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LexFarm Delivers Busa Farms Housing Concepts [VIDEO]

The Board of Selectmen could decide next week about uses for the town-owned Busa Farms property following last night's presentation of an alternate housing plan and community farming concept.

A decision regarding uses of the property in Lexington could come next week, the Board of Selectmen said last night before a crowd of 100-plus at .

That announcement came after LexFarm President Janet Kern and architect Carl Oldenberg presented their alternative to an eight-unit plan .

This latest presentation, described as proof of concept rather than a recommendation, included a three-floor, three-unit building in close proximity to existing homes on Lowell Street and a mixed-use structure that would combine housing and farm uses near the current farm stand.

Kern and Oldenberg emphasized that, if both a community farm and affordable housing are envisioned as community resources, one must not be sacrificed for the benefit of the other.

For more on LexFarm's guiding principles, watch the video posted with the photos above.

“My feeling is that it’s quite possible for there to be some housing with a community farm, but for either to be viable, careful attention must to be paid to the design of both,” said Oldenberg. “We can create very desirable housing as well as a viable community farm.”

Though they weren’t wild about the mixed-use proposals, which could be complicated by the involvement of the Community Preservation Act funding, the selectmen said LexFarm’s proposal had some interesting ideas. 

Selectman Peter Kelley said the three-unit home in the LexFarm plans is precisely where he’d like to site the housing and that he would not want to take up any more than one-third of the frontage along Lowell Street, which he believes is enormously valuable. Kelley said he believes even more afforable units could fit there using the “big house, little house, back house, barn” design.

Moving Forward

The decision at hand next week should be strictly about uses for the land, the selectmen said after the meeting, and the pinpointing of exactly what will go where should be a collaborative effort going forward.

While the board of selectmen has decided at least some affordable housing should go on the town-owned Busa Farms property, and most conversations do include some type of farming, recreational uses are still technically on the table, officials said.

To read the Busa Land Use Proposal Committee's full report, click here.

At least an hour, if not two, will be devoted to the Busa Land discussion at the selectmen’s next meeting, which is likely to again be held at Cary Hall due to the anticipated attendance.

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