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Here's What We Mean By
Quality of Life
by Dawn Terrodeit
June 2005

North Willow Glen residents have learned not to rely on others to define what true "quality of life" is.

This page lets residents define what is important to them, and what we don't want developers, businesses and the City to downgrade.


A neighborhood that is a pleasure to live in;

Appealing to both residents and their guests;

A place that is free of crime, litter, and blight;

An environment that is safe for adults, children and pets;

A neighborhood that is beautiful in landscape and architecture.

The above is North Willow Glen’s mission. But what does this mean, really? Let’s say that someone is thinking of making a change to our neighborhood. How can we evaluate this proposed change, to decide if it will increase our quality of life or not?

Over the years people in North Willow Glen have faced this question, and through experience have developed a set of guidelines to use when someone proposes a change to our neighborhood. This document sets out those guidelines. It is a living document; it will change as our ideas change.

We urge residents, neighbors, developers and the City to read this document. It will help you to understand what manner of changes is acceptable to the residents of our neighborhood. Our goal is to help prevent unnecessary conflict and to focus efforts on achieving a better neighborhood for all its residents.

If you are a multi-unit developer, go to Section 1

If you are a business owner, go to Section 2

If you are a resident, go to Section 3

If you work for the City, go to Section 4




North Willow Glen is a vintage neighborhood, and much of its quality of life depends on maintaining its vintage character. We have good reason to believe that homes in our area derive value from character (not size) and history (not newness). To this end, we actively participate in planning developments in our general area. You can count on it, in fact.

  1. Restoration or Remodel in Character. On the whole, North Willow Glen doesn’t support multi-unit developments. We prefer to see old homes restored or remodeled in character, not scraped, and parcels kept as is, not subdivided. If housing units or massing is added, it’s best added in the rear of existing homes.
  2. Owner-Occupied. Our neighborhood dwellings are primarily owner-occupied, and we prefer dwellings that will be owner-occupied (and of a quality that will not encourage conversion to rental).
  3. Density: we specify no more than 8 residential units per acre. This is what the neighborhood has used historically and is the current local zoning.
  4. Scale: compatible with that of surrounding homes and with the neighborhood. This means that, for city lots (5000 to 6000 sq. ft) a home with no more than 2000 sq. ft. of living space.
  5. Design: compatible with that of surrounding homes. This design standard usually means that a designer or architect is involved with the home design.
  6. Uniqueness: homes in North Willow Glen are diverse in style, floorplan and street presentation. We oppose “cookie-cutter” developments tooth and nail.
  7. People-oriented.
    1. Homes in North Willow Glen honor the pedestrian with front walks, front porches, vegetated and groomed front yards, and street trees. Houses are visible from the street and oriented toward the street.
    2. No new front garages. We probably cannot say this strongly enough. Front garages put the car’s convenience ahead of the enjoyment of pedestrians. New front garages will affront neighbors and the neighborhood. We prefer detached garages, set behind the home.
    3. Pedestrian-friendly attitude. You should include open access and support for crosswalks, trails, bike paths and the like, plus visibility for safety. We don’t want walled or gated so-called “communities.”
  8. Parking: maximize off-street parking. Realistically, a 2,000-sq-ft home generates 3 cars, and tandem parking does not work. It’s not acceptable to shift your development’s parking burden to the street.
  9. Public Streets, not private drives.
  10. Support for Parks. We look for development to aggressively help bring us up to the city standard of 3 acres of parkland per 1000 residents.
  11. Traffic Mitigation. North Willow Glen has narrow streets and congestion issues, and developers should be open to studying traffic impacts and participating in mitigation and calming measures.
  12. Police and Fire Department Access. You should include prior permission for police and fire to access private property, especially with deep lot developments, and those near schools, parks or trails.
  13. Reuse. If structures are demolished, we encourage reuse of home materials. Outfits such as Whole House Building Supply and Salvage ( can make the building materials accessible to vintage home owners and thus help preserve the neighborhood character.
  14. Value Trees. Trees add value to our homes and peace and shade to our lives. Their benefit extends beyond the yard they happen to grow in. We urge developers to consult with neighbors, especially immediate neighbors, before removing any vegetation taller than 10' (unless it's weeds).



It's really pretty simple: we look for businesses that will help us beautify our neighborhood, raise healthy kids (and adults), and build up our community. We especially like pedestrian-friendly businesses, green buildings and participation by the business in local events and affairs.

That means:

No Liquor and Tobacco. We don't care how upscale your liquor store or cigar shop intends to be - we have more than enough of these things already.

No Non-Child-Friendly Businesses. You know who you are.

No Polluting. This means no noise pollution, no air pollution, no water pollution - no adverse environmental impacts, please.

No Code Violations. You must get a clean bill of health from Code Enforcement to begin operating in our area.




Voluntary Conservation. North Willow Glen is a voluntary conservation zone. We ask residents to consider adhering to guidelines about preserving vintage features and appeal of their homes. Vintage quality is rare (and getting rarer), and this scarcity translates into real value for each homeowner that participates in maintaining it. With voluntary cooperation on home size, style and character, our neighborhood can avoid the disintegration of community that is all too common in older neighborhoods.

Vintage Quality. What do we mean by "vintage quality"? For our neighborhood, let's define vintage as "homes in the styles used from 1900 to 1950." You can see these styles described on our Home Styles Tour page.

Charm and Soul. What we would hate to see happen is for our neighborhood to lose its cohesive charm. This can happen when an old home is scraped and a generic "monster" home is put up in its place, when a garage gets placed alongside or out in front of the house (a statement that says cars are more important than people), and so on. Many of the people who live in North Willow Glen chose to move here because it still has its soul.

Advice, not Rules. We are NOT interested in dictating style, interfering with home colors, or whatever.

Respect a Tree. Our trees are very important to the quality of life in our neighborhood. Any tree over 10' high gives comfort and aesthetic value not just to you, but to your neighbors. We ask residents to discuss tree removals with their neighbors in advance, and to consider planting a tree for any tree removed. Also:

  • Street Trees. City law says that every house should have at least one street tree (three for corner lots). The City checks on this when a home goes up for sale.
  • Tree Removal Permits. You need to get a permit to remove larger trees. The city has guidelines about tree removals and replacements. You should be aware that the fines and penalties for unauthorized tree removals can be large.

Got a Question? Our neighborhood has many people who have experience doing restorations and remodels, gardening, tree planting, you name it. Email us or leave a message at 537-0393 and we'll try to hook you up.

More to come - regarding traffic and street safety, code enforcement, and so on.




We need to be informed about developments that might affect our neighborhood. If you overlook notifying us in a timely way, will we force you to go back and begin again? Yes.

We will be a full partner on city projects. Many city project managers seem to expect neighborhood activists to make their opinions known, then stand back and let the city take over. North Willow Glen activists typically do not work this way. We have a desired outcome for the project, and will track the project all the way to make sure it achieves as much of the desired outcome as possible.


Copyright 2005