Sophie Says: Where’s the charm?

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A Winters Express opinion column

Gramps Says
The earth graders have moved into adjacent property. In just a few weeks they have transformed 10 acres of abandoned weed-infested orchard into neatly aligned rectangles that will accommodate streets, sidewalks and residential lots that are just like those across the rest of our city and every other city and town in America. The only major difference between the street layout and home lots of today from that of my great grandfather is the lots were larger then and could accommodate a chicken coop, a vegetable garden and a horse stall.

Recently, while reading the Sacramento Bee I noticed an article titled “Today’s new home developments are more than just houses — they are vibrant communities as well.” After reading the article it occurred to me that with a little imagination we have an opportunity to create something that is unique and charming on the approximately 45 acres approved for development behind Lorenzo’s Market.

The ideal vision espoused in the Bee article would create a mini community with pedestrian, bike and cart paths that connect to a neighborhood park or open space and have convenient access to retail and grocery shopping and other amenities. Of course, housing units would be clustered differently than what we are accustomed to seeing in our cities today.

Someone once pointed out to me that the canoe has not changed its basic shape or design for centuries — likewise the broom and the button. I refuse to accept that the rectangular residential block belongs in the same category of things that cannot be improved upon. Nature doesn’t line things up in neat rows — neither did the Indians with their tepees. Let’s leave it to the Army to line everything up in neat rows.

Sophie Says
I prefer winding paths and enough trees to provide some shade on a hot day and enough open space where I can sun on cooler days. Wind breaks on the north side are good year round.

I am also a proponent of a robust air conditioning system. I am not a proponent of a bath tub or getting wet in any form. I gladly cede that distinction to Labradors, who don’t know any better.

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