It is currently Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:56 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2003 11:21 pm 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 8:09 pm
Posts: 1835
Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
I need some recommendations for home builders and land developers from readers of this discussion list, but am not sure where in the forums to place it. I hope a moderator will be able to find a slot for it if this isn't the best spot.

I live in Edgecliff Village, Texas, an enclave on the south side of Fort Worth, directly south of I-20 and directly east of I-35. The layout is such that many of the houses have large yards (.33 to full acres and more). Many streets follow the topography, and there are lots of old established good quality trees and some very fine gardens and landscaped yards. There is a quasi-rural feel to much of the village because of this, despite our proximity to Fort Worth proper.

There is a 250-acre undeveloped parcel on the eastern-most side of town. It is a mix of riparian and rolling prairie, beautiful land with a variety of small indigenous tree species and several significant drainage areas. The Sycamore tributary of the Trinity River runs through it. (You could almost say “A River Runs Through It!)

The builder/developer teams who have come before our zoning board and city council so far have been trying to maximize their profits by putting in tiny lots and houses shoulder to shoulder (in the latest proposal, five feet from the fence on either side. The way the overhang from the roof fits into this picture, these houses will have only about seven feet of space between from roof edge to roof edge and a fence down the middle). Understanding that we aren’t in a position to keep it natural forever, many of us living nearby this vacant property would like to see it platted in a way similar to what is already in Edgecliff. We'd like to see houses on lots large enough so people can put in gardens and evocative landscapes, so they have room for good trees, and we want to see a builder come in who understands about leaving some native trees, about following natural contours and giving creeks enough room to flow (no channelizing), and about planting good materials when they landscape these houses.

Are there any builders in the North Texas area who design their subdivisions and houses "The Natural Way?" We can't bring Henry David Thoreau back from the dead, but can we find someone who puts the quality of the homestead ahead of squishing every buck out of a prime site? Who builds the kind of place where Ol' Henry could plant his beans! Where do some of the organic gardeners on this discussion board live, and do your builders operate in North Texas? Or have you heard about builders like this? The property recently changed hands, and this is our third developer in as many years. Though it is too soon to say the builder will pull back from the project, the last two have when faced with demands such as ours. We'd like to point this property owner toward responsible builders to work out a plan we can live with. Of course he can ignore us, but we can try!

Edgecliff is a little gem of a village--it always blows my friends away when they pull up to my house, because they KNOW that I live only three blocks from the major intersection of these two freeways yet it looks like something out in the woods. My back yard abuts Sycamore Creek, and there is an amazing array of birds and small animals (up to and including coyotes) that regularly come through. We want to see housing that doesn't exclude the wildlife and doesn't scrape the ground bare before building from scratch, where each yard gets a good organic start by not being nuked and burned with chemicals. I'm posting a tiny url link to an aerial photo page that shows Edgecliff. http://tinyurl.com/vsbj

Is this a pipe dream, or do such developers exist? We need to get our new landowner-neighbor pointed in the right direction!

Northwesterner


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:32 am 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm
Posts: 2884
Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
It sounds like you have some degree of control over what goes in. Is there a specification for the new area? I'm thinking of something like specifying mixed lots from 0.33 acres to 3 acres with an average dwelling density of no more than 1 per acre - or words to that effect. And specify the number and caliper of trees to be spared. Maybe all trees larger than 12 inches in diameter will be spared (one way to measure caliper on odd shaped trees is to measure the circumference and divide by pi to get the diameter). I suppose there is a way to specify that the streets follow contours or otherwise must be crooked rather than straight, aligned, and perpendicular. If there is a river running through it, you probably want to keep that feature intact somehow. Is the property in a 100 year flood plane? That might make it harder to build in the area.

Once the builders see what you want, they can probably all come up with something that fits your plan.

I wonder if you could get the architecture students at A&M to take on your project and give you a preliminary design?

_________________
David Hall
Moderator
Dirt Doctor Lawns Forum


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:44 am 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 8:09 pm
Posts: 1835
Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
This is a typical situation in many cities--the area is already zoned at a certain density, and there are county and state and federal overlays to consider as far as the creek and such. This is zoned multi-family and commercial now, so they need to rezone for building single-family homes. But when developers want to make their buck, they want to do it on their terms, so they present the plan along with a modified set of standards. Instead of sticking with Edgecliff's rules on lot size, building set backs, and (in particular) the 90% masonry rule, they want to make the lots smaller, more cramped, and houses much closer together. In order to build homes like these they come in and literally scrape the soil and plants off and put in row after row of parallel pads for new houses that sit and leach away until the house is put up and the sod slapped down around it.

It's not that we don't know how to go about fighting this kind of developer, what we need are suggestions of more community friendly and more environmentally friendly builders and developers. I'm hoping someone who has had a good experience with this process in their neighborhood will tell me who they worked with, or offer recommendations based on projects they've seen go up in their areas.

northwesterner


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:54 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat May 03, 2003 10:48 am
Posts: 241
Location: Arlington
This is one that I have looked at. They may be able to help you out or recommend someone who can.

http://www.woodsonplace.com/welcome.htm

Another link.

http://www.chrisallenassociates.com/services.html


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 11:01 am 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:18 pm
Posts: 1093
Location: McKinney,TEXAS
This company builds energy efficient houses and the owner, Barbara has written a book called, "The Healing House". They might be able to direct you towards some help. http://www.envirocustomhomes.com/
Tony M


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 8:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 9:17 am
Posts: 15
Is the developer of Edgecliff Vilalge available? This person or organization sounds as if they had vision. Perhaps this person or organization can help the situation. Good luck with it. This seems to always be a battle. A developer builds something attractive and then the money grubbers are ready to use it as a magnet for tract housing. There have been several shows on HGTV regarding a more natural development ev3en in high density developments. Some even actually used decent architectural design. Imagine that.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by eWeblife