A little plug for County Planner Phil Wheeler: He saw this coming years ago.
USA today on the changing makeup of communities: USA Today
This is part of the reason why many of the downtown or close in developments like Orchard Hills Villas, The Hamilton, Cascade Creek have been successful while places like Pebble Creek in distant sprawled out areas have been failures. It is also the reason Mac Hamilton’s new building and Metropolitan Market Place will be coming online (and there are more coming…)
From a policy standpoint I think it is crazy that we continue to heavily subsidize sprawl instead of make the users bear the full cost. I opposed the rate increases to the Sewer fund because that in and of itself was a $60 million development subsidy.
Young Millennials and older Baby Boomers are rejecting traditional suburban lifestyles in favor of urban living and shorter commutes. Many want to live near city centers so they can walk to work, shops and restaurants or take public transportation. They also prefer smaller homes because they’re single or have no kids and don’t want to spend their free me maintaining their homes.
“It’s the kids (ages 18 to 32), the empty nesters (Baby Boomers with no kids at home),” says Chris Leinberger, president of Smart Growth America’s LOCUS (Latin for “place”), a national coalition of real estate developers and investors who support urban developments that encourage walking over driving. “These two generations combined are more than half of the American population.”
The housing bust of the last five years hit hardest in subdivisions in remote suburbs, drying up financing for such development. At the same time, gas prices soared and so did environmental consciousness, giving consumers pause about living in distant suburbs away from services, jobs and entertainment.
One of the key issues that I raised and ran on in my 2008 campaign for city council was the need for an independent ethics commission. The pressure that citizens put on for this led to the implementation shortly after my election. I am grateful that we have this organization, and it is filled with people that are NOT appointed by city hall.
Complaint 1 – pertaining to the handling of a conflict of interest – Dismissed 4-1 with Ray Schmitz dissenting based on the timing of some events (I think).
In this video comments are made alleging wrongdoing by city staff. I am not going to comment on the video other than to say that I am sharing it because I think you will find it interesting. I will comment more after the ethics case is resolved.
I am glad that we have an independent ethics commission that can field this complaint. I am disappointed that staff chose not to send this on themselves and rather waited for it to come in. It will be interested to see how the ethics commission handles this one. As a reminder, the city council specifically does not appoint members to the ethics commission.
Here is a memo detailing how bad the sewer situation is near Orchard Hills Villas. Basically previous work and documentation were poorly done. The council voted 6-1 to split the previous costs amongst interested parties. I opposed because I don’t feel that we need to spend any taxpayer money. Further, it looks like previous discussions weren’t entirely accurate. Read the rest of this entry »
We have definitely found that there is a sewer issue at Orchard Hills Villas with the existing sewer line. The issue is that previous work on Fox Chase Rd. sewer was not done correctly. The city council has been asked to have the taxpayers fix this. While I am very supportive of Orchard Hills Villas and think it is a great project, I am not willing to put additional taxpayer subsidies into the area. Here is the staff note from Doug Nelson: Read the rest of this entry »
At the Monday council meeting a neighbor asked that the developer rotate a planned home so they didn’t have a view of garage doors. I see this as a unfair complaint since it could have easily been addressed by agreement when they purchased their property, now after the fact they are asking for us to step in and force this on another land owner. Further adding to the hypocrisy of this request is the fact that immediately across the a detached garage was built, a fence was erected, and the garage door already faces the very same homeowner. All of these violate the standards that neighbors are trying to force on the new development. I asked about this and the response was this was OK because the neighbors approved it. Needless to say we are not going to force the developer to redesign a home so that the garage door does not face a home…
We had a few complaints at the Monday council meeting about grading at Orchard Hills Villas so I went to check it out. Per our permit grading has to be to the level of adjoining lands there the property line is at. I verified that this has been done. There was also concern that the Homes would be up to high. Based on what I found and the picture here, you can see that the elevation of the home is both just fine, and complies with our special district.
There have been a number of concerns raised about how work is being done at Orchard Hills Villas. In addition, an ethics complaint was filed. I will not comment on that complaint while it is progress. I will say that I am grateful that we now have an independent ethics commission that can address these complaints. The person who filed this complaint also previously filed a complaint that was thrown out dismissed. Read the rest of this entry »
Edit: While the website is anonymous, it is registered to Dr. Brad Erickson.
Just a reminder the city council unanimously supported the development which is rare since many of us have very high standards. To their credit most neighbors weren’t offended by having luxury townhomes near their estates, so this is probably coming from 2 or 3 families (get a backbone and put some names on the website). I am not interested in providing a link since the information is not accurate. Read the rest of this entry »