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- Subject: SG-W:/ AANews
- From: Rober98@aol.com
- Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2000 00:16:48 EST
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In addition to the front page article reproduced in the prior e-mail, the
Sunday AANews had a sidebar article "New designs have old foundations", a
sketchy history of "New Urbanism", and an article "Newmarket development
simmering on back burner".
The sidebar is at:
New designs have old foundation
Sunday, December 24, 2000
By TRACY DAVIS
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
"New Urbanism" is a development style that returns building to early
20th-century village-style neighborhood roots.
It's essentially a fancy term for a mixed-use development - one that includes
different housing types and sizes, as well as office, commercial and public
The New Urbanist movement began in the 1980s. Its creators - among them the
husband-and-wife architectural team Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk,
who designed both Newmarket and Kentlands - were responding to sprawling
suburbs filled with cul-de-sacs, winding, sidewalk-less roads and houses
fronted by big garages on one-acre lots.
It is different from other development styles because it's an
architect-driven movement, rather than a consumer-driven movement. Through
the latter part of the 20th century, the suburbs were built the way they were
because that seemed to be what people wanted.
But after observing the sky-high home prices in turn-of-the century mixed-use
historic neighborhoods - such as Georgetown in Washington, D.C., Dilworth in
Charlotte and the Old West Side in Ann Arbor - New Urbanists began to think
rather than building the typical suburb, they'd offer something different.
The housing market tends to be conservative, perhaps because a house is a
large chunk of most homeowners' total assets. So to propose such a different
design was viewed as radical.
The New Urban neighborhood claims to be a more environmentally conscious,
pedestrian-friendly, socially healthy livable neighborhood that encourages
block parties, neighborliness and walking.
These goals, the New Urbanists say, are achieved through design principles:
Aim for variety. Offer a range of housing options for people of various
incomes and stages of life. This includes apartments, condos, townhomes,
cottages, larger houses and live-work units or lofts.
Lose the big yard. Instead of giving houses a one- or two-acre lot, houses
are sited on very small lots and situated close together - as close as four
feet among smaller homes. That forces neighbors to know one another better,
and they get the space back in parks and public buildings.
Build a corner store. Better yet, a town center. With shopping, work, school
and recreation choices in walking distance, residents have a choice about
some driving trips.
Respect the history. Kentlands left intact a historic mansion, barn and
outbuilding that were part of a 19th-centurt farm; Newmarket developers plan
to leave and protect a wetlands with a blue heron rookery.
Shrink streets, hide garages. It slows traffic, and putting the garage behind
the house looks better and takes emphasis off the car. And get rid of the
cul-de-sacs, too - they cut traffic but force everyone to use the same roads
to get out of a subdivision, creating worse traffic elsewhere.
The other article is at:
Newmarket development simmering on back burner
Sunday, December 24, 2000
By TRACY DAVIS
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
The future of a controversial 1,143-unit development in central Pittsfield
Township remains uncertain.
Newmarket, planned for 530 acres of what is now farmland, faces a referendum
sometime in the next two years. But just when that will take place is
uncertain. Until then, the project is effectively on hold.
In late September, the outgoing township board approved rezoning for the land
4-3. But the new board, a slate of Democrats who have been vocal opponents of
Newmarket, was instrumental in gathering residents' signatures to force that
rezoning to a referendum.
Signatures of 692 people were required; volunteers gathered about 1,500. The
referendum must be held by the primary election of 2002, but doesn't have to
be held before then. And it appears likely it won't be.
"I think a number of the board members have taken the stand that we don't
want to pay for a special election," said Pittsfield Supervisor Jim Walter,
adding that the board might be amenable to letting developer Jon Weaver of
Real Estate Interests Group pay for it.
Two recent such rezonings in Pittsfield Township wound up in court. As open
space and the role of development become ever-hotter issues in southeast
Michigan, such rezonings are landing in court more often.
In 1998, a circuit court ruled in favor of the developer of Centennial Park -
a residential development - to allow a rezoning. A referendum for which
opponents had petitioned was still held, but its results were moot because of
the court ruling.
In 1999, developers of Avis Farms South, a business park, sued to proceed
with building plans after nearby residents petitioned for a referendum. But
the developer dropped the suit a couple of months later and agreed to
rearrange parking and the complex entrance to address neighbors' concerns.
Weaver, who declined to discuss his intentions in great detail because of
potential legal action, said he has no intentions of backing down from the
project. He has closed on one of the five parcels that make up the 530-acre
tract, and expects to close on the others soon.
"They've made it pretty clear of late that they're going to do whatever they
can to stop us or slow us down," said Weaver.
Building would begin on the first phase, The Village, after site plans are
finished. Homes would be available about two years after that.
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