Photo Gallery: Officials Visit Busa Farm

Lexington's Recreation and Busa Land Use Proposal committees joined the Board of Selectmen on a June 13 site visit.

Editor's note: Portions of this story have been corrected after clarifications from members of the Board of Selectmen.

A couple dozen committee members took a tour of Lexington’s on Monday, June 13, walking around the parcel’s perimeter under evening skies that had many of them expressing how lucky they were the rain held off.

The guided tour was an official site visit for the Board of Selectmen, who were joined by the town’s Busa Land Use Proposal and Recreation committees.  According to selectmen Chairman Hank Manz, the next step is to start talking in depth with the BLUPC about its report on the property.

“This is a typical New England plot,” said Manz. “It’s been divided, subdivided and it’s old. One of the hardest things is going to be how do we decided what to do about the borders.”

The selectmen scheduled the site visit last month, saying getting out and surveying the lay of the land and intricacies of its borders would help with their review of the Busa Land Use Proposal Committee’s recommendation to use the land as a community farm and affordable housing.

When Town Meeting voted to purchase the Busa land, possibilities for the property included a multipurpose field, picnic area, community gardens, trails and associated parking. Additionally, land was to be preserved for open space and community housing, the article’s description said.

In March, the , which favored the Lexington Community Farm Coalition’s community farm proposal, with a small amount of affordable housing.

Currently, the almost eight acres of land is leased to Dennis Busa, the previous owner of Busa Farms, and is being farmed through March of next year.

Hank Manz June 14, 2011 at 02:14 PM
I don't think I said that the next step would be a meeting where proposals would be entertained. At least I hope I did not. :-) The Busa Committee (BLUPC) has already done that. The first step was for the Selectmen to actually walk the land which is always better than just looking at pictures and maps. The next step will be to start talking to the BLUPC about the report. Rather than breaking new ground, we will be going over what the committee has written and we will be exploring it in depth. For those who have not read the final report, go to: http://www.lexingtonma.gov/committees/blupc/BusaFinalReport031411.pdf for that document. It starts with a description of the process by which the property was purchased and it goes into some detail about the steps which led to the formation of the BLUPC. A key piece often left out of stories is that the BLUPC report did not recommend a single use. Rather, it recommended two uses which are in different Community Preservation Act (CPA) categories. That means that even if the BOS followed the BLUPC recommendations to the letter, we would still have to exactly describe the portion of the land set aside for each use. And I mean EXACTLY. Another thing that will have to be handled carefully is how whatever use is made of the property fits in with the current somewhat loosely defined boundaries. Fences are not exactly on property lines, for instance.
Patrick Ball (Editor) June 14, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Hi Hank, In my notebook, I have you saying something to the extent of now officials can talk about the schedule and talk in open meetings about the schedules and to petitioners about their plans. It appears I mischaracterized the next step and will correct the error. Thanks and best, Patrick
Beth June 14, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Please read BLUPC report and note "one member " who promoted housing was a member of housing conversion board and had no rights to serve in the committee as "desinterested" person. Hank Manz should teoretically exclude himself from discussions because his wife is on housing,planning, cpc and Leary commitee, and she is a big housing advocate and it is usually hard to go against wife's wish :) as we can see from his comments. From BLUPC report.: Three members of the Committee believe that NO HOUSING should be built on the land because, as one member stated, it could dilute the intent and functions of the farming operation; if carefully sited, three members would support 1‐2 units in a single structure (one of these three members would support such a structure if it did not require a variance); and one member could support from 5 to 8 units in a single structure, but also proposed 4 units as a compromise. Given the property’s irregular configuration (with limited frontage along Lowell Street) and its topography (with a grade change of over 12’ at its southeast corner), siting housing on the Busa land is a challenge.
Beth June 28, 2011 at 08:09 PM
An application for approval of a "Friendly 40B" Comprehensive Permit Project should have a letter of support signed by the chief executive officer of the municipality (760 DMR 45.02) but DHCD EXPECTS local public officials to act in GOOD FAITH and expects local support for housing proposed. Clearly, there is no local support for a friendly 40B development at Busa Land.
Hank Manz June 28, 2011 at 09:00 PM
I am curious about what pro-housing comments I made which Beth cites. I simply pointed out that if there are multiple uses in the final plan and if those multiple uses do not fit into the same CPC category, then the boundaries which define the porion of the land for each use must be exactly defined. I will continue to stick to facts and reasoned arguments rather than exaggeration. And by the way, anybody who believes that spouses will always agree on political issues needs to attend more Town Meeting sessions. :-) Recusal, by the way is for conflict of interest, not alleged similarity of interests.
Beth August 01, 2011 at 04:35 AM
Hank, you met with housing partnership in private to see their new plans for housing after the deadline set by BLUPC: .Only 2 selectman were present in order to avoid open meeting law requirements and BLUPC members were not invited. . You questioned the work of the BLUPC comitee according to Housing partnership minutes. Tomorrow is the time to see how much you are dependant on your wife. TOMORROW: Monday, August 1st 7:00 pm* - Selectmenʼs Meeting Room • Town Office Building • 1625 Massachusetts Avenue . Regular Selectmen's meeting has 30 minutes dedicated to the issue. (Busa Farm will probably not come up before 8:00 pm due to several items ahead of it.) TUESDAY, August 2nd 8:00 am - Public Works Building • 201 Bedford St. First of presumably several special meetings dedicated to this issue. Selectmen will look at (1) new plan for affordable housing and (2) recreation section of the report. Please note ,the BLUPC members were not invited there again.
Beth August 01, 2011 at 04:41 AM
I just want to copy the letter from Edith Sandy, Precinct 6 to TMMA list to prove the point that BLUPC work should be respected Congratulations to the Board of Selectmen on their choice of members of the Busa Land Use Proposal Committee (BLUPC). The BLUPC is one of the most broadly-based, diverse, well-run, diligent and competent Town groups that I have ever had the privilege to observe. The committee has been assiduous in seeking out and listening to community input from a great variety of groups, from soccer parents to housing buffs to neighborhood residents to farm supporters. Two of its members are landscape architects who have done consultant-level work examining the physical characteristics of the site with respect to how the site would accommodate the various uses proposed for it. I hope that as it begins its deliberations on the use of the Busa Farm, the Board of Selectmen will give its committee's recommendations the full respect they deserve.


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