::Town Of Cary Buys Farm For $6.5 Million
From Raleigh Chronicle Staff & Wire Reports
Friday June 8, 2007
CARY - While forcibly annexing and condemning one 225 acre working farm in the last couple of years to be used as a wastewater plant, the city is trying to save another to "protect" it.
The town of Cary announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase more than 45 acres of farmland and historical structures for $6.5 million.
In a released statement, the city stated that they are purchasing the Cary farm to protect it from commercial development "to further its commitment to preserving and protecting the environment and enhancing the quality of life of citizens."
According to the city, the structures on the farm date back to the early 1910's.
The property is referred to as the A.M. Howard Farm and is located near the Morrisville town border just inside of Cary at 1580 Morrisville-Carpenter Road. The property is located within the city limits of Cary and is in the heart of a rapidly changing area of development with new shopping centers and real estate developments being built.
The city says that the only way to protect the farm was to purchase it.
"While the farm was included in the
May 2000 listing of the Carpenter Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, such a listing does not prohibit owners from altering or razing the property," said the city in a press statement.
The city describes the structures on the land as a one-story, frame dwelling with German siding along with 12 outbuildings, including two tobacco curing barns, a tobacco strip room, and a pack house.
A central front gable stands at the center of the 45-acre farm that is bisected by Morrisville-Carpenter Road.
"This is a significant step in implementing the Council's preservation vision," said Doug McRainey, Principal Planner with the Town's
Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department in a press statement. "The historical, aesthetic, and cultural value of this land will prove to be a priceless investment in the place we call home for generations to come."
Cary says that initial plans call for the 29 acres north of Morrisville-Carpenter which includes the farmhouse and structures to be preserved in a way that "focuses attention on the area's agricultural history and farming practices", while the rest of the property -- around 16 acres south of the Morrisville-Carpenter road -- will be used as a neighborhood park.
Saving One Farm, Destroying Another
Ironically, while proclaiming that they are trying to save the Howard farm inside of Cary from future development, the town recently destroyed the farming heritage of a family outside of town.
In 2005, the town of Cary initiated proceedings to condemn the 225 acre farm owned by the Seymour family in the community of New Hill, which is outside of the city limits of Cary.
The farm was a working farm at the time and had been in the family for many years.
Despite statements to the contrary by Cary town officials, the family told the News & Observer newspaper that they did not want to sell and repeatedly asked that Cary look at thousands of acres of vacant land owned by Progress Energy to be used for the proposed wastewater treatment plant.
The town said Progress Energy had refused to entertain selling property, but media reports at the time stated that the company was not even contacted about using their property.
In a letter to the editor of the News & Observer in 2005, the family stated:
"On Aug. 11, the Town of Cary sued us, our spouses and our children to take our 225-acre farm in New Hill for the construction of a sewer plant....We were shocked to have recently learned that some government officials have apparently said that we were willing sellers. That is simply not true. Our family farm was not for sale at anyprice. Our property has been taken by the government....We mourn the loss of our farmand the impact the construction of this sewer plant will have on the historic community of NewHill." . ::