NAUGATUCK — Roughly 120 acres at what is considered the highest peak in the Naugatuck Valley will remain open space for the foreseeable future.
The land on top of Andrew Mountain Road owned by the Andrew family will not be sold to a developer, said Tim Andrew, whose father, Franklin Andrew, lived on the property in a log cabin for all of his 102 years.
When Franklin Andrew died last year, a day after his 102nd birthday, many residents questioned what would become of the land he left behind.
The Andrew family recently put that question to rest.
The Andrew children, who were bequeathed the land, requested that the Planning Commission divide the property so that it would be considered farmland, which is taxed at a different rate than most properties.
The commission last month accepted the proposal.
“When you have this amount of property, developers always want to talk to you about it,” Tim Andrew said. “We decided early on that we didn’t want that. It’s not what our father would have wanted, but that’s not why we’re doing it. We’re doing it because we believe strongly that it should remain farmland.”
Andrew said he has been turned off by other subdivisions in Naugatuck and didn’t want to see anything negative happen on the property.
Andrew Mountain is considered the highest peak in the Naugatuck Valley, according to the Naugatuck Historical Society.
About seven years ago, a developer was granted approval from borough land use boards to build 280 homes in a subdivision on Andrew Mountain called Huntington Hills.
However, when the housing market crashed, so did the plans for development.
The approvals have since expired, and the developer has not come back for new hearings.
Naugatuck officials took advantage of the lack of development in 2012 and purchased 146 acres on Andrew Mountain for $750,000, of which $315,250 has been offset by state grant money.
The property, which abuts the Naugatuck State Forest, will have 100 acres used for passive, outdoor recreation — hiking and walking trails — and most of the rest of the area will be used for active recreation like football, soccer and baseball fields.
The Andrew property is close by.