Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Final Approval

Today was an important milestone in my side job. I have moonlighted as a developer for the past year and a half. I decided I haven't got the patience nor the thick skin for it and I'd better stick with child rearing. :)

We purchased a home and 88 acres that was adjacent to our property back in May of '07. We sold 11 acres that had been previously split off soon after, leaving us 77 acres. The home is large and beautiful (I think) and Kristine has been moving into it for the last year (although she still isn't too crazy about). Here's a pic of it during the snowy winter. It used to be grey, but we painted it brown.
The first plan I submitted to the county had a higher than typical density because the land is all covered in trees (Pinon/Juniper) and the county land use plan was designed to preserve productive agricultural land. I was very excited about my development plan because it included 5 smaller lots (2-3 acres) that I would have been able to sell for a very low price to people who live and work in La Plata County. I have been very concerned about the high price of land and housing, as it makes it so hard for young families like ours to find a place to live. Many families move into our ward that end up leaving when the reality of the housing situation sinks in. Grown children of people from here have the same problem. I wasn't going to solve the affordable housing problem for the whole county, but I was excited to try to solve it for at least 5 people. Unfortunately, the plan was not acceptable to the planning department and I had to go to only 7 lots on the 77 acres. This whole process has taken over 1 1/2 years (we began the process when we put the land under contract). It is an understatement to say it has been a huge burden and I am a lousy land developer (that is code for: John had to help me a LOT).

So today, after sitting through an all day meeting at the courthouse, the Board of County Commissioners officially approved our final plat. Hurray! Thinking the meeting would be only an hour or two, we brought Jebb with us. John spent the day in the hall making phone calls and sending emails while Jebb played the Nintendo (great parenting I know!)

Legacy Ranch is now an official subdivision consisting of 7 lots ranging form 9 to 15 acres. It has great views of the La Platas from each lot. Our next step is to do all of the improvements. We are building a road, putting in utilities, building an entrance, and putting in fences. So although we have final approval, the work is far from done. Of course the most obvious thing left to do is to sell the lots!! With the current condition of the real estate world, we are obviously nervous. I really hope some nice families will move into the development as we will be neighbors to anyone that does buy a lot.

We have asked ourselves why we are doing this on more than one occasion, but the idea of having a home for Kristine close by was really the deciding factor in going for it. I know it must be hard for Kristine to leave the ranch after 40 years, and I do hope she will learn to like this new place. I am certainly relieved to have gotten this far and hopefully we can wrap it all up and move on! I think developing isn't really my thing. I'm going to stick with the whole Mom gig for the next long while! :)

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