This was the fourth time Town Meeting deliberated the fate of this parcel as former School Committee member Vladimir Morales failed three times previously to get Amherst Town Meeting to designate the entire 66 acre parcel as "permanent conservation land."
The land was not locked into this protective designation because insiders wanted to keep options open to use it in the future as a possible "exchange" for municipal development on other land in town that borders conservation property.
Five years ago when Town Meeting missed the two-thirds vote required (96-60) Francesca Maltese, then Chair of the Conservation Commission, said prophetically "Even if no one can build on Wentworth Farm, to leverage this and take some of other piece of conservation land out of conservation is almost an ethical issue to deal with. We don't want to use Wentworth Farm to break the covenant on another piece.''
And that's exactly what just happened--except the covenant was broken for a private individual. As part of the deal to remove land from the state APR program so Roger Cherewatti could build his spacious abode behind the Kimball House rather than on it, the town had to pay the state $268,000 (half down the other half over five years) plus find 10 acres of land somewhere in town to replicate the APR land lost on North East Street. And time was just about up for finding that land, otherwise the town would pay the state another $100,000.
So if the town needs to build, say, a fire station in South Amherst that treads a tad too close to APR land (and Amherst has a LOT of APR land) Wentworth Farm is no longer available as a trade.
But for anyone traveling along North East Street he provides a beautiful view--for free.