ULI Cincinnati News

A Look at Aberlin Springs, an Agri-community

Maureen McDermott, NorthPointe Advisory Services, and Leslie Ratliff, the owner of Pendragon Homes, joined the ULI Cincinnati group on Thursday, August 26th, to discuss the Aberlin Springs Agri-community. Aberlin Springs is a residential development in Warren County, Ohio that includes a working organic farm at its core.

The concept of an Agri-community is not new in the United States; these planned community have been here since the 1800s.  Today there are more than 200 Agri-communities in the US, typically situated outside of major metropolitan communities.  In these community supported agriculture systems, the farm operation is supported by shareholders within the community.  For Aberlin Springs, property owners pay a yearly $850 fee to support the farm and receive $850 of goods from the farm during the year.

Aberlin Springs is located on 141 acres in Union Township. A working family farm will be encircled by a blended mix of three housing options that fit various lifestyle needs. A cabin design is also provided for lots with significant grade changes.  Six pocket neighborhoods will offer a cluster of homes around a useable, open space common area. One-sided streets minimize development impact on the property while supporting “front porch living”. The group studied other developments to ensure maximum flexibility for Aberlin Springs.

The discussion ended with the planning process.   The owner of the farm property, which happens to be Ratliff’s mother, proactively visited local officials and got them on board with the idea before the rezoning process began.  This step was key in garnering the support of planning commissions throughout the process.  This included approval of an innovative septic system as well as accessory dwelling units to support multi-generational living.

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