Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Why I distrust developers

The vegetated dune that used to reside here is now just a big pile of loose sand that is dispersing itself around the neighborhood thanks to all the wind we have been having. I could understand if someone actually intended to build something here, but apparently the plan was to bulldoze first, plan later and to hell with the native flora and fauna that used to call this dune home.

Maybe all the "for sale" signs on my street have something to do with it. No fewer than five four-plexes have been built on East Saturn in the past year, with what appears to be yet another well underway. And all of them have "for sale" signs in front of them, -- some more than one.

I guess it's hard to flip when no one is buying.

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Blogger Sam said...

Well something sure is weird, since foundation soil is required for new construction because Island beach sand is unstable. So for the foundation pad, all that dune material has to go somewhere. Often they just dump it on inactive, empty lots. I can't say this for sure, but in some cases the dune sand is shipped off the Island, which would be incredulous if true (don't we need MORE sand on our Island?).

Have a "knock-down" old house you want to bulldoze for a new condo or McMansion? There is a TPWD proposal for a continuous reef largely made of busted concrete so the developers could simply barge the stuff to a landfill 6 miles out to sea. If approved, you can run a landfill for free with the State's blessing!

Back on the landside, go take a good look at that foundation soil used in new construction. What's wrong with that stuff? First, it is from one of three pits on the mainland and it isn't worth a darn for growing anything, least of all any native plants. And, it's being trucked in like maybe a dozen truckloads per house, since they need 5-8 feet above street level to meet the new building code.

Basically, in a few short years we'll have landfilled the Island so that not a single native plant can grow here anymore. If that's their idea of good planning they are doing an excellent job of it.

10:22 AM  
Blogger just wandering said...

watch out for developers who want"the best board of aldermen money can buy"

8:13 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Well I hear a comment in passing that "it costs five grand to run a half-assed election down here" with the idea that for fifteen grand you could buy about three.

But let's step back for a moment. All those hideous multi-family 2-story condos (4, 6 and 8 units) are perfectly legal with existing regulations and if a person owns the land and wants to speculate, that's their risk and that's their right. It might look butt-ugly and stay empty or flip over to renters but that's not an issue for us as long as it is perfectly legal. As a matter of fact, try to buy something for $250K and about the only thing a young family can buy is one of these units ... affordible housing in disguise!

Many of us locals think that these units really suck, with their withering vegetation, poopy colors, and inadequate parking. So, how would one change that in the future? I haven't seen anybody running for Alderman or on the CPAC who would suggest that multi-family dwelling units be stopped or somehow controlled in zone B, if that's what we're talking about (is E an issue?). I haven't heard of any proposals anywhere, have you?

On the other hand, I get the very vague although unarticulated feeling that certain pro-business people would like to clean up the ordinances and at the same time, roll back on the existing regulations. The fact of the matter is that the existing regulations are quite a pain for most developers even if they are antiquated and sometimes farcical; they serve their purpose to make building here at least a "level playing field."

Am I suggesting that certain folks desire to manipulate the building market here on the Island so they can maximize their return? I won't say that in public - buy me a cold beer and I'll tell you in person. I will say I'm all for small business though ...

11:40 AM  

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