Friday, September 05, 2008

Neighbohood Electric Vehicle...

You may have seen these type of vehicles around the Kingman area (no not a Police vehicle, and not simply a golf cart). I can think of one gentleman that I've seen driving a similar vehicle on Stockton Hill Road.

I found an interesting article (linked here) about how local governments are changing laws and ordinances to allow for the use of these vehicles on public streets. Please read that linked article.

I'm only drawing attention to this type of vehicle because someday... don't know when... but someday there will be residential development again in this here county. Plenty of open spaces all around. I think that developers might have to take into account the emerging technology and products such as NEV's when designing their new communities. The inclusion of special lanes for these and other types of vehicles (like this) and add to that neighborhood conveniences such as close proximity shopping and I believe that demand will go through the roof for such a community.

New residential communities may very well offer these quality of life enhancements (along with personal use energy production products like solar and wind power generators). I believe it will increase demand for housing if done properly. However then a problem could arise in communities that have nothing of the sort to offer. It may be possible that smaller cities and towns that have ample raw land near the area could, in effect, become ghost towns.

It may not be simply enough to put the onus on developers to develop such communities on the lands that surround current population centers... we might have to insist that local government invest resources into the current communities to adapt to the wave of 'green' friendly products that may well lead to a better quality of life that brings new demand along with it. In essence, communities may be forced to 'retrofit' to conform or risk losing the ability to grow as a residential destination.

Bringing this back to Kingman for a minute, a few things... first and foremost this begs for efforts to expand current city boundaries, i.e. annexation of the tens of thousands of undeveloped acres that lie just outside current city limits. If Kingman allows new communities that offer products that will clearly be in demand (sometime in the near future) and those communities are not within city limits then Kingman will be losing in a game it won't ever win. The new communities will simply replace what once was Kingman.

Next, our current city leaders (and future ones) will have to grasp the notion of neighborhood convenience and its important role in creating demand and therefore improving the prospects to maintain property value or even see it increase. The closer life's essentials are to home, demand will increase.

Lastly, this future community is a lot closer to reality than people may realize. Kingman will need to encourage builders and developers to offer residential products that meet the changing needs of the consumer.

It would be marvelous, while there is still the opportunity, to take a lead and actually be ready for the next big thing. We hear the national politicians talking a big game of creating 'green collar' workers and energy policy will be part and parcel of national security (if it isn't already). I know our city leaders already have plenty on their decision making docket and adding such improvements to the Capital Improvement Plan won't be popular... but maybe it is time to cut out some of the slated 'improvements' on the current wish-list and replace them with something that will no doubt be much more relevant at the time when funding mechanisms can be agreed on to pay for the improvements that will meet with the quality of life needs that are coming around the corner.

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