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Five Rivers deal pulled

Planning board member Katherine McCarthy, who was the only member to vote against the board's recommendation, said she did so out of fear that Richards would withdraw her application, which was what eventually happened.

"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 of 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 was asking for.

Katie Stone, a spokeswoman for OSI, said the New Scotland Road access that Richards was proposing 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 at the time. "All the lots are double the size and some are triple, four or five times the size of the requirement."

Bakner also noted that Richards was only asking $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 more than $5.17 million if sold without the deed restriction, instead of the $2,000 an acre she asked for with a restriction against development.

Richards' subdivision plan consisted of building seven lots on a 35-acre plot and selling the rest of the land, which included property in the Town of New Scotland, to OSI.

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