What is Responsible Growth for Chesapeake?

Chesapeake is growing and developing at a rapid pace. Unlike many developing cities, Chesapeake has a valuable resource that many growing cities do not, and that resource is land. We have an obligation to plan and develop that land responsibly. We have a rare opportunity to plan our infrastructure in a smart sensible manner and prevent the many crippling issues that older existing cities experience. Ever try to find your way around Boston? There are no numerically organized street grids to clearly navigate the city. It is quite literally a maze of one way streets, dense traffic, and the occasionally rotary.

According to an article written by Joel Kotkin entitled “Houston Rising – Why the Next Great American Cities Aren’t What You Think”America’s urban landscape is changing, but in ways not always predicted or much admired by our media, planners, and pundits.”

“There’s a whole industry led by the likes of Harvard’s Ed Glaeser, my occasional sparring partner Richard Florida and developer-funded groups like CEOs for Cities, who advocate for old-style, high-density cities, and insist that they represent the inevitable future.”

But the numbers tell a different story: the most rapid urban growth is occurring outside of the great, dense, highly developed and vastly expensive old American metropolises.” These highly densely populated developments models are outdated and from when the majority of the population did not have vehicles.

Buyers Want Bigger Yards

When buyers were polled in recent survey published by Wakefield Research as to whether they wanted a bigger house or a bigger yard, the answer was a bigger yard. “Larger yard space means extra “breathing room” from neighbors — something that 48 percent of millennials and 53 percent of non-millennials say is the most important exterior feature of a home, beating other outdoor elements such as siding, driveway style, exterior paint color and roofing finish.”

It is simple unnecessary to crowd rural areas of Chesapeake with high density over populated planned unit developments. We need to learn from the cities that are succeeding in their development and changing and developing with what the market wants like Houston and Charlotte.

“Finally, they will not become highly dense, apartment cities — as developers and planners insist they “should.” Instead the aspirational regions are likely to remain dominated by a suburbanized form characterized by car dependency, dispersion of job centers, and single-family homes.”

What Will Bring Jobs?

The Research Triangle is attracting so many new businesses is due to the colleges in the area producing an educated work force. I personally am from the Worcester, MA area and we supported 10 colleges in our city. My first job in real estate was a leasing agent and I helped people from all over the world find apartments in Worcester. Many went to study at the colleges like Umass Medical Center. Even my small town of Grafton, MA had less than 10,000 people and my graduating class was less than 100 students, yet Grafton is home to the highly accredited Tufts University Veterinary School with an agricultural focus including equestrian & wildlife.
People in Chesapeake are passionate about education. It is evident throughout all of the school districts. We have amazing staff and administration and parents who care and develop their children into excellent students.
Personally I believe that Chesapeake needs a college, not a highly densely populated PUD. A college in Chesapeake would not be soley filled with 18 to 20 year olds. We have a large population of military personnel who retire here and in their late 30’s and early 40’s go to college to reinvent their lives with second careers.
Apparently, we also need to some entertainment and night life here in Chesapeake as I have learned from our teenagers that Chesapeake was deemed the 3rd most boring cities in the United States.
If we build a college, then a development like The Confluence at Dominion Park may thrive in a nearby area. In my very strong opinion, it does not belong across the street from Grassfield High School impacting the surrounding neighborhoods.