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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?

10 Responses to Private Roads are Bad

  1. [quote] Private developments do not foster a community spirit and can perpetuate fear and stereotypes. Keeping out “others” has consequences. [/quote]

    If that is true, it would also apply to private driveways, private yards, private homes. Should we abolish private property, as well?

  2. Outstanding! I am glad to see a community take a stand for… well… community. I’ve read some of the complaints on your FB page Rachel. For those who don’t want people coming to their doors, a simple “no thank you, don’t come back to my door” will usually put them on a Do Not Canvass list. That way they can sit back in their “sanctuaries” blissfully ignorant of the world around them.

  3. November 19, 2012 at 11:02 am RaChaCha responds:

    OK, I’m going to go there: I think some of this plays out with college campuses, as well. In Rochester, with the exception of the very small Colgate, there is just one college campus in the city proper (I’m not counting the one-building MCC/SUNY presences) — the U of R. From what I read and experience, there seems to be something of a siege mindset there, as if they’re in an outpost surrounded by threats. One day when I was on campus heading for the library to do some architectural research, I ran into the then-facilities director, whom I knew from the board of a nonprofit I did volunteer work with. Despite that I knew him personally, twice in the conversation he asked me why I was campus, in a way that made it clear that if I didn’t have a valid reason I shouldn’t be there. I had other experiences of attending art exhibits or talks and having faculty/staff ask me if I was affiliated with the University.

    I’ve never had any of these experiences in Buffalo, where there are a half dozen college campuses within the city proper. Some of these campuses are integrated into neighborhoods (including the one in my own neighborhood) and/or have city streets running through them that people use to get from one place to another. Despite that none of the campuses within the city are even remotely as physically isolated & cut off as the U of R is within Rochester, the paranoia on the Buffalo campuses seems much less.

    I agree that when people try to isolate themselves, it helps foster an us-against-them dynamic.

  4. Us vs them?? I think that is a little over-the-top. It is always interesting to me that those who preach inclusion are always quick to point out their objections to those who think differently. As for private roads in the village of Webster, that is for the residents of the village to decide. I don’t know where they are and who is offended by it. As for Pittsford, we are talking about a village and a lifestyle that the residents have become accustomed to. This development seems quite large. If I chose to live in Pittsford village because of what it is, I would be upset if that lifestyle were altered. It has nothing to do with us vs them. It has to do with choosing a life and a community and then having it changed by some developer who is only doing it for the money. Not cool!

  5. Private roads or college campuses strive to keep “some” people out and thats very bad. We should be all-inclusive.

    Gee, does that also apply for the Black congressional caucus, for the United Ways Minority Leadership development programs, or for the Black scholars programs? How about the urban suburban transfer program, or Affirmative action programs? They benefit some and keep others out, based on race.

    So if I use my own money to exclude people from our joint private property thats bad. But if I use taxpayer funding (other peoples money) and non profit contributions to institute and support and programs that favor one race over another and exclude and keep others out, thats OK?

    Liberal hypocrisy knows no bounds

  6. The programs you are talking about benefit historically oppressed groups who are still underrepresented in leadership. That’s the difference. You don’t get to exclude people when you’re the one with the power and always have been.

  7. Those days were over in 1968. Those historically oppressed groups are not oppressed now, and most of us alive now were not responsible for the oppression then.

  8. I’m sorry Chey, but we are not nearly as far removed from the oppression of the 60s as we like to tell ourselves.

  9. Zack, for an eye-opener re minority oppression, have a look at Shelby Steel’s “White Guilt How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era”. If oppression exists, it is the Liberal agenda that reinforces.

  10. “The programs you are talking about benefit historically oppressed groups who are still underrepresented in leadership.”

    Says who? Who says who is “underrepresented” and WHO gave them that power to decide?

    And then please define the goal, so we will know when we have achieved it. No one pushing the supposed “underrepresented agenda” will define the goal metrics. And why not?

    So the solution to the historically oppressed “problems” is to oppress others, while giving the formally oppressed special and preferential rights?

    So people mostly in the south a 1000 or more miles from here discriminated against minorities from 1860s to 1970 and for that we 1000 miles away have to give up our constitutional right to equal protection under the law in 2012? That scam has been going on now for 39 years, any one any where willing to define when it will end? Of course not you will be called a racist.

    My grandparents were in Europe till 1900 but their grand kids and great grand kids need to take a back seat to others because of issues their ancestors had nothing to do with?

    Is that what this country is now about? The way to solve racism is to institute government institutional racism only have it go the other way? And do that for how long?

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