New neighborhood on Briarcliff Road features farm, communityPhoto provided by Greg Ramsey
By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor
Atlanta, GA — As DeKalb County becomes more and more dense with residential and commercial development, Greg Ramsey sees an opportunity to make the most of land. As a conservation community planner, Ramsey’s idea is to condense the amount of land on which homes are built and use the majority for natural habitats and farming.
Environmentally-sensitive areas including wetlands, floodplains, watersheds and stream corridors are protected by law, but Ramsey aims to preserve open space, farmland and natural habitats.
Pendergrast Farm is an 8.7-acre conservation community being built at 3398 Briarcliff Road, one of the last large parcels of land on Briarcliff Road. The project is a collaboration of Ramsey and homebuilder Dennis McConnell.
Seventy percent of the land at Pendergrast Farm will be preserved with a conservation easement, a land deed that prevents building on greenspace.
“This type of development connects people back to nature and acts as a tool for building community,” said Ramsey, who lives in Decatur and enjoys living within walking distance of the green space of Decatur Cemetery and the commercial development of Decatur square.
Pendergrast Farm plans to market properties starting in the $600,000s for 2,400 sq ft to 3,000 sq ft detached, single-family homes. Now under construction, the development is due to be finished by the end of 2022. It will feature a community house for socializing and cooking together. Those living within walking distance can buy an associate membership to trails and gardens. Ramsey is clear – Pendergrast Farm is not a closed, gated community.
“We want to make sure people who live nearby can participate in the community,” he said.
Inside the homes, buyers can find environmentally friendly materials, energy efficient systems and appliances and LED lighting. Solar energy panels are an option.
Ramsey got his start in conservation communities with East Lake Commons, Atlanta’s first community-supported farm village that preserved 60 percent of land. A successful farm model, 20 acres of land allowed for 67 clustered homes and a five-acre working farm. Since its inception in 2000, East Lake Commons has not been replicated. At this point in his career, Ramsey strives to create a profitable conservation community model that attracts developers.
“Twenty years later, the main goal is to create a replicable model,” said Ramsey. “One that developers will want to embrace. Our goal is to create a viable market rate project that preserves the majority of the greenspace on the property.”
Conservation communities aim to enhance natural habitats, promote urban agriculture and create passive recreation areas. In the end, the development is better for wildlife and native plants and it feeds residents while building community.
Ramsey had a hand in Lake Claire Land Trust, Chattahoochee Hill Country near Serenbe and many other farm communities across the United States.
Here are additional renderings of the proposed development:
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