$8.5M purchase of farm property is considered
Boulder County, in partnership with Louisville and Lafayette, will consider an $8.5 million purchase of the Mayhoffer Farm property to stave off development plans, officials announced.
The acquisition would put to rest months of debate over whether the 200 acres of open space would be transformed by large-scale residential growth and fracking angst.
The potential purchase, according to an upcoming Boulder County Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee agenda, would encompass roughly 170 acres, along with the land’s water rights, two conservation easements over two residential lots totaling approximately 17.40 acres and one restrictive covenant over a residential lot totaling 11.88 acres.
Officials in Louisville and Lafayette — the two cities bordering the land parcel, along with Boulder County commissioners — have long sought to preserve the area as open space.
Developers with Empire Road LLC last fall announced plans to initiate residential development atop the grazing fields at Colorado 42 and Empire Road in unincorporated Boulder County, which drew a quick backlash from surrounding residents. The developers could not be reached for comment.
The development had been dubbed Kerr Estates, which under Boulder County regulations could have been subdivided to allow for five large “luxury estates” that would sit on plots of land ranging from 35 to 50 acres each, according to development concept drawings.
In the months after development plans were announced, residents in the surrounding area quickly mobilized in opposition, organizing a Facebook page against the unknown development and even seeking donations for attorney fees to fight the planned construction.
Fears also abounded last fall when developers revealed plans to sell a 5-acre parcel of land to be allocated for a potential well site for fracking operations.
The transaction would prohibit the property from being used for mineral extraction, according to the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee’s July 27 agenda.
If approved, property owner Robert Mayhoffer would retain roughly 29 acres, according to the report, which would be divided into three residential lots.
The county’s share of the purchase price would be $4.25 million, and Lafayette and Louisville would pay the remaining $4.25 million.
In the early 1980s, Louisville, Lafayette and Boulder County signed an agreement to purchase the Mayhoffer Farm for open space with the intent of the agreement to preserve farmland and wildlife habitat and to create a buffer between Louisville and Lafayette.
If kept as open space, the Mayhoffer farm would complete the buffer between South Boulder Road and Colorado 42 that currently includes the HarneyLastoka Open Space, Aquarius Open Space and the Coal Creek Corridor Open Space, according to official city documents.
“(The Mayhoffer property) is consistently ranked the #1 priority open space purchase identified by the Louisville Open Space Advisory Board and our citizens,” Louisville Mayor Bob Muckle said in a statement Wednesday.
“It also represents a key final piece in the openspace buffer we’ve been building on the eastern edge of Louisville for the last 25 years.”