By David Tanner, The Examiner
Story last updated at 11:37 a.m. Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Part One of a Series
By the numbers, the Arcadia Land Company project in eastern Independence looks good to some people and over the top to others.
Arcadia is planning to develop two land areas owned by the Community of Christ in the general area bordered by Truman Road, Missouri 7, Strode Road and Crenshaw Road.
The land areas, so far named Crenshaw and Village One, are slated for a total of 940 dwellings on a variety of lot sizes and densities, with acres of open space built around them.
As the Independence City Council prepares to decide, July 7, on rezoning and development plans for both developments, opponents object to increased traffic and safety issues that arise from that traffic.
The developer is assuring it will spend about $3 million to address the sharp curves, narrow pavement, shoulder drop-offs and line-of-sight issues that have existed since the first homes were built in the Little Blue Valley.
So far, with the Planning Commission voting in favor and passing the ball to the City Council, the Arcadia projects meets the city's development goals for the Little Blue Valley.
The comprehensive plan includes a study area of more than 19,800 acres in the Little Blue Valley. Much of the land is able to be developed, but the valley also includes a vast flood plain, creeks, open and wooded areas, and lots of hills and slopes.
Arcadia is promising to preserve as many of the trees and natural areas as possible, building into their plans a community sense of open-space and park areas.
Where people are agreeing to disagree is with density numbers.
In the overall scheme, Arcadia is proposing Crenshaw to be built on 170 acres and include 240 homes. By formula, Crenshaw's gross density would be 1.4 dwellings per acre on paper, but when 96 acres of open space are factored into the acreage, the density increases to 3.2 dwellings per acre.
A similar formula applies to Village One. Arcadia is proposing 650 dwellings on 233 acres, for a gross density of 2.8 per acre. While this number is middle of the road compared to other low- or medium-density residential developments such as Remington Estates or Sherwood Estates, the actual density of the homes climbs to about 4.4 dwellings per acre when the 85 acres of open space are calculated in.
While some opponents see the higher net density as undesirable, the developer sees it as a chance to showcase what's called a traditional neighborhood district.
Arcadia banks its name on the concept of medium-density ranges and lots of shared community space and parks.
The homes will be all different sizes and styles for an integrated feeling of community, according to William H. Tucker, managing director for the Arcadia Land Company.
"It's basically pedestrian oriented," Tucker says. "The homes have smaller setbacks (from the street) and you will see a lot of porches."
Tucker says Arcadia is dedicated to preserving what is already there.
"We're focused very much on environmental impacts," he says, "We have a core part of the subdivision with fairly high density, but it tapers off to low density residential. To compensate for high density in the area, we incorporate open space and small parks within them."
Tucker says Arcadia's concepts are not new, as many of the company's projects around the country look like pre-World War II communities, but the environmental issues are important in 2003 and beyond.
"We want to reduce reliance on the automobile," Tucker said.
Arcadia will accomplish its goals by creating a town center, complete with a school, parks and civic buildings all within walking distance from the homes.
The Examiner is running a series of stories to explain some of the facts and opinions surrounding the Arcadia projects.
Thursday's story will focus on the street issues in the area, and what the developer and the city have planned for improvements.
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