taylor (CCF staff), Scott White (President), Mark Yarbrough (chair)

Mark Y. opened the meeting at 8am.

Connemara Policy Papers

The agenda of the meeting began with discussions about policies for Connemara. The DWF grant details a deliverable of two policies being written by the Conservation Director prior to end of May 2011. RJ had set a target of completing three by that date. Mark gave a quick overview of the presentation of the Energy Development Policy to the Board and Board and its adoption at the May Board Meeting. RJ indicated that he would like to distribute our policy to other land trusts in Texas as an example, and would also post the Policy on the LTA website as a template for similar policies by other land trusts.

RJ had distributed two more draft policies for review by the Committee; Violations and Enforcement and on Reserved Rights. He requested that all Committee Members review these two draft policies by the July Committee Meeting for concurrence. The two policies will then be taken to the July Board meeting for adoption.

A Recordkeeping/Documentation Policy is in the works. This will be a critical policy to work out for accreditation.

Updates on Easement Preparation

Most of the meeting time was spent discussing the progress on discussions with Margaret McDermott and Mary McDermott Cook about options for transfer and protection of about 150 acres of land on the McDermott Road Tracts (south of McDermott Rd.) Scott White gave a summary of talks from a Memorial Day meeting with Margaret. David Morgan’s firm was hired to begin work on the project, and he gave a summary of the progress that has taken place so far. Listed below are Sandra’s notes from these discussions:

Meeting Notes addressing Work on McDermott Project


Mrs. Eugene McDermott wants to donate her land either to Connemara or to the City of Allen. She’s not sure which. She knows for sure that she wants her property to include trails and to somehow be “cared for” after she’s gone. Mrs. McDermott is seeking information that will help her decide what to do and how much it will cost to do it.

Connemara would prefer that Mrs. McDermott donate the land to us or donate the land to the city of Allen, but give us the conservation easement. We believe that our mission is more closely aligned to her wishes than that of the City of Allen and we’d do a much better job caring for the land in perpetuity. In terms of costs, we thought it reasonable to request the usual stewardship endowment + an additional endowment that is separate and dedicated to the other uses she envisions on the property: educational programs, maintenance, etc. The City of Allen would be responsible for the trails for which they would create and maintain.

Challenges we discussed:

Mrs. McDermott’s vision for the future usage of the land is unclear which makes moving forward very difficult. Strategy: Work closely with Mrs. McDermott to help her clarify her vision

Convey to her that we want to partner with her to see her wishes fulfilled

Ask her concrete questions:

Show her the Meadow agreement and ask her

Does she want a caretaker to remain on the property?

Does she want the “oldest house in CollinCounty” to be preserved?

Does she want the property mowed annually?

Does she want to do restoration projects?

Does she want her home to stay on the property?

Critical to this Strategy will be to make sure meetings/conversations include Mary McDermott Cook; especially since Mary is the default owner of most of the tracts of land.

Ms. McDermott has voiced concerns about Connemara’s long-term sustainability. To address this, our strategy will be to prove to Mrs. McDermott and to Mary that Connemara is the right choice as a land trust to work with them.

This is an opportunity to honor Frances’ vision in a personally meaningful way

Margaret has the capacity to take what Frances started and catapult the concept/ideas/beliefs Frances held dear

Educate Mary and Margaret about Connemara. It’s not as dire as they think it is and they can play a key role in pushing us to the next level.

Next Steps in working on the McDermott Project

David Morgan putting together documents for Margaret’s review. To be sent this week.

Scott White/Wilma Smith coordinating a meeting for sometime before or after July 4th.

RJ then gave a summary of the activity on preparation of other easements over the last month. None of the three active easements have had any activity (Mill Branch Mitigation Bank in N/W Denton Co., Gainesville Site in Gainesville, TX, and Montalcino Estates Conservation Subdivision in Flower Mound), but RJ anticipates that at least the Montalcino Estates may finalize within the next month. The attorney working with Oxy Chemical on the Gainesville site should be meeting with them soon, and RJ will get an update on the next steps from him.

New Leads and Updates on Strong Leads

RJ Plans to meet with Wetland Management LP (Rosewood Corp) about possiblewetland and stream mitigation bank site in Plano north of George Bush Tollway. Other than two stream channels being proposed as stream mitigation banks, the remainder of the undeveloped site would be proposed for commercial development.

After inquires by RJ, Scott Norris had contacted Baxter Brinkmann to inquire about his land use plans for tracts in Frisco. Mr. Brinkmann apparently has considerable lands elsewhere in the metroplex. Scott will continue to keep those lines of communication open.

Easement Visits

  1. RJ met with new landowner’s rep for the Ben Franklin easement to

discuss future site improvements and to discuss any other easement issues.

  1. Plans for a members’ event at Ark II (Dr. Granek) easement property

in Granbury on June 25;

  1. Plans for a members’ event at Skip Barnett easements in Denton Co. on Sept. 17;
  2. Proposed Board/Land Committee visit to Tenmile Creek Tract (mitigation bank site)

Stewardship Work

-New landscape service at The Sanctuary. Company will be clearing under brush on buffer to lots twice a month.

-Austin Moseley’s easement (96.68 acres) in HuntCounty is still up for sale on Craigs List.

-Met with representative for John H. Hendrix to discuss his desires for future management of Ben Franklin Tract in DeltaCounty.

Other Outreach Information

-CCF will put on a Landowner Workshop for Grayson/Fannin/Collin/Hunt Co. ranchers and farmers in Bonham, TX either October 21st or 7th, 2011.

-CCF is hoping to put on “Conservation Easement 101” presentations at professional luncheons for realtors, real estate attorneys and tax/estate/probate attorneys in summer and fall 2011.

-Completion of draft Easement Profile booklet as an outreach item for public exhibits. Landowner photos and interviews are still needed to complete booklet.

In other discussions, Scott Norris provided names of possible individuals that might be appropriate to contact concerning new Board members.