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Sell or stay?

Owl Place is an inconspicuous dirt road that veers west off Meridian Road – just one block north of Woodmen Road. Despite its obscurity, the dirt road has been highly visible to an Arizona developer, which has placed long-time residents between a rock and a hard place.Residents of Owl Place have enjoyed the country lifestyle, amidst a mix of modular and stick-built homes that sit on 4.6 to 5.6 acres each. The 15 parcels were originally designated as the Falcon Ranchettes. Only one parcel remains as vacant land.Developer Grant Langdon, owner of Wilshire Development based in Phoenix, Ariz., has offered to purchase all 15 parcels. He’s in negotiations with the property owners.Langdon’s company has been involved in residential and commercial building in Alabama, Arizona, Washington, Wisconsin and Colorado. He has built several homes in Colorado Springs subdivisions, including Forest Gate. He said Wilshire Development previously owned the Marksheffel Center, a 130-acre, mixed-use residential and commercial development. Langdon said he sold it in 2006.His plans for Owl Place include 40 acres of commercial development on the front end of the road and 40 acres of multi-and single-family residential on the 40 acres toward the west.”I think the economy is doing well in Falcon, and Falcon is continuing to grow,” Langdon said.Langdon said his purchase offer also is contingent on waste-water-treatment services for Owl Place. He said he is negotiating with the Cherokee Metropolitan District for waste-water treatment, which should be available in 2009. Meridian Services is the water sourceThe county has approved extending Eastonville Road to the 40 acre-lot south of Owl Place. Eastonville currently dead-ends at Meridian Road.Residents presented a counter offer to Langdon in July. If he accepts, property owners will have several weeks to move after they close.With mixed emotions, Gary Miller, a long-time resident of the little, dirt road, is considering selling to Langdon.Miller said he’s proud of what the residents of Owl Place have accomplished throughout the years. He said he and his neighbors initiated the former Falcon Property Owners Association. County officials consulted the association on my issues relating to Falcon, he said. “Several of the early Falcon fire district chiefs lived on Owl Place,” Miller said. “We, and other local volunteers, built the current Falcon fire station with donated material and labor.”But Miller said the rural feel is long gone.”A lot of people moved out here for the peace and quiet, and with the traffic on Meridian Road and Woodmen Road, it’s just not rural here anymore,” Miller said. However, after looking at potential places to live in the Springs, he said he worries about giving up his acreage for dense neighborhoods. If the offer falls through, Miller said he’ll probably tear down his house and build a new home.One couple is staying put, proceeding with their plans to build a new home.Kathy and Mike Hare, also long-time residents of Owl Place, live on the west end of the road. Their decision to stay may not derail the project, since their “end” is slated for residential development.For the Hares, the decision to stay is, in part, about the 27 years they’ve spent nurturing their property.In 1980, after visiting Mike Hare’s brothers who lived in the area, Kathy and Mike got the “Rocky Mountain bug” and sold their home on the East Coast and moved to Colorado. When they purchased their land on Owl Place, “It was nothing but sand,” Kathy Hare said. Hard work and hours spent planting trees has paid off. Today, they’re surrounded by Rocky Mountain juniper, Ponderosa pines, currant bushes and a producing apple tree.Hare said she’s received two other offers for their land in the past year, but they’ve declined in favor of building a new home on their property. She said they contemplated moving to Black Forest or moving farther east, Hare said they don’t want covenants and the longer commute to the city. And, she said, “I would have to drive through Falcon and see my home and trees gone.”Although she said she didn’t expect Falcon to build up quite as fast, she’s adjusted.”I’m comfortable here,” Hare said. “I can walk to the bank and the doctor’s office. We’ve made a lot of friends in this town, and it would be very difficult to leave them.”

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