Saving the farm

Driving into Coupeville from Broadway, motorists will notice some woods and a field near the Foursquare Church. To ensure that the chunk of land stays a natural open area, residents are organizing to preserve the area that was once the site of Krueger Farm.

Town residents originally formed two groups late last year to figure out a way to preserve land from development. One group wanted to pursue a purchase and the other wanted to work with the town to develop a plan from a “smart growth” standpoint to preserve vital aspects of the property, such as a large wooded area.

This week, the groups decided to merge and form one concerted effort to preserve the property. Organizer Rob Harbour said it was decided to merge the groups to ensure one wouldn’t interfere with the other.

He added that the group will have several goals, including fund-raising, developing design guidelines, and working with the town to amend the comprehensive plan.

Cecil Stuurmans has owned the land since 1978. He said he has heard talk concerning the property but he hasn’t received any formal proposal to buy the land. He wouldn’t speculate on whether he would sell the property until he received a formal offer.

Joe Keeva, member of the group interested in preserving the property, said that fund raising hasn’t started yet. He wants an agreement with Stuurmans over the price before moving forward.

Stuurmans added that plans to build on the 33-acre parcel are on hold until comprehensive plan issues are resolved.

“At this point in time we’re waiting on the town of Coupeville,” Stuurmans said.

The large lot is currently zoned to house up to 120 single-family residences.

The town came forward with an amendment to the comp plan late last year to change the zoning of the property to allow for 114 residences. But instead of just houses, the lots would be divided into homes, apartments and townhomes in an attempt to preserve some of the open and wooded areas.

This amendment came before a public hearing late last year when it was greeted with skepticism and hostility, so the amendment was tabled. That was when the two groups formed to try to work out alternatives for the property.

Stuurmans said he hopes that the town will decide its preferred course of action by June. Originally a 61-acre parcel, houses have been built on the property ever since.

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