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A Family Compound at Palmetto Bluff

The ten "family compound" parcels within the 638-acre Headwaters neighborhood of sprawling, spectacular Palmetto Bluff represent an emerging trend among the über-wealthy.

Land planners for this four-year-old development had the imagination to conjure a riverfront settlement comprising ten parcels between fourteen and thirty-one acres each. They also drafted covenants encouraging compound-style construction—reasonably sized homes clustered together in a three-acre "building envelope" that leaves the balance of the parcel protected under a conservation easement.

Headwaters "is an idea that is absolutely right for its time," says Natasha Pearl, founder of Aston Pearl, a New York City agency that counsels ultra-wealthy families. It all stems, Pearl says, from the so-called "family mission" movement currently animating society's elite. Thinking proactively, leaders of these families will sit down and draft hundred-year plans that go beyond mere estate planning to address the aspirations and altruistic ideals of their clan for generations to come. "What better environment than a family compound for getting together and furthering these plans?" asks Pearl. "It's practically a necessity."

What seals the Headwaters deal for these families is the master-plan structure that surrounds it. While the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport came together piecemeal, these enclaves are plotted, permitted and may even be armed with possible property-tax relief through established easements. Security is vigilant and community-provided.

The only problem with Headwaters was how fast it sold out. "We're redrafting the master plan," says Tommy Baysden, V.P. of marketing, "to extend the concept elsewhere within Palmetto Bluff." Luckily real estate options are manifold. —D.G.

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