The only problem applying market-driven to a discussion of K Park, is the question of who is the market?
For us, the target "market" was clearly our Wellington residents. Another way of looking at it is simply to ask, who is our customer? Who are we aiming to please? The answer was simple and obvious. Not only will Wellington residents be greatly affected, likely for generations, by what is built at K Park, but they are also the owners of K Park. The people of Wellington had to be the market that drove our Wellington Gardens plan.
Whatever criteria our Village Council ultimately applies in making its decision regarding K Park's future development, we hope that this decision is driven at least as much by the marketplace of ideas as it is by money. And, despite the fact that our own Wellington Gardens proposal would benefit from such an idea-based criteria, our position on this point isn't entirely one of self interest.
Communities adopted zoning and planning for a reason. That's to control what type of development occurs at specific sites and/or to encourage certain types of development in specific places within the community. If we choose to leave K Park to the monetary whims of the marketplace - and nothing but money - we'll forego the opportunity (some would even say, the obligation) to do what's best for our community and its future.
Not everyone has to agree on the benefits of a Town Center or a Main Street concept for Wellington as being the best thing for Wellington's future, but all of our nation's best community planning bodies have joined to develop what they call "Smart Growth Principles" for community planning and development. These principles emphasize the importance of town centers, public spaces and plazas, bike paths, and community gathering places as being highly important to the successful future of our suburbs and suburban development. And, they encourage the input and participation of the people in the planning process.
We encourage Village Council to adopt a criteria for K Park's development that strongly considers community needs, what uses can benefit our community and how those uses fit into a good, future comprehensive plan for Wellington.
There is a literal multitude of good research, recommendations and case studies relating to suburban development, the future of suburbs and their relation to our future generations. There is much that we can learn and apply in order to plan for a better community and a better future. Wellington has an opportunity to lead on many of these important ideas and trends. A lot is riding on the fact that the meaning of "market-driven" takes into consideration much more than just money.