Talks have begun on another potential change to the town landscape. This week, a town committee heard from the family behind one of the last remaining parcels of farmland in town – the Capassos.
Southborough Housing Opportunity Partnership listed a discussion of a potential project at Capasso Farm on Wednesday’s agenda. Southborough Wicked Local showed up to cover it.
According to the story, the family has given up on finding someone to farm the land or rent the former storefront. They reached out to the town committee to discuss development options for housing.
The last public attempt by the family to revive business at the site was scrapped in 2012. Past stories on the site indicate the owners have struggled to find a store or farm tenant who could deal with zoning issues in the residential area.
This week, SWL quotes Paul Capasso as clarifying the obstacle:
“I think the biggest issue we’ve had with the farm parcel is nobody wants to invest in it without owning it.”
Of their plans to develop housing, Capasso told the committee:
“If there is a need that we can fill for the town, we would be willing to move forward at some level,” he said. “We are not here to really fight to get anything.”
The committee and town officials were eager to work with the family on exploring options, including attempting to preserve some of the open space on their 28 acre parcel:
Housing Committee Chairman Craig Nicholson said the group exists to help fill the affordable housing needs in town. He said there is interest in working with the family to find out what can reasonably be done.
Member Jesse Stein asked the family to consider also working with other boards such as the Open Space Preservation Commission and Community Preservation Commission. He said there could be options for conservation restrictions.
“It would be a beautiful open space possibility,” he said. “I’d like to see that at least taken under consideration.”
Jennifer Burney, town planner, said the land can both be developed and preserved in certain areas. The family can work with the town on “friendly 40B” options or a development agreement for an overlay district, which would need to be approved at Town Meeting.
For the full story, click here.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Framingham Road farm and empty store, click here for past coverage.
I have to admit that I’m saddened that a successful replacement for Capasso’s store never worked out. I have fond memories of walking to the “Buffalo Farm” as a child to buy penny candy at the store’s predecessor Willow Brook Farms.
Depending on if the family is looking to make money or simply preserve the farmland, they should contact Trustees of the Reservation. With on active farm property in town now, they may be able to take on the Capasso property and keep it as farmland.