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Leprechaun
Apr. 9, 2011, 11:02 AM
:mad: NOTHING BUT DEVELOPERS...

I'm sure I'm going to get killed for this but this is a genuine plea to my fellow Eventers! (I will certainly take it down if everyone goes nuts.)

We have the most beautiful 34 acre turn-key eventing farm in Central Massachusetts. We have WAY to many people looking at it that want to sub-divide & build houses. It's killing me!!!

I DESPERATELY WANT IT TO REMAIN INTACT! I'd love Eventers but at least horse people and no more developers! There are 3 UL Eventers in the area to train with - Torrance Watkins (5 mins), Stephie Baer (30 mins) & Corinne Ashton (20 mins). Michael Poulin is also about 10 mins away for more dressage. We are within 80 miles to nearly all Area 1 Events. Hacking, conservation land, organic farms...

If you know anyone looking for a New England farm that DOES NOT want to develop the land...Please check-out www.northwindfarm.blogspot.com or www.northwindinhardwick.com

Thanks so, so much and please don't shriek at me! (If someone is upset I will remove this post promptly.)

VicariousRider
Apr. 9, 2011, 11:54 AM
The only caution I would give you is about the "no advertising" policy in the forum.

However, I think that you raise a very important issue that is near and dear to the hearts of many eventers. The larger issue is the fact that the number of large tracts of land (100+ acres) are rapidly dwindling. Without such areas it is very had for our sport to survive. This is an issue that exists in MANY parts of the country, especially on the East Coast.

The communities that I have seen deal with these issues most successfully are those that encourage land conservation. That is, in large part, how Unionville has remained so ideal for riders. West Marlborough township has 20 acre zoning as well, I believe (with the exception of village areas and grandfathered lots).

OP: If you are committed to making sure that your property is preserved as a horse farm then you can place restrictions (covenants) on it or can place it in conservation. Developers will not touch it with a 10-foot pole. However, this sometimes lowers the overall value since the "value" of land cannot be maximized. However, this will also likely attract your desired clientele. You have a decision to make. Unfortunately you cannot have your cake and eat it, too, as far as I know.

scubed
Apr. 9, 2011, 11:59 AM
In your area: http://eqlt.org/?page_id=28

I agree with with VR said also. If you really want the land preserved, you may have to forego "developer prices" for the property

AppJumpr08
Apr. 9, 2011, 12:08 PM
In your area: http://eqlt.org/?page_id=28

I agree with with VR said also. If you really want the land preserved, you may have to forego "developer prices" for the property


Ditto this. Our farm is under an ag easement, which made it affordable for us, and as it's our farm of a lifetime we didn't care about the resale value.

I think it's so important to preserve the farmland we have left - it's disappearing at an alarming rate.

The one caution I would toss out there is that you really need to do your homework when it comes to preserving *farmland* for future use. Some conservation groups really restrict what can and can not be done on land protected by them. We are free to build what ever farm buildings we need anywhere on the property, as long as we provide the board of directors with the information prior to building. Another farm in the area, in conservation with another group, is really struggling to do what they need as they are not allowed to construct ANYTHING (even a small pig house on skids) outside the set area right around the farm house (I think 300' but I could be wrong).

Robin@DHH
Apr. 9, 2011, 12:36 PM
My township has just adopted an interesting land use
restriction. This area is still pretty rural and slowly
changing from dairy farms to other uses. The local
citizens decided to forbid construction on prime farmland
and only allow two structures on any 40 acre lot. This
will seriously curtail development in the future. It does
help that farmland is assessed far below other land uses
so property taxes are not driving farmers off the land.

Leprechaun
Apr. 9, 2011, 12:56 PM
Bless You For Understanding My Purpose!!!

We have looked into conservation and the land trust. We have been told by EVERYONE that it is virtually un-saleabe in conservation. In the end, even if people don't intend to do anything else with the land, they don't appear willing to lose that much control of its uses. Also, someone mentioned "developer prices" but we are already $400k down. Try to find a "mint" 34 acre totally turn-key farm in MA for less.

I would LOVE to be in a financial position to virtually give it away to the right person, keep it for summer/holidays/etc, or better yet, donate it to some wonderful horsey cause but it's just not an option. I'm at a complete loss and terribly sad. This farm is meant for riders, not developers!

