The neighbors in my hood had a celebratory potluck tonight. The developer, whose family in the past has performed surgery on this old village with the delicacy of a bulldozer, burying the old grist mill to put up a Kinko’s and erecting stripmalls with spreading lawns of asphalt from one end of town to the other, has compromised on our old school site.
On the ballot in November will be a zoning change — not to the 10 units per acre he was proposing (code R-10) but to a new zoning designation, OV for Old Village, that will put restraints on him and help preserve what little is left of the old village (Kinkos not withstanding). He will have to play nice, not put in dense housing and preserve the integrity of the local architecture.
This was a major victory for grass roots organization and neighborhood solidarity. So tonight we celebrated with fried chicken, salads in our finest tupperware and fudge brownies. Modern neighborhoods are populated with commuters who try not to run into one another in the street rather than stopping to chat. We were no different — but we are now.
What a gift that developer gave us, really. He may have taken away the playground, but he gave us more of a neighborhood.