Often, I would visit a development long after completion, just to see how things worked out. I would remember the site as raw land, then with D-9s crawling all over it. Then the lumber trucks and concrete trucks, then watching families move in to their new houses while others were still being built. It was kinda poetry in motion. Then, I would visit, say five years after completion, to see the final end result.
I would be pleased. I would see kids on bicycles, boys playing catch on sidewalks or in the street. I would see young girls playing hop scotch on the sidewalks (yes, they used chalk). I would see people out walking and talking to one another. I would be really pleased when I would see Seniors stopping and talking and laughing with kids in the neighborhoods. In short, people were living good lives and the raw land had become homes to people with real lives and what I did helped build associations among neighbors. It was a good feeling. I was pleased. I had a small role in providing these delightful homes and lifestyles. There was life going on where before, none existed. Interestingly, this was before the days of Form Based Codes. You remember FBC don't you? They were developed to encourage people to sit on their front porch, approximately 50 feet from their neighbors front porch, and 15 feet from the sidewalk. This was done to encourage neighbors to meet one another. The fact that there were rules that said you couldn't park in front of your house, but only in the rear garage drive, and the drive was too short to park your car without having your butt stuck out into the alley was a minor inconvenience. Also, having streets that did not accommodate fire trucks was troubling, but one should not start fires, anyway. If you don't have a street in front of your house, don't worry. It's just a short walk to carry groceries or presents to a birthday party. Also, if you get tired during a walk, you can always lean up against the house you're walking past.
Thursday afternoon, between 2:00 and 2:15 PM, I drove thru our Homestead subdivision just north of Chiesa and Liberty Grove. It was Rowlett's highly touted first Form Base Code subdivision. The first phase is complete. The subdivision is blessed with two excellent builders, Weekley Homes and Cambridge Homes. Their plans and the quality of materials are excellent. However, the exterior styling of homes is nothing new. The interiors are new and refreshing, but the exteriors are a throwback to 100 years ago. You will find the same exterior styling and lot spacing in Homestead the same as any number of cities all over the USA. Homestead is a replica. However, something is missing.
Although the houses are bright, sunny, clean, and the lawns are all mowed, I saw not one single individual. I saw no evidence of anyone living there. It was a beautiful sunny summer afternoon, there were no kids anywhere. There was no evidence of kids. No bicycles anywhere. No irreverent soccer balls left out in the yard. No one walking. No evidence that anyone ever visited the green areas. In fact, there was no place to sit and visit in the green areas. In short, there was no evidence that life existed in Homestead. However, I did see a "bouncy house" that suggested that kids or very active adults lived nearby.....maybe in Wylie.
Of all the dozens of subdivisions I helped develop in some small way, I was proud of what we produced in ways of lifestyle. As stated above, this was before Form Base Codes.
Homestead is Rowlett's answer to Form Base Code. I saw no evidence of life. I honestly believe there is not one child living in Homestead, and if any other people live there, no one can walk. It was sad. To hell with the marketplace. Let government tell you what you get.