To the Editor:

Roxbury’s 1999 Plan of Conservation and Development and 2010 amendment are on the town website. Residents who participated in the surveys valued the rural character, low density pattern and open space. The town and land trust strive to preserve the natural features and protect open space.

The plan encouraged interconnection of open space areas, and at the same time, encouraged housing diversity to address the needs of the elderly and affordable housing.

Every 10 years the POCD is updated and revised and is supposed to address both conservation and development. After reading Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker this week about urban renewal, I was inspired to compare it to rural planning.

He said, “The problem of building new housing [which implies smaller minimum lot size, smaller houses or multiple units like apartments or condos] is that it is discussed in terms of plans, zones and tax revenue, when it is also an aesthetic and architectural one.

“Changing zoning laws to provide for multi-family housing may serve many, but only by breaking down the reasons that the many want to be there in the first place. If we knew how to make new building better, we would accept new buildings more. In NYC, the current administration’s public housing initiatives tend to involve rehab more than new construction.”

Roxbury has scores of houses on the market for sale in every price category. Problems can be solved by conservation and adaptive reuse of the existing houses. And development does not have to mean housing, but remodeling existing houses.

The Baby Boom’s children, called the Boomlet, are beginning to have children now. We may not reverse the trend of young people moving to the cities. But we will have affordable houses for aging in place and for an anticipated number of young families who leave the city for affordable houses.

 

Elizabeth Lacy

Roxbury

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