Elections have consequences. If you’re one of those Americans who don’t keep up with local and national issues and the views of candidates, but cast your vote anyway -- or don’t bother to vote at all -- be ready to live with those consequences.
Bring this concept to a local level and the consequences may be even more unpalatable because they may directly impact YOU. A lack of community awareness – not keeping an eye out for public hearings about issues concerning your little corner of Blaine – may not only harm you, but your neighbors as well.
An example of this is happening right here in our own backyard. Homeowners in Blaine’s Woodland Village don’t want a Habitat for Humanity development nearby and are conveying their displeasure to the city council. The vote for the development was scheduled for April 2, but rescheduled to a May date to allow for both additional study and more input from the community. So, good on you – you’ve been heard.
The property in question includes eight lots located near 125th and Lexington that Woodland Development plans to sell to Habitat for Humanity. The latter has agreed to clean up the lots in exchange for a Livable Communities Grant.
Public hearings were held by the planning commission back in mid-March – and that they unanimously approved both the preliminary plat and the conditional use permit leads one to wonder, how many of those now speaking out bothered to attend the hearings? We may never know, as the City of Blaine has removed the meeting’s public comments from its website.
Habitat for Humanity wants to build single-level ramblers containing 1,500 square feet of living space, valued at roughly $250,000. This is a noble cause for the non-profit, to be sure.
The opposition comes from nearby homeowners who spent nearly twice the amount for their homes that measure more than twice the size of the Habitat for Humanity homes.
While some of these homeowners claim that the new homes won’t fit in with the current housing stock, others are concerned over a possible loss of home value. The latter is a valid point, although studies showing the impact on lower valued homes in a high-value neighborhood are hard to find.
What isn’t hard to learn, however, is what does impact home values. This includes a neighbor that refuses to maintain a home’s exterior, foreclosures and even small things such as noise levels.
Homebuyers who purchase expensive homes in managed communities typically do so not only for the lifestyle they promise, but for the security in knowing that what they see is what they’ll get, and keep on getting as long as they live in that community. This includes like-minded homeowners, bent on maintaining their homes’ value.
Since a home is the biggest financial asset of many Americans, it only makes sense that they will fight to protect against a loss on their investment. It’s understandable that, although they laud the great work performed by Habitat for Humanity, these homeowners don’t want that work in their backyards.
If you’re a concerned homeowner you owe it to yourself to keep an eye on the City of Blaine’s website for the exact date in May that they’ll be holding the next public hearings. You can also make your voice heard by mailing your comments to the Planning Department, City of Blaine. For more information, call (763) 785-6180.
Whether you approve or disapprove of this plan, does the City of Blaine know how you feel? City leaders can’t represent you if they don’t know what you want.
Image courtesy City of Blaine