http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/ ... 963f4.html
For those who have followed the issue, Grandview Commons is sort of a new urbanist development on Madison's far east side. The original plan of the neighborhood included a 25,000 square foot grocery store. It's part of the whole smaller footprint commitment seen elsewhere in the development (small yards, alleys instead of driveways, skinny streets). But now they want to change that to a 58,000 square foot Copps.
People built their houses in the development thinking retail was going to look one way, now it's going to look another. And if you have beef with that, suck it up, says the State Journal's metro columnist, Chris Rickert.
I like Grandview Commons' raison d'être, but for reasons that are as nostalgic as they are economic, I've always been partial to the old new urbanism (or maybe it's just called "urbanism"): dense and walkable, yes, but also really old.
And I accept the trade-offs that come with it: the potholed streets, the occasional unkempt property, and, in the case of my house, brickwork in dire need of tuckpointing and drafty windows in need of replacement.
New urbanism in general and Grandview Commons in particular strike me as attempts to live the trade-off-free life — to take all that was good about the old neighborhoods and leave the rest.
Which is fine, as far as it goes. Because there will always be trade-offs.
The people who first lived in early 20th century urban neighborhoods like mine — and which new urbanism idealizes — for example, often had to accept living cheek by jowl to noisy, smelly factories.
And I bet that most of them would have jumped at the chance to have the selection, affordability and convenience of a 58,000-square-foot grocery store they could walk to.
So let me get this straight. If you want to live in an "urbanist" setting, you'd better do it the right way. The Rickert way, rooted in the values of those who put up with factories (???) in their midst, or something. And if you don't, you have no right to complain should the developer take your neighborhood in a different direction than was promised when you bought the land and built your house.
Reads kinda like he's telling the customers to quit whining and excusing a bait and switch, or is it just me?