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“Let’s Talk” about pocket homes

At the “Let’s Talk” on July 24, 2019, the panel was comprised of Board Directors Diana Podawiltz, Buddy Dixon and Nancy Luehring. Nancy called on Monica who brought out a very interesting point regarding the pocket homes being planned for the community. Here is the scoop:

Monica seeks clarification on pocket homes

Monica : “What exactly are the (pocket homes) going to look like?   Will the houses be small? On the same size lot? Duplexes? What are the plans?” 

Buddy Dixon:  The lots are regular lots.  No change there.  The POA is looking for a contractor that will buy 15-20 lots and then he will submit 4 or 5 different house layouts.  They will be regular houses anywhere from 1700 to 2300 square feet.

(Note: This is different from what Director Campagna said in his interview with Jeff Meeks.  Campagna stated the homes would be 1200 to 1600 square feet. Which is it?

A model home will be built, landscaped, furnished and decorated.

Luehring: “It will be just like any other subdivision.”

Luehring:  “It will be a large cul de sac and you can’t help but know the people around you.”

There will be off-street parking and garages.  This will not be like Midtown, Bryant. 

Luehring: “These are normal houses and normal lots.”

We do not know the area where these homes will be built because the POA does not own all these lots and the price would go up if it was known the POA wanted to purchase them. The POA presently has possession of 3,500 lots.

Wikipedia defines pocket neighborhoods

According to Wikipedia, the definition of pocket neighborhoods is as follows:

“ A pocket neighborhood is a type of planned community that consists of a grouping of smaller residences, often around a courtyard or common garden, designed to promote a close-knit sense of community and neighborliness with an increased level of contact. Considerations involved in planning and zoning pocket neighborhoods include reducing or segregating parking and roadways, the use of shared communal areas that promote social activities, and homes with smaller square footage built in close proximity to one another (high density). Features in the smaller homes are designed to maximize space and can use built in shelves and porch areas, encouraging time spent outside with a focal point around a greenspace (instead of parking areas).”


Example of a pocket community planned in Clarkston, Georgia

Click here to see an example of a pocket community planned for The Atlanta suburb of Clarkston

Clarkston, Georgia “is about to undertake an experiment in smaller living, with a development of 250- to 500-square-foot houses that cost less than half the average home in the area.”  They are putting eight of these tiny homes on a lot normally sized for a typical McMansion.

Maderas Gardens is not a true pocket neighborhood

Even though POA management insists on calling Maderas Gardens a pocket home community, it is not. While Maderas Gardens has a communal area (clubhouse and outdoor area), the homes are of normal size with front-facing garages and driveways. If Maderas was a true pocket neighborhood, all of the homes would be clustered around and facing some type of communal space, perhaps a garden.

Maderas Gardens is set up as a traditional neighborhood but has their own Homeowners’ Association separate from the POA. This association maintains the yards and clubhouse, among other things. They have an HOA under the umbrella of the larger POA.

Hot Springs Village Maderas Gardens Not a pocket neighborhood
Maderas Gardens (Winter 2018/2019) – Not a pocket neighborhood

Pocket homes and walking

The concept of pocket neighborhoods is one that often does not have garages as individual vehicle ownership is discouraged. The proponents of pocket neighborhoods also encourage walking and other non-fossil-fuel modes of transportation. Think walking, skateboarding, bicycling.

Hot Springs Village has a hilly terrain and hot and muggy environment, much of the year. This is not an environment that will work well for senior citizens (at least many of us) to eliminate or greatly reduce our dependence on our personal vehicles. Certainly, many of us like recreational walking and many other sports, but do we really want to lug a heavy bag of dog food home from the grocery using human power, while navigating these hills in the midst of a hot Arkansas Summer?

The POA is calling them pocket neighborhoods because that is what the CMP calls them

Monica: Why are the proposed new homes called pocket homes, when they are really regular houses?

It was later determined that the reason for calling them “pocket homes” is because that is what the CMP calls them.

Monica: This new neighborhood should not be called a pocket neighborhood.

All this begs the question,why does the POA management insist on calling the proposed homes, ‘pocket homes’ if they do not meet the criteria, even going so far as to say that Maderas Gardens is a ‘pocket home neighborhood’?  Trying to make a neighborhood fit the CMP? I don’t know. This is a guess.

You can call a dog a cat, but that doesn’t make the dog a cat. It just means you are misstating something.

As Director Luehring said, “I hope you like your neighbors.”

Yes, really.

by Cheryl Dowden, July 26, 2019

Cover Photo by JT Morgan | Creative Commons License 

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