Gated Community Under Construction on New Era Road
Construction of a new gated community is under way on New Era Road. The Villas of Carbondale will contain fifty retirement residences. Ten percent of the residences will be reserved for extremely low income seniors, 86 percent of the units will go to low income seniors, and the remaining four percent will be available at market rate.
The city council approved the development back in 2007 after the planning commission unanimously rejected it. I thought the housing market collapse and the recession had killed or stalled the project, but actually the resulting recovery act funded it:
Retirees are generally considered desirable residents. They pay taxes, but they don’t have kids in school and usually don’t burden police and fire departments. Local retail benefits from additional consumers and health care providers get additional patients. Of course, this assumes at least some of the residents come from outside of Carbondale rather than from within.
There are sketches of the finished development available online. The finished project will look a little different because the city required several changes to the original plan (pdf). The developer may build a second phase after finishing the units currently under construction. Oddly, there is no mention of this project on the developer’s website.
I’m generally not fond of gated communities. Unless security is a genuine concern, there is no reason to build a gated community. I can’t imagine why anyone would feel unsafe in a field on New Era Road, so I would have preferred that the fence be left out.
Despite the fence, the project will probably be a benefit for the city. Retail and health care are two of the most important sectors of the local economy, and this development will likely provide some benefit to each. Since these are mostly low income units, I suspect the benefit to local retail will be small.
Comments are welcome.