For five years, 2005-2010, my wife and I led our rural neighborhood's fight against a subdivision that threatened our wells and surface water -- springs that feed the lake our community, Spring Lake Estates, is named for.
We eventually won. A legal ruling caused me to write, "Judge's final decision on Laack subdivision: the meaning for me."
Today I drove by the property on south Liberty Road, which has remained undeveloped. Our neighbors and us have been wondering what would happen to the 217 acres. Finally looks like something is.
My wife and I are leading our neighborhood's fight against a Measure 37 subdivision on groundwater limited high-value farmland. Recently road construction was started illegally on the property.
Any grape grower or Pinot Noir lover who drove by before Marion County shut down the un-permitted work would have thought, "What a crazy thing to do."
Crazy, because these rolling hills are perfect for a vineyard. Almost 99% of the 217 acres is composed of high value soil (Class I-IV). And nearly all of that soil is Nekia Silty clay loam.
...Leroy Laack, the Measure 37 claimant, likes to talk about how unfarmable this EFU (exclusive farm use) property is. Yet at one of the many hearings on his subdivision plans, a local farmer testified that he had put some Willamette Valley acreage up for sale and got a phone call from a Californian.
The man said, "I'm not interested in the flatland you're selling. But do you know of any available farmland in the south Salem hills?" He wanted to grow grapes here, like so many other people.
The farmer said that he guessed the Measure 37 property was worth $10-15,000 an acre to a grape grower.
I hope the current owners get a good price for the property. And that a good use is made of it. I don't know how strong the market now is for south Salem grape-growing land. Several nearby vineyards seem to be prospering.
The listing suggests these uses: Agricultural/Farm, Pasture/Ranch, Recreational, Single Family Residence
From the top of the twin hills there must be great views of the Cascades and Coast Range. I took this photograph today. The exposed reddish dirt in the middle of the photo is where the above-mentioned subdivision road was roughed in years ago.
Maybe a wine fancier will buy the property, plant a vineyard on the southwest facing acreage, and build a residence on the highest elevation, or just over the hills.
Our neighborhood will welcome the new owner(s). We've got no objection to any use that is compatible with the existing homes/development in this groundwater limited area.
If a vineyard comes to be, I'll look forward to buying one of the first bottles of locally-grown wine.