Saturday, December 09, 2023

Making a neighborhood, not just a subdivision

| September 7, 2023 1:00 AM

I have been following the development of the Providence Road subdivision with interest. As I understand it, this subdivision would be isolated from its nearest neighbors in Kootenai as the developer is unwilling to pay the fees associated with annexing to the town of Kootenai. We need roads and sidewalks to connect our neighborhoods — not just for safety’s sake, as in the case of fire — but because connection to other neighborhoods makes a subdivision a desirable place to live.

Research demonstrates that a desirable neighborhood is walkable. Walkability includes wide sidewalks with tree-lined streets and lighting, safe and direct pedestrian walkways, and connectivity with transportation, local businesses, green space, and other neighborhoods.

Walkability means that the children who move in can walk or bike to school safely and that pedestrians have walkways that connect them with nearby shops and neighborhoods. Sandpoint’s allure includes a walkable downtown. Don’t we want that same capability in each of our neighborhoods?

A subdivision is a developer’s term — a cluster of houses with minimal infrastructure for minimal cost that creates a maximum profit for investors, often without considering safety, green space, or connection. A commissioner’s job goes beyond monetary considerations to include connections between present and future residents. What the commissioners should be concerned with is creating subdivisions that could become neighborhoods where you want to take your children at Halloween.

As proposed, the Providence Road subdivision offers not a single benefit to the community while benefiting a single developer. How tragic to see an entire community undermined by a developer’s "rights" while the commissioners turn a blind eye to their responsibilities towards the whole community.



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