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colin

new urbanism/suburbanism in east valley

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I went out to the Ray/Greenfield area while driving back, and, yes, there is indeed a tiny subdivision there with some New Urbanist elements:

- Rear-loading houses

- Narrow, parking-restricted streets with established visitor parking areas

- Front of the houses face a park-like/green belt area

- Houses very close together

The only thing is, this development is so small, and is boxed in by a much larger, traditional development, that I wouldn't call it a New Urbanist neighborhood. Also, it was indeed gated and very cut off from the surrounding area (no pedestrian or street access to the surrounding development). I was reading about something called "New Suburbanism" which takes elements of New Urbanism and puts them in a more traditional model, thus making a better suburb that is still marketable to the run of the mill homebuyer. Maybe this could be an example??

But it's a nice enclave, and a great step for suburban Phoenix development (and in Gilbert of all places).

You must have some damn good luck to have just stumbed on this place, Matt. It's like 200m off of Ray and, from the road, it looks pretty normal. I would have never given this place a second glance had I not been looking for it. Specifically, it's on Coronado Road (a little, two-lane side street that dead ends into the other development) a little west of Greenfield/Santan Village Parkway. There is also no sign for this place, so I don't know what it's called, and I doubt that it's part of the other development.

Good job, though. Here's a picture, although it's not very good as I was hoping to find a way into the neighborhood, which I didn't. You can see the rear-loading driveways though.

newurbanism1.jpg

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I've heard a little about this New Suburbanism, but I admit I don't know a lot about it. This type of development is banned in my city.

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Colin, I live in Val Vista Lakes. Which is about a mile from there. Technically I guess I live in Gilbert. I find alot of things out of sheer boredom, and consequently alot of roads with no outlet. But I have to say when I found it I was pretty amazed. What I wonder though, is if it's maybe a new standard of developement in Gilbert. I don't really know that much about the city. I know I like it, and I know it's the fastest growing community in the country. I say kudos to Gilbert if it is.

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One of my favorite things to do is to just drive around like that and find new stuff. The East Valley is so interesting too because of all the development.

Yesterday, I actually drove out to the end of Ocotillo Road east of Queen Creek, to something labelled "Special Use Area - Permit Required" on the map. I got to the end of the road, and there was a bridge over a CAP canal with a heavy-duty gate. On the gate was a sign like "This area is monitored by video surveilance. No trespassing." My truck certainly wasn't getting through, and I wasn't in the mood to test their threat and potentially get harassed and/or arrested for "trespassing" just to explore a bit of desert, so I just turned around. There is a bit of undevelopable (for the moment) state land on the west side of the canal that's accessible though. Also supposedly an auxillary airfield out there (I drove by it but couldn't see anything). It's behind a fence, but it was just a regular barbed-wire fence.

I looked at another map when I got back, and it's just state land, but is part of that swath that you see on US 60 and SR 79 between Apache Junction and Superior. I can understand wanting to keep people out for conservation purposes, but they make it so mysterious.

This may be a CAP thing though. CAP is typically very protective of their facilities and usually has big, wire-topped fences and gates everywhere. I haven't seen anything this high-tech in a gate before though.

None of this is relevant, but I find it interesting.

With this little bit of New Urbanism, I wouldn't doubt that there are more examples out there. Googling "Phoenix 'New Urbanism'" reveals a few articles saying that there is some, but they never cite examples. I emailed Gilbert about this, so hopefully they'll respond and enlighten me on what the deal is.

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when I get more time, I'm going to explore more Gilbert developements. I'm interested to see what the population of the city is when the new estimates come out next month. I'm very interested to hear what the city says when it gets back with you.

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Speak of the freakin' devil.

Fincher Creek is the name of the development.

[edit]

I got the names confused and pulled the wrong site. This is the neighboring, more traditional development if interested:

I'm not sure how legit this site is, but it certainly provides some info: http://fincherfarms.org/

[/edit]

Also came across this, which is just a plethora of development info on the Valley, but obviously run by a realtor: http://aznb.com/map/map.php

Also, the guy who responded from Gilbert made mention that it was a Scott Community. A check on their web site also revealed this in the planning stages: http://www.agritopia.com/

Make sure to also read over their "Design Principles". YIKES! Their hearts are certainly in the right place though, and it does look very much like New Urbanist thought, especially the mixed-use nature of this development.

Scott Communities web site

PM me if you'd like his contact info, Matt (I'm not going to post it here, of course). He seemed very receptive to further questions.

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I wanted to update this, because the developer finally replied, although it was their marketing end (never a good sign) directing me to the Agritopia sales office. So, basically, I was blown off.

These were my questions, though, if anyone's curious:

- How successful was Fincher Creek as per selling speed?

- What was the initial reaction from potential buyers regarding the

non-traditional aspects of the community and home designs (e.g. -

rear-loading driveways), and what sort of feedback has come back thus

far from the new residents?

- What influenced your decision to make it a gated community? Is its

isolation from the neighboring Fincher Farms deliberate?

- The subdivision seems very small, especially when considering the

size of the adjacent Fincher Farms development. Was this some sort of

pilot program to sort of "test the waters" for the viability of

Agritopia?

- The base prices for the homes seem comparatively inexpensive

considering their respective sizes. Was there logic behind this, or is

that just how it worked out with the builder?

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Colin I see questions, where are the answers??? I hate anticipation.

edit: I should add that they are building town homes on Southern between Gilbert and Val Vista in Mesa. It looks like they are packing them in really tight, with rear loading garages. I don't think this is new urbanist. But i'm going to get some photo's soon and you can tell me. I haven't been posting pics because i've been having problems with flickr hopefully this will change soon.

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Colin I see questions, where are the answers??? I hate anticipation.

Like I said, she blew me off.

She basically said "call the Agritopia sales office" and I'm like "Where in that list do I ask a question about Agritopia?" Just skimmed over the text and saw the word.

And people in marketing wonder why there's such a negative stereotype around their line of work.

I may email back and say that I'm with UA and seeking information on a project.

Definitely let me know about the condos.

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One would think that being in Marketing would make them somewhat more nice, since they are selling something!

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No, she was very cordial, she just ignored what I really wanted though and pushed me toward the selling end for a community that I made the mistake of mentioning in the email.

Probably if I hadn't written the word "Agritopia," I would have been passed to someone who could have answered my question.

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I think I spotted another new urbanist type community. It's either in Mesa or AJ. I was on 60 headed out towards AJ. It was on the south side of the freeway, after the 202, but before the Pinal County line. I'm going in look into it more when I have time.

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