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I woke up just to mentally rant about housing developments. Maybe after I write this, I can sleep  RSS feed

 
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We had the same here and almost immediately they had moved in they started to complain about smell from the farm,loud from the rooster.
 
master steward
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Yeah. Down our private road, there's goats and chickens and motorcross and horses and ducks. We're rural! And lots of people like to shoot--that's why they move out here. I have different development on the other side of my property, and it's accessed from another road. I used to have neighbors that would shoot into their hill during birthday parties. Just target practice at a hill--absolutely no danger of hitting anything. The people in the housing development came down to yell at us for using guns and even called the Sheriff, who said, "It's perfectly legal to hunt and shoot out here." I do not look forward to years of hoity-toity neighbors complaining about perfectly legal activities. It's even worse because we share a private road with this development. I have neighbors who's daughters drive their car to the bus stop (it'd be a mile-long walk from their house to the bus stop, often in the rain), and someone--probably the housing development's developers--is putting warning signs on their car. It's a private road that's now 3 lanes wide! There's plenty of room to drive with that car parked on the side, behind a small tree that fell in the road. They haven't cleaned up the tree, but they'll complain about a car? Sigh.
 
pollinator
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

Oh, they got that covered, too, "No noxious or offensive activity or condition shall be conducted on any Lot, nor shall anything be done or maintained on any Lot which may be or become an activity or condition which unreasonably interferes with the right of Owners to use and enjoy their respective Lots,"



Pretty willing to bet that contracts with ChemLawnTM and fogging for insects will *not* count as "noxious or offensive activity" in that covenant.  There is actually precedent for taking your neighbors to court over "water damages", which historically falls under "damage to your property due to a neighbor's landscaping efforts that re-directs water on to your land":  https://realestate.findlaw.com/neighbors/water-damage-and-neighbor-disputes.html

In the PNW, I can imagine a new variation on this law (if it hasn't already been implemented elsewhere) in which the neighbor is actually poisoning the water run-off that leaves the covenanted property and flows onto that of their non-covenanted neighbors.  The damages then are in the form of validated inceased risk to neighbor's health (think recent Round-Up cases) and decreased value of their own property on account of the contamination.  Maybe worth a shot as a class-action if the water-testing supports the case.
 
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Years ago I attended a zoning commission meeting.  (I don't remember why).   I was surprised to find that with a single exception, everyone on the zoning commission was either a real estate developer or a realtor.  It was pretty apparent that the lone hold out (rumored to be a bunny hugging greenie) had a strained relationship with the rest of the commission.  I thought about it and realized that it made sense that the zoning commision was dominated by the developement group.  Others may gripe, but they have more pressing matters.  The developer group view this as an extension of their business, paving the way for them to be able to make more money.  

If you have a real, long term ache on the kind of development you see, start trying to get on the zoning commision.  There often isn't a lot of competition, since it's usually an unpaid, or minimally paid position and is below almost everyone's radar (except the developers).  There is some real power there, whether it is used for good or e-vil (insert creepie chuckle here)!  Better yet, get a bunch of your friends to sign up also and pack the board.  What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

The zoning commission had got in a lot of trouble by approving a developement with single lane, one way twisting roads to maximize the number of houses they could squeeze into the acreage.  The sad part was that no one realized the fire trucks couldn't fit around the turns until there was a fire and they couldn't get past the first bend in the road.  Of course, the house burned down.  Now the poor home owners in the whole subdivision were on the hook for significantly higher insurance rates.  The developer was told not to do it again and laughed all the way to the bank.

We have a 'McMansion' subdivision on the other side of the woods behind our house.  I've been over there a few times and have to shake my head.  So much conspicuous consumption, mostly just for appearance sake.  Our house is well over 3000 feet, but we had a large family and at one point we had 17 people living in it, so I don't feel guilty.  Now we're down to 3, rattling around like bb's in a barrel.  I look around and see empty bedrooms and a lot of wasted space to heat and cool.  We're fixing it up to sell and plan to get something smaller.  My hope is that a family with a bunch of kids buys it, or maybe an extended family.

 
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Ah-h-h-h, but you see, …(Some of us) are living in the U.S. And some people want very restrictive covenants. Some people want very restrictive rules. They like them. They especially like that their neighbors have to live by them. So for me, I'm fine with people living in HOA's. If that's what they want, more power to them. We're (mostly) free to do want we want, live how we want. If they want to be very controlled by others, too bad for them, but ok by me.

