Letter: Compelling reason needed to develop Hickory Ridge parcels

January 27, 2012

Thirteen parcels are identified and several are considered "ripe for development" in the new Hickory Ridge plan. In the early 1990s, CA proposed an ill-conceived plan for a Fun Center on the three-acre parcel adjacent to Giant that included night lighting and batting cages. The plan was overwhelming rejected by the homeowners nearby.

In the late 2000s, another surprise awaited Clemens and Hickory Crest homeowners. A Walgreens was proposed at the corner of Freetown Road and Cedar Lane. Hickory Ridge and surrounding homeowners led efforts to change the zoning to its present status that prevents similar development.

The new zoning does allow single family residential, condos, office space or medical offices on this parcel. It is "ripe for development." The new plan suggests that further commercial development with associated walk-in traffic will enhance long-term stability of the center. But viability of center businesses ultimately depends on patronage from local residents.

Landowners and developers have often had dominant political power and money that influence zoning and development decisions. We are promised this time it will be different. Most of the parcels currently zoned for future development should, however, remain undeveloped without a more compelling reason for more buildings, traffic and noise in the neighborhood.

Roger Lawson

Hickory Ridge

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