The farm community of Broomgrass sits on 320-acres of land in West Virginia. Surrounded by the 23,000-acre Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area and the 60-acre Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary across Back Creek, the site includes an organic produce and animal farm, plus 16 one-acre lots. Eleven families, whose members range from age 8 to 67, own one-acre lots. Five lots are for sale. In this article from the Washington Post, Audrey Hoffer says the community will never have more than sixteen homes.
The community is placed in a farmland protection program preventing future development according to Matthew Grove, co-founder of the community with his wife, Lisa Dall’Olio.
“Broomgrass was born in response to a question: Can we create a model community that saves the family farm while developing it lightly?” Grove said. “There’ll never be more than 16 homes, and the land will be forever wild.”
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was a mass sell-off of family farms, and developments were popping up. “Low-interest loans and no-credit-required kicked this sprawl into high gear,” Grove said. “It was unsettling to us. I grew up in Berkeley County and was pretty disturbed to see the rural countryside going away. We wanted to do something about this ‘taking’ of farmland."
“We were terrified it could fall victim to development,” Dall’Olio said.
A group of residents came up with the idea to limit the number of houses and the lot size, keeping most of the woodland and fields in ‘common’ and providing residents the opportunity to farm the common lan, and worked with a a federal farmland protection program in their county to get a conservation easement, a way to conserve property in a natural state by permanently restricting development.
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