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Common connections : public realm as resource in a Vermont village 2005

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COMMON CONNECTIONS: Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village by CLAIRE LOUISE TEBBS B.Sc , Natural Resources, University of Vermont, 1998 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Landscape Architecture UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 2005 © Claire Louise Tebbs, 2005 Abstract In rural Vermont, public, outdoor spaces are an increasingly precious commodity to local communities and visi tors alike. A s the threat of urbanization spreads into Vermont, municipalities and residents must make careful land use and development decisions in order to preserve and/or incorporate such spaces into the local and regional setting. Throughout time, the social and political idea of public access for the greater good, has been defined as the Commons. The physical manifestation of this concept has also been called the Commons and has been reflected in the landscape in a variety of forms in both rural and urban environments. B y melding Vermont 's traditional form and value of the Vi l lage Common as civic center to the contemporary translation of the Commons as our shared access to cultural and natural heritage, Vermont village character and local community resources can be maximized and celebrated. i i Table of Contents Abstract:: -. : ii Figure List. . . . . . . . . . ...v Ack now l e d g m e n t s „ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . „ vi Dedication .?. vii Chapter I The Big Picture 1 Context of Project - Commons as Idea and Place I Scope of Project..,.- 7 Concept Goal Objectives Process , Authors Definition of Commons Site Overview Site Context Characteristic- OverView Site Selection Scales of Design Chapter 2 Precedent Studies 13 Open Space at the-Community Planning Scale 13 Amherst. M A Vermont Commons - Old and New 15 Intervale, Burlington V T Public Process in Village Design 17 Westport. C A Guiding Principles of Project 19 Chapter 3 Understanding the Site 20 Analysis -. : .- -. 20 Social Assessment .- 20 .Community Profile Community's Response to Site Policy Assessment Zoning and Ownership Environmental Assessment 27 Physical Assessment Biological Assessment Opportunities and Constraints 30 Site Goals, Objectives and Design Criteria 32 Program 33 Chapter 4 Planning and Designing the Site 34 Conceptual Design - Site Concept 35 Conceptual Design - Village Center 38 Bringing Concepts to Life -Design Decisions and Ideas 39 Future Development 39 Outdoor Places 43 Getting Around - Connections and Linkages 46 Trail Types Street Details Village Center 54 Understanding Where You Are - Materials, Site Unity and Being Unique 61 Project Conclusions 63 Bibliography 66-68 Appendix I Commons Through Time 69 Appendix II Site Goals, Design Criteria and Design Strategies 70-73 Appendix III Detailed Program 74-76 Appendix IV Site Sections 77 Appendix V Act 250 Criteria 78 iv Figure List Fig.l. Whitburn Bends Pond p.l Fig. 2 Common Field Fanning P .2 Fig.3 Modern UK Commons p.2 Fig-1 Amherst Common p. 3 Fig. 5. Fair Haven Common p. 3 Fig..6 Or.igianl Shorem Common p.4 Fig. 7 T i mho u'th Co mm o n p. 4 Fig.8a Loss of The Go rrimbns p. 5 Fig.Sb Incorporating the Commons p. 5 Fig.9 Vermont's Greater Common p. 7 Fig. 10 Mountain Top p.? f i g . 11 Placing.. Charlotte p. 9 Fig, 12 Site Map p. 10 Fig. 13 Street Scapes p.l I Fig. .14 Burns. Parcel p. 12 Fig . 15 Town Field p. 13 Fig. 16 Amherst Open Space p. 14 Fig.l7 New Shorem Common p. 16 Fig. 18 Intervale Project p. 17 Fig. 19 We.stport Village p. 18 Fig.2Q Historical Charlotte p. 20 Fig.2I Vision Map p.2.1. Fig.22 'Charlotte News I p. 22 Fig. 2 3 Charlotte News 11 p. 23 Ffg.24 Charlotte News III p. 24 Fig. 25 Ownership Diagram p.25 Fig.26 Current Zoning p. 26 Fig.27 Physical Features p. 27 Fig. 28 Biological Features p. 28 Pig.29 Wetlands p.29 Fig.30 Agricultural Land p.30 Fig. 31 Site Bubble Diagram P 31 Fig.32 Village Bubble Diagram p. 3 2 Table 1 Park!ng Stanciards p.33 Fig. 3 3 .Regional Public Land p.35 Fig.34 Proposed Zoning p. 3 6 Fig.35 Concept in Context p. 3 7 Pig.36 Site Concept p.38 Pig 37 Village Concept p.39 Fig 38 Site Master Plan P.4:l Fig 39 Proposed New Lots p.4-2 Pig 40 Trail Map P. 4 4: Fig 41 Green Infrast.ruclure p.45 Fig 42 Trail Treatments p. 4 6 Fig 43 Woodland' Trails p.47 Fig 44 Village Trails p;48 Fig 45 Boardwalk Trails p. 19 Fig 46 Swales p. 51. Fig 47 Ferry Road p.52 Fig 48 Library Road p. 53' Fig 49 Village. Center p. 5 4 Fig 50 Village Center Master Plan p. 5 5 Fig 51 Master Plan Detail p. 56 Fig 52 Market Street p. 57 Fig 53 Market Place p. 5 7 Fig 54 Co mm u n i ty Ga r d e n s p:58 Fig 55a Village Master Plan p.59 Fig 55b Meadow BoardwaIk p.59 Fig 56 Enjoying Meadows p.60 Fig 58 Entering a Place !>.<)] Fig 59 Aesthetics of Place p. 6.2 Acknowledgments A big thanks to my committee, Cynthia Girling and Patrick Condon of the Landscape Archi tecture Program at the Unive r - sity of Bri t ish Columbia and Diane Elliott Gayer of the Vermont Design Institute, Burlington Vermont. In particular, 1 thank Cynthia, my committee chair, for her steady dedication throughout this project, Patr ick for his humor and understanding of the aesthetics of the New England Landscape, and Diane for being an invaluable resource, even from;many miles away. I would also like to thank Brad Rawson at the Chittenden County Planning Commission and the good folks at. the Univers i ty of Vermont Map Library for GIS and ortho resources, and to all the helpful people 1 spoke with in many corners of Vermont - at the Vemont Nature Conservancy, the Vermont Land Trust, and.residents and employees of Charlotte, Vermont. Last, but not least, thank you to all the kind souls in my l i fe - family:, f r iends-new and old, near and far, for your dedication to-keeping these, three years grounded and for being constant inspirations - particularly, thanks to: Dave for following me, your' never ending support, and your bright bright, spirit. vi o e QK3 Chapter 1 The Big Picture - Commons as Idea and Place Context of Project It is clear to me that exclusive private ownership of land and extraction of commodities in a market economy is a better-paved road to a bigger ruin. We need a mix of private and common interest in land that is appropriate to the world today, one that balances personal freedom and community responsibility, economic efficiency and ecological restraint. - Br ian Donahue, Reclaiming the Commons With the rapid expansion of urbanization, outdoor public land is an increasingly precious community commodity throughout North Amer ica . Its form and function within rural and urban places has constantly changed due to the natural evolution of how we live, work, and play. No matter these changes, public land consistently remains a shared social and cultural resource, potentially providing neighborhoods and villages with outdoor spaces in which to recreate, steward, socialize and celebrate. When this aspect of community design and planning is neglected, a mul t i - faceted resource is lost, not only for the present, but for generations to come (Erickson, 2003). In rural Vermont, due to how large tracts of land have been divided, bought and sold, public land is currently found in all shapes, sizes and locations. While Vermont is famous for its rural vil lages that sit snug in the folds of the landscape, public access to this landscape is often hard to find within or adjacent to the village center. Historical ly, the village center, consisting of important civic and commercial buildings and perhaps two streets of residential, was immediately surrounded by privately owned farms (Albers, 2000). Th i s is often still the case. A t Fig . l Whitburn Bends village pond, UK in 1900 and 2000. Over the past 100 years, this village common, like others has seen many changes. (website.lineone.net/-d.org/whitburn.htm ) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 I the same time, new growth (subdivision of this adjacent farmland) and build out can contribute to this situation, and also increase fragmentation of the surrounding forests and fields as aesthetic, recreational, agricultural and ecological entities. In this way, new neighbors are not only disconnected from a civic heart, but the community at large loses an increased everyday intimacy, with the greater landscape of their home (Donahue, 2001). Stemming from Engl ish roots, the social and political idea of public access for the greater good, has been defined as the Commons. The following is one definition found in the Labor L a w Encyclopedia-' Commons are a subset of public goods; specifically meaning a public good which is not infinite. Commons can therefore be land, rivers and, arguably, money. "The Commons " is most often a finite but replenishable resource, which requires responsible use