May I sing the Housing Subdivision Blues?

  • Saturday, April 10, 2021 1:30am
  • Opinion

My wife and I would never have met, except that her family fled a densely populated state when she was 11.

Given her satisfaction with the simple life (deer in the yard, the neighbors’ ponds and livestock across the road), I dreaded sharing game-changing news with her the other evening.

“One of the neighbors said a 100-house subdivision is planned for one mile away on our country road.”

(Technically, I think the revelation was “One of the neighbors said a 100-house subdivision is planned for one mile away on our country road; now, where’s my supper, woman?” I’ll probably be able to remember more precisely when the swelling goes down.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not holier-than-thou when it comes to turning forests and pastureland into domiciles. For much of my childhood, my father helped keep a roof over our heads by working as an agent for my mother’s cousin, a real estate developer.

(Dad also kept a floor under our feet, but I’ve noticed parents never get much credit for any non-roof amenities. Maybe parents should diversify their speeches. “Well, young lady, as long as you’re benefitting from my threshold and my wainscotting, you’re living by my rules.”)

My wife and I became homeowners nearly 28 years ago, so I balk at begrudging anyone else their own shot at affordable housing and the American Dream. Granted, the American Dream ain’t what it used to be, if townsfolks’ new aspiration is to be wedged between Casa de Tyree and the industrial park! I’m just saying.

Yes, everyone is entitled to their own little piece of Paradise – which brings an interesting twist to a classic philosophical conundrum: “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” (“I don’t know – but way more than can fit on Mike’s subdivision deck, dude.”)

I refuse to be one of those petition-waving NIMBY (“Not in My Back Yard”) soreheads. Because, frankly, most of the theoretical future neighbors would stare and ask, “What’s a back yard?”

I’m not even going to lose any sleep over the eventual cute, ironic name of the subdivision. You know, the developments are usually celebrating something that is no longer around because of the development. Maybe it will be Turkey Cove or Groundhog Meadows – or The Ability to Turn Your Cat Outdoors Without It Getting Splattered by Umpteen Garbage Trucks, Ambulances and Police Cars Acres.

Ours is not the only part of the county experiencing a flood of home construction. People from every corner are gobsmacked by the situation and ask some variation of “If we suddenly need all these houses, where the (bleep) are the people living now?”

Good question. Maybe there are citizens far to the north hearing the siren call and rationalizing, “Yes, they’ll be cookie-cutter homes, but they’ll be cookie-cutter homes that will provide air conditioning bills out the wazoo.”

Or, most likely, we will see pasty-skinned adult children emerging from their parents’ basements in search of a home of their own. (“The man at the hardware store called this a “leaf blower” – but it would be so cool to use against Orcs and trolls.”)

I’ll not stand in the way of progress. Even if rising home values supersize my tax bill.

“Well, old man, as long as you’re living in my county, you’re not going out with money left in your pockets.”


Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.

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