Economic Development

Boyz In the Agrihood: Planned Communities Trade Golf Courses for Working Farms

I don’t play golf.  I like golf, I’ll go out and hit around with friends or colleagues, but I don’t “play golf”.  To me, playing golf means 18 holes on a weekend, maybe 36, and perhaps a round or two during the week.  No, I don’t play golf.

And I don’t think I’m alone in my generation.  Thus, we don’t see much development anymore around golf courses, even here in North Carolina — home of famed Pinehurst and beautiful Quail Hollow. Sure, it happens, but not nearly as often as it did in the 80s, 90s and even early 2000s.

So, what takes the place of that planned living community “working” greenspace, formerly ruled by gold courses and tennis courts and pools?

Nationally, a growing number of “agrihoods” are popping up, residential developments where a working farm is the central feature.  In northern Durham County, just next to Raleigh, a group of real estate developers are seeking to build a 230-acre subdivision with 140 single family homes and featuring a 15-acre fruit and vegetable farm.  According to conceptions, weekly deliveries of produce from the farm would be included in HOA dues for Wetrock Farm, and the farm will be professionally managed.  Raleigh already has its City Farm, as do other up and coming cities in America, so this new conception of planned living appears to strive to capture what’s next for the homeowning American.  It’s mutually beneficial, as well, both to developer and purchaser:  “‘As a developer it’s been humbling that such a simple thing and such an inexpensive thing [like the farm] is the moved loved amenity,’ said Brent Herrington, who oversaw the building of Kukui’lua [community development in Kauai, Hawaii] for the developer DMB Associates.”

There are sure to be land use planning and operational challenges, of course, and we’ll be curious to identify and solve those issues.

“Restrictive covenants include no asphalt walkways, no garish house colors, and extra carrots.”
Mike Thelen practices in Womble, Carlyle’s Real Estate Litigation and Land Use practice group. He regularly represents a wide variety of clients, from local governments to businesses, in land use and land development matters in both state and federal venues throughout North Carolina.

Follow the North Carolina Land Use Litigator on Twitter at @nclanduselaw and “like” us on Facebook here.

Categories: Economic Development

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