Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Normal Age-Restricted Housing

There was an item on the Normal Town Council agenda for the May 18, 2009 meeting that addressed including in the development of low-income age-restricted housing a number of units for “grandfamilies.” Specifically, an area designated as an S-2 Public Lands and Institutions zoning district would include multiple-family housing for residents 55+ and up to 20% of the units would be designated for grandfamilies. A “grandfamily” is defined as: “A family unit headed by a person aged 55 or older who is providing primary care and support for a relative aged 18 or younger or up to 22 years old if the individual is a full‐time student.” The East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging supports the development of units for grandfamilies.

What is the purpose of having “age-restricted” housing? Isn’t it to provide residents with the assurance that they will be living among others in their age-range? I imagine that people choose to live in age-restricted housing because they want to live around others with a similar lifestyle. They don’t want the hustle and bustle (a nice way of saying noise) of families with young children and/or teens. If someone 55+ is raising children, why would they choose to live in an age-restricted area? Don’t they want to live somewhere with the ubiquitous jungle-gyms and basketball hoops on every property, with children outside screaming at the top of their lungs and riding plastic tricycles in the streets? Wouldn’t an age-restricted housing development be kind of boring for children?

I hope that Normal supports development of housing that is truly age-restricted.

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