Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Microstory 548: What Makes Edward’s Haven Special and Exclusive?


Edward’s Haven. Many have visited; few live there. Situated in a secluded, but not remote, part of Roanoke, Virginia, Edward’s Haven is a gated community with perhaps the strictest application process of any. The houses are nice, but they are by no means mansions. Demographic data suggests that residents enjoy healthy wages, but fall nowhere near the highest tax bracket. It would possibly be that the most impressive aspect of Edward’s Haven is the landscaping. The grass is perfectly trimmed to the same length. In every lawn, you can find at least one bush cut into the shape of an animal, or some other magnificent pattern. I was able to secure a tour of this place, and spoke with a few of the residents about their experiences. One, who chooses to remain anonymous, had the following to say about what makes the neighborhood so special. “We are not exclusive because we think we’re better than everyone else. Nor do we belong to some dangerous cult. The majority of applications are rejected because not everyone belongs here. We’re not just a community, we’re a family. We trust each other, and protect each other. That your application was refused does not mean you’re a bad person, just that you belong in a some other family. Remember, it’s not wrong...It’s just different.”
To be sure, the application process is involved. Those who failed to pass mention going through several interviews, all with different people. Some of these applicants report a higher number of steps than others, suggesting there to be some kind of competitive “weeding out” method. Last year, Edward’s Haven suffered a somewhat minor attack as a result of their long process. Evidently, a potential and hopeful resident spent a not insignificant amount of money traveling to Roanoke, sure that their familiarity with one of the current residents would give him an edge over other applicants. Like most others, however, his application was rejected, and he was left needing to quickly find a cheap place to live in the area​. He reportedly succumbed to the call of alcoholism, and ended up driving a stolen car into the security guard both. The guard survived, and it did not cause Edward’s Haven to question their methods. “We know rejection, from anything, can be difficult,” said Joss Arnesen, who sits on the council. “We want to remind everyone that there are plenty of places to live. This is just one.” At this time, no spots are open, and hundreds remain on a statistically near-pointless waiting list.

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