Save Deer Pond!

  Katherine Harrelson 

Below: Map showing wooded area around Deer Pond, 2015

Below: As of 2023,  Redbrook development, cranberry bog and sand and gravel mining expansion around Deer Pond

Below: AD Makepeace build out plan, 2021. Build out to the west of Deer Pond shown as “Year 8” 

Deer Pond & Endangered Species 

Deer Pond is Priority Habitat for Protected Species. The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) BioMap 3 map shows the “Priority Habitats” 509 and 601.

Makepeace’s Redbrook expansion around Deer Pond will obliterate at least 25 acres of pristine forest.  Is this necessary? Is this the type of “green” and “sustainable” development that AD Makepeace promised Plymouth and surrounding towns in the early 2000s when it announced plans to develop its vast landholdings  – about 10,000 acres? Has Makepeace met its obligations for conservation of land?

Deer Pond & Native American Site 

The Deer Pond area contains evidence of Native American use and occupation of the land during the Late Archaic Laurentian period, about 5,000 to 4,000 years before present time.  A archeological study done as part of the “MEPA” environmental study process for Red Brook included an archeological study done by a consultant paid by AD Makepeace. The Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) is the state agency responsible for deciding whether archeological sites like this can be destroyed or must be preserved when a development is proposed.  This is one of the many sites that MHC signed off on allowing Makepeace to destroy the archeological evidence here. MHC operates in secret with developers like Makepeace.  The Deer Pond archeological   review process should be reopened to comply with today’s expectations for social justice and environmental justice. All Wampanoag tribes should be given a full and fair opportunity to have input on whether this site can be destroyed. The MHC protects archeological sites containing the history of the colonists – but does not treat Native American sites equally.

Plymouth’s Select Board waives right to purchase Deer Pond land

Under another special deal, the Town of Plymouth is allowing Makepeace to keep its undeveloped land at Red Brook in “Chapter 61” so Makepeace can save on real estate taxes.  When a landowner benefits from Chapter 61, the law says that if the landowner wants to remove the land from this preferential tax category and develop it, the Town has the right of first refusal to buy the land. In August, 2023, AD Makepeace gave the Town the “right of first refusal” on the Deer Pond area as required by law. What did the Select Board do? Basically, behind closed doors waived the right of first refusal.   In order to keep this decision out of the public view, the Board lists “map and lots” on its agenda, without fully informing the public of what the agenda topic really is — giving  up the public’s right to buy open space. In this way, the Select Board goes along with preferential treatment for Makepeace, without full public disclosure. Is the Select Board fully informing the public and providing an opportunity for public input?

Here is Makepeace’s right of first refusal letter dated August 25, 2023.

Makepeace Right of First Refusal Deer Pond


Read about the legal action that Residents and Community Land and Water Coalition have taken in order to Save Deer Pond!

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