A new 33-unit condo complex is being planned for the far east end of Broad St in Church Hill, which has Church Hill People’s News readers up in arms. Here’s a few pictures of the renderings, complements of John Murden:

oakwood-condos.jpg

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The plans are for 3618 E. Broad (click for map), near Chimborazo park.

Church Hill residents are upset by the plan’s architecture, location, density, and assumed parking and traffic issues. A bitch session and opposition-panning is ongoing in the comments section of the CHPN article about the project (85 comments as of 12/16, 11 am).

Now, the project’s opponents make some valid points, but it’s hard for me to take them seriously because of their history of NIMBYism (Not In My Backyard) regarding almost any new development. Some vocal church hill residents have opposed Echo Harbor on the riverfront, a development below Jefferson Park on Marshall St., and challenged the density of the St. Patrick’s School condo project.

Now I’m all for neighborhood activism and residents taking an active approach in shaping their neighborhood. And where the CHPN commenters are logical in their opposition, I support them. But I have issues with the folks who eschew reason in favor of fear-mongering, who for example say the postal workers can’t handle the extra work, and that renters are always problematic (both critiques were leveled at this condo proposal).

Did Tobacco Row apartments create problems for E. Cary St. with the influx of renters? Did the postal service collapse? Did crime increase?

Now, I don’t think the units are as ugly as most at CHPN seem to, but I agree that they’re out-of-place in Church Hill. But, unlike many of the opponents, I personally celebrate infill development that brings more residents to the city, develops vacant urban lots rather than rural farmland, and increases the demand for stores and other services in an under-served area.

Greater density also helps make public transit more economically feasible.

So, to be clear, I do not support or oppose this project in concept- and I’m happy that residents are actively involved in shaping their neighborhood. But those that are irrational NIMBYists need to realize that urban neighborhoods are vibrant because they’re always changing and that cities benefit from greater density- when done right.

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