Sudbury Vision

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”Voters agreed to spend $750,000 in CPA money to buy an agricultural restriction for the 33-acre Fairbank Farm on Old Sudbury Road. The present owner would continue to run a farm there and preserve a barn.”


This raises a few very important questions.  How many of these”projects” has CPA tax dollars financed?  When the town dishes out this kind of money and the land owners continue to own and use the land for farming profit, does the town get anything back?  Does this land become tax free to the owner?  Do the people who use this land pay anything?  Has the town purchased land with CPA funds and allowed farmers to use the land for free?  Wasn't Meacham property purchased with CPA funds?  Someone is farming that land now.  How long do these "agricultural restriction" agreements last for? There seems to be a trend going on where land owners threaten to sell their land to a developer and the town steps in with CPA tax dollars to save the farm.

I did not expect CPA funds to be used in this manner where money is given to property owners to continue to use their land to farm.  I really like the idea that the land is being used for farming, but it's unclear to me what the taxpayers are getting in return if people are profiting from land owned or protected by the town.

 


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Comment by Bulldog Friday on May 10, 2011 at 12:50pm

I'm not entirely sure what the situation is:  particularly unclear is the nature of the temporary restriction on eight acres of the (33 acre) parcel until 2014.  Does anyone know what that is?  It's not a standard 61A--which remains in effect as long as you're farming the land, and it's not an agricultural restriction, which runs in perpetuity.  What's left?

From the November 17 2010 Community Preservation Committee minutes (underlining mine):

Project Submission Form - Fairbank Farm Agricultural Preservation Restriction – submitted by the Town Manager, requesting $750,000 to purchase an Agricultural Restriction on approximately 33 acres of land located at 135 Old Sudbury Road known as the Fairbank Farm, with the allowance for one building envelope on the property. She noted the owner would like to continue farming operations.

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Ms. Kablack stated the appraisal submitted by the proponent is based on three building lots on 33 acres, which it believed to be the highest and best use of the parcel. She stated that the Town’s independent appraisal report is expected this week. Ms. Kablack also explained that there is a temporary restriction on eight acres of the property which runs until 2014, and restricts subdivision of the entire 33 acres until that date.

Ms. Remington asked if the Agricultural restriction would be in perpetuity. Ms. Kablack responded affirmatively. Ms. Remington also asked if there would be public access to the property. Ms. Kablack responded public access would be negotiated by the Town with the owner. She summarized that the benefits to the Town is that the parcel would not be developed, farming would continue, and there would only be one home on the property. Ms. Kablack noted that Agricultural Preservation Restrictions approved under MGL c. 183 allows for the provision of housing for the owner and employees.

 

What is an Agricultural Restriction?  See:  http://www.mass.gov/agr/landuse/APR/index.htm

Sudbury CPC minutes November 17 2010  See: http://sudbury.ma.us/departments/BoardOfAssessors/doc6201/CPC_2010-...

 

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