PLAINFIELD — An 80-acre equestrian center, formerly known as Back Acres Farm, located at 27 Broom St., may be turned into a facility for growing recreational and medical marijuana — or, possibly, a beacon of clean energy.
Plans for the land are still in flux, according to owner Christopher Roos, 56, of Feeding Hills, who purchased the property at auction on Feb. 8.
“We are not exactly sure what we are going to do with the property yet,” Roos said. “Originally we were thinking of putting in a solar farm or having both solar and a recreational and medicinal marijuana-growing facility.”
He also noted that the property could be used for solely for residential purposes.
“There will be someone living there no matter what we do,” he said. “If it is just for residential, then it will be a retirement place for my wife and I,” he said.
Roos, together with his son, Chris Roos of Springfield, and nephew, Jeffrey Roos of Scituate, attended the Select Board meeting Feb. 14 to introduce themselves and let the town know the possible uses they had in mind for the property.
“When we met with the board, we just wanted to give them a heads-up, so nobody would be blindsided about what we may do,” Roos said.
Select Board Chairman Howard Bronstein said Roos was very up-front, and that he wanted to get to know the town and had expressed an interest in getting involved in the community and possibly volunteering for town departments.
“They say they want to be good neighbors. I am happy with anybody who will take care of the land and run it responsibly,” Bronstein said.
Operating as Mass Medi Spa, the Roos family currently has two medical marijuana dispensary operations underway in Nantucket and Norwell.
The facilities have a cultivation center, a lab and medical marijuana dispensary. “We are hoping that they will be up and running by June 2018,” Roos said.
Roos said the decision on what to do with the Plainfield property will likely be based on whether or not he will be able to “get a recreational license and a cultivational license to grow marijuana.”
According to Assistant Assessor Cathy Hall, Back Acres Farm was previously owned by Penn Moulton.
The property has a two-story Federal Cape-style home built around 1783. There are three apartment units, a 20-by70-foot indoor riding arena, two barns, one with post-and-beam construction, 10 oversized stalls, another with seven horse stalls and a tack room, hay storage and a chicken coop. There are also an outdoor riding arena and two pastures.
At the public auction conducted by Aaron Posnik Auctioneers, the property was sold for $355,000.
“It is a really nice piece of property. We fell in love with it as soon as we saw it,” Roos said. “It is perfect for solar, because it is pretty flat up there and the open pastures make it nice because we are trying to minimize taking away any trees.”
The former horse farm is roughly 3 miles from the Swift River Treatment Center. Some in town have said that it is a little ironic that a marijuana farm might be located fairly close to the substance abuse rehab center, which is run by Addiction Campuses of Nashville, Tennessee.
Brian Sullivan, public relations manager for Addiction Campuses, said the purchase and development of the Broom Street property would likely have no effect on the treatment facility.
“This endeavor seems to be in the very early stages of development, and we simply do not have enough information or knowledge of the plans for this property to make an informed comment expressing our feelings either way,” Sullivan said. “Swift River is confident in the security and accountability systems we have in place, and we are optimistic that the purchase and development, whatever is decided upon by both the owners and the city, will not affect our ability to provide quality treatment to those suffering from the disease of addiction.”
Roos said he will close on the property on March 10.
“As far as the Select Board’s involvement, we left it with them saying that whenever they have made their decisions and are ready to proceed, get on our meeting agenda and we will go from there,” Bronstein said.