olrain 'Ecovillage' gets final OK
Published: Wednesday, May 14, 2008COLRAIN -- The town Planning Board has given final approval for an ''ecovillage'' housing cluster to be built on 112 acres off Stetson Brothers Road.
The plans call for the construction of 17 energy-efficient south-facing single homes, with about .75 acres for each home lot, overlooking Stone Mountain and the West Branch of the North River. There will be a community garden on the grounds, but about 85 percent of the land is to remain wild.
''I can sell lots now, for the first time,'' said Developer William Cole. ''I have people who are interested.''
The passive-solar houses are to be designed by Austin Design of Colrain, and will feature super-insulated walls and ceilings, low-maintenance Hardie Plank exterior walls, and floor plans that are compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Dole Brothers of Shelburne is to build the homes.
''The houses are designed for aging-in-place,'' said Cole, explaining that residents would not have to move away if they were to become disabled or require the use of a wheelchair.
''All the doors will be 3 feet wide; all the bathrooms are handicapped-accessible,'' he said.
Two house plans are available. One is a two-floor 1,250-square-foot house and the other, a ''mini-house,'' is a one-floor model that is 680 square feet. Cole said the larger house plan is less than half the size of the average American house built in 2006, which consisted of about 3,600 square feet, according to the National Home Builders Association.
''The greenest thing you can do (with a house) is to build small,'' he said.
Cole said at least 60 prospective buyers have visited the property, and most asked about opportunities to garden. He said plans call for both private and community gardens.
''This land belonged to Carroll Stowe's family and was a dairy farm and orchard until the early 1960s,'' said Cole. ''There are more than 50 old apple trees here, and I'm hoping we can bring them back.''
Those who buy a lot will also buy membership in the homeowners' association, which gives them ownership of 1/18th of the rest of the land and community garden, he said. ''If we get wind-power or hydro-power generation, all these will come as benefits.''
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