in order to remain available (LaborLaw.Talk .com) Throughout history, the physical manifestation of this concept has also been called the commons and has been reflected in the landscape in a variety of forms in both rural and urban environments, from medieval farm fields to urban parks. Th i s project explores the idea of the commons in both form and function within a Vermont village today and how the two together form an expanded civic environment. In order to better understand how the Commons - both as a societal value and a place, found its way to Vermont, below is a brief synopsis of this journey: The World Ancient agrarian societies all over the world depended on shared resources for growing crops and grazing sheep and cattle. In many rural areas of Afr ican, South American and European countries, different forms of 'common-field ' farming continues today (Bromley, 1992). A system that peaked during the 13th-14th century in Fig.2 Common-field farming is still an essential method of accessing a greater good, for many people around the world (www.gettyimages. com). Fig.3 The commons in England, once left over grazing land turned to civic or private uses. Now National Parks and National Trust lands are known as 'the commons', as seen in this picture, (www.countrysideaccess.uk.gov) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 2 England and continued into the early 19th century, the Commons was a way of securing resources, such as crops, l ivestock and timber for a greater number of vi l lagers than was possible by singular energy on private land. The most wel l known commons system used throughout England was one in which land was divided among individuals, but the boundaries of which were open to adjoining properties, creating a larger 'common' , where labor, earth, gravel and timber could be shared. Both public ownership of the land and private ownership, but common access of the land, were used as mechanisms to secure community equity and economic survival (Kerridge, 1992). N e w England When Europeans settled into what is now known as N e w England, they brought the idea of the commons with them. While the land used for the commons was typical ly lef t -over , unwanted land, it was maintained for shared agricultural needs, such as grazing cattle. However , as individualism was at the very root of the new colonies, this land management technique was quick to fade. The original commons were divided and sold to private owners, and a new common evolved into an auxil iary village space geared towards the communities civic desires (Akagi, 1924). These new 'town commons' or 'greens' were incorporated into original town plans and adjoined important civic buildings such as the church, school and cemetery. Occasionally, the town commons would continue to endure as an area where residents could freely acquire firewood, timber, and other building materials (Akagi, 1924). Vermont During the mid-1700 ' s , Vermont was the wi ld west of N e w England. Initial European settlement in Vermont was focused on individual gain and survival and not yet on community life. Pioneer Fig.4 By the late 1800's the commons in New England, like this on in Amherst Massachusetts, were primarily used for social events, (curtesy of Jones Public Library, Amherst, MA) Fig.5 The traditional town commons seen in a current aerial view of Fair Haven Vermont, pop. 3,000. Built in the early 1800's. While conceivibly pleasing in form, sits empty much of the year. (www.viewsfromabove.com) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 3 families claimed sections of land, clearing it of trees and farming it until topsoil was deplete. It was a hard life where social activity happened in the kitchen or a couple miles down at the neighbors woodlot (Albers, 2002). Eventually, in the late 1700's and into the mid 1800's, compact village settlements were built in the val leys, designed by w e l l - t o - d o merchants and infused with a sense of civic pride and puritan goodness. The public ' town common' or 'green' that accompanied many of these village plans were primarily used for social gatherings after church and special community events, reflecting civic ideals that evolved as a pioneer life gave way to structured settlement. While the common is still amongst the iconic images of a Vermont village, their physical form often does not reflect the complete, contemporary translation of the idea of the commons in the landscape. While it is important to recognize the traditional Vermont commons as a valuable aesthetic and historical form, it is also important to place it into the context of Vermont 's contemporary land use patterns and contemporary community needs. In a paper regarding today's commons in the landscape, A l i ce Ingerson, of the Lincoln Po l i cy Institute lists five new types of commons. These are: land trusts, incidental open spaces, cooperative housing, the use of urban public property by the homeless, and converted military bases (Ingerson 1997). In Vermont, the three most l ikely to be found are, land trusts, incidental open space and town commons. Most often these are found in the form of parks, shorelines, lakes, community gardens and trail networks. Even in Britain, the term 'commons' is now used to refer to National Trust Lands, National Parks and smaller municipal public open spaces (countrysideaccess.gov.uk, 2005). Commons such as these have both social , ecological and potentially historical value, and reflect a desire, today more than ever, to maintain public access to natural resources such T _Q._ rr^_JTTllTI Fig.6 The land dedicated for outdoor civic ac- tivity was at the center of the village, as can be seen in this original plan for Shorem, V e r - mont, (image from Around the Mountain, 1992) •r • i i Fig. 5 While the village commons can be found in the smallest Vermont towns, such as this one in Tinmouth, Vermont, population 230, they are oftened disconnected from a greater network of community trails and/pathways, (photo by author) (., inniK >n ( ' iniu-ciii in-. Public Realm as Rcsi mix x- in a Vermont Village- < 'lain: Tcbbs M l .A Tin-sis I i i i vers it v of Bniisl i Ct ilumhia JiKlri as clean water, woods, soil , and fresh air. The Appendix I table compares the past and present function of the Commons, in a Vermont context, as it relates to the concept of the commons as greater public open space. F r o m the Appendix I table, it is apparent that many of the original values of 'the commons' and even some of the programs still apply to today. However , there are obviously greater total demands on the public commons as contemporary open space. Now, more than ever, the wor ld is looking to rural communities to satisfy these demands. In order to do this, the commons must be multi-functional in character- catering to the ecological , social /cultural and economical needs of modern life. In Vermont, this means weaving, growing, and connecting valuable sections of public green space into our daily existence (i.e. our town and village centers). Not only is this economically beneficial (attracting tourists and sustaining local resources), but ecological ly vital to the local region, maintaining and restoring ecosystem connections and wildlife corridors (Erickson, 2003). While it is not a brand new idea to consider our natural resources and open space as entities of the Common, the application of this idea into design and development of modern communities seems harder to actualize. However , there are now thousands of people dedicated to such a cause. In Vermont alone, organizations and programs such as Vermont Smart Growth, Conservat ion L a w Foundation, Vermont Land Trust, Vermont Natural Resource Counci l , Champlain Val ley Green Belt Al l iance , Vermont Housing and Conservat ion Board, Vermont Community Forests , Vermont Design Institute as we l l as local land trusts and passionate individuals are reaching for this end. A suburban farmer and author, Br ian Donahue is one such individual l iving in Weston, Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis U Fig. 8a and 8b Ecological and cultural resources can be incorporated into community planning, for greater public access, or divided, privatized and lost to the community as a whole . (curtesy of Burling- ton South Village) itv of British Columbia 2005 5 Massachusetts. In his book, Reclaiming the Commons, he questions whether the lack of the commons (defined as publicly assessable and publicly managed land) within a village, town or neighborhood has, in part, contributed to the lack of community identity. In order to reverse the potentially ever creeping, anonymous suburban landscape, Donahue suggests the following: "We must recover the traditions that once shaped places in distinctive ways, traditions reaching back in our peasant memory to dreams of both secure private ownership and access to commons, before the shopping malls and tract houses