Despite deep-seated feelings of betrayal from neighbors of the Magnolia Trace development in Martinez, it’s highly likely the subdivision will be a success.
After all, it has nicer homes and landscaping that much of the surrounding area, including many of those occupied by longtime residents who have been vocal in opposition to the “affordable housing” project.
County Commission Chairman Ron Cross bore the brunt of criticism for the commission’s resolution supporting the concept under which the 50 homes in the neighborhood were built. Yet he expects Magnolia Trace will be well-maintained by a development company that has an incentive to get the best return on its investors’ money.
With all those new residents moving into what at best is a skeptical environment, and at worst a community that is downright hostile, one would think the developers would work overtime to present all smiley faces. Shouldn’t they be shouting to the world their tale of how Magnolia Trace is going to dress up a declining neighborhood while providing affordable housing to working families?
They should be. Instead, they seem to be hiding.
Staff Writer Jenna Martin, in anticipation of the development’s completion, tried everything from shoe-leather to phone-tag to hear from Affordable Equity Partners, the Columbia, Mo., company that built Magnolia Trace.
Staffers at the local leasing office referred her to supervisors, who passed her along to the home office. After multiple messages, a company representative finally called and asked if it was too late to make a comment. When told it wasn’t, he replied, “OK – I’ll call back in 15 minutes.”
And never did.
Does that sound like a company that wants a smooth start with its neighbors? Quite the opposite; it sounds like an arrogant, absentee landlord who thinks community support isn’t important.
If that’s AEP’s attitude now, what will it be like later if there are problems with the project?
It’s said that good fences make good neighbors, and Magnolia Trace certainly has nice fences. But not even a wall can be big enough to make anyone pretend the development doesn’t exist – nor to allow AEP to think the development’s neighbors won’t watch them like hawks.