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Zoning: general Viewshed protection?

Masswich

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I looked in the archives but didn't see anything recent on this.

Anyone have experience with zoning that protects certain scenic views from public parks? How do you balance that public interest with the potentially huge damper it may put on good development near those viewsheds?

Denver seems to have an elaborate system of protecting mountain views from City parks. But in their case, since you are looking up at a peak, the impact on development lessens quickly as you get away from the park.
 

DVD

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that's a tough one. Are there any good design guidelines out there that would protect something like a historic structure or view down a street? I'm thinking Boston might have something like that. Maybe Charleston with their church steeple.
 

fringe

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Viewshed is a funny term that was picked up by comp planning advocates in the early Y2Ks around here when bedroom community development began to surge. It was supposed to be a factor when development ideas were proposed, to prevent typical strip development. Around here it resulted in good setbacks from main thorofares but did not necessarily keep much of the views from being cluttered by setback metal buildings and asphalt lots.
 

Suburb Repairman

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that's a tough one. Are there any good design guidelines out there that would protect something like a historic structure or view down a street? I'm thinking Boston might have something like that. Maybe Charleston with their church steeple.
I would suggest the City of Austin. They have viewshed corridors for the state capitol building.

Are the parks primarily for people to actually use & enjoy, or are the parks primarily for people to come look at scenic vistas? I would argue that the park itself is the destination, not simply a place to admire some vista. It seems to me like the viewshed requirement from parks only serves the interests of a very limited spectrum of park users. The compromise position would be to have this only apply from certain points in a park, or from a select number of parks.
 

Masswich

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Thanks all. We have a draft ordinance now that I think does a decent job of balancing these issues.

I agree with the comment that views are not always the main reason someone goes to a park or public place. In this particular case the park is designed in large part as a viewing platform of a fairly sweeping scenic view.
 
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Parks provide uncluttered places that stand alone, unsullied: a retreat, a respite, a restorative hallowed place that allows the illusion of separateness from the city.
To fashion a boundless experience by assembling the pieces at a park’s edge requires different patterns, shapes, and distances. Our park “feeling” will vary with our imaginings, mood, and the company we keep.
How do we do this and allow an active park edge? (The “outer park” in Frederick Law Olmsted terminology)
 

luckless pedestrian

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It's an issue for national parks and I will tell you the gateway communities often have no interest in such protection so it's a tough negotiation
 
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