obliterate them. We must both honor and excel our rural forebears, who did not see clearly enough that excessive individualism in a market economy was the outstretched neck of agrarianism, unwary of the ax. We must rebuildfunctioning communities with closer ties to the land not just in nostalgic fantasy, not just in token preservation, but in substantial daily practice. " While this project ultimately results in illustrated design solutions for accessing the greater commons in one particular village, it is important to note that public involvement has been and is vital in actualizing the concepts proposed. As detailed in the following chapters, the study village, Charlotte, Vermont, promises great potential for exemplifying contemporary commons in part because public involvement is already high. This includes a recent participatory planning process regarding the study site. A s Donahue suggests, the people are a crucial element in maximizing the commons, shaping them to the specific needs and desires of their unique community, and stewarding them into the future. It is also important to note that the concept of the commons, in this project, refers to shared access of land, and not shared ownership of property, as in the famous 'Tragedy of the Commons ' (Hardin and Baden, 1977). However , as part of the study site has been held in land trusts, the concept of joint ownership for a greater good, is not foreign to this "What happens when the farmers and loggers are replaced by people who make their livings in more non- traditional ways? The idea that rural means agricultural and urban means industrial is etched in every American brain. What could it mean to be rural and yet not reliant on the land... can Vermont find a way of managing development that retains the physical beauty and strong sense of community that has distinguished it in the past. " - Jan Albers, Hands on the Land Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 6 particular vil lage. Scope of Project Project Concept B y melding Vermont ' s traditional form and value of the village commons (green) as c ivic center to the contemporary translation of the commons as our shared access to cultural and natural heritage, Vermont village character and local community resources can be maximized. Th i s project proposes civic and environmental functions for a centrally located parcel of publicly owned land in Charlotte, l inking it to exist ing public space within and surrounding the vil lage. Project Goal T o explore viable planning and design ideas for incorporating accessible public outdoor space into the future development of Charlotte 's village center in a way that responds to the contemporary needs, desires and concerns of the residents. Project Objectives 1. Provide an example of how Vermont vil lages can plan for future growth in a way that maximizes the integrity of the village center, its community and the greater Vermont landscape while respecting the rural past. 2. Provide design solutions, in both writ ten and graphic form (in a broad range of scales), that are understandable to the public at large. F i g . 9 T h e i d e a o f a g r e a t e r c o m - m o n s found in o u r w o o d l a n d s , m e a d o w s , c l e a n w a t e r a n d f r e s h a i r is a l i v e a n d w e l l i n V e r m o n t . F i g . 10 U r b a n a n d r u r a l r e s i d e n t s a l i k e s e e k ou t o p e n - s p a c e for r e c r e a t i o n , r e l a x a t i o n a n d e v e n p r o d u c t i o n p u r p o s e s , ( p h o t o b y a u t h o r ) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 7 Author's Definition of The Commons For the purpose of this project, the Commons are defined as: That land which is accessible to the public and ensures a specific community with any Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 8 or all of the following • natural resource heritage for now and future generations • safe outdoor places to gather, socialize, recreate, or travel from point a to point b • the preservation of a unique, agrarian place, col lect ively recognized by its community • the opportunity to better understand, foster and participate in the surrounding natural and cultural landscape M u c h of the guidance for creating the site goals, objective and design cri teria came from policies already set in place by the Charlotte community. Outcomes from Charlotte 's 2004 public planning process, regarding the Burns Parce l where direct ly incorporated into the formulation of all design proposals. Site Overview Site Context Th i s project wi l l look at a site located in Charlotte, Vermont, a town located 10 miles south of Vermont 's biggest city, Burlington (pop.49,000). Nest led in the Champlain Val ley, Charlotte houses two small village centers, locally known as East and West Charlotte, and having a total population of 3,500. The study area includes a 55 acre parcel of woodland and wet meadow (Burns Parcel) owned by the town and also the adjoining private property (LeBeouf Meadow) that sits between Burns Parce l and the west village center. The entire study site is approximately 75 acres. For the purpose of this project, the west village wi l l be referred to as Charlotte, as this is considered the civic and commercial center for the entire town. The (www.hort.purdue.edu) Fig. 11 Looking west over Charlotte in the Cham- plain Valley of Vermont, the Adirondack Moun- tains in the distance. This valley was the floor to the ancient Champlain Sea. Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 9 town hall, town green, l ibrary, post office, fire station and general store are located adjacent to the properties in question and wi l l be considered part of the study site. While Charlotte is rural in character, known for its roll ing farm fields and close vicini ty to the shoreline of Lake Champlain, it sits direct ly off of Route 7, a major through road for the west side of the State, and as such is easily accessed by a lot of people. It is a beautiful place with stunning views at each new twist and turn in the road. Residents of Charlotte either travel to work in Burlington, work out of their homes, or are farmers in the area. Characterist ic Overview Burns Parce l overflows with amenities: mountain and pastoral views (the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain to the west, Pease Mountain to the east), exist ing trails through the woods, and significant wildlife habitat. It is home to a large tract of Clay Plain Forest , a rare, and important native ecotype of the Champlain Va l l ey and Thorpe Brook watershed (Poleman, 2004). The wetlands associated with Thorpe Brook are classified as Class I (Sweeney, Wil l iam 2000) and therefore can not be developed (according to Vermont 's Ac t 250). Route 7 is located to the east of the study site, Fer ry Road to the north (Charlotte's main street) and Greenbush Road to the west. A t the southeast corner is an outdoor flea market that currently has no structures on it. The town rents this property out for $200 a year. The south end of the property abuts Mack Dairy Farm, a conserved land. Both Fe r ry Road and Greenbush Road are paved, local roads, Greenbush also being home to a section of Vermont ' s Champlain Val ley Bike Route. The southwest corner of Burns Pacel and areas of the LeBeouf Meadows are wel l drained and appropriate soils for septic system needs, and are already for municipal waste treatment. Other areas of the LeBeouf Meadow are also home to cri t ical wetland sites. For the sake of this Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis U Fig. 12 The study area includes 55 acres of town owned forest, meadow and wetland and 25 acres of privately owned land, both adjacent to the village center. of British Columbia 2005 10 project, both properties and their relationship to the village center, wi l l be considered for future village planning and design scenarios. Site Selection Why Vermont? Last year the National Histor ic Trust named Vermont as one - in -e l even most endangered historic places in the United States (National Historic Trust , 2004). Due to topographical disadvantages for strip development, stringent land-use and environmental policy since the 1970's, and continued dependence on the natural landscape for survival (farming and tourism), comparatively, Vermont stands at the beginning of an uphill battle to save its historical heritage. In North Amer ica today, this is an excit ing place to be. In many regards, Vermont 's landscape has become healthier over the last 100 years. Vermont is far from perfect, but in comparison, many other states have already become inundated with suburbia, losing or jeopardizing most ecological , historical and cultural identities. Since the age of nine I have thoroughly enjoyed l iving, playing and working in Vermont. A lot of hard work and passion has been put into the making of the landscape of Vermont, which makes it an extremely