CONDOS IN SNOHOMISH WITH A COUNTRY KICK

SNOHOMISH — Have a hankering to raise a cow? Or dozens of chickens? Have you always wanted to grow your own produce?

For anyone who wants a piece of farmland of their own but isn’t ready to sell the house in the suburbs and plow hundreds of acres of land, Mark Dugger thinks he has the answer.

The Arlington resident recently began selling “condo farm” lots, available with or without small barns, just south of Snohomish.

“The whole point of this is to allow people who want a piece of the earth, so to speak, to be able to do something,” said Arnie Hansen of Snohomish Properties, which is marketing the lots.

Dugger bought the 75 agricultural acres a couple of years ago with the intention of creating condo-style lots. He said he’s had the concept in mind for years.

He and Hansen said they’ve known people who have wanted a barn and space to board and ride a horse or two, but couldn’t afford to purchase or maintain a huge farm lot just to do that.

The farm development, called Country Condo Farms, is offering acre lots at just under $43,000, or $55,000 for a lot with an installed barn.

People considering a dive into “hobby farming” to grow their own fresh and organic food also would be perfect buyers for the lots, Hansen said.

“An acre of land produces a huge amount of produce,” he added.

So far, three of the 65 available lots have been reserved, one by an investor who’s bullish on the concept and the future worth of the land.

While marketing a relatively unknown idea to potential buyers might take some work, it was challenging to get Snohomish County officials to sign off on the idea, mostly because they’d never heard of it before.

Dugger said county officials worked cooperatively with him to work out zoning issues on his property, but they were stumped at first when he approached them about the idea.

Using the word “condo” is appropriate for these lots. Just as with a condo building, there are common areas of the property — roads and a common area that one day could host community agricultural events. Each lot owner pays a monthly fee, tentatively about $65, that pays for maintenance of fences, the common areas and electricity to each barn. Dugger said a condo association board of directors will decide other rules.

There are a few ironclad rules set by county zoning restrictions: no structure is allowed on the acre lots other than a 396-square-foot barn, no one can use the lot as a residence, and the land has to be used for agricultural purposes. In other words, there will be no mini junk yards allowed to develop on the lots, Dugger said.

Each lot is big enough to support one large animal, such as a horse or cow, or three medium-size animals, such as sheep. Small animals, such as chickens or rabbits, could number up to 200 per lot, Dugger said.

Because they have no other model for this type of real estate project, Dugger said he’s still waiting to see how much interest there is in the lots. Hansen, however, said he doesn’t doubt there’s a demand for farm plots like these.

“I think they will sell. Maybe not as fast as we want, but they’ll sell,” Hansen said.

Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or fetters@heraldnet.com

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