The new development called Villages at South Fork along with any earlier plan simply called Lakewood Village will bring 1,409 “upscale” housing units to the Town of Cramerton along with a combined 170,000 square feet of commercial space over the next 5 to 7 years.
Of course, this development impacts the whole area, and most importantly the school system and roads.
Hold on for this ride.
We thought you all might like to look through this check list. While we have a lot of things to work on , we all agree that YES, Belmont is very good already, and is “becoming” a great city.
This a reprinted article from Project for Public Spaces (PPS):
Is Your City a Great City?
Take a look around your town with this checklist, to see how it measures up.
By Ethan Kent and Kathy Madden
In Great Cities…
Community goals are a top priority in city planning
· Citizens regularly participate in making their public spaces better and local leaders and planning professionals routinely seek the wisdom and practical experience of community residents.
· Residents feel they have responsibility and a sense of ownership for their public spaces.
· Neighborhoods are respected, fostered and have unique identities. There is a sense of “pride of place.”
· Public spaces are planned and managed in a way that highlights and strengthens the culture of a particular community.
The emphasis is on pedestrians, not cars
· Pedestrians and bicyclists are more numerous than vehicles (on at least some streets).
· Streets function as “places” and have numerous attractive destinations along them.
· Transit options are available to get to places where people want to go and are used by all kinds of people.
· Parking does not occupy most of the public space; free parking is difficult to find.
· There is a walkable commercial center convenient to every neighborhood that provides everyday needs and services (grocery store, pharmacy, library, medical services, coffee shop etc.)
New development projects enhance existing communities
· New developments, both public and private, are designed to include mixed uses and to be easily reached without using a private vehicle.
· Developments are human scale and connect with places to cut through rather than mega scale, internalized and islands unto themselves.
· There is a mix of new housing types and layouts that allows and encourages people to grow old there.
Public spaces are accessible and well-used
· There are public places within both neighborhoods and downtowns where people can gather informally and regularly.
· Parks feature attractions for people of different ages and are used at different times of day; they are more than simply recreation facilities.
· The waterfront allows people to actually reach the ocean, lake or river.
· Amenities (benches, transit waiting areas, etc) are comfortable, conveniently located and designed to support the intended use.
· Negative uses or users do not dominate the public spaces.
· Both children and seniors can easily and safely walk to where they want to go (e.g. children can walk to school, seniors can walk to movies, grocery stores).
Civic institutions are catalysts for public life.
· Schools are centrally located to support other neighborhood activity.
· The library is a multi-purpose and popular place where people go for many different types of activities. · Civic institutions (museums, community centers, hospitals, government buildings, etc.) have resources and activities that appeal to people of all ages and all cultures in the community.
Local economic development is encouraged
· There are many locally owned businesses-markets, mom-and-pop stores, street vendors, and larger independent stores; these local businesses are encouraged by the city; people know their retailers by name.
· The mix of locally owned businesses is such that at least some of them are “third places” -places where people can just spend time.
· Local businesses work with schools to provide internships or part time jobs.
Public spaces are managed, programmed and continually improved.
· The public realm is managed to maximize community interaction and to facilitate public outcomes.
· Spaces are managed to provide opportunities for generations to mix.
Almost 3,000 new homes are planned, along with a 36-acre “regional” park, and an additonal 30-acres for an elementary school site.
It is great to see their plans, but some of the land reserved for the park and the school site are basically very difficult and expensive terrain to develop.
It is both a good news and bad news type of story. The good news is that they plan a long term build out of the project — 15 to 20 years; The bad news is that the road plan is also a bit questionable. It is relying heavily on the use of South Point Road and an unfunded “spine” road closer to the South Fork River, connecting with Armstrong Ford Road(Main Street) near Timberlake and connecting to the Garden Parkway.
We hope that this particular road is built BEFORE the proposed houses and towncenters are approved. If you think South Point Road is busy now, wait for this development to take off.
Unfortunately — well maybe fortunately — the state builds roads, Senator Pittenger has a very cozy relationship with the development firms around the state. We would not be too surprised if this “spine road” gets fastracked. As former city councilmember Irl Dixon once stated, the TIP ( transportation Improvement Program) had already designated that a road needed to be built and overlayed a road path. The Comprehensive Land Use Plan by the City of Belmont accepted this overlay, so all things considered, the road could be a go…
Hopefully, the funding will be forthcoming from the state legislature. We know that Representative Wil Neumann of Belmont is supportive, if not for re-election purposes at the very least.
Other good news on this project is the developer. Haden Stanziale is a recognized leader in large tract development. The project will certainly be first class. The bad news about this developer is that it contributes to the notion of economic cleansing concerns that many in-town and long-time residents have expressed.
When the property taxes on revaluation of property goes sky high two things happen. Pleople sell their property, or they can’t afford the tax bill. In this “bubble-burst” period of housing slowdown, both the resale of existing homes and new homes may help keep the tax values from rising too quickly.
We have a county commission that is very averse to raising pennies on property, but willing to hit the sales tax side for “good causes” — this is a whole ‘nuther story completely so we won’t talk about it right now.