housing

Greystone Homes Start Construction

New construction homes have started to pop up along MLK and scattered throughout the adjacent neighborhoods just north of Downtown. This is a great sign for the City - I am excited to see investment in non-Habitat infill construction (even thought it is subsidized as well) because it demonstrates an expanding market.

Hatch Development Group is building 26 "Des Moines Greystones" on scattered infill sites. Here's what they will look like:

Des Moines Greystones, Hatch Development GroupDes Moines Greystones, Hatch Development Group

I'm not convinced that the design is appropriate for the locations. They are attempting to "import" the idea of the appearance of a Chicago greystone to a location that doesn't really support it. Here are some photos of infill Chicago "greystones" I took on a trip to Chicago several years ago:

Chicago Infill Housing

Not all of these are great design, but the Chicago greystone home type is a part of the context and underlying neighborhood development pattern there... density, material compatibility, consistent massing - these all create an understanding of why the buildings take the form that they do.

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Scenic Vista Drive: From Google Street ViewScenic Vista Drive: From Google Street ViewThe West Des Moines City Council placed itself in citizens' living rooms this evening when it adopted an ordinance dictating that no more than three "unrelated" adults may live in a single-family home.

People most likely to be affected:

  • Same-sex couples
  • Immigrants
  • Non-traditional families
  • Economically struggling families
  • Young homeowners

Ordinances like this have not-so-hidden racial and economic undertones. While Iowa courts have found other cities' attempts constitutional, that doesn't make it right.

There are legitimate reasons to restrict the number of people who may reside in a house: building codes already have standards regarding how many people can safely inhabit a dwelling unit. The number of people has nothing to do with the relationship between the residents. A good example of this is same-sex couples, who are currently not recognized by the State as being related. Regardless of what the politicians say, this legislation is intended to restrict the types of people who can live in West Des Moines.

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