What do we want our community to look like? Is this the developer's call or that of those who represent the community.
A developer produces a concept and it goes through various stages of review and “consensus” developing discussion. By the time that the concept reaches the Village Board, it is a mere formality. What does the Board say?
Do they know what to say about an ugly facade, and inappropriate design or how to improve it, or make suggestion as what should guide the designer when he takes it back to the drawing board? Do they have sufficient artistic basis and fortitude to say “take it back to the drawing board?”
So it gets nominal approval as to function and appearance. I'm sure no one can say that any recent development project was beautiful, the work of a genius, something that could be placed side by side with buildings on Milwaukee's lake front.
What design guidelines, what standards of quality, of social quality have we set up? Are administrative guidelines, such as those contained in the legalities of zoning regulations sufficient and appropriate? Do standards suffice or no we need an artist? Which individual is to decide? Art is not created by committee. “A committee does not have a brain.”
The way our community is going to look in the future is a serious issue and I ask the Village Board to face up to that responsibility and take steps for handling the future appearance of Shorewood. Each trustee should be held accountable for the results, for the appearance of the community.
Someone with the urban design knowledge and ability within the community should be responsible for the design and guide and defend it through the whole process.
Today however, the developer is the one with the money and “money talks.” Those of us in Shorewood are the ones who walk in our “walkable community.”
Is it appropriate that private money, perhaps outside money is going to determine the next development, when we already have a “community” approved overall plan that needs to be implement appropriately?
But how is a specific proposal going to fit into the whole picture. Street lights are not going to cover up for the developer's taste. How will Shorewood deal with appropriate appearance, by consensus?
Besides we are missing the opportunity of providing for some open space.
Does anyone know how to provide for open space in specific redevelopment projects? Can it be done one property and time? Do we need an integral approach to open space provision and enhancement within our specific renewal projects. Whose attending to the “streetitecture” of the community? Space and street arrangements?
We need to renew, re-energize our community structure, not stitch together a patchwork quilt.
Are board members asking any of these questions? Not really. Should board member ask these or similar questions? Yes. Will they? No.
So meanwhile, money talks and Shorewood walks.