Camp Sewataro is a summer day camp located at 1 Liberty Ledge in Sudbury. It sits on 46 acres and will celebrate its 60th anniversary in the Summer of 2019. Sewataro’s owners plan to cease operation of the camp program in the coming years, and they have placed the property on the market.
Camp Sewataro Timeline
In Fall 2018, the owners of Camp Sewataro approached the Town of Sudbury to inform the Town that they planned to sell the property in the Spring of 2019. In past years, other options for the property had been explored, including Community Preservation Committee (CPC) applications for the purchase of restrictions or development rights.
Upon hearing of the potential sale, the Town Manager submitted a CPC application for the May 2019 Town Meeting.
During Goal Setting, the Board of Selectmen set a goal to work on the Camp Sewataro acquisition in 2019. They wanted to consider this item at the October 2019 Town Meeting.
After conversations with the property’s broker, the Town learned that the property would be sold as part of a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) Process. The timeline set by the property owner would require action at the May 2019 Town Meeting.
The Board of Selectmen submitted a placeholder warrant article for the acquisition of Camp Sewataro for the 2019 Annual Town Meeting.
Over the winter, the Town received the appraisal on the property as well as a copy of the RFP.
In March, the Board of Selectmen will need to review pertinent information and make a determination on whether to make an offer for the property.
The RFP responses are due by March 25, 2019.
Camp Sewataro Description
Camp Sewataro is a summer day camp. The camp plans to run its normal operations this summer and possibly in the summer of 2020 as well. The camp consists of approximately 46 acres located at 1 Liberty Ledge, just southwest of the intersection of Haynes Road and North Road. The camp operates under a Special Permit granted by the Town of Sudbury’s Zoning Board of Appeals. The Special Permit would require a compliance review by the Zoning Board of Appeals under new ownership. Camp Sewataro was founded in the 1960’s by Alba Taylor, her father Franklin Secatore, and two siblings. Today, the camp is owned by Alba’s husband, Bill Dowie, and Alba’s children, Mark, Rob, and Chris Taylor. According to Mark Taylor, the camp, which started with 25 campers, now provides programming for more than 1200 campers each summer between the ages 4 to 14. The camp is popular with families in Sudbury, nearby towns, and as far as Boston and Wellesley.
The property is located in the Single Residence A Zoning District. There are two wetlands located on the site, both of which are ponds that comprise approximately 3.2 acres. The property contains multiple camp buildings and accessory structures as well as three residences. The total building square footage amounts to 30,400 square feet. In addition to the two lakes, the property has 4 outdoor pools, two basketball courts, two tennis courts, a horseback riding arena, two soccer fields, one lacrosse field, and one softball diamond, as well as various other activity spots. There are 25 buildings across the site, some of which are sheds.
The Planning Board approved a subdivision for the property in 1998 for 31 residential building lots. That subdivision plan has since expired because certain conditions were not met. We are under the assumption the subdivision plan could be approved again or the permit life of the decision could be extended by the Planning Board. The current property is comprised of 33 separately assessed lots, 31 of which are buildable. The total Fiscal Year 2019 assessed value is $11,269,700. The property taxes paid in FY19 will total $201,840.
Land Protection in Sudbury
To manage land preservation and protection, the Town of Sudbury created the 2009-2013 Open Space and Recreation Plan to identify priority parcels for preservation and guide future town planning efforts. As part of the new Master Planning process, an updated Open Space plan is underway.
If open space or otherwise valuable parcels come onto the market, there are several ways for the Town of Sudbury to help preserve and protect them. These include finding a preservation-minded buyer for the property, utilizing cluster zoning to preserve open space while also allowing for development, purchasing a conservation easement to limit potential development, or outright purchase by the Town or a conservation entity (such as Sudbury Valley Trustees).