Thanks so much for all of your thoughts - keep em' coming.

frugalannie
Apr. 9, 2011, 01:12 PM
Have you looked into the program where the Commonwealth of MA buys the development rights for your property? A consortium of conservation groups, MA and our town just recently purchased the development rights to a 300 acre farm on a prime development site. The owner got $5 million to accept the develpment restrictions and the property must stay in agriculture. He still owns it, pays taxes on it (ag rate to be sure), must maintain it. The public got access to a trail through the property and conservation of fantastic open space. Everyone thought it was a great win-win.

There are still funds in the state for this. Hope it can work for you, and I feel your pain!

VicariousRider
Apr. 9, 2011, 01:38 PM
We have looked into conservation and the land trust. We have been told by EVERYONE that it is virtually un-saleabe in conservation.

Hmmm... sounds like it must be a very restrictive trust. As AppJmpr08 explained different programs provide different types of protections and restrictions. Perhaps there is a better organization or state program that will allow you to conserve the land without being overly restrictive?

The key marketing tactics when selling conserved land are:
1. Lower purchase price (i.e.: "non-developable" land is cheaper, generally)
2. Lower taxes!!!! Often there is a tax break for conserved land and land in "current use" that makes it more desirable.

I'll look into this some more later because I LOVE property law (*dork alert*). I'm a lot more familiar with the Chester Co. PA conservancies and land trusts, unfortunately. If you are really serious about this you might consider consulting a local property/real estate attorney. That will cost you money but you will likely get the most reliable advice for your area.

ETA: You might consider contacting the Agriculture Commission (http://www.townofhardwick.com/AgCommission.html) for Hardwick, MA to begin. They likely have a good working knowledge of this stuff.

Leprechaun
Apr. 9, 2011, 02:15 PM
Thx. for the info Vicarious Rider. We have spoken to the town and ag. committee. The town already has some issues regarding taxable land, hence, they are not too intersted in us finding a way to lower our taxes. We are already in 61A which is an Ag. Classification - hay production - keeping our taxes under $6k/year.

This is the case with all the farms out here and there are a LOT - horses, dairy, goats, alpaca, cheesemakers, organic meat & produce... The town has 3 "gifts" that make the tax issue difficult (all GREAT for riders). Tons of 61A land, tons of conservation land owned by the East Quabbin Land Trust and a boarding school in town who pays no property taxes. The "people" don't want to see a development but the "town" just see's dollar signs. (The people next to us on 1 acre pay almost as much in property taxes as we do.) Imagine the tax revenue increase in a small town - 34 acre horse farm making them $6k/year or 10 houses bringing in $60k+/year.

I'll look around next week and see if I can find some sort of local land attorney to see if they have any additional thoughts.

Thx. again.

fitzwilliam
Apr. 9, 2011, 03:34 PM
Have you cross posted on the H/J and eventing forums, or even the breeding one? Also the Around the Farm gets queries from would be owners. Good Luck, it is so important and so hard to retain our open space.

Leprechaun
Apr. 9, 2011, 03:52 PM
Great Idea But...

This has already been flagged and I suspect it won't last much longer. Also, if I cross post to the other forums it looks more like an advert than a plea. Don't you all think so???

Because my background is all Eventing and many of the Eventers on the COTH Forum have been to Hardwick for Torrance Watkins H.T., Over The Walls, or for lessons, I thought this was the best place to post.

I'm afraid of some of the people on the COTH Forum. I've seen things go very bad on this board from time to time and I don't want to get kicked off or snapped at.

Thanks but I'm scared. :)

AppJumpr08
Apr. 9, 2011, 05:30 PM
Bless You For Understanding My Purpose!!!

We have looked into conservation and the land trust. We have been told by EVERYONE that it is virtually un-saleabe in conservation. In the end, even if people don't intend to do anything else with the land, they don't appear willing to lose that much control of its uses. Also, someone mentioned "developer prices" but we are already $400k down. Try to find a "mint" 34 acre totally turn-key farm in MA for less..

Who is "everyone"?? Those who will profit from your farm being kept in a higher tax bracket? I would venture to guess that someone who really wanted a FARM in your area of Mass would be interested, especially if the prices reflected ag prices and not so much developer prices.

VicariousRider
Apr. 9, 2011, 05:30 PM
Thx. for the info Vicarious Rider. We have spoken to the town and ag. committee. The town already has some issues regarding taxable land, hence, they are not too intersted in us finding a way to lower our taxes. We are already in 61A which is an Ag. Classification - hay production - keeping our taxes under $6k/year.

