Projects

The Farm         3120 Cunnison Lane, Soquel, CA

General Description
Located in an affluent coastal community just south of Santa Cruz, The Farm provides an example of how multiple land use objectives can be achieved on a physically challenging and politically controversial development parcel. For years, the 11.5-acre site was home to a popular restaurant--located in a late 1800s farmhouse-- well knows to local residents for its large garden and fresh bakery. Most of the sit, however, was devoted to open space, reminiscent of the community's once rural character.

When the restaurant's owner decided to quite the business in 1988 and with no ready buyer to take it over, development options for the property began to be explored. This set off a flurry of concern by local residents about the loss of open space and the rural character of the site. Santa Cruz County ranks as one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. It is also known for the environmentally sensitivity and antidevelopment attitude of most of its residents. These facts resulted in conflicting objectives for the future use of the site: provision of affordable housing in compliance with the county's redevelopment plan, and preservation of open space, native habitat, and historical resources.

The development solution that emerged provides for preservation of about two-thirds of the site for open space and includes preservation of the historic farmhouse. Under an agreement reached between GreenFarm, the owner of the restaurant and most of the 11.5-acre site, the Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition (MPHC), a nonprofit developer of low-income housing, the county purchased most of the land west of Cunnison Lane for open space and park purposes. This purchase included the site of the former restaurant and farmhouse, which the county plans to convert to a community center and park at a future date. GreenFarm was also permitted to build four single family houses, each of which sold at market rates of about $350,000.