Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How Have the 2001 Legacy Plan Community Character Strategies Worked?

4th Street, Winston-Salem, in the Winston Overlay
Finding the balance between preserving what is significant to our community and embracing new development is a challenge. Since the 2001 Legacy Plan, many steps have been taken to allow our community to grow in a viable but visually-conscious way. New regulations for on-premise signs were adopted by the Winston-Salem City Council, Clemmons Village Council, the Walkertown Town Council and the Kernersville Board of Aldermen to assist with the cluttered appearance of some of our roads and neighborhoods. New street standards with sidewalk and street tree requirements were adopted, which enable our communities to be more walkable and aesthetically pleasing. Large-scale retail (“big box”) development is now required to follow design standards, which includes an option for public art. Additionally, discussions are taking place in the community about encouraging public art for both public and private projects. The Creative Corridors initiative, which is making appearance and design recommendations for the street and highway corridors framing the center city, is one example of this movement.

The City of Winston-Salem recently approved a downtown overlay district (Winston Overlay) to assist with the design and placement of new development and rehabilitation of old buildings in the city’s core. The municipalities of Lewisville, Clemmons and Kernersville have adopted Town Center Design Guidelines. In 2006, the second and final phase of Community Crossing, a corridor project begun in the 1990s that connects major institutions in Winston-Salem, was completed in the area of South Main Street and I-40.

Through the Area Plan process, design guidelines have been created for the conversion of homes into office uses, suburban business parks, activity centers, and low-intensity commercial development. The natural environment can also be an important part of a community’s character. Several steps have been taken to preserve the natural environment and our tree canopy. The requirement for street trees in the new street standards as well as the Tree Ordinance were adopted in Winston-Salem. Also, the Planned Residential Development (PRD) regulations were adopted by the City and County which require the preservation of open spaces and natural areas. Residential and Commercial Infill Ordinances for the Urban Neighborhoods were adopted by the City Council and will be vital in protecting the character of our older areas.

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