identifiable place (Albers, 2000). This project is a small contribution to a state that has taught me a lot about quality of life, stewarding place, ecological wonders, and the beauty of human-scale design. Why Charlotte? In October of 2004 the Vermont Design Institute, of Burlington Vermont, was asked to facilitate a public planning process with residents of Charlotte. The town wanted to consider wise land use decisions within the town as it related to the Burns Parce l and future village build-out. A s I wanted to explore the topic of public realm within a Vermont village context, this site seemed to be a good fit. Not only was Charlotte considering what to do with a currently, publicly accessible piece of land, Fig. 13 Ferry Road and Greenbush Road bor- der the north and west of the study site, (photos by author) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 1 1 the town was incorporating a democratic process in the planning stage and residents were interested in being involved. In this way, any design implementation to the village property would incorporate a layer of individual input, infusing the land with a sense that the community, as a whole, cared about it (Donahue 2001) (Hester 2003). Not to say that this is, by any means, an easy and automatically successful process, it does reveal genuine concerns and interests related to the users at hand - a crucial component to any good design. Once I embarked on research for this project it became obvious that Charlotte has a history of active participation in land use decisions and regulation, as wel l as a strong commitment to building a sense of community. M y interest in the Burns Parce l also relates to its central location within a community and its advantageous adjacencies, potentially bringing greater open space networks into the village itself and expanding the civic amenities. Scales of Design This project works within two primary scales. Initially the study site of Burns Parce l and the adjoining private property (referred to as LeBeouf Meadow), was considered at a site planning scale. Th i s scale considered regional land use patterns, ecological systems, greater circulation networks, zoning, development scenarios, and inter-si te relationships. Within this analysis, three major civic activity and destination areas were identified and studied at a more detailed, site design scale. These areas included the village center - site of the town hall and village green, a site entrance at the flea market off of Route 7, and a third entrance to the site located on Greenbush road. Recreation trails, pedestrian pathways, streets and entrances were also considered at a this larger scale. The majority of detailed design focused on the village center. Fig. 14 Burns Parcel and the adjacent prop- erty is home to beautiful woods and meadows, all in the vicinity of the village center, (photos curtesy of Diane Gayer) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 12 Chapter 2 Precedent Studies There are a myriad of resources out there related to public space in rural places, most commonly referred to as 'open space planning'. However , as this project relates specifically to public open space within a village center, the following precedents set great examples. When picking precedents I looked for municipalities and/or organizations that had managed to create public, outdoor places immediately adjacent or at town centers that served the community in a diversi ty of ways. A l l the precedents provide a greater indoor/outdoor civic center for a town/village while connecting these spaces to a greater regional context. The following are brief descriptions of each precedent and how ideas from each were incorporated into the design solutions in this project. Open Space at the Community Planning Scale Amherst , M A Amherst , Massachusetts has a long history of innovative town planning and land use regulation. Much of the town's public and private open space has been preserved within and around its village center. Amherst has a very active conservation committee and there are a number of helpful documents available as well as a plentitude of GIS maps regarding open space, interconnected recreation trails, and parks. Although this is not a Vermont town, Amhers t sits in the context of the rural N e w England landscape, visually recognized for its agrarian and civic aesthetic for over 200 years. In this way, decisions made with respect to small village centers within their regional context, throughout N e w England Fig. 15 A woman grows flowers for farmers market in a field, walking distance from the center of town, (photo by author) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 13 can be easi ly compared to decisions and processes that Amherst has adopted. Amhers t sets precedents for village center design not only within its regional context, but also at the site design scale. A s an example, Atk in Corners , is an area just south of Amherst Commons and home to Atkins Market - a family owned and operated grocery store. A popular area, along a busy two lane road, residents were concerned that unplanned development around Atkins Market would ruin the rural charm of the area. Together, residents, planners and designers developed a plan that sets a better course for v i l lage-fr iendly development to occur around the market that incorporates the surrounding green landscape, vital to an appropriate scale and regional character. The following are design guidelines and strategies used in the planning and design of the future Atk ins Corner Vil lage, that are relevant to this project: Relevant Design Principles: 1. Recognition of context 2. Treatment of Landscapes as interdependent and interconnected 3. Integration of the native landscape with development 4. re -use of already disturbed areas (Andropogon Associates , Ltd.) Relevant Design Strategies: 1. maintain views to surrounding hills 2. wetlands protected or created 3. v iews to landscape accessible through buildings 4. open space maximized - buildings clustered Town of Amherst, MA Open Space Land Fig . 16 Conserved open-space , much of it publically accessible, surrounds much of the center of Amherst, M A . (www.amherst.gov) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 1 4 5. hydrology exposed and expressed throughout site 6. bioswales and buffer strips incorporated into circulation routes 7. parking divided up into smaller areas - easily shaded, pedestrian friendly 8. permeable pavers for parking areas 9. parking available on Main Street 10. streets are curb less for better water infiltration into bioswales 11. buildings are no more than 2.5 floors high 12. new buildings fit the N e w England vernacular 13. buildings have porches/decks that connect with landscape (A Workbook of Design Options for Sustainable Design: Atk ins Corner Vil lage Dodson Associa tes , L td . Landscape Archi tec ts and Planners, 2002) Relevant Program: Pedestr ian friendly, ecological ly and geographically sensitive N e w England village center Vermont Commons - Old and New Shoreham, V T In 2002 Shoreham, Vermont, a village 25 miles south of Charlotte, went through a planning initiative for the rejuvenation of its town commons. The Shoreham Commons, as it is known, consists of eighteen acres of municipal land, twelve of which are the village green and the buildings located on this land: the fire department, town garage, l ibrary, town offices, congregational church, elementary school and also Newton Academy. A l l Fig.17 The Vermont Design Institute provid- ed a master plan for the village of Shoreham, Vermont in order to re-evaluate the role of the commons, (curtesy of The Vermont De- sign Institute) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 1 5 of these community buildings were built at different times, spanning 150 years. The goal of the planning project was to provide a framework for improving and expanding community services and municipal functions to best serve the citizens of Shoreham (Gayer, 2002). Although the amount of open space considered in this project is not as expansive as that potentially available in Charlotte center, this project sets a precedent for maintaining, yet embellishing upon historical character (however incrementally developed) of vil lages in the Champlain Val ley region. Relevant Program: Mult i-funct ional Community Green with scenic, historic and recreational function Relevant Design Guidelines: 1. consider public open space design concurrently with future development scenarios, providing distinct delineation and natural buffers between residential areas and green space 2. provide easy access to village green space from all directions and from community buildings, so that it is utilized and active throughout the week by a diversity of users 3. create/restore community buildings to be flexible and adaptive spaces for a variety of community needs 4. recreational space Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 16 Intervale, Burlington Vermont The Intervale Project, in Burlington, V T is a collaborative effort of Burlington citizens who wanted to see the reclamation of a large open space property that sits in the north end of town. It is a great example of a productive open space that also functions as a recreation area, and is currently shaping new, innovative civic and retail development within the city boundary. The property consists of 700 acres, much of which is leased as farmland by a number of smal l -hold operations and community gardens. Surrounding the farmland are woodland trails that run along the Winooski River - all of which is in walking or biking distance to the greater city of Burlington. The Intervale is a kind of common, such as identified by Al ice Ingerson, in that it was a fragmented piece of open space that has been reclaimed. It relates to this project as it is a public, outdoor space, mul t i - functional in nature, which integrates and reconnects natural and social systems, maximizing both, within a town context. The Intervale is a superb example of what a 21st century common can be. Because this common is such a productive, participatory landscape, its programming harkens back to the commons of old, where public agriculture was the main function of such a space. Relevant Program: community gardens, recreation trails, abutting farm fields, on-going community gatherings and events, wildlife habitat, wetlands (http://www.intervale.org/index.html) Fig. 18 The Intervale in Burlington, Ve r - mont has re-defined the term 'commons', where joint access to property and joint ownership flourish on 700 acres, within the city of Burlington, (www.intervalefounda- tion.com) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 1 7 The Public Process in Village Design Westport, C A Westport, C A is a very small town (approx. 240 residents) in Northern California that took part in a community planning process very similar to Charlotte. Although on the other side of the country, the scenario is also very similar. Randy Hester, a landscape architect and community planner from Berk ley , C A led the residents of Westport through a design charrette in order to decide what to do with a centrally located parcel of undeveloped land. Th i s precedent study gives clari ty to the public process piece of this project and also gives design solutions to the challenge at hand. Relevant Design Principles: 1. community development must be inspired by ecology, integrated with traditional forms of the village 2. consider the community the best community resource 3. design must be a harmonious integration of all scales, from watersheds to building alignment 4. village center must be grounded in everyday life 5. use local resources - natural, human and manufactured wisely and inventively (Westport Community Design Team - Univers i ty of California, Berke ley , Crafting Westport, Technica l Report Five from the Pea Patch, 2003) Fig . 19 A community in Cal i fornia used the traditional N e w England town common as their centralizing form for new village and local trail development, (curtesy of Westport Community Des ign Team, U n i - versi ty of California, Be rke l ey ) Relevant Program: flexible outdoor space in village center, trail network connected to village center, flexible community building/space Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 I 8 Guiding Principles of Project While each of the precedents listed is not an exact replica of Charlotte 's scenario, the focus of this project, relevant information has been gleaned from each of them and applied to the design challenges for Charlotte. Specific design guidelines have been used from these precedents, but most importantly the precedents helped in the formulation of six guiding principles. These are as follows: 1. Maximize community resources - intellectual, experiential, cultural, and natural 2. A l l o w ecological systems to run their natural course 3. Create flexible, multifunctional spaces 4. Make interconnections at all scales 5. Treat outdoor spaces like rooms within the village 6. Support visible activity at, from, and to, the village center Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University' of British Columbia 2005 19 Chapter 3 Understanding the Site Analysis Social Assessment Community Profile "Charlotte shoulders its way between the glitzy refinement of Shelburne to the north and the blue-collar panache of Ferris burgh to the south, trying to find a happy medium between the two extremes, and forging its own peculiar character in the process. This is a town dominated by rural landscapes, by farmland, hills, and orchards; it is also - quietly, to be sure - part and parcel of Vermont s Gold Coast. Small farms and modest homes are here, as they have always been; but they often sit cheek and jowl with more stately mansions. " Vermont Magazine A s can be seen in the above quote, Charlotte is not suffering a rural decay. Chartered in 1762, Charlotte is situated in the idyll ic and adored Chainplain Va l l ey . Originally, it's four corners, now the junction of Fer ry Road and Greenbush Road was home to the local tavern, a warm hold up for those shipping goods across Lake Champlain. While Charlotte has seen a lot of change since then, the tavern still stands (now a family home) and much of the land around it is still productive farmland, as it was in days gone by. T o better understand Charlotte, below are some vital community statistics: Fig.20 Charlotte residents have a long standing history with the land they call home, as a place to enjoy and recreate and also as a place to make a living, (curtesy of Charlotte Library Collection) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 20 Average Age: 36 Race: 97% white Place of Birth: 48% out of state 49% in state 3% out of country Education: 18.5% high school diploma 22% college or associates degree 32.4% bachelors degree (18% V T ) 23.5% masters degree (11% V T ) Median Household Income: age 3 5 - 4 5 $67,000 ($47,000 V T , $50,600 US) age 45 -54 $88,000 ($52,00 V T , $56,000 US) age 75+ $19,000 ($21,000 V T , $22,000 US) Housing: average cost of house $500,000 ($183,000 V T ) summer home $775,000 ($275,000) Transportation: 1,563 out of 1,859 working population drive to work F i g . 2 1 T h i s ' v i s i o n map ' , c r e a t e d b y a m e m b e r of C h a r l o t t e ' s T r a i l s C o m m i t t e e r e f l ec t s the d e d i c a t i o n a l r e a d y i n p l a c e i n C h a r l o t t e to m a x i m i z e t h e i r r e g i o n a l a n d l o c a l r e c r e a t i o n a l a n d e c o l o g i c a l p u b l i c r e s o u r c e s ( image b y B r o o k e S c a t c h a r d ) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 21 Work: 234 work from home 51 walk to work 0 use public transportation ( none currently available) 44% professional specialty occupations 16.3% sales 8-10% agriculture (16 dairy farms and numerous other agricultural enterprises such as orchards and organic vegetable and flower farms) 7.7% craft and repair Jobs available in Charlotte: approximately 500 jobs, 102 businesses in operation, mostly out of the home (Charlotte T o w n Plan, 2002) (US Census, 2000) F rom the above statistics it is easy to see that Charlotte does not necessari ly represent the typical Vermont l iving. Comparatively, Charlotte has a collect ive income far above the Vermont median. This is largely due to its close proximity to Burlington, where the availability of a diversi ty of jobs is most probably the largest in the state, but also due to wealthier families moving into the area from wealthier states. Also notable is the large discrepancy in median income for those 4 5 - 5 5 ($88,000) and those over 75 ($19,000). While this does imply that many Charlotte residents are l iving comfortably, it also means that the price of l iving in Charlotte could easily be unobtainable for others, especial ly for seniors and young families in the area. Because of this, providing affordable housing is an essential element to Charlotte 's town planning if they are to create a livable community for a diversi ty of residents. ,urns Property Hearing Draws a *un House nwht fcMni If pi *•«. |Mnif)«K <W*r * MVt i> i,'i.. I. 1 i. ullnHt IlDUU ..•!'.. '|.| I *y .i.[ I ; I. „ : tK.h.|»I.ll.JIiW.Ui.,«M(lH, ' • II • I- Ml . illl.il . : t : .•; «fl>/fc>l(l> lAli /nlfcUlvu.tt. ' i r. 11 -I'. I n I . i• . j; I I. fatutil'iiiraJMlJii [ua.iMiftUimi lib bill) tMil«htbi»|iral|iti<¥iTf Kin I tart fitp* tf'nnnri m>- 41) ii J.i •:> Mi tm Ukt«u> -MU UMJt ani ...... 1.,:,,.,, ,1 M M . . . . . . . . li«t .( I,-CU\UtLMl TIM. Ifrfitb I, M I , pMN> i.l.lW- If»t i-|.1,v*.1H. linn., lv> tilt h intuh 1 1.1-41.1 -..111. It,. Ivl .1 HV ••|..|..̂ .ilil.l.. nr*n| KIIV iitm if** mnti a,,,.] w ii.^.ilMtai'tmriiitii.ja.MlrAbM. • f«, MlriMi,Mil̂ r̂ j,|liiriw I .Kt.Miwt.nl ...tl.tr.il.lt* irar*. 