Partner Peter Bassano Represents Dominican Sisters of Hope on Creation of Mariandale Preservation Easement in Ossining
Bleakley Platt Partner Peter Bassano guided a recently-completed preservation effort for the Dominican Sisters of Hope that safeguards from development 34 acres of the Sisters’ 61-acre Mariandale property in Ossining, N.Y., through a conservation easement donated to the Westchester Land Trust.
The easement covers the undeveloped part of Mariandale and excludes the campus with the Sisters’ offices, chapel and the Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center, for which a renovation and redesign of buildings is planned. The Sisters will continue to own and manage the property.
“The goal of this easement is to protect this land in perpetuity, which is very important to the Sisters’ earthly mission,” said Mr. Bassano. “It took approximately three years for the Sisters’ vision of preservation to reach fruition,” Mr. Bassano noted.
“This land has been an oasis in the midst of development in Westchester County,” said Sister Lorelle Elcock, O.P., Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Hope. “We have a responsibility to be in right relationship with Earth, not over it or owning it, but caring for it. We are protecting this land so that it will be a source of healing and refuge for both humans and wildlife.”
“We’re very appreciative of Peter’s work with us. He was very patient and really understood our values and what we were trying to achieve,” said Sister Lorelle, adding, “He’s worked with us on several things over the years. We’ve been very pleased with him.”
The protected property is adjacent to the Village of Ossining’s 30-acre Crawbuckie Nature Preserve. In addition to protecting significant ecological resources, the conservation easement means nearly one mile of Hudson River shoreline is now protected in perpetuity—honoring a priority in the 2016 New York State Open Space Conservation Plan.
“The conserved land consists of a variety of habitat types, including woodlands, meadow, wetlands, and a steep ravine through which flows a stream on its way to emptying into the Hudson River,” a press release on the easement said.
Lori Ensinger, president of the Land Trust, said in the release, “The preservation of this beautiful land holds special meaning for Westchester Land Trust. We have always known that this property is sacred to the Sisters, and we worked to ensure that they felt comfortable with their decision to preserve the property after they are gone. Every action they have taken demonstrates their clear stewardship ethic and a deep reverence for the land. This project has been one of the most inspirational we have ever been involved with.”
Peter Bassano is the Firm’s Managing Partner, a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and the head of the Real Estate and Commercial Finance Practice Groups. Mr. Bassano has more than 30 years’ experience in all aspects of commercial real estate.