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From: Herb Rubin
Category: General Discussion
Date: 22 Oct 2002
Time: 22:25:02 -0400
Remote Name: 22.214.171.124
Mac and others:
There is splendid irony here. The very note sent out from Savannah folk has enabled us to begin an important dialogue on the growth future of DeKalb. Mr. McIntyre (who represents the County Building and Development Association) and I have on other occasions engaged in quite civil discussion on the growth needs of DeKalb. I'm glad the process is continuing.
In fact, what have we learned since the process has begun that goes beyond the he-says, she-says fight between the developer and the unions?
I've learned some ideas about building codes that I really think should be adopted when we revamp the UDO; Savannah Green has provided suggestions on an real upgrading of the codes that all builders should be mandated to follow. What is the stand of the County Build and Development Association on upgrading such codes?
We've changed the tone of the discussion when talking about the prices of the homes. Initially Savannah Green was claiming it was building 'affordable housing'. The language is now changed to the more appropriate word 'attainable.'. This very discussion points out the real need for 'affordable housing' in DeKalb and I am awaiting a suggestion from the County Building and Development Association for partnership agreements between the public sector and the developers for building such housing. What is sometimes done in other rapid growth counties is what is known as 'inclusionary housing'. That is, in every complex a fixed percent of homes, that are built totally identical to other homes, are offered at far less price to those who are working but not earning sufficient income for homeownership. Montgomery County, one of the nation's premier suburban counties, has such a policy.
It seems that Mac and I strongly disagree about the costs to the school district of such growth. And, it seems that the school district has presented data that indicates that it will take a sizeable financial loss on Savannah Green (and perhaps have to bus students from a walking community. Mac talks about income produced not costs encumbered for the school district.
Finally, (though I suspect not finally, given Mac's and my propensity to dialogue) while I am concerned about the 900 homes (and their layout since I do not the current design produces a real neighborhood feel) I am more concerned about the rumors that developers are eagerily eying more land to the west and north (I think) of Savannah Green. If the city were to establish firm growth boundaries a tiny bit (and I mean a tiny bit) west of the proposed project I would be more sympathetic to it. I now see the project as a foot in the door for an acceleration of the growth of DeKalb in ways that stress the special districts and the ability of the city to provide the needed infrastructure.
As I now see it the project will (a) further impoverish our already stressed school district and (b) open up more and more land to the west for this endless process of growth that benefits developers but costs those already in the community.
An aside to Mac, once again I will be traveling while we are having a discussion, so i might not always respond immediately if you reply to this note..
And, an aside to Mr. S. If I remember your first appearance in front of the plan commission, you mentioned you weren't interested in working in DeKalb if in doing so there was strong opposition. Whatever happened to that?
Herb Rubin P.S. I too might want to join the trip just for the pleasure of the company and to explore new sights; but I'm also out of town at a conference