'I .1 ' I, I . - . I .! • . I .. ••, ' . .1- 1 • • . •': . (I'll .1, • .J |f(IM»l Mtx'"t. rft.1*. m Athniiu I aw l I K Iu1ji1i.1i II. nm ii.Mi M rNur»Ju>. I>trtmhfr 16 7 p.m Timn Kill ' i . » (JML lit; i. iii. i.. i/. .11, •Jit(I;*t I j| i.' n i i • -i. •i(lttlitMnJ'Mtliqpi(*ltli>i«».'i Wl nlutuHlmli 1 irtil* j« lit,1 ui;i j 'limit Utn w i >ml -tXtllW IMld. Illi.lt. If »,•*• —Mil *»ilnp>i ifnutjiti -MtiluiKili.nl ni-(ii«>̂ . Ainnvunilami|Ai7 it* urt n»l,Ml̂»wt)U»». »!,*•: i«tp::i. IWi -utrmWiriMi-t i tit 'ifJon Hfl-iliii b.-n: ' ' • ! " HI . ; . j. i.-li J . , »j< v ni < i t i'liii.i lolir:«lrtrtw- n4idu>4;i rt^trJm.t-lrHtin 1 4Nl|iMNwn(ntMi'*;l<R liUl Tit; lit̂ utiiiĵ li; MMtHWUtu.ir.lt . >f nltMnm*ffiti. rt« I rVf<kl. mltM vi tin i ix* »mt <IUI« >un iMtwri i*̂ n« I «ir«i4it rmkii:nK*iiturnttr. BIJ Fig.22 Charlotte residents took part in an i n - tensive design workshop and a number of public hearings between October and December of 2004 to understand how best to manage their village- land. (The Charlotte News, 2004) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 22 Luck i ly , Charlotte has an extremely active town planning commission and residents alike. The town also boasts of a recreation, conservation, a trails committee and recently, a Burn 's Parce l committee. F rom the most recent town plan and up- to-date land use regulations it's also easy to see that, as a municipality, Charlotte has gone to extensive lengths, not only to identify itself, but to put policies into effect that go a long way in stewarding a much loved rural environment. The planning commission recognizes that any future development must be carefully considered in order to fulfill the needs and desires of the Charlotte cit izens, while also protecting the natural processes occurring on and off site (Hamilton, Linda 2004). The Vis ion Map, shown in F ig 21, is a great example of just how dedicated residents are to making Charlotte a great place to l ive. The Vis ion Map was created by the Charlotte Tra i l s Committee and shows a potential trail network that extends across the entire town-both the east and west vil lage, and the surrounding countryside. The Tra i l s and Conservat ion committee are currently seeking r i gh t -o f -way permission from private landowners in order to make this V i s ion Map a reality. Community 's Response to S i t e - Public Planning for Public Land A s mentioned in Chapter 1, in the Site Selection section, the town of Charlotte held a public planning process to better understand the potential future of the Burns Parce l property. The planning process was made up of town meetings, a design workshop and fol low-up discussions. Four Design Teams were formed to look at several village scenarios, looking at the Burn 's Parcel and LeBoeuf Meadow in tandem, due to their proximity to the village center. A composite drawing was then created by the Vermont Design Institute that reflected the » mm i. m THE CHARLOTTE NEWS Notes on the Charlotte Burns Parcel and Village Planning Project /rniWrny HH Hxplamium of the Composite DMWI? (mm Cmmmm Design form SmmJ qi« n n „ i mt *0talWr*daot4fci«4Lldfcb tabham taMltpha^MM •feio.itmiita&alroafc** «^»n««.»^«a^M«<«o- rin » i i >•» »tiiL„ i | i I I . » |W>>iali'B>hHl'<l«U imtmUmMtUi^atmlt^ml •ramaaaarfinantlHtalatf ml U » » » I » I I I . I I I I I I I I H » I I I ^ M a m . i,4,r,i|*M|A. ik>ftai«»(u«N»ml*** p«B •<••»>>••> a, ./k«f H a « « i n > ammmmt. mt fa.««H«»,Wi..>)l.i>«*»h ^ r i a o i p M K f c ^ tmmmmmm " >.ly<«. ^••fm . * c m t m m i|» * I—.,mimi ««nj n* fcbaajoisafe teafca0b .kcMaAmlrila«a»nv) • ^ « a - < u « . u , . i ¥ < « i « \ . f e a i m n i - 11 mia«av.»rawtf»i . | « ^ . d . w i < . M i i l ' A.... »**awi • ( M | t W M M * ^ l ItlWkkaiMl la>MKtf»ia»jmna4itrea> i i l i i d a«Qb«bnfc««n ' l o t a a l | h i d | k d k i a n a n i W a u i l n u u i t , n a l l i a l l m a W m k faai atiialtliianaa « , « « i W a . W i > j « » « f » n ^ n l h f a u a l w u n . « » l iHMaaMnaamln i , « . I W t D t W i l t a . i B ^ M k , ' IMiMatan l twd M i BI tot 1 M B t I « ^ « r 4 . - . u u d k * mmma^mummmtknn .mt he, «mlmpm?mM**m»mmml Nad* niM« anta» «r ltl«»»»«« > W a ^ K t i m * l i i i u . raatbteaairadri kjtanacaaluaa> M O M f B J l M a t o M i a i ajlaaa»u.»a.««l*«h* IHoiMaUau »»B«a^,AaMaaaaa,aata«a» : L x t t n t K a W o i * «*»»la»fcialaa|aala|i«al Malaa u h > M « « » ««*aa .»«,> r.-.»( fcaS.te DM'I ••» >•( h*tic Fonra Burns Property Hul Fig.23 Municipalities can glean a lot of informa- tion and even find direction for land-use planning if residents are involved in a directed planning and design process. (The Charlotte News, 2004) sitv of British Columbia 2005 2 3 collective thoughts from the workshop. The intension of the workshop was for the town to better understand the needs and desires of the community, before land use decisions took place behind closed doors. The following outlines the major outcome of design day discussions, as it relates to the Burns Property: - conserve, protect and respect wetlands of both LeBoeuf and Burns Property - provide green buffer along Route 7 - consider LeBoeuf property crucial in bigger picture of village build out - include trail network to access property - link exist ing conserved land (Mt. Philo, Demeter Park, Barber Hill) - incorporate Restaurant, Pub or Cafe into new village plans Comments on housing: - affordable housing noted as much needed addition to village - housing options needed for downsizing, young couples and single persons - community gardens available for the above mentioned residents Comments on Commerc ia l : - retail mentioned as welcomed (by most, but not all) were: A T M / Bank, copy center, computer store, artisan and farmers market Comments of Educat ion: - School Board does not see need for a new school for at least another 10 years - future school, with strong agricultural/ecological focus would be a Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis T H l Burns Property &gU.-tfSff ^i* »h«li *«rv bulk m Ik* UM nm* >«ar> m *n nw nl from ChMhww'. raral cft»i*rtr» T.i <Lt thit, wc MM) I he Burn* i".iri iv .i t.iM , . i k>«4dn>n .tcicUftan.nl l*to«n and thaibaty*t»—in vol** tkr « much o. pUfcSJMc. Climcr IWUMIII tu •cdav« i- • t tne Viligf ATM. tltluM KKV U*r*iT r*fMtl> rtithinf l.a market (wt«* Uk« their mww In I. h» tin, Mf * rtl—- Fig.24 Letters to the Editor in the Charlotte News reflect how passionate residents are about future development decisions and the potential loss of a 'rural character'. (The Charlotte News, 2004) f of British Columbia 2005 24 good fit for property - nature center for public education also a possibil i ty Comments on Trails: - network of trail wanted throughout town and connecting to exist ing trail networks Comments of Traffic Patterns: -conges t ion on Fe r ry Rd. and Greenbush Road noted - 'ga teways ' needed to better define village center atmosphere in order to slow traffic and make for a more pedestrian friendly environment (Charlotte News , Dec. 2004) The outcomes of the design day as well as town meeting discussion topics and letters to the editor in the local newspaper, suggest residents are passionate about what goes on around town. It goes without saying, that this passion wi l l , of course, support opposing opinions when it comes to land use change... such are the growing pains of Vermont and the rest of the wor ld . Policy Assessment In its v is ion for the Town ' s future, the Charlotte T o w n Plan builds on its most valuable characterist ics - rural landscape and environment, diversi ty of its population, small town character, history, and active participation by cit izen volunteers. Essential components of this vis ion are: 1. T o reinforce historic settlement patterns by focusing Private Owner - W i l d Flower Farm Private Owner - long time resident Town Owned Land Fig.25 The study site for this project, as in Char- lottes' public process, looks at both private and public land to develop a greater understanding of how each plays a part in determining the future face of the village. It also allows for best-case scenario planning. Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 25 growth in village centers and promoting a town center 2. T o maintain and enhance the scenic beauty and open land of the T o w n through protection of working farmland and the creation of conservation areas'. 3. To recognize and preserve the T o w n ' s unique environmental and cultural resources through both regulatory and non-regula tory actions 4. To promote social , economic, cultural and racial diversi ty and sense of community through actions that encourage affordable housing, enhance the agricultural economy, provide essential commercial services, and enable environmentally sensitive rural enterprises 5. To enable access and appropriate use of open land and recreational resources, both public and private; 6. To plan for capital improvements consistent with the fiscal ability of the Town! and 7. T o promote community interaction and spirit. (Charlotte T o w n Plan, 2002) Exis t ing Zoning A s can be seen in F ig . 