Every airpark is different. Some are in the middle of God’s country where each lot offers ten acres, the perfect blend of deciduous and coniferous trees, and sprawling estates. Others can be found in the middle of an urban jungle where the hangar homes are exquisitely designed into the surrounding canvas of concrete, steel, and glass. And then there’s the concept of “Cluster Developments” which presents a paradigm shift in how an airpark might be developed.
This fall a gentleman by the name of Dave LeRoux reached out to me to introduce his version of the perfect airpark, Discovery Trail Farm Airpark. The airpark is being designed around a concept called, “Cluster Development.” The entire development sits upon 65 acres of land adjacent to a private airport but only ¼ of the land will be partitioned into lots. Nineteen 1-acre lots make up the “cluster” and as the name implies, will be concentrated near one another. One acre is still a generous portion of land but small enough to be manageable yet still yield some privacy. The remaining acres will forever be preserved as a green space for outdoor activities, agriculture, and to remain undeveloped.
The cluster development is one that was embraced by LeRoux because he hated to see vast amounts of pristine farmland being wasted by excessive and thoughtless development elsewhere in the region. The cluster development is smart development and condenses living areas so that all may enjoy more green space.
LeRoux’s vision is taking shape in the Pacific Northwest on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula in the bustling little town of Sequim (Pronounced “Squee-im”). The town rests about 50 miles, as the crow flies, further northwest of Seattle. The airpark is nestled in a plot of land an additional 1/3 mile northwest of the Sequim Valley Airport (W28).
The airport is privately owned by Andy Sallee and sports a 3,500’ strip in an east/west configuration. Through a well-planned, mutually beneficial agreement, the homeowners at the airpark will enjoy permanent access to the runway through a dedicated taxiway serving the development. In return, the airport will receive approximately 25% of the revenue generated from the initial sale of each of the 19 lots. This cash flow will help provide money for ongoing airport maintenance and improvements. When homes are resold in the future, language within existing contracts will provide the airport with additional cash infusions. Current pricing for plots are around the $200k mark.
The 25% rate may sound like a lot but when compared to $100,000+initiation fees that are routinely demanded by golf course communities, this is extremely digestible. As a bonus, the land is already improved with roads, water, sewer, and a 1/3 mile paved taxiway granting access to the runway. The most important fact to remember is that the Airport Access Agreement guarantees runway access indefinitely. This is a recorded document included in the title of your property.
Protecting the airport and the homeowners is of great interest to Andy Sallee and developer, Dave LeRoux. Therefore, there exist plenty of additional agreements in place between all parties that make the home development and airport less than palatable for any person or organization wanting to redevelop any and all portions of the land into a strip mall or any other concoction. As Dave said, “If anyone wanted to develop this piece of property, they would be tied up in the courts for years and years and years.”
Covenants, Codes & Restrictions (CCRs) are also in place to help maintain the theme of the homes and their values. All of them are pretty simple to abide by with the most obvious being that each home exhibit an arts and crafts design where all structures, including the hangar, must carry the theme. Industrial looking hangars wrapped in corrugated steel wouldn’t make the cut. Another mentionable within the CCRs is that exterior home lighting must be such that there exists no “light trespass.” Large mercury bulbs at the apex of the hangar’s roof would not be an option.
The entire development promises to yield a perfect aviation lifestyle as well as lifestyles outside of aviation. Its location is pristine as it boasts more VFR days than any other airport in the region (per the airport’s website.) Dave went on to say that at times during the winter months, “Sometimes the thermometer gets stuck at 50” and “You can play golf everyday of the year out here.” In addition to golf, there exists hiking, biking, boating, and plenty of winter sports all within easy reach of the airpark. Large cities are nearby offering big box stores, shopping districts, restaurants, great schools and just about anything else you desire. It’s not often where you find an airpark that possesses all of these creature comforts as well as amazing views of the Olympic Mountain Range right outside your kitchen window.
Currently, about one-half of the first phase (of three) is sold out. HangarSphere looks forward to returning to Discovery Trail Farm Airpark in the not-too-distant-future to see how this paradigm shift in airpark development evolves.