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Determining the Future of the Campbell Farm

The Campbell Peaceful Valley farmland located on Hunter Road is owned by the town of Tolland.

The future of a portion of Tolland's Campbell Peaceful Valley farm is up in the air as two separate but important agreements concerning the property will be finalized in the near future.

The town of Tolland has owned the property since 2003, according to Town Planner Linda Farmer. While 74 acres are currently maintained as passive open space, approximately 13 acres are categorized as active recreation land.

Back in 2010, the previous town council approved a resolution to pay $3,000 to The Connecticut Farmland Trust  to hold an agricultural easement on the 13 acres, which members of the Campbell family have been using for some farming activity such as growing corn, raising sheep and chickens, etc., Farmer said. The easement will maintain the land's agricultural use in perpetuity.

The town recently received a draft of the agreement from the trust, and town staff are in the process of reviewing it, according to Farmer.

Also undecided is the question of approving a "license to farm" agreement between the town and Jeffrey Campbell, who owns the homestead close to the town property and who may continue using the land agriculturally as his parents have done in the past. 

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The current "license to farm" agreement is in his mother's name, who passed away recently, Farmer said.

A resolution to put the agreement in Jeffrey Campbell's name was brought before the , but the motion was tabled so that the council could get more information on the issue.

According to the Conserving Tolland website, the property has been used as farmland since the 1700s. Residents also recently fundraised to preserve the property's historic barn and to print the diary of the late Bea Campbell, who was born there, according to the Conserving Tolland site.

Conserving Tolland founder and president Roseann Kellner Gottier said she supports both the agreement with the Connecticut Farmland Trust and the "license to farm" with the town.

"I feel like it's very beneficial to any town to have professional, single-focused land conservation organizations active in the town," she said. "It offers a multitude of experts, resources and objective, non-political opinions."

Farmer said that the town has considered using the land for recreation purposes, such as a baseball field, in the past, but that no concrete plans have been developed beyond its current agricultural use.

For more information on The Connecticut Farmland Trust, visit the organization's website. More information on the Peaceful Valley property is available on the Conserving Tolland website.

The town council is meeting next on August 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Fire Training Center.

Deb Slivinsky August 14, 2012 at 02:40 PM
I grew up very near the Campbell property and rode past it on the school bus daily. I'll always remember watching the fields and woods change through the seasons and the quiet enduring beauty of that land. When I visit Tolland now, I walk up Hunter Road to look at the vista of hills and pond, the red barn and the house with its fieldstone path, and pause to listen to the sheep and the songbirds. Clarence and Bea were amazing stewards of this land. I ask the town council to support the Campbell's legacy of stewardship and obvious love for this small pastoral glen that is such an integral part of our history.
Long time resident August 14, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I'm trusting this current council's desire to review this is just based upon caution rather than any intent to undo the previous council's decision. This council has continually patted itself on the back with an attitude no previous council has ever made decisions or "worked together". I have taken those comments as inexperienced bravado, and I hope I have been correct in doing so. Renaging on the decision of the previous council is a big mistake.
Laura Mahon August 14, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Having grown up in a nearby town and recently (5 years) moved to Tolland, I was immediately struck by the unfortunate the divide created by Interstate 84. Some progress may be necessary but not without it's drawbacks. The dissolution of Campbell farm is not necessary. As far as I can tell it is the last active farm in town and probably one of the few places that remains as it was over a century ago. Why would anyone would opt to destroy that kind of history? Once it is gone, it is gone for all time.
sally balukas August 14, 2012 at 10:10 PM
From a farm in Tolland: What would be gained by overturning the last Town Council's decision and negating the two years' hard work of the Connecticut Farmland Trust? Tolland boasts of its rural charm. Let's help to keep some of it. Please move to protect the Peaceful Valley Farm in perpetuity , including a License to Farm for a Campbell descendant or anyone else who might be qualified to maintain it as a farm. Once destroyed it will be gone forever.
MaryAnn August 18, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Yes, by vote of the Council, it can make whatever policy decisions it feels appropriate, unless the decision has fiscal implications over a specified dollar amount, or when a legal document has been executed. Things can change if the sitting Council feels it is implementing the will of the townspeople. That is why it is so important to be involved and to speak publicly about issues.

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