This is the case with all the farms out here and there are a LOT - horses, dairy, goats, alpaca, cheesemakers, organic meat & produce... The town has 3 "gifts" that make the tax issue difficult (all GREAT for riders). Tons of 61A land, tons of conservation land owned by the East Quabbin Land Trust and a boarding school in town who pays no property taxes. The "people" don't want to see a development but the "town" just see's dollar signs. (The people next to us on 1 acre pay almost as much in property taxes as we do.) Imagine the tax revenue increase in a small town - 34 acre horse farm making them $6k/year or 10 houses bringing in $60k+/year.

I'll look around next week and see if I can find some sort of local land attorney to see if they have any additional thoughts.

Thx. again.

I see. I actually have a much younger cousin who attends Eagle Hill. I fully understand. Sometimes the town is your friend and sometimes they have other objectives (like revenue). In the converse example my family owns a manufacturing company (that has won numerous awards nationwide for being green :) ) in a small town in NH. Property taxes in NH are often quite high to account for the fact that income tax is quite low and sales tax is non-existent. However, because of the huge amount of tax revenue produced for the town by our company, the tax rates are very low.

I think that as eventers (or even hackers!) everyone has an incentive on this board to try to understand how to make land conservation easier for farm owners. It's a tricky issue, in some cases. I'm glad to hear that you have already taken advantage of the tax benefits!

Hilary
Apr. 9, 2011, 05:43 PM
in a small town in NH. Property taxes in NH are often quite high to account for the fact that income tax is quite low and sales tax is non-existent.

Make that NO income tax and NO sales tax.

to the OP - have you reached out to Landvest as the realtor? They do a lot of high end farms and are very conservation minded.

bornfreenowexpensive
Apr. 9, 2011, 06:30 PM
Bless You For Understanding My Purpose!!!

We have looked into conservation and the land trust. We have been told by EVERYONE that it is virtually un-saleabe in conservation. In the end, even if people don't intend to do anything else with the land, they don't appear willing to lose that much control of its uses. Also, someone mentioned "developer prices" but we are already $400k down. Try to find a "mint" 34 acre totally turn-key farm in MA for less.

I would LOVE to be in a financial position to virtually give it away to the right person, keep it for summer/holidays/etc, or better yet, donate it to some wonderful horsey cause but it's just not an option. I'm at a complete loss and terribly sad. This farm is meant for riders, not developers!

Thanks so much for all of your thoughts - keep em' coming.

Interesting that people say it is unsaleable....in my neck of the woods, just about all decent land pieces are eased to a conservancy of some sort. In these parts it really doesn't decrease the land value....and a lot of local pressure is on people to be for conservancy and careful in any deveopment. When I'm building on my land...I will be very careful to place gaits where needed and allow people (and the local hunt) to ride across the land...and I think this is what helped me get my permit approvals through the township.

My 36 acres is eased only for commercial aggricultrual use--and horses count. Other land I know is eased for open space.....and then our townships are TOUGH on developments.

So some parts of this country are very aware and working hard to find a good balance.

lesson junkie
Apr. 9, 2011, 06:47 PM
OP-if you want to protect your land, it's in your hands to do-it's up to you. Talk to a conservancy about your needs-you may be surprised at the choices they can offer you.

We have an easement on 96 of our 140 acres-it's one of the best things I've ever done in my life.

blaster
Apr. 9, 2011, 07:05 PM
I suspect that with mortgages being a hard to get, anything over the $625K mark may be sporting to finance.

seeuatx
Apr. 9, 2011, 08:08 PM
Dear God:

Can you please let me hit the Loto so that I can buy Leprechauns beautious farm and maybe rent something down south in the winter? The ponies and I would be super appreciative. Please? K, thanks so much - seeuatx

;)

His Greyness
Apr. 9, 2011, 08:29 PM
As previously mentioned Landvest is an upmarket real estate company that has a service for conservation minded sellers. I have come across them in several instances where a farm was sold and subdivided but into large lots with conservation restrictions on each one.

Ghazzu
Apr. 9, 2011, 08:49 PM
I look at the ad for that property and drool on a semi-regular basis.
I'm looking to move to that general area.
But the asking price is out of my range.

