Agreement Reached for Preservation of Pantry Brook Farm

Published April 30, 2012 | Planning & Community Development | Updated November 21, 2014 | Automatically Archived on 5/10/2012

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The Board of Selectmen, in partnership with the Sudbury Valley Trustees, have reached an agreement with the landowners of Pantry Brook Farm, Carole and Richard Wolfe, for the permanent preservation of Sudbury’s premiere agricultural landscape located on Concord Road. Under the agreement, the Town and SVT will purchase the development rights to approximately 94 acres of land through the recording of a permanent Conservation Restriction on the property, using Community Preservation Act (CPA) Open Space funds. This item appears as Article 30 in the 2012 Annual Town Meeting Warrant. A vote of Sudbury residents will be necessary to appropriate $7.76 million of CPA funds for the project. SVT will contribute $150,000 towards the purchase price, as well as generate additional funds for stewardship of the land and monitoring of the restriction in perpetuity. The restriction will be held by both entities.

Two opportunities are available to join the Sudbury Valley Trustees and Town Staff on a guided site walk of Pantry Brook Farm. On Saturday, April 28 the walk will begin at 10:00 a.m. and on Sunday, May 6 the walk will begin at 3:00. Pantry Brook Farm is located at 667 Concord Road. Signs indicating parking locations will be at the site. Residents are encouraged to participate in the site walks to learn more about Pantry Brook Farm, a landscape that is valuable and vital to maintaining Sudbury’s rural sense of place.

Characteristics of the property include open fields, gardens, granite fence posts, and stone walls, many of which are original. Extant farm buildings from the early nineteenth century remain to retain a landscape that is quickly disappearing from the region as developments replace open spaces. In a letter to Sudbury’s Board of Selectmen, the preservation organization Historic New England has opined that preserving Pantry Brook Farm would be an important purchase making an outstanding contribution to the preservation of Sudbury’s open space and agricultural character by protecting this nineteenth-century farmstead, the ca. 1825 Aaron Hunt House, along with two barns. There is both local and statewide significance in the vernacular Federal and Greek Revival style architecture of the farm buildings. Many original architectural elements have been unaltered within the farm house including structural timber framing, woodwork, door and window hardware, plaster walls, and floorboards. The east parlor of the house even contains a fireplace mantel based on Plate 50 of the 1830 pattern book, The Architect or Practical House Carpenter, created by the noted architect Asher Benjamin. Protecting the land would inevitably protect the buildings that stand on it. The Historic New England Letter on Pantry Brook Farm can be viewed here.

As recorded in Sudbury’s 2006 Massachusetts Heritage Landscape Inventory Program, the Pantry Brook Farm, also recognized as the Hunt-Bent Farm, is a beloved Sudbury landscape. Farm fields line both sides of Concord Road to the north of Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School with the historic buildings located at the crest of a hill overlooking a multi-layered landscape. Fields are lined with stone walls and slope down to the marshland of nearby Pantry Brook. A stand of tall pines punctuate the corn field there. Since 2006 there have been measures taken by the Sudbury Historical Commission to document the property and determine the best way to preserve it.

From the 2009-2013 Open Space and Recreation Plan it is known that five generations of Hunts/Bents have farmed the land and the property is rated as the highest parcel in Sudbury for preservation in terms of a series of ecological criteria developed in the Plan.

Through several studies Sudbury residents have identified the Pantry Brook Farm as a priority landscape and have expressed concern related to loss of important landscapes and community character as a town-wide issue. Appropriating funds for the development rights is one strategy for ensuring that this property remains to preserve what is quintessential Sudbury.

The Conservation Restriction to be granted is still under discussion, but will focus on the following provisions:

  • 2 building envelopes will be created where one single family dwelling and appurtenant accessory uses can be constructed — 1 building envelope is on the west side and is 5 acres in size and contains the farmhouse and barn; the other building envelope is on the east side and will be 1 acre in size and contains the existing rental house
  • No other habitable structures will be allowed on the property
  • Stone walls will be protected
  • Fields will be maintained as fields
  • Grant of a fa├ºade restriction on the farmhouse and attached barn
  • Allowance for the continuation of the tree service operation on the east side of the property for the life of the businessowner or sale to another party
  • Public access will be on the existing trails from LSRHS on the east side; public access on the west side will be limited to guided walks by SVT and/or ConCom approximately 12 times/year

Please attend a site walk to learn more about this valuable historic resource. To better acquaint yourself with this property, a map of Pantry Brook Farm can be downloaded here.