Regarding the proposed Seaside Townhouse Development meeting that took place Jan. 24 in Kingston:
First, a big thank you to the county and the developer for arranging this meeting early in the planning process.
I have several concerns after hearing and seeing the initial proposal.
Visual: There are identical, large, narrow, tall buildings lined up like an Army base. I’m sure this has advantages for efficiency of getting the maximum number of units in the space, but does little for interest or appeal. Why not have some buildings at different angles or curved? Have some different heights and elevations mixed in for interest. This initial drawing was done with the minimum of creativity.
Use of open space: Using their open space allotment for a 20-foot buffer all around the perimeter creates the appearance of a fort that is trying to avoid association with the existing neighborhood.
Access: Having both access roads off Lindvog Road does not look like a smart idea. Back to the issue of being part of the neighborhood — one or two of the existing roads should connect, giving them access to West Kingston Road and reducing the impact on Lindvog Road.
Mixed use: They have made all 140 units basically the same. This is like planting a forest in only one species of tree. Diversity would be better for the future of Kingston. We should find a way to include low-income options and to include some residences that are handicapped-accessible or suitable for an aging population that does not want stairs. Perhaps one or two buildings could be larger and include elevators to serve various floor plans that would be on one level.
Energy use: I heard no plan to look beyond the minimum energy efficiency standards. Why not be progressive and design for solar, water recycling, etc.?
The county can take the position of only requiring the minimum to facilitate this development. I do not accept this thinking. Having been a volunteer and watched dedicated folks work over the last 30 years to improve Kingston, I don’t want to settle for the minimum.
A lot of effort went into the years of creating the Village Green park, senior housing, and community center. All of our efforts have been above and beyond minimum code requirements. We have created an aesthetically beautiful, inter-generational, environmentally friendly heart at the center of Kingston. And I would argue we now have a saleable amenity that will only help the Seaside developers to sell their new townhouses.
We should get more return for what we have already invested in the current infrastructure.