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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A senior citizen's gift benefits her peers in Hudson

HUDSON

Many of Hudson's senior citizens will enjoy natural views of historic farmland for years to come -- thanks to a woman who could be old enough to be their mother.

Mary Sauta, 96, has agreed to place a conservation restriction on the remaining portion of the family’s farm -- 7.5 acres off of Brook Street, which is located near a development of homes for those 55 and older. According to her son, Charles Sauta. The Sauta family sold more than 25 acres almost two years ago to Midland Development, which is constructing 66 units of age restricted housing.

Mary Sauta still lives in the farmhouse on the land, where a barn also sits.

“She wanted it always to be kept as farmland forever, so we said, “fine, we’ll do it.’ ” said Charles Sauta, 72, who lives across the street from the farmhouse.

A conservation restriction is a permanent deed restriction placed on privately-owned land that protects it from development. The Hudson Board of Selectmen and Conservation Commission have approved the restriction, which now must be approved by the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Charles Sauta said.

The land would still be owned by a Sauta family trust, but the town would oversee the property. Towns typically have to pay landowners the worth of the land without developmental rights in exchange for a conservation restriction, but Mary Sauta didn’t want the money, Charles Sauta said.

“She has everything she needs. It would only be a few more bucks,” said Charles Sauta, who estimated the land is worth $600,000 to $800,000. “We’re just going to let it go the way she wants.”

-- Jennifer Rosinski

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