Monday, June 30, 2008

little boxes on the hillside

Driving down FM 407, the busy road that separates Highland Village and Flower Mound, one can't help but notice the development.

What once were fields are now shops, restaurants, fitness centers, a movie theater.

The area was once a quiet cluster of North Texas suburbs, a stone's throw from the airport and equally close to Dallas and Ft. Worth.

Now, Flower Mound and Highland Village are on the path to becoming carbon copies of Plano and Southlake.

Plano and Southlake are beautiful communities, but it seems a tad zealous for developers to try and piggy-back on their successes by creating similar communities around the Metroplex. After all, Plano's big enough that if Flower Mound residents were unhappy, they could move there.

A big complaint I hear from visitors that aren't from the Dallas area is that they can't tell when one town ends and the next begins. They see a road with an endless stream of Starbucks stores and retail shops and it all looks just the same.

You can still drive out in west Flower Mound and see horses grazing in endless fields, but according to area real estate professionals that scene won't exist for very much longer, either.

Now this isn't necessarily a complaint or a rant, but just an observation. We all frequent the new businesses in the area, praising them for their proximity rather than cursing their existence. Nobody's upset at the newfound ability to grab a smoothie at Jamba Juice or sit down to a nice meal at Patrizio's. And isn't it nice that we don't have to travel to buy a new pair of chinos or a cocktail dress, when we can simply go to Banana Republic or White House Black Market?

Most people only moan about the new traffic flow, especially with construction as FM 407 is expanded to accommodate the increased number of drivers.

But why don't we back up to 2006? We seem to remember an uproar as these shops were approved, especially about the inclusion of Wal-Mart as an anchor store. I personally remember hearing a host of residents vow never to shop at the new development.

So why is it we can never find a parking spot?

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