SANDWICH –A Brookline man and his two real estate companies have been sued for allegedly abandoning protected agricultural land in Sandwich and allowing trespassers to vandalize the property known as Windstar Farm for 16 years.
The complaint filed in Suffolk County Superior Court, alleges that Amit Kanodia, and Washington Street LP, violated the state’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction that protects the 223-acre property by failing to maintain and preserve the property as an agricultural resource.
In 1982, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources 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 restriction, the defendants – who are paid in exchange for a permanent deed restriction to maintain agricultural viability – are required to keep Windstar Farm in a condition suitable for active farming use to protect natural resources, benefit farmers, and boost the state’s agricultural industry and economy.
“These defendants had an obligation to maintain Windstar Farm as a vital agricultural resource for Massachusetts but instead effectively abandoned the land for years,” said AG Maura Healey.
“Nearly one million dollars of taxpayer money was used to protect this property so that it could be used for farming for generations to come. We need to restore Windstar Farm, and hold its operators accountable, so it once again can be available as productive agricultural land and Massachusetts taxpayers can get the benefit of their investment.”
The AG’s lawsuit alleges that the defendants did not secure or properly oversee Windstar Farm responsibly, allowing trespassers to vandalize and degrade the property by setting fires, dumping trash and debris, and riding motor vehicles and dirt bikes on it.
As a result of the defendants’ alleged violations of the APR, Windstar Farms is currently not suitable for agricultural use.
The AG’s Office is coordinating with DAR on this case as part of an increased enforcement effort to protect Massachusetts agricultural resources through greater compliance with APRs throughout the state.