26, much of the study site is currently zoned as commercial , including the entire edge running along Route 7. This in itself does not correspond with the town's vis ion of having a green buffer running along the Route 7 corridor. It is obvious that the current zoning was adopted from previous state zoning regulations that ran all retail along the busiest road. Th i s is the root cause of 'strip development', and if put into play, would contradict much of the town's vis ion for the future (as can be seen in the previous section). British Columbia 2005 26 Comparing F i g . 26 and Fig.29, it can also be seen that the commercial zoning covers wetland areas that are currently in private ownership and therefore would not be able to be developed anyway. While the commercial zoning is not very helpful in predicting future land use, the village zoning can help gauge where the historical village settlement patterns can sti l l be recognized. Th i s is helpful in knowing where, if possible, to density the vil lage center - a goal of the town plan. If any of the study site is to be preserved from future development, according to Charlotte 's Land use policies, it must be zoned 'conservation' . Current ly Pease Mountain, on the far right of the zoning map, is the closest conservation land to the village center. Environmental Assessment Physica l Factors Charlotte, Vermont sits in the fertile Champlain Va l l ey and was originally the floor to the glacial Lake Vermont, and later the Champlain Sea. Due to this geological history, deep, clay soils are predominant. Barber H i l l , southwest of the study site is a rare volcanic rock outcropping. Pease Mountain, to the east of the site is Monkton quartzite (Poleman, 2004). Typ ica l ly this region offers the mildest climate in the state, with the longest frost free seasons and narrowest range of temperature extremes (Lapin, 1998). However , typical Vermont seasons wi l l put Charlotte under snow for at least three months of the year, with winter temperatures dipping into the negative numbers. The study site, in particular, is l o w - l y i n g depressions within the valley, with a slope no greater than 5%, accept in some areas along the banks of Thorpe Brook and other drainage ditches. Both drainage Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis Fig.27a. This slope diagram shows the rela- tive flatness of the low-lying study area (the lighest shade having a slope no greater than 5% and the darkest shade haveing a slope of 15-25% slope. Fig.27b shows the correspond- ing hydrology of the site. niversity of British Columbia 2005 27 ditches and one of the ponds on site are remnants of an agricultural past, but still used today to drain water from surrounding roads and fields. Bio logica l Factors Burns Parce l consists of second growth forest, wetlands, streams and meadow land. It is surrounded by a diversi ty of natural areas, including Pease Mountain, Mount Philo State Park further to the east, and Lake Champlain. The entire area is r ich with a diversi ty of habitat types, most l ikely supporting populations of water fowl, raptures including bald eagles, amphibians, macro-invertebrates , and mammals, large and small . In many ways the study site sits at the junction of forest and lake, and this location provides a cr i t ical connection for wildlife and humans alike. Th i s characteristic must be considered carefully during the design process, in order to connect this property to its regional, ecological setting as thoroughly as possible. The Clay Plain Forest , making up most of Burns Parcel (see F ig 28) is now a rare forest eco- type that once covered much of the Champlain Val ley . Due to extensive agricultural practices in this area for the past 200 years, this r ich ecosystem is now only found in fragmented parcels (Champlain V a l l e y Clay plain Forest project, 2003). The Champlain Va l l ey Clay Plain Forest Project is a research and advocacy group that works with volunteers on behave of this forest type in order to restore, steward and connect this ecosystem across the Val ley . Plants associated with this forest type and found on the Burns Property include: basswood (Ti l ia americana), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), red maple (Quercus rubra), Amer ican elm (Ulmus americana), shagbark hickory (Carya ovata), and swamp white oak (Acer bicolor) (Lapin, 1998) (Poleman, 2004). The oldest trees found on this property are two i 6 III I H Sf & , tilt • Clay Plain Forest Hedgerow Fig.28 The Clay soils known to this area are home to the native Clay Plain forest and also well known for extremely fertile agricultural land (photos cur- tesy of Champlain Valley Clay Plain Forest Proj- ect). ..Ity of British Columbia 2005 28 red oaks estimated to be 200 years old, and sit at the corner of southwest property lines. Smaller trees on site include Musc lewood (Carpinus caroliniana), Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) and w i t c h - hazel (Hamamelis v i rg in ianaXLapin 1998, Poleman, 2004). Over 60 herbaceous species grow within this forested site, including two uncommon sedge; the Minnesota sedge (Carex albursina) and Gray ' s sedge (Carex grayi) (Lapin, 1998). Th i s forest type provides wildlife with a large supply of nut crops, close proximity to water, a moderate climate, and a diverse landscape for foraging and refuge. The wetlands associated with the study site, both on the Burns parcel and private parcel are considered Class I (significant wildlife habitat) and sit within a major wildlife cooridor that runs diagonally, southwest to northeast and v i c e - v e r s a (Charlotte T o w n Plan, 2002), (Lapin, 1998). Plant species associated with the wettest parts of the site include sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis), lady fern (Athyrium fil ix-femina), wood-net t le (Laportea canadensis) and fowl mannagrass (Glyceria striata) and common cattail (Lapin, 1998). Other important eco- types found on the study site are the open meadow - both dry and wet, and hedgerows. Both of these are essential habitat for song birds, such as the cardinal, tufted titmouse, and hermit thrush, raptures - owls and hawks, and also to wi ld turkeys and small mammals such as voles and mice. The wet meadows are home to a diversi ty of wetland grasses, such as mentioned above, and also to amphibians such as frogs and salamanders. Specifically, the Jefferson , blue-spotted, and red back salamander, the gray tree frog, wood frog, spring peeper, northern leopard frog, green frog and bullfrog (Lapin, 1998). Hedgerows act as movement corr idors for wildlife as wel l as perching and nesting sites for birds of prey (Smith, 1998). Fig.29 While wetlands can be seen as a limiting factor to future development, they can also guide well-sited development and are in themselves vital to a high quality water source, (photos by author) I o f British Columbia 2005 29 Summary of Opportunities and Constraints Site Planning Scale Major land-use restrictions that must be considered when proposing uses for Burns Parce l and LeBeouf Meadows include; sensitive wetland and stream habitat, rare forest type and limited septic soils for future development. Opportunities for future development are clearly defined by those areas that are neither cr i t ical wetland. Clay Plain forest nor prime agricultural soil . The remaining land available for building, that would also support a historical ly dense village center, sits to the east and south of residential properties at the corner of Greenbush and Fe r ry road. The hedgerow that runs parallel to Greenbush would act as a natural buffer and public r i gh t -o f -way between exist ing residential and any new residential that may occur. While Charlotte 's land-use regulations, as wel l as the 10 cri ter ia of Vermont 's Ac t 250, are a good foundation for any land-use proposals, the current zoning, as mentioned previously, does not correlate with either of the aforementioned cri teria. The 10 Cr i ter ia of A c t 250 are listed in the appendix V . Biologica l ly and physical ly, the study area offers a plentitude of natural wonders and aids in the overall rural aesthetic that Charlotte wishes to maintain. Important vistas to note are those views from Barber Hi l l , looking both northwest and northeast, and views across the meadow south from the town hall area. A l l surrounding roads should also be considered for their high visual quality as rural greenways and gateways into and out of the village center. Last ly , it is necessary to consider Vermont 's four seasons, each bringing certain challenges and opportunities when designing for Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis Fig.30 Wet meadows and old farm fields sit adja- cent to the village