Saying it wasn’t a top conservation priority, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously this week not to exercise its option to purchase 13.5 acres of former farmland on Deerfoot Road.
“We have the desire to preserve open space, but this does not appear at the top of the list,” Selectman Bill Boland said of the property.
The town had right of first refusal on the property, part of the former Allen farm, under the state’s Chapter 61A regulation which gives tax breaks for agricultural land.
The town could either opt to purchase the land for $1.2M, or assign its option to a third-party land conservation group. Town Administrator Jean Kitchen told selectmen at a meeting earlier this week that she had contacted a number of area groups, but none had expressed interest in the property.
The town had 120 days to decide whether to act on their option, which would have given them until sometime in August, but selectmen waived the additional time.
“There’s no reason to delay,” Selectman John Rooney said.
The board’s vote clears the way for Westborough developer Bob Moss to purchase the property. Moss plans to build a 10-home English cottage style subdivision on the land. Assuming the sale goes through, Moss would still need approval from the town on his plan before he can start building.
The town also has the option to purchase a separate single-home lot on Clifford Road that was also part of the original Allen farm. They have not yet made a decision on that lot.