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Bohn Farm cohousing plan in Longmont moves forward despite live/work concerns

The plan for the 5.89-acre property calls for a cohousing community that includes two acres of community-supported agriculture, 24 multifamily units, six live/work units, four single-family units and 12 townhouses that may be designed as duplexes, fourplexes or sixplexes.
The cohousing community plans to donate .85 acres to the city for a public park. The group is concurrently in negotiations with city staff and the Longmont City Council about the park.
The live/work units would be 1,000 square feet each and face Spruce Street, according to Peter Spaulding, the project manager for the Colorado Cohousing Development Company LLC.
The development would have between 55 and 58 spaces of underground parking, detached garages and 29 spaces of on-street parking on Spruce. In total, there would be more than 105 parking spaces, Spaulding said.
Peter Spaulding, Designer and General Manager of the Bohn Farm Cohousing development, stands near a fence on the property in April 2015.
Spaulding told the commission that the residents of the future cohousing community are committed to reducing traffic and car ownership through creating a walkable and bikeable neighborhood.
Spaulding also said that a traffic study approved by city planning staff noted that the cohousing community's development would create fewer trips than if a traditional single-family home development was being built on the property.
The project spawned public comment from two dozen people, split fairly evenly between members of the prospective cohousing community and people who live near the property concerned about increased traffic.
Neighbors argued that while they supported the cohousing concept, the live/work space facing Spruce Avenue would draw too many cars to a road that is already very narrow with cars parked on both sides.
"My concern is that the retail is going to bring in more people on those streets than it really has to be," said Peter Modafferi, who is a contractor. "When I first started, I worked out of my home, but I had to move the businesses out because it grew too big ... how do we know that's not going to happen in this kind of situation?"
Spaulding and other members said the retail and live/work space would be types of businesses that do not draw a lot of traffic. Plus, the development would pay for widening a section of Spruce Avenue near the live/work spaces.
"We're looking at cohabited work space, like a carpenter, a roofer and myself." Spaulding said. "For example, most of my work is going out, but it's nice to always have that opportunity to have one or two people to stop by for a meeting."
After questioning by the commission, Spaulding clarified that owners would not be required to live in the proposed live/work spaces. For instance, four business owners could go in together and use one of the live/work units as just an office with no one living there.
Commissioner Chris Teta said he didn't see the live/work commercial aspect viable in that neighborhood.
"I'm skeptical of the viability of retail in there anyway," Teta said. "I find a lot of the neighbors' concerns completely legitimate and understandable, but in light of the lack of viability, it's probably misplaced."
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