How Much Extra Traffic Does A Senior Community Add To A Neighborhood?
One of the challenges of building wonderful communities that are tailored to the 55+ community, is finding land.
We’re always on the hunt for that next special location that will be a great neighborhood and a great fit for our unique developments. Whenever we do this, it’s important to us to visit with the neighbors and inform them of our intentions.
Occasionally, we’ll find neighbors who are concerned about what we might bring to the area. This is normal and natural, as most people are vigilant of how their area will be affected by future developments. This article is meant to address some of their concerns.
Myths Of New 55+ Active Adult Communities
Myth #1: A 55+ community will be too dense for my neighborhood
The truth is, very few new developments are in the 1/2 to 1/3 acre lot size anymore, at least, hear in Salt Lake and Utah County. Suitable land for development in Utah is scarce, and there is a large housing shortage here. Most of our standard communities have a density of about 5.5 homes per acre, which is only slightly denser than traditional ¼ acre lots.
Most new developments are pushing for 8 or more lots per acre. This means, that for now, we are still one of the least dense developers in the business.
We like this lower density for our customers, because it allows us to build larger homes that are rambler-style, meaning single floor homes. Most of the higher density homes out there right now are narrow and tall. Sure you’ll never need to buy a stair stepping exercise machine, but after you hit a certain age, those stairs can be more hassle than healthy.
Myth #2: Won’t a senior community increase the neighborhood traffic?
To a point, any development will increase traffic, but eventually, land will get developed. The question is, how will different developer’s products impact you?
Before any new development can be built in a city, the city requires a traffic study to be conducted. This study helps the city determine if the roads are capable of handling the new traffic. There are specific engineers that have made a career out of being the best experts in this field. When consulted, they find that a senior community will produce significantly less traffic than a community of regular single-family homes.
How is this possible, especially if you have more homes in a senior community than, say, a third or quarter acre lot subdivision?
Who lives in a standard single-family styled home? Usually, families.
Who lives in a senior community? Usually, seniors.
The thing about seniors, is that many more of them are retired when compared to younger families. This means that on average, they’ll have less people living in each home, they’ll have fewer cars, will not be traveling as often, and especially not at peak travel times.
These traffic reports are not derived from theoretical hypothesizing. These traffic studies are conducted by actually laying down meters, and physically observing the real traffic of completed communities that have come before.
So statistically speaking, an average 55+ community will generate less neighborhood traffic than a less dense, single family home neighborhood.
To be continued
It’s often disappointing for many long-time residents to see a nearby field give way to the increasing demand for housing. Often, the extra open space is part of why many people move to a particular location. Problems however arise, when somebody moves into a neighborhood, then says that nobody else can move in afterwards.
We understand the difficulty involved with the changing dynamics of our great state. Growth is good, but growing pains can often accompany it. That’s one of the reasons why we build with beauty in mind. We sincerely strive to become a value to each and every city that we build in.
While many builders are content with slapping up the cheapest, fasted product that will sell despite looking horrible for years after, we are committed to building luxury home, lifestyles, and communities that look great and feel great, whether you live in them or around them.
There’s a lot more we can discuss as it relates to this issue. Perhaps we’ll address that in a later article.