Test that Theory

So I’ve been an advocate of making the suburbs more dense as well as the urban core. Looks like I’ll get a chance to test that theory out.

We went by the house yesterday and were shocked to see that one curb was painted bright red and labeled as a fire lane. The other side of the street had parallel parking spaces painted out. Our side of the street has the parking. We were a bit distraught when we saw it. Because, you know, you kind of get to expect that your neighborhood is going to look a certain way, and then they paint an entire curb bright red. Like you’re at the grocery store. I’ve calmed down now. But new home builders are really bad about actually knowing what they’re building, and notifying the new home owners. Or maybe they’re just really smart.

We went in and confronted the on-duty sales lady. She said the sales office had no clue that there wasn’t going to be parking on both sides of the street until they painted in the fire lane. And she said that if people didn’t like it, they could always back out on their house. Then the company could resell. Which they would like because the cost of the houses have gone up about 15-20% since they started selling them. We were both a little taken aback by a little too much honesty there.

Oh, and she said that we shouldn’t have expected that this was a “party” neighborhood. Like we’re planning on having a kegger. ‘Cause having 2 cars worth of people over to dinner is a really big “party”. She was really rather unpleasant. I think we might have gotten the idea that one could have parties in our house, by the fact that one room is labeled the “great room”. I realize some people need a “great room” to house their godzillatron, but I’m assuming many of us expect to simply have multiple people over to visit in our “great rooms”. Plus even the people with the godzillatron might want to invite people over to watch it with them.

So today I got on the city’s website, and looked up all the site plans. Of course, the parking spaces, and fire lanes were in the original site plans. Very clearly labeled. Ah well.

We’re doing better than most. Most of the people on our street can get at most exactly one car into their driveway. By car, I’m referring to a car. Not a sedan, SUV, or boat. We can get two large vehicles in comfortably. Plus we have a parking space in front of our house. Plus we only have one car that we’re going to store in the garage. Of course our neighbor across the street can only place one car in their driveway. Anyone want to take bets on whether or not they’ll always be parking in that space?

I’m really look forward to the parking wars that the new HOA is going to have to deal with. I’m thinking of running for the board.

In looking at the site plans I found out some other interesting things:

1) That pond in the front appears to be just a retention pond (which explains why they appear to be building a fence around it). The actual pond is in the back of the neighborhood.If you look as you get near Stassney on Westgate there’s a creek that goes under the road. That creek appears to drain into the real pond.

2) We have a 13″ diameter Elm in our front yard, and a 9″ diameter hackberry in our backyard. We’ll be getting another tree shading our driveway in front. We’ll also be getting another one in the back to block the view of our back neighbors which is nice. They appear to be putting a lot of the “2 developer provided trees” in the backyard which is good, since many of the front yards are postage stamps that already contain large trees.

3) There will be a nature trail with crushed granite running from the mailboxes into the second phase of the neighborhood.

4) There will be crushed granite trails exiting the neighborhood onto Buffalo Pass in both directions. This is nice, as you can take Buffalo pass up to jones road and hop on the Sunset Valley hike and bike trail. You can also take buffalo pass up to Pack saddle pass and get to Central Market, which will be good for avoiding Westgate while riding my bike.

5) Wow, just looking at the Sunset Valley trails list. That town is lousy with green space.

5) Our neighborhood is zoned SF-6 and are either townhomes or condominiums as far as the city is concerned, no matter what the homebuilder feels like calling them.

So it’s going to be interesting having parties in the new house. I’m thinking about getting one of those electric shuttles like they have at Six Flags and having everyone park at Thrift Town. Then I’ll take my shuttle over there and pick them up. Or people will just have to ride the bus to our new house.

This is going to be interesting.

Update: This Salon story points out some interesting things about the true cost of parking and why you can always find free parking in downtown Austin if you just drive 4 blocks away from your destination.