The letters written to the editor are truly heart-wrenching. I sympathize, as our family was caught in a similar dilemma.
Though many of the residents of Wood Colony might fight with all sincerity, the threat of development will never go away. As each generation replaces the last, the pie inevitably becomes smaller until, one day, each share is too small to be worth the effort. After four generations, we were down to shares of 2.5 percent. Another generation and the shares would not be worth postage.
Wood Colony faces much the same situation. Developers will pick off properties one at a time unless all the landowners band together.
My suggestion: Form a fund among themselves with first right to purchase. All contributors will be members. With the number of residents who appear to be serious about protecting the land they should be able to raise a fairly sizable fund quickly.
Remember, this is intended to be a poison pill fund meant to discourage developers. The fund might never make money when it buys land, but it will have the option of either renting or selling the land to those who truly want to continue to farm some of the best agricultural land in the world.