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Plan might allow park, private farm at Longmont's Bohn Farm development

 The farmhouse and outbuildings at the Bohn Farm property are seen in April 2015.
The Bohn Farm property was annexed into the city in 2005 with a stipulation which allows the city to purchase 2 acres for a city park. The agreement also says the city will set aside $240,000 to purchase the land.

Longmont-based Colorado Cohousing Development Company is in the process of purchasing 6 acres of the Bohn Farm property off of Spruce Avenue between Francis and Grant Streets in order to start a cohousing community with community-supported agriculture.

In co-housing, residents own their own living space, but everything else is owned collectively by the community. The plan for this property is to develop 40 multi-family and single-family housing units as well as 6,000 square feet of live/work space with an emphasis on environmentally sustainable design, according to developer Peter Spaulding. The community is planned to have a common house and barn for its residents.

Sixteen future residents of the project spoke in support of the cohousing community in the public comment portion of Tuesday's meeting.

Spaulding has submitted a rezoning application to the city asking Longmont for mixed-use zoning in order to allow for the live/work use on the property.

But the park stipulation in the annexation agreement means the City Council needed to decide Tuesday whether they wanted to buy the 2 acres or not, before the land can be sold to Colorado Cohousing Development Company.

The developer proposed a third option: They would dedicate .85 acres of the 2 acres to the city for free and use the remaining land for the community-supported agriculture. In return, the city would be asked to use the $240,000 set-aside to develop the park, rather than acquire the land, and the developer asked the park be completed by Summer 2018 in order to coincide with the planned finish date of the cohousing community.

"This is actually a very, very complicated little issue and has been rolling around this city since 2003 or 2004," Councilwoman Polly Christensen said.

Councilman Jeff Moore said he supported accepting the .85-acre dedication and putting the $240,000 to developing the park, but that asking the city to complete it by 2018 was unfair.

"I would not support putting this one in the front of the line for completion of the park," Moore said.

Councilman Brian Bagley also expressed concern that other neighborhood parks programmed into the city's Capital Improvement Plan have been on the waiting list for completion longer than Bohn Farm.

"I'm not saying they shouldn't get their park, I'm just saying it's the equivalent of cutting in line at Disneyland," Bagley said. "I would prefer city staff go back and say 'Look, we will take the .85 acres but it needs to be in the CIP."

Eventually the council voted unanimously to pursue option three, directing staff to negotiate with the developer, agreeing to accept the land dedication but program the Bohn Farm park plans into the CIP, which means it doesn't skip ahead of other park projects. The $240,000 meanwhile will go toward the development of the park, but city staff said there will still be a balance of funds needed to complete the .85-acre park. The Bohn Farm park would then have to compete with other city park project funding to make up the balance, public works and natural resources General Manager Dale Rademacher said.

Spaulding said he was pleased with the decision because the CIP process includes public hearings where future cohousing residents could voice their opinion regarding the community.

Karen Antonacci: 303-684-5226, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or twitter.com/ktonacci