The Monroe City Council was right to deny the 216-unit apartment complex on Charlotte Rowell Boulevard at last week's meeting.

Monroe doesn't need that many apartments all at once, out on the edge of town. Healthy cities grow incrementally from the inside out, not the other way around.

That's not to say, however, that the city should just shoot down every apartment project that pops up.

Fears about apartments are especially acute around here since a couple of landlords own the majority of the ones already in the ground and often don't take great care of them.

But we need apartments. Two reasons come to mind.

One is to give people who live in those run-down apartments a better option. The city allows those landlords to prosper if people who can only afford to rent can only choose one of their properties.

Two is that tastes are changing. Not everyone, and especially not younger folks, wants a four-bedroom home on 2-acres, even if they could afford it. Without quality rental property, Monroe will lose the vibrancy and economic impact of those kinds of people.

Ideally, builders will choose to build higher quality, denser units on chunks of land close to downtown. The ongoing project at the Walton Mill on Broad Street is good example. Veterans Walk, on Alcovy Street, is still in engineering phases but will also provide quality apartments.

Let’s hope the city can attract a handful of others to do the same.

Andrew Kenneson was a staff writer for The Walton Tribune from 2018-20.

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