The Village of Webster is putting a moratorium on private roads in new developments. The village wants to be a walkable community and private roads keep other people out. That’s by design, according to a report in the Democrat and Chronicle:
“Our comprehensive plan calls for a walkable community, but a private road is private property and village residents would not be free to walk on those roads,” village trustee Christine Reynolds said.
Lee Sinsebox, an engineer working on that development (40-townhouses), phrased Reynolds’ point about private drives differently: “It keeps the community a little more private instead of inviting people through the development that don’t really live there,” he said.
Private developments do not foster a community spirit and can perpetuate fear and stereotypes. Keeping out “others” has consequences. After the Trayvon Martin shooting in a gated community in Florida, a lot was written about private housing complexes. Researcher Rich Benjamin wrote in the New York Times:
Gated communities churn a vicious cycle by attracting like-minded residents who seek shelter from outsiders and whose physical seclusion then worsens paranoid groupthink against outsiders.
In this us-versus-them mental landscape, them refers to new immigrants, blacks, young people, renters, non-property-owners and people perceived to be poor.
We are seeing the fear of “others” play out in the Village of Pittsford, where residents fear renters of luxury apartment buildings.
Good for Webster for taking a stand and examining the type of community it would like to be.
Links of the Day:
– Five hundred workers at a state fraud agency apparently have nothing to do. That’s only the beginning of the problems.
– An Erie County man sued a marriage counselor after finding her in bed with this wife.
– Will the rules of Albany become the rules of Washington when it comes to negotiating a budget?