The neighborhood plan for Northern South Park (NSP) is already underway, yet one of the landowners is asking for approval of old-school development in the same area. The Suburban development (so called, because of the name of the zoning) proposes 84 large, market-rate homes on 26 acres. Yet, not only is our community already investing $400,000 and eight months to holistically plan the entire area, the landowner has previously pointed out that just such a development harms the very community housing goals they and we all hold dear.
Last year, the landowners offered the County two choices: grant an upzone on their land or they would move forward with this Suburban project, affordable only to high income earners. In response, the County updated our Comprehensive Plan to allow development in NSP and jumpstarted a neighborhood plan that will almost definitely provide the upzone the landowners requested. Yet, the landowners are bringing the Suburban project forward anyway.
What’s wrong with this proposal?
The Suburban project would limit what else our community could achieve in NSP, from workforce housing to walkability to quality public spaces. Worst-case, it could end with the landowner choosing to only build this simple subdivision, quit the neighborhood plan, and not provide any community benefit such as homes that local workers can afford.
Although the county planning department recommended approval of the project, the Town has formally raised concerns with half of the “findings” that must be made. We too share concerns about whether the project is consistent with our Comprehensive Plan and whether it poses an undue risk to our drinking water. Unfortunately, many of the same wastewater challenges from the landowners’ previous rezone request remain unresolved and relevant.
Given the contradictions with local development regulations, we’ve called for the County Commission to avoid prematurely approving the Suburban development.
Better yet, we hope the landowners will re-think this approach and work with the rest of our community for an achievable win-win. The neighborhood plan could easily still include the same 84 market homes – just integrated into a well-planned, modern design that protects wildlife and open space and remains affordable to a diverse cross-section of our town.
Ask the County to prioritize good planning and protect our drinking water by not prematurely approving the Suburban project:
- Email County Commissioners at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy the Town Council at email@example.com with your concerns
- Call a commissioner
- Give comment at their meeting on February 2nd (agenda with login information, once posted, will be here)
- Share this blog on social media
- Get another community member who cares to do the same!