By Scott Robertson
The chair of the county commission committee considering the question of the county farm’s future offered the co-chair of a neighborhood organization that has been lobbying the county not to consider selling the farm a different kind of proposal Monday night.
Commerce, Industrial and Agricultural committee chair David Tomita opened the meeting by conferring with Roberta Chubb of the county attorney’s office to confirm there are no restrictions on what the county can do with the farm property. Chubb had conducted a title search dating back to 1895. Once that was confirmed, Tomita addressed Tess Lloyd, co-chair of the Property Owners Bordering the Washington County Greenfield Farm with a very preliminary offer.
“This has been in our committee for a while, but I don’t feel any burning need to act swiftly on anything,” Tomita said. “ I don’t personally feel any burning desire to sell it…In the long term, though, you could end up with 20 commissioners who think, ‘Let’s sell it,’ and there are apparently no restrictions against that. I don’t want to do that, but in the future, it could happen.
“One of the areas of concern is the portion of the property that some adjoining residents use for walking trails. It’s a wooded area…What would provide that neighborhood with a lot of protection is if we gave them that piece, or leased that piece to them and let them form a formal neighborhood association that would be responsible for the care of that area. They would never have to worry about the use of that area changing.”
“So I would just ask you outright if you would take that back and see if that’s anything the neighborhood organization would be interested in.”
Said Lloyd, “You want me to get back to my group and ask them if there is an interest in what you are proposing here, letting them know that we don’t even know if the county is interested in this, but to do just sort of a preliminary questioning?”
“It doesn’t have to be a firm yes or no,” Tomita said. “If there is interest in moving forward, then let’s move forward slowly and methodically. Again, I’m not in any big hurry. There’s nothing on fire. Let’s do it right. So if you don’t mind doing that, I’d appreciate it.”
Lloyd replied, “I’d be happy to.”
After the meeting Lloyd said she would contact the organization’s membership to arrange a meeting to discuss Tomita’s idea, and that she had no idea what the reaction of the members would be.