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.
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.