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Five Rivers deal withdrawn

"That parkland resolution was the reason I voted against it because she might withdraw the deal," McCarthy said of her vote. "I understand the point about the access, but I think it's a nice chunk of land for the town."

McCarthy said she still hopes some kind a new deal can be reached with Richards.

The main problem, according Richards' lawyers, was the Fischer Boulevard access that the town and Open Space Institute (OSI) have asked for. Katie Stone, a spokes woman for OSI, said the New Scotland Road access that Richards wanted wasn't acceptable as a public access point.

"That's used by two families as a driveway with a deeded right of way," Stone said. "It wasn't sufficient to support the long-term vision for the property. Everyone at the Open Space Institute is pretty upset things are unraveling."

Richards' attorney, Terresa Bakner, has not returned multiple phone calls from Spotlight Newspapers, but told the planning board after its Nov. 18 vote that Richards "most likely will not move forward. She feels very strongly about this."

"She believes that her request is reasonable," Bakner added. "All the lots are double the size and some are triple, four or five times the size of the requirement."

Bakner also noted "for the record" that Richards only asked $50,000 for the deed-restricted 24.63 acres of land, and that a nearby, unrestricted half-acre parcel sold for $105,000. At that value, Richards land would be worth over $5.17 million if sold without the deed restriction.

When informed of Richards' withdrawn application, DEC Region 4 spokesman

Rick Georgeson said the agency is always looking to add acreage to state preserve and educational center.

"That's part of our Open Spaces Comprehensive Plan," Georgeson said. "That's something we're always looking to do " to expand Five Rivers."

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