Increased residential density in central Winston-Salem is critical because it concentrates population where public infrastructure is already in place and where a variety of transportation choices will be located
in the future. Development in the central city is more cost effective way for the community to grow from a public service delivery standpoint. Growth concentrated in Growth Management Areas 1 and 2 also reduces the pressure for land to be developed farther out in the future growth area, preserving open space and rural areas and avoiding traffic congestion and costly new infrastructure.
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Travel distances are shorter and there is less existing development on the east side of downtown. A focus on increasing density should start downtown and look east. New development between downtown and Walkertown means residential diversity and diverse schools, which raises concerns our community needs to stop sweeping under the rug.
Look at the Bronx, Detroit, and any of the "Great Society" high-rise projects of the past to see the blight in our future with this type of plan.
An e-mailed response:
Incentivize the residential development of underutilized lots (i.e. surface parking) within the urban core and attractive infill designs. Educate the public about attractive infill designs.
Downtown needs a grocery store that you can walk to. Without that, it's just another auto-centered neighborhood.
A response from Aaron King,Principal Planner, City-County Planning Board:
Thanks for taking time to review the Land Use Chapter and its recommendations. With respect to density, it's important to distinguish between what is envisioned in the Legacy Update for Forsyth County and the high-rise projects created through the "Great Society." The main principle of the Legacy Update is to say that Forsyth County is expecting roughly 120,000 new residents over the next twenty years and if we keep growing with the same suburban development pattern, it's not sustainable. The Legacy Update is not calling for an influx of high rise multifamily buildings spread throughout the County. Rather, it attempts to provide strategies to accommodate the anticipated growth such as increasing density along transit corridors, promoting density in downtown Winston-Salem and in identified activity centers, and exploring ways to increase density in older urban neighborhoods. We would certainly welcome additional feedback/input on the growth strategies included in the Legacy Update.
Having quality public schools in our urban areas is key to making these neighborhoods attractive to residents. Currently residents in Ardmore are divided between 3 public elementary schools and attend 21 elementary schools in the county. Many families choose to relocate to suburban areas to attend higher performing schools. If one high quality public school option was available in Ardmore, people would be find this urban neighborhood attractive and livable.
I agree with Sarah -- it would be great to see the city work with the school system to identify ways to build or enhance schools in Winston-Salem. We have some great neighborhoods -- like Ardmore -- but some of the newest school buildings are out in the county. New or renovated schools in the city would make great established neighborhoods like Ardmore even better.
We can reduce parking by capping the number of spaces rather than stating a minimum. We could require joint/shared parking lots. Bring buildings closer to the street with limited parking behind so that the street is visually more appealing and pedestrians have easier access. Require developers and property owners to include sidewalks to connect buildings to street sidewalks. In corridors with adjacent properties, use trails to connect the buildings so people don't have to drive.
Where-ever possible, attempt to reuse existing developed areas within city center.
Review, revise, and implement guidelines/rules for development that achieve the goal of increasing density.
Enhanced architectural standards will allow (make more acceptable) denser development in residential neighborhoods.
There is little remaining space in the downtown core - obviously a solution is to build up - or continue to support rehab of existing buildings. A gradual pushing out from the core into old industrial building N. Liberty etc. Raze Peter's Creek Parkway of its many ugly establishments - plant trees, build multifamily?, townhouses, etc.
Include streetscape plan for green space
Look at transportation routes & locate buildings there
Do not allow mass clearing of development sites in county except for industrial zoning
Offer incentives to developers for doing infill development - especially in empty (but still inhabitable) buildings downtown. Incentives might include "fast-tracked" approval for development and construction.
Many of the buildings downtown are vacant and show potential for housing. By putting a hold on new-build neighborhoods for a certain amount of time could allow developers and residents a chance to see this potential as well. These urban living spaces could also consist of retail and commercial opportunities on the street levels.
Infill & adaptive reuse of existing sites & buildings
Walkable, bikeable areas
Consider safety (lighting, location)
Consider efficient energy & resource use
Well-planned transitions from lower-density to higher-density areas will be important
Increase incentives for location of basic shopping (especially grocery) in denser, more center-city areas
Use the vacant buildings within the city core. There are numerous buildings that could be rehabbed and utilized as residential spaces.
To design attractive & livable areas, incorporate green roofs and/or parks.
Liberty. Identify "node" dev. Areas - underused land that can be transformed into a connecting point.
Increased residential densities should be developed in under-served neighborhoods in need of revitalization and have ownership opportunities for first time home buyers.
Provide pedestrian & bicycle lanes
Incentivize businesses that support density (grocery)
Building w/commercial space on bottom floors with high rise living above. Parking hidden in basement levels & green space in the interiors - City of Raleigh has incorporated these buildings quite nicely in last few years.
Focus on the research park areas.
On the edges of the city focus on reusing land near or in existing shopping centers and big box stores.
Do not allow such things as "pet limits" to get on the books - this is both people & animal unfriendly - discourages pet loving people from moving or staying here.
A way to develop density is to allow "mother in law cottages" or garage apartments in those developments in the first tier of suburbs (out to Silas Creek on the West and South, Coloseum or Polo on the North, and New Walkertown and Reynolds Park Rd on the East). The advantages of additional population close to downtown with attendant transportation efficiencies as well as increasing the use of the existinng infrastructure make this a change that can support some of the goals of Legacy 2030.
We should focus on re-development as well as some new development, but primarily on re-development. Where practicable, these efforts should include restoration of natural amenities like “day-lighting” previously piped streams and providing local parks with woody riparian buffers plated with native species. Restored streams and streambanks should be planted with autochthonous (native) plants like silky dogwood, rhododendron, dog hobble, mountain pepperbush, paw paw, red maple, silky willow, tag alder, black willow, sycamore, river birch, or other native woody species. Outer buffer areas should be planted with native prairie plants. Regardless, every stream and wetland as well as its buffer should be treated as if they are gold.
Create incentives to develop the vacate buildings downtown. BUT we should first complete some type of facelift for vacant buildings in the meantime. A developer from another area can easily walk/drive through downtown and pinpoint every building that is under utilized. We have to show the city cares about developing the area and making it attractive to be downtown.
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