In 2006, the village approached the Richardsons to see if they would be interested in annexing their land into the Village of Spring Grove. The fruits of the village’s efforts paid off and in August 2008, the Village of Spring Grove Board of Trustees unanimously approved the annexation and zoning of approximately 445 acres of land commonly known as The Richardson Farm. While the Annexation Agreement allows the property to be developed in the future with residential dwelling units, the Village has not received any indication that the property will be developed with houses any time soon because the Richardsons hope to continue their agritourism business for many years.
The Richardson Farm was originally homesteaded in 1840 by Robert Richardson, who emigrated from England. The farm has grown over the years to include two farmsteads with more growth planned as the Richardsons just purchased property from Thelen Sand & Gravel and plans to expand their agritourism business. The farm is now overseen by the 5th and 6th generations of Richardsons who have evolved the property use from farming to agritourism. The Richardsons began growing Christmas trees in 1982 and in 2001 they added the world’s largest intricately designed corn maze. Since then, the Richardsons have expanded their “Adventure Farm” to offer a variety of farming experiences.
During the July 2, 2008, Public Hearing on the zoning of The Richardson Farm, Robert and George Richardson, 5th generation Richardsons, spoke about their 10-20 year Concept Plan that showed their various ideas to promote their agritourism business beyond that of Christmas trees and corn mazes. Some of the ideas include a microbrewery, haunted house, vineyard, restaurant, cabins, butterfly house and wedding gazebo. The ideas shown on the Concept Plan are ideas of how future generations of their family can support themselves using the land and represent opportunities to do something unique in the area and to bring in tourists as well. Since 2008, the Richardsons have readjusted their Concept Plan to account for the expanding of their Adventure Farm and another lake.
The extraction of the earth materials would be used to construct the lakes and done in phases (cells) to prevent a large portion of the property from being exposed at the same time. The mining must commence within 48 months of annexation (before August 5, 2012) and be completed within 72 months after it commences. The reclamation of the property must be entirely completed within 24 months thereafter.
According to the Earth Material Extraction Operations Plan, mining will be a minimum of 30 feet from property lines and a minimum of 200 feet from residential wells. A conveyor will take the materials to be processed at the existing aggregate processing plants located east of Wilmot Road using 2 routes. The extraction sequence begins in Cell 1 and will proceed through Cell 4, north to south, and will allow the Richardson to harvest the Christmas trees and keep the existing corn maze in its current location. After a cell has been reclaimed it will return to agriculture and agritourism uses. Berms will be constructed around each cell as it is mined. Berms will be 64 feet wide by 10 feet high, 10 feet from the ultimate right-of-way of Richardson Road (50 ROW), a minimum of 30 feet from the south and north property line and a minimum of 125 feet from the east property line and the northwest property line.
This synopsis is being written only for the convenience of village residents. It does not contain all of the obligations and agreements of the Richardsons or the Village. For answers to specific questions about the property, residents should review the ordinances approved by the Village Board annexing and zoning the property, the annexation agreement and plans and the Village Code. All of these documents are available through a request pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.