Letter: Haw Creek compromise could be win-win

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I wish to respond to Michael Bell’s letter on Haw Creek rezoning [“Opponents Fail to Make Case Against Haw Creek Rezoning,” April 3, Xpress]. His argument does not address the compromise actually being advanced by the Haw Creek Community Association. Far from saying “no” to any rezoning, the community is asking for modifications to protect the mature forest at the east end of the property and provide for larger setbacks. It is estimated this would reduce the number of homes from 95 to a still significant 70. Townhouses would still be built, but forest canopy would be preserved under a modified conditional zoning permit.

Bell asks for a solid reason why eliminating canopy would be significantly detrimental. Did he not hear the discussion of rain runoff during the Planning Board meeting? Heavy rains already flood Haw Creek, blocking Dogwood Grove and Arco Road. Increased runoff could flood Bell Road and Beverly Road, the latter being one of only two ways to exit the valley in an emergency.

The developer’s design suffers from a lack of imagination. Roads are drawn with straight lines, intersections with right angles. Homes are shown as identical cookie-cutter rectangles. The design could follow the natural contours of the land. Creative planning and imaginative use of design add nothing to the cost of the project. And prorating the cost of the purchase among 70 instead of 95 homes adds just 2% to the cost of each home.

Bell is arguing against a “straw man.” The alternative to the proposed development is not the 49 homes the developer can build by right. Haw Creek wants Kevin Jackson to sit down, seriously negotiate the issues and reach a mutually agreeable compromise that will provide desperately needed housing while respecting the needs of the community.

— David Ourisman


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