Being a neighbor to the proposed development at 1601 S. Park Boulevard, I have studied the proposal and am well aware of its shortcomings.
It places new buildings too close to Park Boulevard and features a 200-plus foot long detention pond that parallels West Demeter Drive. Its roads are too narrow and one runs along the lot line. It lacks sidewalks. The whole thing is completely out of place next to Krape Park. Not surprisingly, the Zoning Board of Appeals voted to deny a zoning change from single-family homes to multiunits for the 6-acre property.
Unfortunately, the mayor and City Council appear desperate for development and will likely try to push through a zoning change at their Aug. 2 meeting. Even worse, the city appears ready to subsidize the development by paying to extend sanitary sewer to the site and to accommodate stormwater drainage to Park Boulevard. The sanitary sewer work alone will cost $250,000. Repaving the road after sewer installation will add more costs. Normally the developer pays these costs, but at their last meeting, City Council members mentioned extending the sewer using money from the American Rescue Plan. That money could get the city busy on long-delayed projects: replacing 100-year-old water mains, repaving dilapidated streets or investing in affordable housing. Instead, they could be providing welfare to a developer of luxury condos.
In the mayor’s July 11 Journal Standard column, she wrote that the future condominium residents will pay “$3.5 million in local taxes over the next 20 years”. Unfortunately, only a small portion of that will go to the city — around 10% or $350,000. Even if every condo unit is sold and right away, the city will make nothing on this project for 20 years. It’s far more likely that the city will lose money on this. If sales of condos resemble sales at developments like Fox Hollow or Rose Meadows, we should expect fewer than half the proposed 32 units will be sold. Those projects began when Freeport had a larger population and a stronger economy. Tell your alderman that the city of Freeport should not be subsidizing high-end condominium developments.
Alan Nowicki is a Freeport resident