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Bohn Farm Cohousing Community Plans Before Longmont Officials for Review As Resident Excitement Grows

September 20, 2018

Developer Peter Spaulding walks through the Bohn Farm property on Wednesday. Spaulding's plans for the Bohn Farm Cohousing Community are set to be reviewed by city officials in the coming weeks.

Future residents of the Bohn Farm Cohousing Community along Spruce Avenue in Longmont, as well as the project’s developer, are awaiting the fruits of their labor. For residents, the anticipation takes the growing form of freshly planted fruit tree saplings; for developer Peter Spaulding, it comes as a development application set to be reviewed by city officials in the coming weeks.

The hope is that by the time construction on the project is completed, the apple, peach and plumb trees and raspberry bushes planted in April by the community’s inhabitants will be ready to bear fruit for Longmont’s first cohousing development.

Two acres of the 5.89-acre Bohn Farm parcel — on Spruce at its intersection with Grant Street, formerly the site of a dairy run by the early Longmont settler Bob Bohn — are planned for community supported agriculture, with the fruit trees cared for collectively by residents.

Spaudling, who has had his sights set on developing Bohn Farm Cohousing Community for five years , this week submitted plans to the city’s Planning and Development Services Department, which will provide written feedback on the current proposal later this year.

He hopes to break ground in a year.

“It’s evolved, and it’s similar to what was in the past. Now that we are headed into the city process, it’s been added to and refined,” Spaulding said. ”... We all want it done yesterday, that’s for sure.”

One decision Spaulding made in the last year was to locate a barn underground, within a berm under the yet-to-be paved driveway to the 40 residential units planned for the development.

“It came to me as something that is doable and something smart for the farm,” Spaulding said. “Putting in the barn under the road in the ground, that gave us a beautiful courtyard. ... It should be a very nice environment to work out of. Having a large courtyard will allow us the room we need for production.”

The cohousing community expects to produce about 70 shares worth of food with its community supported agriculture model, despite only having 40 residential units and six commercial units planned.

The extra food shares will be available for purchase by people outside the cohousing community, who also would then also be eligible to use the development’s amenities, such as the planned recording studio and meditation room, the commercial kitchen and “makerspace” geared toward artists, who comprise a substantial amount of the future Bohn Farm residents.

There have been 21 commitments to buy one of the cohousing project’s dwellings, which will consist of 24 condos, four triplexes and four single-family homes, Spaulding said.

“We would really love to have young families come into our community to make it as diverse as possible. It’s mostly empty-nesters right now,” said David Coddington, currently a Boulder resident and Bohn Farm cohousing member who has set aside money to purchase one of the units.

Pricing of the homes, though, has been a “moving target, Coddington said, as the Trump administration’s recently imposed tariffs on imports such as steel and soft lumber and have driven up the likely housing costs.

Spaulding said the smaller condo units will likely be sold for around $250,000, while the larger, single-family homes will cost about $950,000.

None of the commercial units have yet been filled, but interest has been expressed from a pottery business and a medical equipment supplier, Spaulding said.

Opposition from at least two neighborhood residents to the planned cohousing community has died down.

Ike Ikelman, who lives with his wife directly across Spruce Avenue from the Bohn Farm site, vocally protested the city’s rezoning of the property two years ago to allow for the development, but he said he is now one of the project’s biggest supporters.

“What sold us is Peter showed us the master plans and blueprints, and they thought of everything. It’s just not haphazard,” Ikelman said.

Sam Lounsberry: 303-473-1322, slounsberry@prairiemountainmedia.com and twitter.com/samlounz .

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