Friday, December 6, 2002
From family farm to fairway
In a telephone interview this weekend, Kennedy Farm owner and long-time Carlisle resident Edward Kennedy offered an account of the thinking behind his ambitious project to develop a golf course in Westford near the junction of Routes 225 and 27. He indicated that transformation of the 220 acres his family has acquired over the past 50 to 60 years required thorough investigation and soul-searching. He was determined to find the best use for his land, now that he is ready to reduce his own agricultural operation.
"This is no longer the right location for an enlarged pig farm," he said, but he was also very clear that money has not been the major determinant. As anyone familiar with the current scramble for land could predict, Kennedy has been swamped with offers from developers. One firm proposed construction of up to 103 single-family residences, while another wanted to build 500 affordable housing units. Given these and similar options, the farmer felt that a golf course was the most attractive solution. He also found that it was the one preferred by the major Westford town boards, who, he said, have helped guide him through the maze of state regulations.
As detailed in last week's Mosquito article, the water flow capacity required for an 18-hole course in that location is 133,000 gallons per day for 180 days a year. However, Kennedy stressed that this is a worst-case scenario, with peak use coming in the first two years when greens are getting established. Thereafter, he expects the water withdrawal rate to drop considerably, except in mid-summer months in a serious period of drought.
Typical of any large-scale withdrawal of water, neighbors in Acton and Carlisle have expressed concern about the possible effect on their own wells, and the state department of environmental protection is conducting both environmental and water withdrawal studies before giving a final go-ahead. When complete, the facility is anticipated to cover approximately 180 acres, and Kennedy will retain 30 to 40 acres for a down-sized livestock operation.
The project already has the required approvals for the first nine holes and construction is getting under way. Kennedy says he expects the Butter Brook Golf Course to be "more accessible" than some others in the area.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito