Developer hopes new idea will combine Hayden’s farming heritage with new growth

Developer Ted Hoffman is joined by Mountain Bluebird Farm owners Noah Price and Sydney Ellbogen on the Hayden property, where they plan to create an “Agrihood” that includes housing with a working farm and community garden.
John F. Russell / Steamboat Pilot and Today

On some level, Ted Hoffman wants to blend in.

If all goes according to plan, Hoffman, the director of Old Farm Village, LLC, will have built a community centered around a working vegetable farm that he says will do just that – blending into something new with the Hayden’s agricultural heritage.

Hoffman has partnered with Mountain Bluebird Farm, and the owners of the organic farm intend to pave the way for a new location in the coming weeks as the snow melts in the area. The farm plans to move to the property where Hoffman is proposing an Agrihood concept, where he hopes the owners will become part of this farming tradition.

“We are really excited about this community and all the new changes that are on the horizon,” said Sydney Ellbogen, owner of Mountain Bluebird Farm with Noah Price. “It’s a great opportunity to be part of it, and we need long-term housing for our farm. It’s a great combination of farming heritage and the new excitement and growth happening in Hayden.

Hoffman said he will move forward with the development of the farm’s equipment, as it is a rightful use in the current zoning. He said the plan includes many concepts already found in Hayden’s master plan. His plan is to move forward with plans to modify old sketch plans this summer, and he hopes to innovate this fall and have homes on the market within a year.

“Before those approvals run out, we’re going to kind of re-open the sketch plan case with the modified, new and improved concept,” Hoffman said. “We will have to go through the sketch plan, the preliminary plan and the final flat – there are three stages there.”

The development received initial approvals with conditions from Hayden City Council on May 21, 2020, including a rezoning map which approved 5.91 acres as high density with 38 planned units approved.

A view of the property where Ted Hoffman, director of Old Farm Village, hopes to build a community anchored by Mountain Bluebird Farm.
Ted Hoffman/Courtesy

However, Hoffman said that after his late partner, David Turcotte, died in an ATV accident just weeks after getting those approvals, he decided to reconsider development.

“They were basically three-story apartment buildings,” Hoffman said. “It’s going to be mostly single-family, two-story duplexes – it’s just totally different.”

The development, which is just under 10 acres and is adjacent to the barn on the property owned by Martha Cannon, is located between Washington Avenue and Vista Verde Drive.

The property is crossed by two agricultural irrigation ditches, the Shelton and Walker ditches, and water rights holders in both ditches have protested the zoning change. However, Hoffman said he is currently working with owners of those ditches and is optimistic how the proposed changes will be received.

“What we do now is lead with the farm. It will anchor the residential development and be the main amenity of the property,” Hoffman said. “It’s kind of a new concept, and instead of building a residential house around the golf course, you build it around a farm.”

He said it would be a working farm and he envisioned the operation providing farm shares to residents under the Community Supported Agriculture program, with residents picking up farm shares at farm stand. The farm would also continue to offer farm shares to its customers and offer produce at local farmers’ markets.

Primary access to the property would be via Oak and Ash streets. The farm would be 1.5 acres, larger than the current Mountain Bluebird operation a few miles east on US 40, which produces produce on just under half an acre.

“I think that should be enough for us to grow in the future,” Price said. “I don’t think we will need to develop more than that. So it will be great and it will be a good fit.

Hoffman said the plans will include more open space and less density than previous plans and should fit in well with an existing farmhouse as well as nearby residential areas along Washington Street.

“These rights are valid until May 22,” Hoffman said. “I could always go ahead with the 38 apartments, but I won’t because there’s a better product out there with single-family farmhouses and things the neighbors will love – and something much better for the community. “

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