I live in one of those very suburban neighborhoods that was built for kids. The schools are great, and they’re set in among the homes, making them mostly within walking distance. Parks are abundant.

Funny thing, though. As I walk around my neighborhood built for kids, I seldom see any. Few backyard playground sets are to be spotted; the only bicycles are those ridden by late-middle-agers wearing pricey cycling gear. The raucous, late-night teen party is so rare that when it does happen it’s more a reassuring reminder that we don’t live in a retirement village than it is a nuisance.

For a minute, anyway.

It’s clear what happened. When the subdivision was built 30-plus years ago, young couples with kids in tow and those yet to be born immediately populated it. Since then, the children have grown and fled, but the parents didn’t move on. They remained.

Why is this? Why are so many graying empty nesters still living in the 4-bedroom homes they bought decades ago? Well, what I’ve heard over the few years I’ve been there – and granted, I haven’t done a survey – is that they like the comfortable neighborhood and their homes are paid off or nearly so. Oh, and then there’s the issue of taxes.

If my neighbors sell their home and move to a smaller place, they may have to pay much higher property taxes. Even if the house they move to costs less. Instead of paying hundreds in taxes as they do now, they might have to pay thousands if they move, they’ve said.

So, given that the neighborhood is pleasant, they stay. For those folks, taxes – avoiding them, that is – becomes the tie that binds them to our neighborhood.

This has implications. It’s tough on the school district, named Oak Park. It has to attract students from outside the district to keep its schools filled. It imports more than 40 percent of its students.

And I must say it’s a bit eerie living in a neighborhood created for children that now has few of them. Our many parks are barely used. I know no nearby retailers that cater to children nor restaurants targeted to young families. Halloween shouldn’t be the quiet evening that it is for us. Last year, when my daughter turned 16, we quickly got her a car because we were uneasy having her walk – so very alone – from school.

I bring all this up because Proposition 5 is on the ballot next week. It’s a bit complicated, but it basically expands the ability of older homeowners to sell their homes and transfer at least some of their low property tax status to their new home.

Of course, you can read the pro and con arguments and decide for yourself. My point is simple. There must be neighborhoods like mine all over the state. It would serve humankind to give a green light to empty nesters, telling them it’s safe to finally leave those 4-bedroom homes. That would allow younger families to move in. And it would help restore kids to neighborhoods that were built for kids.

Charles Crumpley is editor and publisher of the Business Journal. He can be reached at ccrumpley@sfvbj.com.