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Thread: Cluster development where road frontage is preserved

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Cluster development where road frontage is preserved

    I'm looking for examples of good cluster or conservation development, where the primary road frontage is preserved, open space doesn't consist of just narrow strips hidden behind rear yards, and the bulk of development is away from the primary road. Anyplace where very clear Google Earth aerials and oblique photos on local.live.com are available would be great.

    The purpose of this is to show alternatives to "bowling alley lot" frontage development in the land use element of a comprehensive plan I'm drafting for an exurban community. (Yes, I have a copy of Rural by Design. ) Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I was talking with somebody yesterday about this very issue. Sadly, most of the examples I know of are pretty bleak.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    We require a 100 foot buffer from any highway for residential subdivisions over 15 lots. Not necessarily a cluster, but still held open space.

    "Required bufferyards for all new residential or planned unit developments shall be a minimum width of 100 between the proposed lot lines and all existing perimeter county, state, and/or federally maintained paved roadways at the time of the approval of the proposed plan and/or development plan. Proposed residential and/or planned unit developments adjacent to the Francis Marion National Forest shall also be required to have a 100 minimum width buffer between proposed lot lines and the boundary of the National Forest. Optional Reductions of Bufferyards found in Section 17.6.4 shall not be applicable to these requirements."

    Says no optional reductions, however more than a few have gotten a 50% reduction at the BZA which I do not feel we should do anymore.
    @GigCityPlanner

  4. #4
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Closest I can think of is one we have where I work....not perfect (there are lots that were not part of the development along the collector road. This was developed in the mid 1980's.), and not the "ideal" cluster, and has one of the heinous fully paved cul-de-sacs that we don't allow anymore, but pretty close to what you're looking for I think.

    (on live search for: woodside dr, 03053)

    Here's the images from our pictometry files (had to combine 2 tiles, so they don't match exactly):

    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Thanks, NHPlanner! That photo can be Photoshopped, at least, so I can add it to the examples of good "rural character" development in one of the plans I'm drafting.

  6. #6
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Thanks, NHPlanner! That photo can be Photoshopped, at least, so I can add it to the examples of good "rural character" development in one of the plans I'm drafting.
    Let me know if you need any more images, and I'll send them your way.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    That's meant to be a good development pattern, is it?

    Wow.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    That's meant to be a good development pattern, is it?

    Wow.
    I don't know if that remark is being serious or smart alec... The response is for many rural places yes, this is a better alternative than having those 22 homes spread over 3 or 4 times as much land. Yes the oversized cul on the end is a little weird. Cluster development doesn't work for everyone, but for rural lands it keeps infrastructure down, lessens runoff, can provide some sense of community (your neighbor isn't 2 acres away), and save and preserve rapidly decreasing forest and wetlands.
    @GigCityPlanner

  9. #9
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    That's meant to be a good development pattern, is it?

    Wow.
    No it's not. It's meant to be a response for a specific inquiry on what Dan was looking for. I thought I made enough caveats in my initial post to indicate that we're not allowing projects like that anymore.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  10. #10
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    That's meant to be a good development pattern, is it?
    It's fantastic compared to this, which is now the norm in the exurban communities I work with.




  11. #11
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Ok, ok. I admit my reply was a bit offhand.

    I guess it depends what your frame of reference is.

    Comparing the picture at the top with the one Dan posted, I see the attractions (retention fo tree cover, realtively (vey relatively) small lots, low visbility from the access road, etc.).

    I must say I find the pictures posted by Dan shocking.

    a) obscene waste of land. What do these people want to do? hold civil war re-enactments in theri back yards? Talk about needing a riding mower...

    b) The landscaping/ general arrangement is reminiscent of an ammo dump. The sense I get is of someone who would much prefer to eat a bushel of raw flour rather than a nice loaf of bread on the basis that a bushel fo flour is "more".

    c) People go on about the pros and cons of 'smart growth'. Those pictures look like cancer, more than 'growth'.

    Really, really bad. Distance from the rest of humanity as the only apparent value for a property.

    Sorry for the rant.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  12. #12
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    The sense I get is of someone who would much prefer to eat a bushel of raw flour rather than a nice loaf of bread on the basis that a bushel fo flour is "more".
    Ha! Yeah, that's pretty much it. People seem to think that if having land is good, having more of it must be better! When I worked in NJ, the state with the highest population density in the union, it was still not uncommon to find new homes being built on lots of that size, with the huge lawn and ugly prefab steel outbuildings. You need space for all you stuff.

    "You ain't no kinda man unless you got land" "Delmar", character in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou", the movie set in the Depression era South. The desire for acreage is ingrained deep in the American psyche. At least for SOME Americans it is. I think they like to imagine they are living on a little farm or something. They imagine themselves as usng that space for horses or other livestock someday.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

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