Search


Advanced Search
Nenad Bach - Editor in Chief

Sponsored Ads
 »  Home  »  Culture And Arts  »  (E) If Croatian village floats their boat ...in Texas
(E) If Croatian village floats their boat ...in Texas
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  02/11/2005 | Culture And Arts | Unrated
(E) If Croatian village floats their boat ...in Texas

 

If Croatian village floats their boat ...in Texas

 

McKINNEY – After more than a year of debate, McKinney City Council members Tuesday unanimously approved ambitious plans for an old-world Croatian village in suburban Collin County.

 

Snjezana Pavlovic, a Croatian hired by Mr. Blackard to supervise the authenticity of the project.

 

Developer Jeff Blackard will model the development on the village of Supetar, on the island of Brac, Croatia.

Jacquielynn Floyd
If Croatian village floats their boat ...

08:48 PM CST on Friday, February 11, 2005

McKINNEY – The intersection of Virginia Parkway and Stonebridge Drive, on my 6-year-old Mapsco, is a dead-end in the middle of nowhere.

I need a newer map. Suburban development in this region is not so much an advancing wave as it is a series of spontaneous combustions, exploding little insta-'hoods springing up from the prairie and radiating outward. At this pace, greater Dallas could cross the Oklahoma border before the decade is out.

This is a particularly interesting site: After a year of negotiation between city planners and developers, McKinney OK'd construction last week of what is being billed as an "authentic Croatian fishing village" here in the very heart of the 'burbs.

An artist's sketch nailed to a sign at the site shows an Old World cluster of stone buildings and cobblestone streets sloping gently to the lapping waters of a little lake. I guess it's pretty authentic, though they could probably fake it up and nobody would be the wiser, because not all that many of us here in Texas have first-hand knowledge of what a Croatian village is supposed to look like.

The Disney-esque whimsy might not appeal to everybody, but I like the idea, largely because it's a new option for how and where people might choose to live.

It reminded me of another just-constructed neighborhood I saw not long ago while on vacation to the wonderland that is Las Vegas. About 30 miles outside the city, plunked down on the desert at the edge of Lake Mead, there's a master-planned faux-Mediterranean hamlet called MonteLago Village, complete with stone pedestrian paths and cunning little shops, houses and apartments, water taxi, casino and a Ritz-Carlton hotel. The suburbs, they are a-changin'.

Not everybody is delighted, but suburban growth – the dreaded "sprawl" – shows no signs of letting up. Writing in The Washington Post, urban historian Joel Kotkin last week declared the suburbs not just our inevitable future but also our overwhelming present reality.

"Since 1950, more than 90 percent of metropolitan population growth in America has taken place in the suburbs," writes Mr. Kotkin, citing the appeal of their "space, quality of life, safety and privacy."

These amenities, of course, are what snobbish "urbanists" keep mocking as sprawl, conformity, paranoia and isolation. They ridicule the suburbs and the folks who live there, apparently believing you can shame people out of liking minivans and Olive Gardens and automatic garage door openers.

The numbers suggest that you can't. Certainly there's a silly pretentiousness in calling a suburban tract house a "villa" or a "garden estate," but no more so than marketing every downtown hamster box as an "urban loft."

Mr. Kotkin believes that there is a permanent but limited market – a "niche" – for people who want to live the gritty-but-glamorous urban life, walking their dogs on the downtown streets and hauling their groceries up in the elevator.

Fine by me. I think people ought to live where they're happy and comfortable. But I can't help but feel that an experiment like Croatia-in-McKinney is a gleeful little pie-in-the-face to the clichĆ©d but inevitable ridicule of the suburbs as "bland" and "conformist." Where you choose to live isn't necessarily a political statement – some people just want to make it that way.

Creating new housing options in the suburbs makes sense, when you study the direction our demographics are taking us. If that's where 90 percent of our population growth is taking place, they can't all be smug, robotic, intellectually stunted bigots.

Maybe they're just perfectly decent, regular people who like it there.

E-mail jfloyd@dallasnews.com 

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/localnews/columnists/all/stories/021205dnmetfloyd.3672f.html


Croatian village gets OK

Council backs 45-acre mixed-use development for Stonebridge Ranch
12:20 AM CST on Wednesday, February 2, 2005

By PAUL MEYER / The Dallas Morning News

McKINNEY – After more than a year of debate, McKinney City Council members Tuesday unanimously approved ambitious plans for an old-world Croatian village in suburban Collin County.

The replica village, located on 45 acres in Stonebridge Ranch, could raise city property values by $100 million, officials with the development said, with a mix of lofts, townhomes, shops and waterfront features.

"I expect the project to be everything you could ever anticipate it could be," said Don Paschal, a former McKinney city manager working as a consultant on the project.

"I think few people would argue that the entire Stonebridge Ranch project truly, at this point in time and in the future, will be the jewel of the entire Dallas-Fort Worth area."

Developer Jeff Blackard will model the development on the village of Supetar, on the island of Brac, Croatia.

He was joined Tuesday by a standing-room-only crowd of residents, most in favor of the project at the southeast corner of Stonebridge Drive and Virginia Parkway. It will be called Adriatica Village at Stonebridge Ranch.

"The most exciting thing for me is that there are thousands of years of history trying to be replicated in this project," said Snjezana Pavlovic, a Croatian hired by Mr. Blackard to supervise the authenticity of the project.

Ms. Pavlovic, who lived in Supetar and now lives in Kutina, Croatia, said Tuesday the project has already sparked interest among Croatian government officials.

Mr. Blackard said a groundbreaking should he held this month.

The plans have won strong support from many residents and outsiders but were opposed Tuesday by some area homeowners concerned about the economic impact of allowing apartments on land currently zoned for retail uses.

Others expressed concern about the development's impact on the adjacent lake, where an island, chapel and development are planned.

For months leading up to Tuesday, the fate of the project remained in doubt because of resident opposition and skepticism from some City Council members about the viability of Mr. Blackard's plans.

"I'm glad that he hung in there that whole time. I don't know of another developer in the world who would have hung in there," said council member Pete Huff.

The development will face 13-pages of stringent regulations to ensure it develops as envisioned – including regulations on the color palate of roofing materials and the type of stone used on buildings. The council will retain broad discretionary powers to review different phases of the village.

"This is the longest single zoning case I've worked on in the City of McKinney," Planning Director Brian James said on Monday. "I've probably spent more time on this one than I have on any other zoning case."

The regulations also require that varying amounts of commercial development be built as new residential development is added.

Up to a quarter-million square feet of commercial development could eventually be built along with 285 residential units, Mr. Paschal said.

"It's the most stringent ordinance this city has ever considered to date," Mr. Paschal said.

"While it's stringent, we believe that the components, managed well, are doable."

E-mail pmeyer@dallasnews.com 

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/collin/mckinney/stories/020205dnccovillage.77fef.html

How would you rate the quality of this article?

Verification:
Enter the security code shown below:
imgRegenerate Image


Add comment
Comments


Article Options
Croatian Constellation



Popular Articles
  1. (E) 100 Years Old Hotel Therapia reopens in Crikvenica
  2. Dr. Andrija Puharich: parapsychologist, medical researcher, and inventor
  3. Europe 2007: Zagreb the Continent's new star
  4. Violi Calvert: Nenad Bach in China to be interviewed by China Radio International
  5. Potres u Zagrebu - Earthquake in Zagreb, Croatia 28 listopad 2006 u 16:15 3.7 on a Richter
No popular articles found.