HIDDEN HOLLOW: A MODEL FOR SUBURBAN DEVELOPMENT WITH GREEN SPACE
An extraordinary Developer: Frank Parlato Jr.
Hidden Hollow: From a flier distributed when the lots were being marketed
Committed to preserving green space, his ideal of esthetics led him to build a subdivision where every house has a picturesque view. He did this by preserving the marvelous forests around and behind the houses.
Instead of using a bulldozer to clean the lot, Parlato's crews hand cleared the underbrush around the trees, preserving each one carefully, then setting the houses –tucked into the woodland settings, and in a way which would maximize views, southern exposure and light. The result was, instead of home owners waiting 20-30 years in their new suburban subdivision for planted trees to grow, they moved into their newly- built homes and its subdivision with beautiful mature trees all around them -- creating an impression that Hidden Hollow had an established elegant presence for years.
Aerial view of the Hidden Hollow
Parlato’s design ran counter to the standard engineering requirements of the town of Hamburg. The developer wanted a winding road that essentially mimicked the course of the winding Rush Creek --which ran through the backyards of some of the soon to be built homes on the property. The engineering department wanted straight roads – which are easier to plow and maintain. A tremendous debate emerged over aesthetics versus convenience, property rights of the individual versus the right of the officials of the government representing the people of the community. Parlato wanted a narrow country road that rose up and down following the beautiful woodland terrain. The engineering department wanted a wide road with subdivision style curbs and to dig out the earth so there was no significant topographical change along the whole road. Parlato vehemently opposed the last knowing that it would destroy his plan of a tree-lined road.
On every issue Parlato won – except on his plan to plant fruit- bearing trees close to the road, technically in town-owned the right of way.
A view of the Hidden Hollow showing the country road that rises up and down following the woodland terrain
To win his concessions, it cost him six months longer in the approval process.
It was worth it. Parlato built one of the finest subdivisions in the region. And one which has been called a model for suburban “green” development.
The McGraw Hill publication Construction News noted in a front page story that Hidden Hollow was a remarkable achievement in design, esthetics and use of green space; both environmentally friendly and economically viable.
Parlato noted that his lots sold faster and for more because of the “green space” element. An editorial Parlato published in the Buffalo News, “Preserve our forests, a national treasure” gives an indication of the developer’s viewpoint as well as an insight into his knack for combining education, idealistic endeavor, public relations and profit.
His master stroke of promotion for the sale of Hidden Hollow, however, was an article he wrote for the Buffalo News HomeFinder magazine which had both a description and a map of the subdivision, (showing the permanently –dedicated forested areas behind the houses as well as the location and size of the building lots). Prior to any house being built, from that article alone, he sold 10 of the 24 building lots thus ensuring the financial success of Hidden Hollow.
View of the dedicated forest area
The green arrow points out the location of Hidden Hollow
Related links on Hidden Hollow
After completion of the Development, one resident cut trees in the buffer zone. Here are some articles that show Frank Parlato's intervention to establish peace.
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