Wednesday, July 31, 2002

New-house people


A field is not a field for long

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        In many ways, new-house people have it easy.

        They live under skylights and plant ledges. They have more bathrooms than children. Their kitchens make sense; their garage doors behave; and, if necessary, they can sleep in their closets.

        Old-house people, by contrast, coordinate their breathing to the wheeze of the window unit. Their walls are cracking and their garage is a blueprint. From the floor of their unfinished basement, a toilet mysteriously sprouts.

        But hey, there are advantages. As an old-house person, I used to talk up the hardwood floors and “intimate” rooms, which sounds much better than “rooms the size of a new-house person's closet.”

        Now I'm plugging yet another virtue: Old houses are usually found in old neighborhoods. What you see is what you get.

Green space, red flag

        This isn't the case in fresh territory like Union, where new homes are sprouting at the rate of about 200 a year.

        These suburbs are surrounded by rolling hills and quaint farmhouses — a setting so beautiful that it seems to confuse new arrivals. They expect the green fields to last forever, as if no one will catch on.

        Unfortunately, they're wrong. In Union, green space is a red flag.

        Take the controversy in Plantation Pointe. It's a relatively new development of about 500 homes, with plans for 1,500 more.

        In front of the development, facing Mount Zion Road, is a rich field of green that looks like a grand entranceway. In one corner of the field, there's even a decorative stone wall announcing “Plantation Pointe.”

        But as it turns out, the developers didn't buy the entire parcel. Four acres of that green belong to an older couple that would like to sell.

        Their potential buyers want the land for a church, school and 120-space parking lot. They're seeking permission from the Union Board of Adjustment, which will hold a hearing Aug. 19.

        Plantation Pointe residents are against it. They're worried about traffic and aesthetics. Some also whisper concerns that the church will be Islamic. But mostly, they say they want their green space. It's a key reason they moved in.

        If they had checked with the Boone County Planning Commission, they might have known it wouldn't last. The area in question is zoned for single-family homes, but with special permission, the zone also allows churches, cemeteries, day care centers and unlighted athletic fields. All are compatible with homes.

        Not surprisingly, developers and real-estate agents aren't always forthcoming about future land use, even within their own projects.

        Boone County officials now post signs along unfinished roads in new subdivisions, informing residents that more homes are planned. Otherwise, people tend to think theirs will be the last.

        At bottom, of course, it's up to homeowners to do the research — or to opt for the sure thing. Wheezy window units and cracked walls have their advantages.

        E-mail ksamples@enquirer.com or call (859) 578-5584.

       

       



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