I'm aftaid, as has been said, that most of the people with that kind of $$$ *are* developers.

fooler
Apr. 9, 2011, 09:10 PM
These folks may be of some assistance:
http://www.elcr.org/index.php
Equine Land Conservation Resource

wishnwell
Apr. 9, 2011, 10:34 PM
All I can say is that is a great price for the area. And UNDER $6K in taxes! I pay almost that on my average sized suburban home with less than 1/2 acre!. You have a beautiful place and hopefully someone that would preserve and keep it a horse farm will come along.

Tamara in TN
Apr. 9, 2011, 10:38 PM
now in all the good wishes for a wealthy buyer who just wants to "keep it a farm" in this thread seem a strange dichotomy to the the
reads just a few pages over calling for increasing the taxes on the very same people who could afford to keep this property intact.
odd that.

Tamara

magnolia73
Apr. 10, 2011, 11:47 AM
It's really hard to get money now, developer or otherwise. You don't have to sell to a developer.... you know, just say "no".

This is really random, but something that annoyed the hell out of me.... the USDA offers 0% down home loans in rural areas. Way for the US government to encourage sprawl and farmland development. I would LOVE for the US Government to offer 0% down loans for our urban projects that take advantage of costly infrastructure. I'm not saying that we don't need help in some rural areas, but really, this program just encourages sprawl in some areas.

TheHorseProblem
Apr. 10, 2011, 12:14 PM
Dear God:

Can you please let me hit the Loto so that I can buy Leprechauns beautious farm and maybe rent something down south in the winter? The ponies and I would be super appreciative. Please? K, thanks so much - seeuatx

;)

Seeuatx, I'll go in halves with you as soon as I can sell one of the dogs!

Leprechaun
Apr. 11, 2011, 08:43 AM
Many thanks to all for the suggestions.

I will contact the Equine Land Conservation Resource this week. I had never heard of it, thank you.

With regard to LandVest. They are amazing but take a huge commission for their services - almost double a regular real estate commission. We would have to raise the price of the farm which has come down so many times we are genuinely at the bottom.

We are headed to Southern Pines or Vass and the prices are certainly down in that area but it is not a "cheap" area, generally speaking. We are going much smaller (10 acres or so) down there but I do need a home for my family (human, equine & canine)!

The comments about "just say NO to developers". Been there and we've hung in for 2 years trying to be sure Northwind Farm remains either an active farm or simply a family property. At a certain point, we need to move on with our life and will not be able to choose our buyer this year.

I really do appreciate all of the wonderful suggestions!!! Also, to the gals/guys hoping to win the lotto! Fingers crossed! You're my first choice!!!!

wolfmare
Apr. 11, 2011, 04:09 PM
Originally Posted by seeuatx View Post
Dear God:

Can you please let me hit the Loto so that I can buy Leprechauns beautious farm and maybe rent something down south in the winter? The ponies and I would be super appreciative. Please? K, thanks so much - seeuatx

Seeuatx, I'll go in halves with you as soon as I can sell one of the dogs!
__________________

I'll go in thirds as soon as I can sell one of the kids. (PS- please don't let their age dissuade you. The 30 year old has a great job, and the 21 year old, a great work ethic and is horse directed.) Teeth are in great shape on both.

kcooper
Apr. 11, 2011, 10:07 PM
Is a Mass organization to preserve land and historic places. Most of their properties are HUGE, but my father-in-law is one of their volunteers and he said they do offer advice on how to do easements and conservation. Probably worth a call. Also, an easement might work better for you than putting it in conservation.

Leprechaun
May. 9, 2011, 07:51 PM
I still think the developer pricing thing is laughable. We're losing close to $500k in what we've got in. At some point, developer or not, you've got to be able to buy something on the other end. Just sad. Thanks for the suggestions.

JWB
May. 10, 2011, 11:18 AM
Property prices in general are laughable right now. It's a very hard market to sell a home in, let alone a horse farm (luxury).

We bought our property two years ago in foreclosure. It's price was 30% lower than it's assessed/taxed price prior to the collapse of the housing market/economy in general. We thought we were getting a steal. Since then, the land values have continued to slide another 15-20%.

I really do sympathize with you and the financial loss but the fact is EVERYONE is losing money on property these days. It's sad but really the options are to
1)get your price with developers
2)take a bigger loss and sell at "agriculture" prices
3)keep it as a rental property (lots of people are going this route around here, hoping for the market to stabilize)
4) keep buying lotto tickets (that particular plan has not panned out for me yet - just sayin')

I hear your woes about the loss of money. I feel for you. I'd be there too right now in a big way if we had to move. It sucks but it is the economy we've got right now.