We have lived in our home for 11 years (I am a life-long resident). One of the draws of the Sunset Village neighborhood is the "rural-like" setting within the city. The abundance of trees and their aesthetic value cannot be underestimated. Surely, despite promises to the contrary, many trees will be lost with the addition of curbs and gutters (let alone sidewalks!). You cannot put a value on trees that are, in many cases, 100+ years old. At a time when the city will be losing thousands of trees to the Emerald Ash Borer, clearly the loss of additional trees is distressing.
There is also concerned that the addition of curb and gutter will narrow the already narrow streets of the neighborhood. During the winter, the snow piles narrow the streets even further and backing out of driveways when a car is parked across from the drive is already a treacherous feat. Addition of curb and gutter will only exacerbate that issue.
Finally, but certainly not of little effect, the financial impact is also a concern. At a time when MG&E is proposing increased rates, the Madison Water Utility has proposed a 30% increase in costs to customers and now the assessment for water and sewer laterals, as well as curb and gutter poses a tremendous financial unknown. All of this on the heels of Sunset Village bearing the highest increase in assessed property values in the city. And the Madison City Council has recently approved increasing property taxes again. I can't imagine the impact these increased costs will have on those on a fixed income.
So, the neighborhood has started a petition opposing the installation of curbs and gutters. Nearly all the residents on my block have signed the petition. While the construction work is a year away, it's never too early to voice an opinion. Stay tuned. We'll see what happens as the story unfolds.