On a cold morning not long ago, Preston Jones and Ariana Diaz parked their car along a country road and hiked up into the land they bought last summer in Cornwallville, N.Y., in the northern Catskills. They built a campfire on a high meadow overlooking rolling farmland and mountains.
Standing beside the fire, as their dog, Lucca, ran wild through the tall, dead grass, Mr. Jones, 31, and Ms. Diaz, 32, discussed their ambitious vision for the five-acre property, along with the adjoining 90 acres of mostly pine and oak forest that they also own.
The couple plan to develop and build an agri-community there, with 12 energy-efficient modern homes on large lots surrounding a farm. The meadow, the prettiest spot on the property, will serve as the community farm where the residents gather.
“We’re going to build our take on the barn, which will be a similar aesthetic to the houses,” Mr. Jones said. “And we’re going to have a hydroponic, vertical greenhouse.”
Bosque, the Spanish word for forest.
In designing and building a dozen houses on 95 wooded acres, Mr. Jones and Ms. Diaz have their work cut out for them. They will have to survey the land, site the homes, build a road and eventually attract buyers, who will choose lots of about three to 8 acres. Pricing will start at $1.35 million for the smaller of the two planned models, a 2,300-square-foot house. The couple is getting help on the design from an architecture firm, Guillermo de la Parra Laita.
Already, they have faced challenges from locals. Faster than you can say NIMBY, the country road leading to their property was peppered with yard signs protesting the “subdivision.”
Mr. Jones and Ms. Diaz believe it will all work out. And, in a way, it has to.
“We’re not here to just build homes and say goodbye,” Mr. Jones said.
His second foray into home building will be the first house in the community. It will also be the couple’s own home. Construction is planned to start this fall.
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