Bailey Lake—A Review

The new Bailey Lake development may be the best 1950's era design that we will have built in Woodbury in the 2010's.

I’d love to stand up and tell the world that the plans for Bailey Lake are exciting and innovative. That’s what I’d love to tell the world, but I really can’t do that honestly. I realize that it is still early in the process, but what I’m seeing elicits a yawn from me.

It’s not awful, it’s not foolish, just rather pedestrian.

About five years ago, I demo-ed a software package that would allow you to take a parcel and create your own subdivision using basic parameters of lot size, cul-de-sac preference, and other zoning code based criteria. Most of the ones that I created looked quite a bit like this. Was the software just that prescient or is this just that uninspiring?

From first glance, Street C appears that it will be the main arterial for this development, yet it has a large number of small lots. I’m sure that the developer will assert that large lot buyers would be less likely to purchase on what would likely be the busiest street. I don’t necessarily disagree with that assessment. 

Let’s say, for instance, that you’re interested in lot 78, a rather generously sized lot of about a third of an acre on a cul-de-sac. For argument’s sake, let’s say it’s one of the few remaining un-built lots. To get there, you pass a large amount of narrow, deep lots with either mostly identical small houses fairly close to each other or mostly identical large houses really close to each other. It will probably be the latter, rather than the former.

I’m not a realtor. I don’t even play one on TV, but if I were looking to pay the type of prices that homes are in Woodbury, I want to see something with panache.  If there’s going to be a McMansion on the lot, I’d rather it be on a wider, shallower lot to give it more of an “estate” look.   

That’s what I’d want to see if I were going to build a house in this development. I don’t want to see the same type of suburban development that I’d find elsewhere, I would want  something that veritably screams, “I’m someplace special and unique.”

The landscape plan is uninspiring, which leads me to believe it was completed by a civil engineer, instead of a landscape architect. Everything required is in place and placed in near symmetry. Maybe in twenty years it will look natural, after the trees have grown a decent canopy and homeowners have created their own landscaping in a manner that makes it less obvious that the large trees are spaced a certain distance apart and on-center.

It’s not all bad, though. The circulation patterns connect well to present and future development, ensuring that someone in lot 19 won’t need to schlep all the way to the new Pioneer Drive to get to someone in the future southern part of the development. Interconnectivity is a positive thing.

To reiterate: Bailey Lake, acceptable, but really not raising the bar much, if at all.   Certainly not a “halo” development like a Dancing Waters, but twenty years from now, we’ll probably all say that it’s the best 1950’s era development that we built in the 2010s.

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