If you oppose density, don’t be surprised if you don’t gain any of the benefits of density.
In Blaine, there has been a very suburban kerfuffle: Within a large, multi-builder housing development, there were several commercial plots. Despite the housing boom in the area, no one would step up to develop them as commercial, because no one wanted to occupy a potentially developed property. Why?
Lack of density, of course. While most of the development was planned for low- and medium-density housing, one of the biggest protests in Blaine City Council history was when a builder proposed a 157-unit luxury apartment complex on a nearby plot. Nooooo, not luxury apartments! Why, they can ruin a neighborhood! They might be… too luxurious? (Of course not. They might somehow become Section 8.)
Due to neighborhood protest, the plan for this added density was shot down.
Now, many of the same residents who opposed the apartments are shrieking that they were “misled” because they were prooooomised retail! And now those mean builders want to build more homes instead! One city council member bemoaned people who invested in homes based on a “dream” who were being denied that dream.
The reality is that without high-density housing nearby, no one is going to want to be a retail unit in that neighborhood. Even small retail with high-end appeal (childcare? yoga? coffee?) requires a degree of density to support the cost of the property and reasonable financials. Neighbors have suggested businesses they would like to see, but have no real explanation for the lack of business plan that can support such businesses given density and traffic patterns.
Neighbors now want the city to build them another park, because even low-density housing matching their own is a terrible idea, apparently. The city has basically told them to pound sand, because money. The city has already supported Lakeside Commons Park, which has not been without its own controversies.
To residents, there is surely a plus to the city allowing the change of the properties from commercial to residential: there’s going to be another parking lot.
And that’s what you get when you oppose density. A nice parking lot.
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