The Elephant in the Room: Park View Island - Left out of the North Beach Community Redevelopment Agency Boundary. and Forgotten by City Hall.
Was this Island Doomed by Design? …Let’s take a closer look.
Since moving onto this island, I’ve often pondered upon what was going on inside the Architect / Planners' minds that drew up the plans for Park View Island. Such a chaotic mishmash of the same type of townhomes, mostly all the same square footage, in blocks of 4 clustered townhomes, different sections are styled differently with some sections having a row of 4 townhomes together in a row, whilst others have a block of 2 townhomes facing another 2 townhomes. Lots differ in size, with the townhomes on the canal typically having the largest lots.
The Fact that these townhomes were deeded “Fee Simple” explains a lot. See it’s all well and good when a property is deeded fee simple and the property owner maintains his own space. However, when you share a wall with at least another property owner and share lots of common space with generally 3 other property owners within your individual block of townhomes, When applied to the townhomes, Fee Simple Ownership just doesn’t seem to work so well, as the years have proven by looking at Gary Avenue and Raymond St. today. Home Owner Associations are designed with the purpose to enforce rules in a community, maintain its standards, and prevent its degradation, on the contrary, they are supposed to make the place better overall.
For example, on Park View Island, who maintains all the common areas within each individual block of Townhomes? Even if let’s say all 4 neighbors in one block get together and agree to improve their little area, who then maintains it and keeps it all looking harmoniously beautiful after that?…no one. And in the case property owners do agree to take on common projects, just one of those property owners turning around and saying they have either no funds to pay for their part or just simply does not want to participate, then the whole project is a bust.
That’s why there should have been an association established from the beginning, fee simple ownership simply does not work well in these tight-knit circumstances. An association would have had the power to manage all these Townhomes and Multi Families on the island as part of one group, maintain all the common areas, many of which have not been touched in years, overgrown bushes and trees, old crumbled walls and fences that have long past their expiry dates. They could have done with a plan of action let’s say 20–30 years ago and been managing different projects, updating and maintaining the entire row of Townhomes throughout this time. Now we’re faced with a tired and grungy-looking island that has grown past its capacity. Imagine what Gary Avenue and Raymond St. would look like today? I mention these two first because these are the two most damaged by the flawed design of this island.
Narrow one-lane streets, with no sidewalks, parking spaces all different sizes as different neighbors have painted and adjusted sizes according to their needs over the years, all squeezed together when on the other side of the island the Park View Point Condominium has an entire parking lot mostly empty with the addition of an overflow lot and the public lot on dickens ave is used mainly as a City Vehicle Lot at night..while Island residents have to double park due to lack of parking for residents.
Why must residents be subjected to living in perpetuity under the mistakes of the past?
Moving forward the city should stop avoiding the elephant in the room. By today’s standards and code, parts of this island are sub-par. The City allowed them to be built fee simple back in the '50s and now must accept the responsibility that if this island is to prosper in the future, a plan to bring all these Townhomes and Multifamily Buildings on the island into a new era must be established soon, as right now is already later, this plan should have already been regenerating the island long ago.
My question really is, since we’ve been blatantly left out of the North Beach CRA Boundary (Click here to view Map) and City Hall is afraid to touch anything to do with this subject for years. Where are we heading?
Are we going to accept the path toward further degradation we’re currently on? What will our island be like in years when the new North Beach Town Center kicks into swing.
We’re literally a block away from the Town Center boundary, will we realize we’ve been left behind again when our property prices don’t keep rising at the rate they once were in the past due to the fact the island just doesn’t have the services or amenities or conveniences other locations offer for the same price, increased competition in other areas where residents can live happily and not have to deal with the inconveniences of living on "Castaway Isle".
Further inaction will only lead to further degradation, which leads to lower property values and less desirable tenants due to cheaper rents. We’re not heading in the right direction. Park View Island needs help from City Hall with Planning and Solutions to ensure we can get back on track to the real potential this island has and will come to have even more in the coming years.