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Thread: Design issues - gateway entrance to community

  1. #1

    Design issues - gateway entrance to community

    So here is a rendering of a development that a developer has proposed for a busy, corner intersection. The intersection is across from a mall (in a different jurisdiction). This is basically going to be an entrance to our community and we don't like it. Anybody have any pictures, suggestions, renderings, etc. that they could share. We would like something a little more unique. This just seems like a typical strip mall.

    Moderator note:
    Thread title edited. Please use more specific thread titles in the "on-topic" subforums. Thanks.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Color Rendering_.jpg  
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 16 Nov 2007 at 4:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    IMO it is not what you "like" that counts at this point. Do they meet all your written criteria?

    I agree it could have been better, but most developers are going to do the minimum they can to meet your requirements.

    Do you have any landscape requirements?

    Generous setback requirement might have helped.

    Do you have any significant storm drainage detention pond requirements in the area that require a small decorative pond or nice shared detention pond for a small lake?

    It looks like the size of the property is not going to help your city make much of an impact there.

    Do you want a "China Town" type of entry "gate"?

    Do you have an opportunity for "entrance pylons" at the corners flanking your entry street with light fixtures and community name?

    If the city wants to make a statement at its entry, it probably should have bought some of the land to make its own "monumental" entry of sorts. Is it too late now?

    I am sure you will get many comments here.
    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Why dont you like it?

    Does it meet the pertinent ordinances?

    If you answer is yes, its your ordinances you dont like.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Do you have a site plan?

  5. #5

    gateway

    There is no site plan or anything. The city has assembled some of the properties. The situation is very complicated and I know there are going to be varying opinions. The city doesn't any real professional staff other than a few engineers and such. No planners! We are a development corp. that they hire on a yearly basis as sort of a consultant. So although we do have to go by the zoning and overall plan, we can be picky about what we want to encourage as far as development goes. This area is in a TIF district which we maintain. Therefore, if we are going to be using TIF monies, we don't want just "any" strip mall to go on this potentially valuable piece of land. Does any of this make sense? Basically just looking for suggestions or links to other similar projects or ideas and hopefully renderings.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by MSUplanner View post
    There is no site plan or anything. The city has assembled some of the properties. The situation is very complicated and I know there are going to be varying opinions. The city doesn't any real professional staff other than a few engineers and such. No planners! We are a development corp. that they hire on a yearly basis as sort of a consultant. So although we do have to go by the zoning and overall plan, we can be picky about what we want to encourage as far as development goes. This area is in a TIF district which we maintain. Therefore, if we are going to be using TIF monies, we don't want just "any" strip mall to go on this potentially valuable piece of land. Does any of this make sense? Basically just looking for suggestions or links to other similar projects or ideas and hopefully renderings.
    Can you take an aerial snap shot of the project site and post it on here (or bird's eye view aerial)? Thanks-

  7. #7
    Here is an aerial. The mall is to the southwest. Yes, that is a McDonalds and a huge parking lot to the south, yet that should be changing in the not to distant future. Things I had in mind might include a clock tower or some sort of rather significant structure included in the project that might welcome people to our town. The site is very small and there has been talk of trying to expand it to the next block east, although I can't see that happening with pushy politicians involved (want to see something done soon!)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails aerial2.jpg  

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
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    It looks better than the other three corners IMO.

    You might ask for some additional landscaping at the corner and have them integrate some kind of a welcome to somecity signage into their project monumentation.

    The City itself may look at some kind of textured/colored pavement to show you are entering a new city, but since the street is in, that would probably have to be paid for out of the general fund unless the property owner is feeling rather civic minded.
    "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    This looks like a situation in which I would be asking if the buildings could be pulled up to the street, especially on teh corner. Even the McDonalds is on the corner, and it looks like you have some traditional buildings just to the east. Is this a downtown district?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Is the rendering looking south from the buildings on the northeast corner of the intersection (assuming north is at the top of the aerial photo?).

    I drew this on the fly. Hopefully it reads well.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails streetscape.jpg  

  11. #11
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Wow, that looks an awful lot like a strip mall I get to drive past every day.

    I'll reiterate that it might be a good idea to revisit the code, and see where you could place more restrictions on areas like this, although that wouldn't affect this project. But, I will add that in the time being, don't be afraid to still make recommendations or suggestions to the developer, on some cool ideas of how it could be made to look really nice. Sometimes they are willing to work with you.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Here's a model site plan from our commercial design standards that might provide some help. It puts the building at the street and the parking on the side and rear.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian plankton's avatar
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    I would simply reiterate what others have already written and pull the (adequately-glazed) buildings towards the front property lines and bury the parking in the back. In lieu of a clock tower, I might focus on creating a vibrant street scene with outdoor furniture (possibly done in conjunction with a fun sculpture or two), street trees, an informational (gateway) kiosk, and an artsy bus stop (if applicable).

    Go State!

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Otis, great example. I have a relevant example I may be able to take photos of. {time permitting}. We had design standards and used the tower example to set the gateway.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Why not both? Pulling the buildings to the sidewalk is certainly a v. good idea (and may in tiem provide a positive example for it neighbors...) but you can still have some sort of clock-tower. I gues the appropriate style depends on what part of the coutnry you are in.

    I would suggest you look at the Plaza in KCMO for isnpiration; they have several buildings that signal (you have arrived somewhere" while still being completely commercial (and very viable).
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Here's a drawing of a corner building with a tower intended to be a gateway feature.


    And here's a tower in Kansas City. I suggest you look through the images in the Gallery (where this one came from) to see if there are others (AIB Luca).
    Last edited by Otis; 20 Nov 2007 at 2:09 PM.

  17. #17
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Hey, MSUplanner, I think I know that corner.

    I agree that the number one design solution is to bring the building forward to the corner and put the parking to the rear and side, like Otis' site plan.

    Also, make sure the buildings have a more vertical look (higher parapets, false second stories, if necessary) in order to give a more urban feel.

    But I could see the other side of the argument from the developers that this is already a heavily auto/parking lot in front oriented context. But don't let them win.

    What's the resolution on the car spike?
    Last edited by mendelman; 20 Nov 2007 at 2:29 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  18. #18
    Thanks for all of the ideas everyone. The developer came back in with a much better design and plenty of landscapping. The moved the building closer, but not right up to the street. (something I really am not happy about but others feel differently) We'll see how this progresses but what we got from his latest scetches is much better than that original rendering.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MSUplanner View post
    Thanks for all of the ideas everyone. The developer came back in with a much better design and plenty of landscapping. The moved the building closer, but not right up to the street. (something I really am not happy about but others feel differently) We'll see how this progresses but what we got from his latest scetches is much better than that original rendering.
    Keep us posted. I'm interested in seeing how this goes. It appears that the city has a great deal of power on this since it owns the land (or at least some of it) and so can be more demanding than your code might otherwise allow. Make sure everyone knows you're going to be living with it for the next 50 years or so.

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