As for the crazy developments, that doesn't worry me too much either. If you don't want to live next door to mass housing, you are free to move elsewhere. If the land next to you goes up for sale and might be in danger of development, you're free to buy it first. If you can't afford to buy it, well then somebody else did a better job of making money to buy the land, and they will. And then they're free to put it to whatever legal, zoning permitted, use they want to. It's too bad, but that's the way it is. If you don't have enough money to do what you want, if you didn't get on the zoning board to enact laws or rules you want, then others will. That's the price of freedom. Messy, sometimes really nasty or sucky, but that's the way it is. Get enough power (money) to do what you want, or somebody else will do what they want.


As for the houses themselves, well, they suck. But it's their right to build them (unless you are on the zoning board and have a majority of friends also on it). And things and times change. We're in a "big" phase now. Later on maybe not. The Fred Roller Farm was on the other side of the Township from our farm. It was a beautiful place, huge big well standing barn, lovely 150+ yr old house full of fancy and fine woodwork. Good soil like you can only dream of. Then one day a developer bought it, and the next day the farm was gone. In its place they built a 20,000 seat sports arena. With parking lots as far as you could see. Basketball, hockey, indoor dirt track, car shows, rodeos, the circus (my gosh that elephant manure was good on the gardens), and so on. The whole thing lasted a bit more than 20 years. Then the Cavs moved to downtown Cleveland. And the Coliseum went empty. They talked about making it a Mall of America, or a prison, or a college, or ….. . But instead they tore it down. Now the "Fred Roller Farm" is next to the National Park that got established here 40 yrs ago (32,000 acres that used to be housing and is now beaver ponds and eagle nests) and is the largest continuous bird nesting field in the State of Ohio.

So yes, developments suck. But that doesn't mean they will be there in a few years. Things change. Pompeii got covered by a volcano, San Fran. will someday float out to sea from an earthquake. The houses they are building these days aren't meant to last. They're just sticks and nails. They'll be gone soon enough.

P.S. Did you know that there are more farms in Detroit now, then there has been in 150 years? Things change.








 
pollinator
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Ugh. I do not understand it at all. This desire to "move to the country" and build right next to someone else. Really? I've been seeing more and more of that in my area. The most recent one looks to be at least 1 acre lots around a pond that was built. Turns out that the lots have to be so big with nothing but grass due to the septic systems. Too much clay so the leach fields are huge. So much waste. (Ha!)

Makes me wish I could start my own "housing development" and HOA. Let's see..

  • Mowed lawn areas shall not exceed the square footage of the home.
  • Each property is required to have gardens; vegetable, herb, medicinal, etc.
  • No less than one fruit bearing tree and one nut bearing tree per occupant shall be planted within the first year of occupancy
  • Homes may not be the same color as adjacent homes without board approval



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    gardener
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    @Caleb Mayfied - You left out composting toilet. If the clay didn't make for a good leach field, for goodness sake, turn that artificial pond into a filtering poo digester! There are alternatives, many of them way better than the traditional tank and leach field, and it frustrates me that new communities are still being built using what I perceive as 30 years behind the times.
     
    Caleb Mayfield
    pollinator
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    Jay Angler wrote:@Caleb Mayfied - You left out composting toilet. If the clay didn't make for a good leach field, for goodness sake, turn that artificial pond into a filtering poo digester! There are alternatives, many of them way better than the traditional tank and leach field, and it frustrates me that new communities are still being built using what I perceive as 30 years behind the times.



    Good call! And grey water systems too!
     
    Jay Angler
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    Sorry if that sounded a little snarky, but I've had a few fights with the locals about how ridiculous it is to have building codes that don't suit the predicted near future of increased forest fires in some areas, stronger hurricanes and tornadoes in others, and then we don't even demand the easy stuff like passive solar orientation, grey water, rainwater capture/slowing and certainly no one wants to talk about proven poop technology that doesn't send that valuable resource "away" to some magical place that doesn't want or need the nutrients. Geez... I'm still sounding a little snarky. I think I'll go outside and pick the perfect spot to build my composting toilette I'm dreaming of.
     
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    This is the essence of politics and power:  1 group of private land owners wanting to control what a different group of private land-owners do on their private property and vice-versa.  One group wants to protect their environment from pesticides, the other from noisy smelly farming, one wants to protect their right to build sheds and outbuildings,  the other mcmansions.  One group protects their property value by requiring everything look upper-class bland english country home.  Another protects their property value by making it a working homestead with useful things scattered about.

    who wins?  usually the ones with more money, because they can bribe or replace or sway the local officials, get excemptions from the rules and sick the local authorities on their poorer neighbors.  

    It would take local community organizing and commitment to fight effectively to make a "mcmansion free zone" and then get enough clout to defend it as developers take you to court and go above you to the statehouse... I'm sure there,are communities who have succeeded in doing this, i just can't name,any off the top of my head.
     
    Mick Fisch
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    I was just fantasizing about the HOA rules in a permaculture subdivision and suddenly realized that is what Paul is doing.  DUHHH!!! Do I feel slow!
     
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