With name spelling corrected.
Real estate agents probably wouldn’t like it, and many otherwise unaware residents might be alarmed. But it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to install signs around Riverwood Plantation pointing out that, yes, apartments are going to be built in that community.
The issue pops up from time to time. Usually it comes as word again recirculates through the suburban grapevine that apartments are part of the overall plan for the massive development surrounding the Greenbrier schools complex.
But it’s important to point out that the plan for Riverwood’s apartments isn’t new. In fact, that might be part of the problem: The designs are so old, and were settled so long ago, that newer residents of the area apparently haven’t heard about those long-range plans. When they do, they seem genuinely surprised, shocked or even angry.
That was abundantly clear last week, when Riverwood resident Chris Schiffbauer spoke during a county commission meeting and described “distress” among residents over news of the future apartment construction.
“People are ready to put out ‘for sale’ signs” on their homes, Schiffbauer said, warning commissioners that if wasn’t there speaking on behalf of his neighbors, a seething mob might be.
Yet as County Commission Chairman Ron Cross notes, and as the county’s planning director verifies, those future apartments have been part of the overall Riverwood plan since 2005.
In fact, shortly after the approval of the Riverwood Plantation West plans seven years ago, this newspaper applauded the “spirit of compromise” between the neighborhood’s developers and community residents who hammered out their agreement for the 1,500-acre second phase of Riverwood.
The developers, in fact, have all but bent over backward to accommodate neighborhood concerns, especially for traffic congestion. Remember: Gen. Wood Parkway, which provides the second entrance into the Greenbrier schools, was built entirely with private money by the developer to ease concerns about safety and gridlock. That was a pretty big bone to throw in an effort to reassure existing residents that the neighborhood’s growth wouldn’t overwhelm them.
What the developers haven’t done is continually remind residents that apartments are an integral part of the future plans for the community. But why should they? All those plans were approved seven years ago, and it could be several more years before construction actually starts. As long as the private developer sticks to that plan, it’s up to residents to stay educated on what those plans are and prepare accordingly.
Like many of those residents, we aren’t big fans of apartments. County commissioners, too, have made their dislike of high-density rental housing clear, and only recently let a moratorium on new apartment rezonings expire after slapping new restrictions on future complexes.
But the Riverwood apartments are on the books already. That mob might want to stand down.