Doggett Brook Farm to remain agricultural, board agrees

Mar 8, 2022

ROCHESTER — Selectmen have agreed with the Buzzards Bay Coalition that Doggett Brook Farm should remain agricultural.

Allen Decker, the Director of Land Protection for the Buzzards Bay Coalition, visited the Rochester Select Board to ask for two conservation restrictions for approximately 60 acres of land off Marion Road. The restrictions were approved unanimously. 

“We’re interested in seeing it stay in agricultural use, and we have found a buyer that will do so.” As part of the agreement with the potential buyer, Buzzards Bay Coalition has asked that the buyer protect the property, which the restrictions will ensure that they do.

The Doggett Brook farm, known to some in Rochester as “the old airport’’ because the site once housed an airfield, consists of about 60 acres. 

The property is home to agricultural soil, woodland, and Doggett Brook, which is a tributary of the Sippican River. The Buzzards Bay Coalition purchased the property last year with the intention of preserving the land. 

Decker noted that the property is well-suited to agricultural use, and the Buzzards Bay Coalition wanted to prevent it from being developed into some other use, such as a business or residential lots. 

“We want to see it stay in farming, the buyers want to farm it, that’s the principle use,” he noted. “The soil is well-suited to agriculture.” 

The first restriction outlines an area of the property that can be used for agriculture under the guidance of a farm plan that must be approved by the Buzzards Bay Coalition and Rochester Land Trust. There will be one acre where the landowners can build a house, but otherwise the property is to be reserved for agricultural use only.

“No additional subdivisions will be allowed,” Decker said. He explained that once the restrictions are set in place, the only thing the land can be used for is farming. Even if the new owners were to sell it, the restrictions would stay in place.

The second restriction provides a buffer between the farm and the edge of the brook. “That area will be used for vegetative restoration and habitat restoration to benefit the brook,” said Decker. 

He also noted that they have plans to work with the new landowner to place a parking area along Marion Road and establish a walking trail that will be open to the public.

“It's a critical natural landscape,” explained Decker. “Our values speak to protecting this property for its habitat diversity potential.” 

“It is really nice to see this land stay in farming,” said Selectman Paul Ciaburri.