- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Media Contact for Brookline Man and His Companies to Clean up, Restore and Maintain Windstar Farm in Sandwich Under AG Settlement
BOSTON — Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office has secured a settlement with a Brookline man and his two real estate companies that requires them to clean up, maintain, and restore Windstar Farm, a large currently-idle agricultural property in Sandwich, that is a vital agricultural resource for Cape Cod and the state as a whole.
The consent judgment, entered Friday by Justice Howard Speicher of the Land Court in Boston, settles a 2017 lawsuit filed by the AG’s Office against Amit Kanodia, a Brookline resident and two companies he controls, SNK Corporation and 354-360 Washington Street LP, which is Windstar Farm’s direct owner.
The AG’s complaint alleged that the defendants violated the state’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) that protects the 223-acre property by failing to secure and maintain the land as an agricultural resource. Today’s settlement requires Kanodia and his companies to prepare and implement a restoration plan. It also requires them to and take necessary security measures to curb trespassing and vandalism at the property to ensure the suitability of Windstar Farm for farming and other agricultural activities that are consistent with the APR.
“This settlement means that the defendants now will be held to their legal obligation to preserve Windstar Farm as an agricultural resource for the benefit of the state and its taxpayers, which invested heavily in protecting this farm,” said AG Healey. “The settlement paves the way for the long-term use of Windstar Farm as productive farmland for Cape Cod and beyond.”
In 1982, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) paid $990,000 to acquire an APR for Windstar Farm, prohibiting activities inconsistent with the property’s agricultural purpose and barring any actions harmful to water and soil conservation. Under the APR, the owners received this payment in exchange for a permanent deed restriction to ensure that Windstar Farm remains viable for agriculture, and all successor-owners are obligated to keep the land suitable for active farming use, with the goal of protecting natural resources, benefitting local farmers and communities, and boosting the state’s agricultural industry and economy.
The settlement lays out a process for the defendants to develop and implement a detailed plan, consistent with the long-term objective of re-establishing farming activities at the property, by restoring, maintaining, and improving the property. The required measures include, at a minimum, removing trash, debris, invasive species, overgrowth, brush, and tree stumps, and the planting of a cover crop or some active agricultural use on the site’s primary field. The consent judgment also requires the defendants to carry out further plans to maintain the property for farming use, such as soil nutrient management. Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants must also take certain security measures to deter trespassing and vandalism, including regular patrolling of the property, maintaining security barriers, and installing signage.
“Voluntary participation in Massachusetts’ Agricultural Restriction Program allows farmers an alternative to developing prime farmland and helps ensure the continued success and viability of Massachusetts’ vibrant agricultural economy,” said Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux. “This settlement agreement will ensure that valuable Cape Cod farmland protected from development using taxpayer resources is restored to long-term productive agricultural use.”
The AG’s Office coordinated with MDAR on this case as part of an enforcement effort to protect Massachusetts agricultural resources through greater compliance with APRs throughout the state.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Christophe Courchesne, Chief of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division, Administrative Assistant/Paralegal Jessica Young, also of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division, and Michelle Bodian, Legal Counsel for MDAR, with significant prior assistance from Assistant Attorney General Jessica Shaffer and former Assistant Attorney General Rachel Culley.