Friday, January 27, 2006


Warren County - Last House on the Block

Interesting article about the balance of exurban (outside suburb area) growth and planned development, in this case it concerns Warren County and the prosed San Mare Gale development.

There are some things i find interesting about the debate. For anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time, you will know that I am a big supporter of urban development, infill and redevelopment of the inner suburbs. However, I also recognize that for many reasons the idea of moving to an outer suburb is appealing. The general availability and affordability of land to build on, safety (or the perception of safety), and schools would be at the top of the list for many. For me the commute to work and the lack of diversity outweighs the positives. Diversity not just in race, but in cultural and entertainment activities. Diversity in dining options, etc.

The debate in this article is how much development is too much, and is planned development better than adhoc. County Commissioner Mike Kilburn seems to base his vote purely on emotion. In my opinion he has adopted a position of my house and no more. Mr. Kilburn (based on his bio from the county commissioner website) has been living in Warren County his entire life and has been a commissioner since 1982. So for that point, you can not blame him for resenting those moving in to the area. It is surely not the community that he grew up in.

However, the facts state that the developer could (by building a water treatment plant) build as many as 6,000 homes on the proposed land (which they currently have the rights to purchase). Instead they are proposing a development of 2,400 units, with a town center, apartments and single family homes. Seems like a very reasonable approach. Mind you this is also a 30-year plan. So it's not as if they are going to build 2,400 units tomorrow.

And the part I find most interesting, is that based on the Warren County Property Search C. Michael Kilburn owns at least 7 and as many as 18 properties in Warren County. A few of which have been built in the last 10 years. So the question I have is... what makes it okay for Mr. Kilburn to pursue residential development and real estate rentals, while at the same time degrading the developer who has proposed San Mare Gale?

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