Though they never really farmed the property, the Parkers are selling it for the same reasons farmers have always sold the family farm: “It takes a fair amount of work, and we’re not as young as we used to be. Plus it’s getting increasingly expensive. The taxes have gone way up, and it cost sixty-five hundred dollars to repaint the barn in June. I’m semiretired [from American Dental Laser, a company that developed lasers to replace drills in dentists’ offices], and my wife is expecting to retire in three or four years. What we’d like to do is get a house up north and a condo in town.
“We’re not desperate to sell,” he adds. “We figure nothing is going to shake loose right away—that it’ll still be two, three years before we find anybody, and probably about the same before they would be able to do anything.” Though Parker says he would like to see the house and barn preserved, he suspects they’ll be torn down: “In the [Lodi Township] master plan, this area is designated to be zoned light commercial and residential, and we figure that eventually somebody will want to develop it.”
That may take a while, though, because the property has no sewer or water hookup. “Lodi doesn’t like development,” says Parker, “and they have no idea when they would put in sewer and water utilities.” In the site’s clay soil, he says, building a septic field just for the house “took literally hundreds of truckloads of sand and gravel.” Before the property could be developed, the field would have to be greatly enlarged—and that would both increase costs and decrease the amount of land that could be used for building.