The 2011 Better Models for Development Awards were presented on May 25th at Court Square Theater in downtown Harrisonburg. VCC recognized 12 projects from throughout the region as examples of how to grow in ways that respect local character, create livable communities, complement historic resources, and conserve natural assets.
“We seek to honor projects that show successful innovation right here in our backyard,” said Sara Hollberg, author of VCC’s book, Better Models for Development in the Shenandoah Valley 2010. “Each developer and each community has choices they can make that will help keep the Valley a unique, beautiful, and vibrant place even as we continue to grow and prosper. These projects and many like them demonstrate these better ways to develop.”
Award winners are from across the region, north to south, from Berryville, Boyce, Buena Vista, Luray, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Greenville, Lexington, Daleville, Eagle Rock, and Botetourt County.
Clarke County received two awards; Outstanding Adaptive Reuse and Excellence in Community Design.
Fire House Gallery and Shop (Berryville, Virginia)
“Outstanding Adaptive Reuse”
Town of Berryville and Berryville Main Street
The Fire House Gallery and Shop, a new beacon of cultural activity in downtown Berryville, showcases the best of the community on many levels. A strong partnership among local governments, Berryville Main Street (BMS), citizens, and the arts community made the design and renovation possible. The resulting gallery draws tourists and residents alike to celebrate local arts of all kinds. In 2010, the Fire House Gallery was named one of the “25 Treasures of Main Street” by the Virginia Main Street program.
The project began in 2009, when the town transferred its former town hall to BMS to design, renovate, and inhabit. The 1930s building served its first few decades as the first fire hall. The clever and respectful redesign used the wide door bays were for expansive shop windows for the gallery. The town and Clarke County helped fund renovations and BMS raised the rest in donations and in-kind gifts. The gallery hosts events and demonstrations, sells products such as items from the Clarke County Historical Society and the Barns of Rose Hill Cultural Arts Center, and will soon start a community arts education series. The building also houses BMS and the partners are exploring using upstairs space as a small business incubator. The Gallery has created three jobs and helps support local artists of all kinds and local firms, starting with Main Street Architecture of Berryville, were used in the design and construction.
Low Impact Traditional Neighborhoods (Boyce, Virginia)
“Excellence in Community Design”
Town of Boyce and Boyce Crossing, Meadow View, and Roseville Downs Subdivisions
Sparked by a sewer system in the Town of Boyce and the addition of a “cluster” option to its zoning ordinance, a trio of subdivisions came forward using the new standards, resulting in a 38% increase in population in this growth area. The policy changes encourage a traditional connected street network, small clustered lots (7,500 to 10,000 square feet) with common open space, and small setbacks to encourage a community feel. The Town also set objectives for stormwater management and other environmental features. The developers in turn created attractive traditionally designed neighborhoods with sidewalks, pedestrian connections and significant environmental features.
Boyce Crossing (above right) is noteworthy for the 4-acre grove of mature oak trees at its entrance. A park for residents has been completed and a future section will use an alleyway to reduce the impact of cars on the streetscape. The project was begun by Richie Wilkins and completed by OakCrest developers, with engineering by Ron Mislowsky.
Meadow View adds 41 lots in a textbook example of a neo-traditional street, parcel, and house arrangement with a centrally located village green. A large rain garden also serves as an attractive feature for the entire community. Developer was Bryan Brooks, with Richmond American the builder and KDL group the engineer.
The Roseville Downs subdivision also exhibits a fine example of neo-traditonal parcel and house arrangement. It also includes extensive areas of common open space as well as low impact development techniques with a combination of rain garden elements. Roseville Downs was developed by Eric Myer, built by K Hovranian, and engineered by Jon Erickson.