Re: Rancho Hidalgo

Steve Taylor

The Rancho Hidalgo scheme all collapsed, with jail sentences for the principals, barely any of the expected infrastructure was ever introduced, and the intended HOA was as far as I can tell never put in place.
So its still the Wild West ;-)

On Thu, 6 Aug 2020 at 14:27, Sharon Villines via <> wrote:
> On Aug 3, 2020, at 11:42 PM, David Oesper via <> wrote:

> Just curious, if I wanted to build a small cohousing community on the 4 acres I own at Rancho Hidalgo, would I be allowed to do that?

This depends almost entirely on local zoning, but it has also been possible in many areas to get variances. Have the property rezoned a multi-family. If a lot size is required for each house, get permission to cluster the houses to leave open space on the  rest of the land.

The other restrictions would be related to infrastructure — sewer, electricity, water, etc. Even if you plan to do all of those yourself, there may be restrictions on how you do that. The reasoning is that towns want all housing to meet minimum safety standards.

One community got permission to build at the junction of several plots by clustering the houses that otherwise required several acres each. Overall there was still the minimum acreage for each house just not around and between each house.

Some have advised building up instead of out. It is less expensive (I’ve been told) to build up and leaves the land bare. This will have other zoning restrictions. In DC at Takoma Village we have 43 apts and townhouses on a little more than 1 acre. I don’t think Eastern Village in Bethesda MD has any land around the building. Maybe a few feet of grass in the front. They rehabbed an old office building into 50+ units.

But Hidalgo may have few restrictions if it is remote. However, conforming to national or local building codes will probably be necessary for insurance and financing.

Sharon Villines
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