City begins form-based code process for Haywood Road corridor today

From the city of Asheville:

The City of Asheville will continue the form based code process for Haywood Road in west Asheville, with a five day Design Charrette process from September 14 – September 18. Design Charrettes are intensive, hands-on workshops that bring people from different disciplines and backgrounds together to explore design options. The goal of a charrette process is to capture the vision, values, and ideas of the community, with designers on hand to help sketch out their ideas.

The first opportunity for public participation in this process will be the Community Design Workshop on Saturday, September 14, 8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. The workshop will be held at “The Hub” at 278 Haywood Road, a storefront event space next to Villagers retail store at Beechams Curve.

“The public workshop will be the most important time for the community to show up and get involved” said Lee Einsweiler of Code Studio, the lead firm for the project, “Citizens will get to give their ideas and discuss what they think is most important for the future of the corridor”. The four hour meeting will involve a presentation at the beginning, but most of the time will be spent in small groups allowing for maximum citizen participation.

Following the Saturday workshop, an open studio will begin on Sunday, September 15, where the public can drop in 8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. and 7:00-10:00 pm as the Design Team works on concepts for the form-based code based on input from the Saturday event. The studio will be located at the West Asheville Community Center at 970 Haywood Road (underneath Fire Station #6). A public Open House to allow for additional public comment will be held, Monday, September 16 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the studio. If stakeholders are unable to make the Saturday workshop, it is recommended that they attend the Monday evening Open House event to contribute their ideas and thoughts. Following these opportunities for public input, the design team will present their draft ideas at a presentation on Wednesday, September 18 at Hall Fletcher Elementary, 60 Ridgelawn Road, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. A complete schedule for input opportunities is available at www.haywoodroad.code-studio.com.

The City Council funded this project because a form based code is an increasingly popular tool being implemented in many cities that produces clear expectations for new development so that developers, property owners, and the community know in advance what the community wants and will accept. The City Council intends the Haywood Road form based code to be a pilot project that will be extended to other corridors in the City in the future.

The primary focus of the Haywood Road form based code will be the size and some specific details of new buildings and their relationship to the sidewalk and street to help create a welcoming pedestrian oriented public space while encouraging new buildings in scale with the local community and neighborhood. By requiring these standards, new development along the road will help create a “front porch” for Haywood Road that will be an improved asset to the surrounding neighborhoods, while providing increased neighborhood urban-scale growth opportunities and better pedestrian connections.

The Haywood Road Corridor process is expected to continue through 2013, with a draft form based code being presented before the end of the year. The City of Asheville has secured the professional assistance of the Code Studio planning firm from Austin, Texas; a national leader in the creation of form based codes for this project. The Code Studio team was selected after a review of proposals from planning consultants across the country. Sasha Vrtunski, a local planner, is partnering with Code Studio to assist with the project. As the project progresses, other team members will step in and provide expertise in transportation and parking solutions (Nelson-Nygaard Associates), building and streetscape design (Third Coast Design Studio) and economic analysis and viability (Noell Consulting Group).

This project was initiated with a presentation on August 13 at Hall Fletcher Elementary School. That presentation by Lee Einsweiler of Code Studio and other resources can be found at www.haywoodroad.code-studio.com . For more information email Alan Glines, lead planner for this project, at aglines@ashevillenc.gov or call 828-259-5556.


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