A north shore West Tisbury property fronting James Pond and Vineyard Sound is the latest purchase by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank in what is shaping up to be an active year for the Island’s public conservation organization.

Property includes frontage on James Pond. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The land bank announced Thursday that it had bought 6.8 acres in West Tisbury for $3.88 million. The seller is Sandhurst MV, a limited liability company that had bought the property from the former owners, the Peltz family. The hourglass-shaped parcel includes 330 feet of white sand beach fronting Vineyard Sound, abutting the town-owned Lambert’s Cove Beach, and another 390 feet along the eastern side of James Pond, opposite the former Mohu estate of Katharine Graham.

The land bank announced the purchase on its Facebook page Thursday morning. West Tisbury selectmen were informed about the purchase at their meeting late Wednesday afternoon.

The property is currently closed while the land bank studies it and prepares a management plan, according to its usual practice. Expected to be open to the public by the summer of 2022, it will be known as the James Pond Preserve.

“We always close a [new] property and study it for a year,” land bank executive director James Lengyel told the Gazette by phone Thursday morning.

“We want to make sure we do a full species inventory, and get the lay of the land,” he said.

Eventual plans call for opening the property and beachfront to the public, Mr. Lengyel said.

Graham Smith

The property includes grassland along the pond and a high dune with long views of Vineyard Sound and the Elizabeth Islands. Mr. Lengyel said a small part of the property is wooded.

The land also contains a large house and several smaller buildings, all of which are destined to be removed unless the land bank decides to keep one of the outbuildings as a caretaker’s cottage.

“The land bank’s goal is to un-develop and re-naturalize the property,” Mr. Lengyel said.

Part of the current plan for the new preserve is to allow some parking for hikers and beachgoers. The attraction of the saltwater beach makes it likely the land bank will use a timed reservation system, as it did this summer at the Manaquayak property that includes Ice House Pond, Mr. Lengyel said.

But before any management plan is finalized, the land bank will bring it to the public, including neighboring property owners and the town, for comment, he said.

“We want to make sure our use complements the neighborhood,” Mr. Lengyel said.

Land bank plans to open public access to the beach in 2022. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The likely time frame for airing the draft management plan is February or March of 2022, he said.

The property had gone on the market for sale, Mr. Lengyel said.

The purchase marks the third major acquisition for the land bank this year. Funded by a two percent fee on most arm’s length real estate transactions, the land bank has seen its coffers grow with the recent real estate boom. Last week alone the land bank collected nearly $1 million in revenues.

In September the land bank and Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation announced they would buy 304 acres of undeveloped land at Red Gate Farm, the historic, ecologically rare oceanfront estate in Aquinnah owned by the family of Caroline B. Kennedy.

Due to close at the end of the year, it is the largest conservation purchase on the Vineyard in recent memory.

The total purchase price is $27 million, with the land bank contributing $15 million to the purchase, while Sheriff’s Meadow will contribute $12 million.

In late October the land bank bought scenic Arrowhead Farm in West Tisbury with a plan to preserve the iconic property as a working farm in perpetuity.

The land bank paid $4.43 million for the 33-acre property; the owners Robert and Charlene Douglas will retain a life estate on the property as part of the terms of sale.

The land bank eventually plans to return the horse farm and equestrian center nestled at the crook of scenic Indian Hill Road to active agriculture with a tenant farmer.

Last month the lank bank joined with the Island Autism Group to buy the 17.5-acre former Child farm off Lambert’s Cove Road for $1.2 million. Part of the property will become open space, and part will developed into a residence for people with autism.

The land bank was created in 1986 by an act of the state legislature.