This article needs a better title than “Hikers benefit from land deal.”

Thanks to a land deal between a local entrepreneur and Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, hikers will enjoy some new acreage on the northeastern edge of town.

The WRLF announced yesterday that it had acquired a 104-acre parcel of Pine Cobble, a mountain that borders Clarksburg State Forest and a portion of the Appalachian Trail.

The land was purchased for $40,000 from William “Bo” Peabody, the owner of the Sweet Farm Nominee Trust and a managing general partner at Village Ventures, a Williamstown-based venture capital firm.

Read the whole thing. Comments:

1) What was the market vale of this land?

2) How much taxes were paid to the town for this land last year? Since the land has gone to a “non-profit,” no taxes need be paid from now on. The town will need to make up that revenue somehow . . .

3) Does Peabody retain ownership of any of the land surrounding this parcel? One of the central scams of these sorts of deals — especially common at places like Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard — is that a rich landowner “gives away” a bunch of property abutting his house that he never intended to build on anyway. It was just his big beautiful backyard. He doesn’t want it to change, but he doesn’t want to pay taxes on it either. “Donating” it to a land trust is a perfect solution, although sometimes other local taxpayers disagree . . .

Some besides “hikers” is benefiting from this deal.

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