Bundoran Farm Conservation Community

Unique in both concept and execution, Bundoran Farm in Albemarle County, Virginia is described by the Urban Land Institute’s book Conservation Communities: Creating Value with Nature, Open Space, and Agriculture as a rural community that combines farmland and forest preservation with limited residential development.  Recognized by Audubon International as a Certified Gold Audubon Signature Sanctuary (the first in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the first working farm certified in the program) and consistent with the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, the plan for the 2,300 acres of Bundoran Farm maintains the farming operation while allowing for the careful placement of home sites. Verdant pasture, orchards, and well-managed forest interspersed with riding and walking trails as well as the spectacular views of the farm, the valleys, and the Ragged Mountains in the distance cultivate a sense of a place that is classically Piedmont and deeply rooted in local tradition.

Concept & Execution
The process used for the creation of the Bundoran plan was subtractive, taking the areas with the highest levels of ecological or agricultural importance and preserving them while developing others into small residential development zones.

Building sites were determined in the field using GPS and through observation of the topography and vegetation so as not to be visible from the main country road, resulting in uniquely shaped parcels that follow the natural contours of the land, tucked between forest and agricultural areas while still providing incomparable views. This placement of the residential areas provides a sense of privacy for the homeowner and limited intrusion on the surrounding landscape.

Cross Easements
The Bundoran program places the property under an intricate easement and set of deed restrictions to ensure the preservation of the farm’s character and function. Fee simple property owners who make up the entire Bundoran development allow restricted easements and protective overlays to preserve the farm’s working landscape.  In exchange, the farm protects and maintains large contiguous areas for pasture, recreation and forestry, guaranteeing the future viability of all these functions. Rather than dedicated common open space, private residential building zones are allocated on each parcel; and the entire remaining property is accessible to residents through cross easements. Thus, lot owners protect their investment while gaining access to the larger maintained property.

Working Landscape
The plan for Bundoran Farm incorporates residential development along with the working farm aspects of orchards, cattle farming, and timbering practices. The farming operation employs sustainable practices approved by recognized environmental organizations and commits to maintain the forest under a professionally developed plan for timber stand and wildlife preservation.

Bundoran Farm was developed jointly by Qroe Farm Preservation Development andCelebration Associates and master planned and engineered by Field Sport Concepts, LTD. affiliate McKee Carson.

All photos by Robert LLewellyn

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