Video: Recreation Commission Discusses Fate of Bean Farm, 11/9/09

Here is a video from the 11/9/09 meeting of Northampton’s Recreation Commission. The recording totals 1 hour 6 minutes and includes discussion of the fate of Bean Farm. The recording was made by Lilly Lombard.


See also:

Google Group: grow food in northampton

Gazette: “Recreation panel recommends farm buy” (11/10/09)
Before a standing-room-only crowd Monday, the Recreation Commission voted unanimously to recommend to the City Council that the city purchase the Bean family farm, and voted to seek Community Preservation Act funding before a formal agreement with the owner has been reached.

Although commissioners didn’t discuss the ultimate use of the farmland, it reportedly has been eyed by the city as a site for a multi-use sports complex aimed at easing the current lack of available field space for sports leagues across the city.

The meeting drew more than 30 residents to the department’s meeting room at Smith Vocational High School and featured a lengthy public comment session during which the overwhelming majority of speakers urged that the parcel, if purchased, be preserved as farmland.

Springfield Republican: “Farm land use still in dispute” (11/11/09)
Lilly J. Lombard, who has led the fight to preserve the Bean Farm, said it has been tilled since Colonial times and, perhaps, by the Native Americans who lived in the area before then…

…Last week, the Agricultural Commission voted to keep it as farm land. John P. Omasta, who is on the Agricultural Commission, called the parcel some of the best farm land in the city outside of the Meadows…

The city has been under pressure from recreational groups, especially soccer clubs, to create new playing fields. Currently, two soccer leagues use several fields at the Oxbow Marina, but the situation has created traffic problems in the tiny Island Road neighborhood, which provides the only access to the fields…

“A private developer is looking at it,” [Northampton Planning Director Wayne M. Feiden] said. “If we don’t buy it, it will almost certainly be developed.”

Northampton Media: “Floodplain Proposal Simplifies Permitting; Releases Bean Farm Land from Restrictions” (11/10/09)
454 acres—a swath of which lies across the Bean Farm property that the City is negotiating to buy for development as a recreation complex—will have restrictions eliminated or “pulled back.” This is because the OPD’s proposal amends the map of floodplain-zoned land in the City to be exactly congruent with the official FEMA 100-year floodplain map, produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the 1970s.

“I don’t mean to come across as cynical,” remarked citizen Garson Fields, “But is the decision to exclude the Bean Farm land the result of the City’s decision to buy the property?”

“We want our zoning to be in keeping with science,” replied Misch. “Some of the land that is currently zoned as floodplain will have its restrictions eliminated.” Misch denied that the rezoning plan had anything to do with the OPD’s property acquisition activities, noted that other areas in the City would be “pulled back” as well, and was unable to identify exactly how many acres at the Bean Farm would be released from floodplain zoning restrictions under the OPD plan.

Video: Floodplains Public Information Session, 11/10/09 “Plowing Detroit Into Farmland” (11/9/09)
[Aaron M.] Renn says the sheer size of Detroit — a largely vacant urban prairie bigger than Manhattan, Boston and San Francisco combined — makes it a prime test case for the “shrinking cities” movement. And so an American Institute of Architects study imagines Detroit reduced into a metro core surrounded by green belts, “urban villages” and banked land.

Already, Urban Farming, an international outfit that has made Detroit its headquarters, is said to boast some 500 small plots under cultivation to supply free food to the city’s poor. “It wouldn’t surprise me, frankly, if Detroit produces more food inside its borders today than any other traditional American city,” Renn writes.