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Neighbors have right to be concerned about Habitat homes

October 16, 2004

Tamar Goldmann

Regarding the proposed plan to develop eight Habitat for Humanity

homes in a Costa Mesa neighborhood and the Pilot editorial, "Habitat

project right fit for area," Oct. 3, it is amazing that the Pilot

continues to choose to assign motives to the residents of College

Park and then to criticize them while the statements of the

developers are taken at face value. Although you agree that issues in

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most cases are "nuanced," you seem not to find any standing for our

position. We are simply "wrong."

Let's start with a simple misunderstanding and then get on to the

more complicated issues. The Pilot's editorial starts off with the

statement that "next to the site is an apartment complex that is

certainly large enough that eight homes wouldn't make a noticeable

difference in traffic or parking." However, the apartments do not

have access through College Park, and in fact, at the time they were

built, the city decided to protect College Park from through traffic

by allowing access only through Wilson Street. Obviously, if access

to the proposed Habitat project was not through Wake Forest,

currently a dead-end street, our traffic and parking concerns would

be eliminated, and the only concern remaining would be for the

prospective residents.

The neighbors, who have expressed the most concern for the quality

of life of the prospective residents, have homes that back up to the

20-foot or 40-foot protective berm. Despite this protection, they

have been awakened at night and have been subject to frequent daytime

intrusions of noise, including almost daily window-rattling. Without

knowing these kind and compassionate people, how can the Pilot decide

that their motivation is selfish and then criticize them for it?

The Pilot mentions Bruce Garlich's comment that the eventual

homeowners should make their own decisions about the noise. Yet he,

himself, told the story of homeowners who move next to an airport and

then want the airport to move.

How will the new homeowners be protected? Disclosures. That seems

designed more to protect Home Depot, Habitat and the city from

complaints than to ease the lives of the residents. Oh? Horns,

airbrakes, pallets banging and that window-rattling mystery noise are

disturbing you? Tough luck. We warned you before you moved in.

Why is the College Park request for five or six homes

"befuddling?" Just a little bit of background checking would make our

reasons clear. Our first choice, of course, would be to keep the

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