A good change of pace

Published 10:13 pm Monday, September 19, 2011

All too often, the development of new communities represents a clash between the developers and the property owners who would be most directly affected by the increased traffic and strain on city resources that would result from construction of the new neighborhoods.

It’s not surprising, really, that this is so. Folks get used to their communities being a certain way, and they’re loath to see things change. When you live on a street where only a few cars pass each day, it can be worrisome to think of what will happen when dozens or hundreds more vehicles are added to the mix from a new development. Having moved to an area to enjoy its country feel, it’s hard to accept the fact that it will turn into another suburb with the construction of scores of new homes.

Considering the nature of such situations, a developer’s recent efforts to work with residents of a community adjacent to the property it hopes to transform represents a refreshing change of pace.

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Cloverleaf Development LLC and its neighbors have been working for months now to come to agreeable terms for changes to the development plan for a new neighborhood off Pitchkettle Road. The development already had been approved for 128 single-family homes and 114 multi-family units. But Cloverleaf wants to increase the number of multi-family units to 158, reduce cash proffers for schools and alter minimum square footage and design standards for the single-family dwellings.

Considering the problems in the real estate industry of late, it’s not surprising that Cloverleaf wants to change its plans midstream. People aren’t buying the same size houses they once did, and many who once would have bought houses are staying in the renters’ market, waiting for the economy to improve.

Whether the city should sign off on those changes, especially in light of the reduced cash proffers that are being put on the table, is a question that City Council members will have to consider whenever they finally take up the request. But it’s good to see developers and their neighbors working side by side to come up with solutions to the issues that so often divide them.