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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Life in the Green Lane

Sustainable and Eco-friendly thinking has surpassed trend status and has become a way of life for many of us. Have you made the switch in any of your habits or in the way you live? Consider these simple ways to encourage longevity of the planet and support sustainable living

1.) Get moving. Walk instead of driving. Walking will help keep you fit, save you money and reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Use public transport when you have to travel or start a carpool with neighbors.
2.) Insulate. Insulating your home will quickly pay for itself in lower heating bills. Find out about grants in your area towards installing new or thicker insulation made with green materials.
3.) Repurpose. Restyle, recover or makeover furniture that is no longer to your taste before throwing pieces away. Learn how to make slipcovers for furniture from a library book or the Internet, or invest in a staple gun to easily recover headboards or reupholster dining chairs painted to suit your new look. Use your imagination and save a bundle.
4.) Buy loose. Choose unpackaged foods and goods whenever possible. Not only is this usually a much cheaper option than branded goods, it saves on all that unnecessary packaging. Select the refillable, reusable container over the disposable, throwaway one.
5.) Become an arborist. Plant a tree or several if you have the space in your yard. Better yet, plant fruit trees and you can enjoy the produce as they clean up carbon dioxide from the air.
6.) Detox your space. Use eco-friendly cleaning and disinfecting products or make your own from the recipes at http://www3.pei.sympatico.ca/galavoie/ENVIRO.HTM. Seventh Generation also offers an affordable line.
7.) Go by way of the biodegradable. Try to use recycled and natural products whenever possible. Avoid plastic as much as possible, as it accounts for a large amount of landfill waste. If you must buy plastic containers look for those with a label 1 or 2. These are much easier to recycle than those numbered 3 to 7.

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posted by Custom Blogs @ 10:06 AM 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Small Town Active Living

Two thirds of the boomers would prefer to live in a rural location or a small town, according to recent surveys by the National Association of REALTORS.

Young adults leave town after high school or within a few years to seek work in a larger city with a stronger job base and greater career opportunities. Some rural towns have changed and survived by finding livelihoods other than agriculture. Perryville, Missouri, my hometown, has been able to entice small industries. Madison, Georgia is rich in southern history, Eureka Springs, Arkansas has grown around the big business of Christian “Passion Plays”, and other rural towns have the good fortunate to be located near attractive scenic areas.

Active Adults is a term commonly used to describe people over 55 who have lots of living left in them. They are healthy, productive and energetic. Where to retire now that the kids are gone, is paramount in people’s minds. Historically, as many as 50% of people move to a new home sometime in retirement. The desire to stay near the familiar is powerful, but is eventually outweighed by the promise of adventure, and an easier, relaxed lifestyle.

Active Adult Communities are specifically designed to offer the fun, adventure and the new relationships with like-minded people that young retirees want. Sun City in Arizona, created in the 1960’s, continues to attract thousands of active adults in communities around the country. An active adult community typically has something for everyone, sports galore, fitness and wellness services, and special interest clubs for any interest.

Small towns can offer all of this in a more authentic package. The people are friendly and they include children and young adults, as well as others our own age. Most of us nearing retirement age enjoy the spirit of young people and the inspiration they give us to enjoy each day. Look outside your big city, small towns still abound within a short drive of the city. One of those may be the perfect Active Adult Small Town.

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posted by Custom Blogs @ 6:15 PM 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

87% of Denver Homeowners left out

Denver’s new zoning ordinance is nearly complete after several years of hard work by citizens and staff. The code is a form-based model, a revolutionary approach introduced by Peter Park, Manager of Community Planning and Development. There remains much to review and debate before the City Council adopts the code by their vote in Feb. or March 2010.

One of the early promises by the Blueprint Denver Committee at the outset was to include Granny Flats, officially known as Accessory Dwelling units, or ADUs. These small homes would be allowed in the backyards of single-family homes for the purpose of housing Denver’s rapidly aging population, at little cost to the city. Family incomes could also be supplemented by renting an ADU, or they could be used as guesthouses, Nanny Quarters, or studios.

The code drafters have included ADUs, in the written book in several single-family zones, but those particular zones are only shown on the proposed zoning map for 13% of the total single-family area in the city, according to the Denver planning office. This give and then take policy is ultimately unfair. On one hand, the city can tell citizens that want ADUs that they are written into the zoning book in many zones, and on the other hand they can tell the opposition, that ADUs will not be allowed in their neighborhood. I admit that the planners are in the middle of neighbors having a disagreement, but can our council people continue to play this game or will they do what’s right and give every single-family property owner the same opportunity.

Neighbors concerned about the impact of ADUs on their property have mentioned the following issues: overcrowded street parking, Design compatibility with existing homes, shading of adjacent yards, lack of open space, poorly managed rental units, noise created by young student renters, the increase in neighborhood population. These are legitimate concerns, and most can be managed by regulations that address each particular concern. If a homeowner cannot comply with the regulations, then they cannot build an ADU in their backyard.

posted by Custom Blogs @ 10:31 AM 




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