At first glance, it’s easy to see why the Centaur Meadows Ranch, a Colorado ranch for sale in Evergreen, is such an attractive offering – its lush meadows, spectacular Front Range views, healthy forests, resident wildlife, and accessible yet private location make it a truly unique ranch property. However, one of the ranch’s most appealing and valuable features requires looking past the obvious visual attractions and digging deeper into specific county zoning regulations.
The forward-thinking owners of Centaur Meadows spent considerable time and resources guiding the property through Jefferson County’s Rural Cluster Process. The end result was a “Rural Cluster Plan” that allows for double the development density permitted under standard agricultural zoning, counterbalanced with conserved and perpetually protected open space. The Rural Cluster plan accomplishes a feat that is rarely seen in real estate – a mutually beneficial situation for both development and conservation-minded stakeholders.
Specifically, Centaur Meadows consists of 26 five-acre lots, each one pre-approved for a home and a domestic well. The remaining 306+/- acres have been permanently conserved and can be used by the future lot owners as shared open space for hiking, horseback riding, or other recreation. For a comparison’s sake, a similarly sized ranch (456 acres) that had not been through the Rural Cluster process and is zoned as simply agricultural land can be divided into no more than thirteen 35-acre lots, leaving no open space for wildlife, recreation, or aesthetics. Any additional homesites or subdivision would require county approval, which can be a very lengthy and costly process.
For the development-minded buyer, Centaur Meadows is a turnkey development opportunity that allows the buyer to bypass the majority of the bureaucratic headaches and other costly processes and begin construction very quickly. The mandatory construction cost estimates are complete and the site plan has been approved and recorded, all thanks to the time and resources of the current owners.
For the conservation-minded buyer, there could be significant tax incentives for further conserving the ranch. Given the ranch’s relatively dense development entitlements, extinguishing additional development rights could lead to significant federal tax deductions and Colorado state tax credits that can either be used or sold to a third party for cash. The ranch’s prime location, scenic views, and abundant wildlife make it an attractive property for a number of regional and statewide land trusts.
For the end user buyer, such as a family searching for a private ranch retreat, the rural cluster provides an attractive exit strategy. A family could build their dream home on the ranch, leaving the remaining lots undeveloped. For years or decades, the family could enjoy the property as a true ranch, riding, hunting, grazing, and enjoying the landscape. If or when the family does decide to sell the ranch, the Rural Cluster plan will still be in place, making it an attractive acquisition for a wide variety of buyers – developers, conservationists, or other end users. With Colorado’s population expected to increase by 2.5 million people in the next 25 years, it’s safe to assume that centrally located, large acreage, well-entitled ranches will only become more and more desirable.