Each Block a Village

VillageOur villages are changing, especially in in Five Points- for now.  Smallish mill-village houses are replaced by 30 ft. tall houses covering 40% of a 40 x 100 ft. lot.   Cottages in a commercial zone are torn down on Pratt and sit fallow-for now.  Some say we are under siege by developers and builders, others see simple business opportunity in the adage location, location, location.

During the special meeting on July 26 with the director of current zoning regulations,  we learned that there are no back-room special deals going on nor any secret subdivision of property in Five Points.  The “Big Four” on Pratt are built on narrow, deep lots that exist by plat made in 1892. The previous house was built across the lot lines.   The town homes on Dement are also built “by right” in a higher density zone of R2,
west of Andrew Jackson, by submitting construction plans and applying for a building permit.

We learned that all property in Five Points east of Andrew Jackson is zoned for single family homes, even where the apartment buildings and trailer court stand.  When an apartment building is renovated, it can remain, but if it is torn down, the owner must receive a variance through public hearing to replace the apartments otherwise only single family homes can go on the land.  As for the land where Emma’s tea room stood, the front of the parcel is still zoned commercial, the back facing the athletic field is residential.  Any change to that arrangement is by public hearing at the Planning Commission.

After the special meeting, a small think tank of residents convened to discuss how the culture of our mill villages may be preserved.  People bought in Five Points because it is eclectic and people still set a spell on their front porch and wave.  Thinkers asked: How might new construction occur while preserving the village culture?  These residents  also convened to list their preferences for ways to improve the quality of life in the area.  Their thoughts and preferences are a great jump start for All of Us to participate in the making of a Neighborhood Master Plan that will guide priorities for city budget expenditures and public/private joint ventures.

The first opportunity get together to put a pencil to topics such as housing, roads, parks, business districts, and more is on OCTOBER 17, location to be announced.

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