Heterogeneous or homogenous?

By C.J. Barbre

Lindsay has been consistently working to make itself into a pedestrian friendly city.

New sidewalks have gone in on main streets including Hermosa Street, Sweet Brier Avenue and Tulare Road, and many more are in the planning stages. There is a walking trail going in around City Park. Bike paths have also been discussed. More exercise means healthier citizens and, ostensibly, cleaner air because of fewer auto trips.

This was one point of contention regarding the planned 112 single-family residential unit subdivision on 28 acres north of Hickory Street between Parkside and Bellah avenues, with groves to the north. That equals four units per acre or low density residential. The northeast corner of the annexation is sliced through by the Baltimore Northern & Santa Fe railroad tracks.

Lindsay Community Development Analyst Bill Zigler said there had been concerns expressed about the density of housing, quality of the roads, impact on schools, jobs and taxes.

But an estimated 2,650 persons will be added to the city's population base in the next 10 years, and they are going to need someplace to live.

Zigler said there were no environmental impacts, and staff recommended annexing the site, "an area with adequate public services to accommodate future growth and development."

Mayor Pro Tem Pam Kimball said, "Hickory is really, really bad." The street could use some work.

Zigler said the developer will take responsibility for half of the road. Entrance and egress to the subdivision would be on Hickory and Bellah.

There will be a solid masonry wall on Bellah, as a mitigation measure for noise from the railroad, although train traffic is minimal at this time.

"What about the poor people on the other side of the street?" Kimball wanted to know.

"We have no control in the county," Zigler said. He said it would be a very attractive, landscaped wall, adding that these homes will be in the $190,000 to $300,000 range.

John Dutton, with Provost & Prichard developers, said they gave up an additional 5 feet over what was normal on Bellah. "We feel it will adequately address the block wall," he said.

"I don't know if the block wall is a deal breaker," Kimball responded. She suggested it was inconsistent with the city's plans for a more open and pedestrian friendly city. She said that the wall gave the appearance of blocking off the view of the moderate homes across Bellah.

Councilmember Esteban Velasquez said there are people who "like the country feel," and presumably would prefer new subdivisions be walled off.

Mayor Ed Murray said he liked the wall. "It feels safer, as long as there is quality landscaping in place."

Resolution 05-11 passed, requesting the Tulare County Local Agency Formation Commission to take proceedings for annexation No. 04-38 (Bellah/Hickory).

After application for annexation was approved, the next step was to approve the tentative subdivision map. Again Kimball was concerned as to why there was no entrance off of Parkside. Zigler said it was a safety issue, that it would cause a disruption of through traffic.

Kimball countered that the subdivision appeared land-locked. She said it was inefficient to have residents drive all the way around to Parkside. "The other issue to me is it discourages walking. Without any access to Parkside, who is going to walk on it? There at least ought to be a pedestrian passway."

City Manager Scot Townsend said, "We could lose one lot to make a punchout."

"I don't think we should have subdivisions that are too much of an enclave if they create a walled-in, inward facing community," Kimball said.

Velasquez said more traffic would perforce move more slowly.

Murray said radar would slow it down for sure, adding that he would prefer street access onto Parkside from the subdivision.

Resolution 05-12, approving the tentative subdivision map No. 04-48, a request by Pacific Real Estate Holdings to divide two parcels into 112 lots, for property located between Parkside and Bellah avenues, north of Hickory Street, passed 3-2 with Murray and Kimball voting against "as is."

"We ought to have heterogeneous communities, not homogenized," Kimball said. Construction is expected to start almost immediately.

Start typing and press Enter to search