Richmond, like most rural towns, is still a horse town, despite a valleywide building craze that is turning pastures into subdivisions.
Residents on horseback still claim the eastside of the city as their own, reveling in the absence of curbs, gutters and stoplights. Even new homeowners building cookie-cutter boxes try for a lot big enough to stick a horse in back of.So three Richmond men decided to combine development with horses.
The father and two sons are developing a 21-acre subdivision on the foothills east of town designed for horse owners. The City Council recently gave the go-ahead for the project, and the lots go on sale later this month.
The subdivision will have 23 one-third-acre lots, a 4-acre horse pasture in the center and a horse barn with 23 stalls, said Bret Christensen, developer.
The project will be a planned-unit development with a homeowners association running the barn and pasture operation. Horse trails will meander through the development, connecting with lanes into the foothills that run into forest land above Richmond.
Bret, his older brother, Kim, and his father, Garr, 71, are developing the land now owned and farmed by Garr.
The development fulfills two dreams: a dedicated space for horse owners and Garr's retirement. Garr often farms from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., according to his wife, Maxine.
"It's quite a schedule," she said.
"He works plenty for his age," Bret said. "That's why we're doing this, so Dad can finally retire."
The men are selling the lots for between $30,000 and $34,000, he said. The first phase will be 10 lots, ranging in size from 12,000 square feet to 21,000 square feet.
After buying the lots, which have been connected to sewer and water, it will be up to the homeowners to find their own contractors to build their homes within project guidelines.
"We won't let the homes be too high. We're thinking about 1 1/2 stories above the ground so they don't block the view of the house above," Bret Christensen said.
The development will be watered from an irrigation system that draws on a reservoir tank filled from the overflow from two springs, as well as Cherry Creek Irrigation shares.
Bret Christensen is the licensed contractor for the project. He owns his own business, Christensen Excavating, specializing in water, sewer and underground utilities for new subdivisions. Kim Christensen works in construction in a nearby gravel pit and helps his father farm.