Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 20:35:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: Sladek L Phyllis zsladp00@...
Subject: Hi and Q's.
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Thank you for putting so much info. on your website! I found it via a
prof. here at UCSB, who told me about "Village Homes."
My question is...I am looking for suggestions, advice and guidelines
about the following:
My extended family inherited a farm in South Texas, near Brownsville,
in an area that is rapidly converting to residential from
agricultural. The farm itself has one parcel already now within the city
limits. (Yet it is in an area where there are still much larger farms
zoned "ag." And there are some other interesting features on the property,
including a transitional "wetlands" area, some small amount of frontage on
the Rio Grande, and a small area which will be on a highway due for
expansion...a possible commercial site.)
I'm just beginning to learn about "sustainable" and I'm very excited
about the field so far. I know even less about development in
general. (What is possible, what is feasible. For example.) And, the
other drawback is that I am an (older than most!) part-time student
w. limited financial resources. (lots of ideas.)
I have the opportunity to present my ideas to "the group" (the extended
family), although the ultimate goal of developing the entire property is
fixed and beyond my control (In other words, keeping it as a farm is not
an option. Although I am hoping I can work on a proposal for some kind
of farm use, even - though it's a dream - something like Fairview Gardens
My Q is: if you were in my position, what would you do? How would you
begin? Specifically, I am wondering, in relation to a project like
"Village Homes" - I would like to find out what it would take to do
something like that.
The present plan (if I do nothing) of "the group" is to sell off lots
individually over time, or to sell a bunch a once, for notes.
(A conventional subdivision. Although the "person w. legal control" does
have ideas about incorporating a park in it., for eg. So I feel there is
room for alternative suggestions. But, just to take the park for eg., She
wants to donate it to the city, but the city typically does not want to
fund the upkeep of parks. Anyway...)
Since I began the first draft of this email, I just learned tonight
that they are thinking of moving ahead w. subdividing a small parcel, and
the person who has legal control said "Put in a proposal!" I feel kind of
frustrated about this, for reasons I might be able to explain if we could
talk. Would you possibly have time to speak with me on the phone?
My view overall is that being given the farm is a great opportunity
for a more sustainable (community friendly) and environmentally sound
use. I am facing the challenge of my relatively fewer resources, my
lack of knowledge, (and some challenges relating to communication
w. the "group"...that I'm working on!)
I appreciate any suggestions or help you might be able to offer.
P.O. Box 13888
Santa Barbara, CA 93107