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Bundoran Farm-Part I

Bundoran Farm Cattle

Bundoran Farm is 2300 acres of rolling piedmont farmland in the Hardware River watershed located just twenty minutes from Charlottesville and the University of Virginia and nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In the first of a two-part story, we focus on the development itself–the design, the lots,the amenities, and legal structure. In the second of the series, we will publish an interview with Project Director David Hamilton about the theory behind their Preservation Development Model, how he reconciles his role as developer and conservationist, how Bundoran compares to other Conservation Developments, such as Farmcolony, found just to the north in Greene County, Virginia, and how the landscape of “environmentalism” is changing. Excellent other articles have recently appeared in the print media, including Philip Hayward’s piece, titled Buying and Selling Country Property: Part III, featured  in The Piedmont Virginian Magazine, Summer, ’08, with photographs by Robert Llewellyn and Agrarian Beauty Bundoran Farm, an excellent piece by by John Kelly, in the June/July, ’08 edition of Albemarle Magazine.

The idea behind the Bundoran Farm community is to provide landowners a way to live an agrarian lifestyle with the benefits of living on a farm without having the exclusive responsibility of caring for it. This idea of a few landowners joined together in land and farm preservation was labeled Preservation Development 30 years ago by Bob Baldwin, Sr., the Founder of Qroe Farm Preservation Development. The project’s single purpose is to create a means by which owners, or what they call, “land stewards”, are able to enhance the economics of the land’s productive capacity while fostering increasing value in their residences.

Prior to developing The Farm, it contained 1100 acres of pasture, 1000 acres of forest, 200 acres of apple orchard, and 9 cottages and 2 estates. None of the land was permanently protected. Under the current Master Plan, 90% of the land is protected from residential development, 95 homesites with 12 dependencies have been created. These lots range in size from 2 acres to 90 acres, with 70% larger than 21 acres. There are 3 lot types-Ridge View, Meadow View, and Forest Preserve. Lot prices range from the mid-$300,000.00′s to over $1million.

The Design-It’s Not another Conservation Subdivision

Historically, conservation subdivision design has tended to focus on the idea of “clustering” small lots thereby protecting some significant remainder portion of a parcel. There is nothing wrong with this model and is the design intention behind Farmcolony, which seems to be doing quite well today, 30 years after it was created. However, rather than providing ownership of a small lot (2-4 acres), the Bundoran design allows much larger sizes to allow each owner to live in a more isolated manner on the property, with a significant portion of the agriculture or forestry land use of each lot protected for the enjoyment of all owners. Thus, the lots tend to be long, so to span pasture lands in the hollows and mountain lands on the slopes.

Legal Structures

Each individually-owned property includes portions of the farmland and forest. These assets, although individually-owned, are protected through interlocking easements which protect the viability of farm uses. In return for allowing easements on their property, each landowner receives two benefits:

  • Although the landowner may have purchased only two acres; she is welcome to enjoy the entire farm.
  • The farmland itself is an asset that protects the view, privacy, and character of each homeowner.

Using this system, changes in how the land is used requires nearly unanimous consent of all property owners.

A sample Bundoran Property is now listed in the Conserv Conservation Property Marketplace.

For more information, contact Joseph Barnes at jbarnes@bundoranfarm.com or call 434-295-3824.

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