Trust mortgage banker George W. Defranceaux to fashion something new and creative in terms of a rural real estate development concept.
He's setting up a small private club and has plans to sell off five large lots on the northeast branch of Harris Creek in the Eastern Shore's highpriced Talbot County. That's where he and wife Ada built a rural retreat home on some 240 acres in the mid-1960s. Accessible from a private road off Rte. 33, just outside St. Michael's, their newly created total Sans Souci Club common property includes 128 acres of wooded and farming land that has been known to attract geese.
DeFranceaux, as the original owner, will be a member and share equally in the home owner association aspect of the acres to be held in common. He said the other co-owners will be families that buy the five subdivided lots. They range from 7.2 to 12.5 acres and are priced from $70,000 to $200,000. The two-story DeFranceaux house is located on an 18-acre site in the center of the part of the property fronting on the creek.
Why does an Eastern Shore estate owner decide to subdivide?
"It's a way of providing continuity and neighbors for Ada after I'm gone," said the veteran mortgage banker who began his career selling low-priced houses here after World War II military duty. He now is chairman of the National Housing Partnership, which stimulates the production of low and moderate income housing in cities. He also is chairman of the DeFranceaux Realty Group, which is under the day-to-day operation of son Donald M. DeFranceaux.
"Sans Souci is a large property and we live there only part of the time, mostly weekends, because we have a condo apartment in the Foxhall," added DeFranceaux. "Our children have their own interests and places so I wanted to be sure that our own place, which we call Lagniappe, can survive without causing problems. By having compatible, family-oriented neighbors who also share in the larger tract, that objective should be easier."
In setting forth his approach, the ruddy-faced mortgage banker said that he has instructed Talbot County realtors who have started marketing the Sans Souci Club lots to seek out families as buyers. "It would defeat my purpose if companies or associations or single persons bought lots. The idea is to have such a place for one's self but also for children or grandchildren," DeFranceaux added.
The common part of the Sans Souci property includes three goose blinds, stables for horses, a tackroom, storage for boats and other equipment in three buildings and three miles of bridle paths. DeFranceaux said that the deed will provide for the perpetual use of those 128 acres by all of the owners.
A brochure states that information on Sans Souci Club, with copies of all covenants, restrictions, easements and by-laws, will be provided on request from a realty broker. The site, four miles from St. Michael and nine miles from Tilghman Island, has water access to Chesapeake Bay from Harris Creek.