Should Puchenau still grow?

Should Puchenau still grow?
In Puchenau, a planned housing development is sparking a lot of discussion.
Image: Otto Steindl

In keeping with the weather, there was a stormy debate about the planned large settlement. Most of the comments revolved around the fact that further population growth was undesirable because the infrastructure was already overstretched, such as that on transport routes and child care.

As reported, Neue Heimat wants to build up to 40,000 square meters of grassland north of Rohrbacher Bundesstrasse in several stages (project name: New Neighborhood). The launch would take place on around 12,000 square meters with probably around 90 residential units. When fully developed there should be several 100 with significantly more than 500 new residents – Puchenau currently has around 4,700 residents. The housing developer wants to work out the details together with the citizens next week.

Neue Heimat commissioned the Linz-based architectural firm Kleboth & Dollnig to moderate citizen participation. Architect Andreas Kleboth explained to the around 200 guests how they worked on the detailed design of the project, traffic routes, microclimate and biodiversity could have a say. However, most contributions to the debate said that it was not about such details, but about the fundamental question: Do people actually want “the village to continue to grow”? Most of the requests to speak clearly went in one direction: No.

Architect Kleboth said that the local council, as a democratically legitimized body, would have to decide on this. He is only entrusted with citizen participation, but: “Puchenau is very well served by public transport and many families are looking for living space.” He countered the objection that more grassland would be sealed: There would be no further urban sprawl, but rather the area would round off the current one Building stock.

There are undoubtedly bottlenecks in the infrastructure, said Mayor Friedrich Geyrhofer VP, but the “New Neighborhood” could also open up opportunities. Regarding the accusation that the community is pushing the project forward and putting the landowner under pressure: “We are not putting anyone under pressure. There is a building applicant in the Neue Heimat, and therefore we as a community have to act.” The impetus was not from the Neue Heimat, said managing director Robert Oberleitner: “We were contacted by the landowner.”

Citizen participation will begin on Monday, November 20th at 10 a.m. with an inspection of the construction site and run until Friday. The results will be presented on December 7th at 7 p.m. in the Puchenau Buchensaal.

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