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SG-W:/ AANews

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: 


The text: 

New designs have old foundation 
Sunday, December 24, 2000

"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: 


The text: 

Newmarket development simmering on back burner 
Sunday, December 24, 2000

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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