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County farm neighbors to consider new proposal

An initial title search of the Washington County Greenfield Farm indicates no restrictions on selling the property, but a new idea regarding a portion of its use was proposed during the March 9 meeting of the Commercial, Industrial and Agricultural Committee.
“The important question to know is that there are no restrictions if we want to sell, but I’d like to throw something out as an idea to look at,” Chair David Tomita said.
While determining the best use for the county farm has been under discussion for years, Tomita said he feels no burning need to act swiftly. “To have the real asset is probably more than anything we could sell it for,” he noted.
Rather, Tomita asked the committee to consider the current guidelines for the farm’s use. “A resolution was passed last year that restricts the farm’s use to agriculture, but there is nothing we pass a resolution on that can’t be changed by those who come after us,” he said.
Tomita suggested formalizing an arrangement with the Association of Property Owners Bordering the County Farm for gift or rent of the portion in the far left-hand corner of the farm near the wooded area and the walking trail, an area he said the community seems to use a lot. “I would like to make a formal request to the neighborhood organization to look at the idea,” he said.
The association, formed last year, is made up of the 18 members who say their property value and security are the most vulnerable to changes in the farm’s use. The group raised raised objections during earlier discussions of using the farm for a veterans home or a community garden.
Members attended the February meeting of the CIA Committee with a request that the property be developed for use as a low-impact park.
Commissioner Lynn Hodge questioned Tomita’s proposal. “I think there could be multiple uses,” he said. “It shouldn’t be exclusive to the use of the neighborhood.”
Tomita said the county currently has no parks organization. “Maybe we would want to throw this in later, but I think it gives the best long-term protection.”
According to County Attorney Tom Seeley, a new survey and an extensive title search would be required if the county wanted to consider conveying the property.
Tomita said the committee also should give some thought to renovations required for the building on the property, which is not included in the proposal to the neighbors.
Member Tess Lloyd agreed to take the idea back to the association for discussion.