East Austin Farm Concerned About Its Future

The owners of Green Gate Farms thought their pigs, goats and other animals might be forced out of their homes.

They've lived in fear since a company purchased the area of land where the farm sits several months ago. 

That was until Monday, when the CEO sat down with them.

"Basically, [he] has agreed to do three or four things which he hadn't before," said Skip Connett, Green Gate Farms Co-Owner. "One, that he would give us a three year lease to continue the farm as it is right now." 

Scott Roberts, CEO of Roberts Communities, said he never planned on demolishing the farm and called it a miscommunication.

"We really consider this as a great asset and a great amenity to the community," said Roberts. "So, it's just like building a clubhouse or just like building anything else." 

But for the owners of the farm, concerns remain. 

They fear the company will eventually want to reduce the farm's size and demolish the barn on the property. 

"It has historical significance for the community and it all works together," said Green Gate Farms Co-Owner Erin Flynn. 

The city is acting as a facilitator between the two parties. 

It's helping them look into the possibility of a conservation easement that would protect the farm.

"We have in 'Imagine Austin,' our 30 year comprehensive plan, numerous specific mentions of the need to preserve our farmland," said Edwin Marty, City of Austin Food Policy Manager. "The need to preserve our open space."

Roberts has expressed interest in a conservation easement. Green Gate Farms is just hoping he remains interested.

The farm's owners also haven't been living on the property since the developer purchased the land because Robert Communities' lender deemed the home uninhabitable.