center (photo curtesy of Diane Gayer) of British Columbia 2005 30 peoples enjoyment of a place. For example, spaces designed for people also need to accommodate large amounts of snow in the winter, mud and rain in the spring and places to enjoy the fall colors come October. Vi l lage Center The beauty and essence of this project lies in the fact that the site in question lies at the heart of Charlotte. People naturally bump into each other going to the post office, the library, or running in for a carton of milk at the general store along Fe r ry road, not to mention events already in motion at the senior center, fire station and the daily activity at the Charlotte Chi ld Care Center and The Fly ing P ig bookstore. There is able opportunity to capitalize on this high level of community activity. Currently, however the formal outdoor public spaces tied into Fe r ry road are not connected to a greater pedestrian network or to larger public green space, even though the proximity of the latter is extremely close by. The vil lage green, created in the late 1990's when both the l ibrary and town hall were built, does not currently have a designated pedestrian path to or from it, apart from the sidewalks running from the library to the town hall, at the side and rear of these buildings. T o the west are a wide drive and two asphalt parking areas, one behind the town hall and one behind the post office. Having such a wide paved area immediately west of the green gives the green little definition, and/or defined entry way from the west, and separates the post office from its two neighboring civic buildings. Th i s also gives priori ty to cars in the town center, Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs open-wet meadow/ag. soil community woods developable land high/potentially high civic activity Fig.31 Th i s simple bubble diagram shows the general d e l i n - ation of types of spaces within the study area based on p h y s i - cal, biological and social character. rather than a balance of both cars and also pedestrians and/or bikes. It should be noted that small foot bridges are currently in place for pedestrians to cross over a grass swale that also runs along the western edge of the town green. Current ly there are no sidewalks along Fe r ry Road. Fe r ry Road is currently 20 feet wide. Between this width and the open north edge of the green, there would be ample room for sidewalks/paths in this central area if the town so desired. Both social and ecological connections to the south (Demeter park) and west (Burns Parcel) of the town green could also be made. Site Goals, Objectives and Design Criteria The final piece to this research project is to propose design solutions that are both appropriate to the regional and site biological , physical and social make up, and also accommodate the proposed site program. The Appendix II chart outlines a systematic approach to reaching the ultimate goal of sound design decision. Here, design cri teria (the how- to-des ign) is reached by understanding the goals, objectives and policies that bound the site (Condon, 2005). The chart also includes design strategies - the specific design decisions that were made within this project, to meet the design cri teria. post office town hall library II Fig.32 A closer look at Charlot te ' s vi l lage center shows existing outdoor spaces that could benefit from increased definition and interconnect ion. Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 3 2 Program Charlotte's Greater Village Commons - a series of dynamic, connected civic and conservation spaces in the heart of Charlotte Community identified needs, site opportunities, and precedent generated program all play a role in informing the program for the site in question. While members of the community differ in opinion on how to go about developing or protecting land, most agree that the natural systems and open space currently in place within or adjacent to the village, both private or public, are of utmost importance to the character of the town. This, along with town and state policy that does not permit development on wetland or natural heritage sites (clay plain forest), which make up much of the study area, supports a program with a high ecological/conservation bent. This being said, Charlotte does have a need for affordable housing, and according to their 2002 T o w n Plan, a desire to density their village center in order to preserve historic settlement patterns (Charlotte T o w n Plan, 2002). T o satisfy community need and respond to the character of the land, a series of public, outdoor spaces are proposed linking village spaces to the landscape that immediately surrounds it - a greater village common. These public places require a network of trails that connect to existing trails, r igh t -o f -ways , village residences (existing and proposed), and to village services and amenities. See Appendix I for detailed programming information. A s in all programmed public areas, special consideration needs to be made for parking demands, as it relates to proposed program. Table 2 shows the specific parking requirements for each site program, according to Time Saver Standards. Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thes' PARKING SPACE REQUIREMENTS WHAT STANDARD RATIO Requirement in Charlotte Town Hall 1.5 space/ea.employee 15 spaces Library 1 space/300sq.foot 15 spaces Post Office 1 space/2 employees 4 spaces Market Place 6 spaces/lOOOsq ft 24 spaces Senior Housing 1 space/Ju nits 7 spaces Con se rvati o n Area 1 space/2 acres 27 spaces TOTAL SPACES NEEDED = 92 spaces* (Landscape Architecture Time Saver Standards) Table 1. Parking has been divided up into small areas throughout the site. 136 parking spaces have been proposed throughout the study site, including on Ferry Street, in front of the village green. University of British Columbia 2005 33 Chapter 4 Planning and Designing the Site T h e B i g Idea - Cha r lo t t e ' s G r e a t e r C o m m o n Conceptual Design F r o m the research and analysis collected, it is evident that the village of Charlotte has the best of both worlds: land that can't be developed, but offers a beautiful community resource close to town, and land that can be developed that wi l l enhance and support a vibrant, active village center. Together, these two findings support the concept of Charlottes' Greater Commons, where private land consumption is minimized and public outdoor space is maximized for social and ecological function. The Greater Commons house all connected, public, outdoor places from the village center and beyond. These include Post Office Plaza, Village Market Place (proposed), Vil lage Green, Town Hall Meadow (proposed), Open Meadows, Wetlands and Burns Parcel Woods (Burns Forest), and also trails to Demeter Park, Pease Mountain, Mount Philo and Barber Hi l l Lookout (proposed). Supporting community buildings that complete the Greater Commons as civic space include the post office, town hall, library, Charlotte Child Care Center, Senior Center, Fi re Station, The Old Br ick Store, Fly ing Pig bookstore, Charlotte Cafe (proposed), Charlotte Senior Home (proposed), and the Market Buildings (proposed). Before delving into detailed design, a conceptual diagram of Charlottes ' Greater Commons was done at various scales. F ig . 33 shows how the concept works within a larger context of public outdoor space within the entire town of Charlotte, Figure 34 and 35 Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis Review of Guiding Principles 1. Maximize community resources - intellectual, experiential, cultural and natural 2. A l l o w ecological systems to run their natural course 3. Create flexible, multifunctional spaces 4. Make inter-connections at all scale 5. Treat outdoor spaces like rooms within the village 6. Support visible activity at, from and to the village center University of British Columbia 2005 34 zooms in further to the study site itself. Final ly, figure 36 shows how the concept of the Greater Commons transfers to the smaller scale of village center, where the village center houses increased social and ecological function within itself, as well as being a vital part of a larger social and ecological system - the Greater Commons. A t this conceptual stage of design, the writ ten and diagrammatic explanations hope to capture site goals and objectives from afar, using the s ix guiding principles as an al l -encompassing measuring stick for success. T o review the guiding principles formulated in Chapter 2, they are: 1. Maximize community resources - intellectual, experiential, cultural and natural 2. Allow ecological systems to run their natural course where ever possible 3. Create flexible, multifunctional spaces 4. Make social and ecological inter- connections at all scales 5. Treat outdoor spaces like rooms within the village 6. Support visible activity at, from and to the village center. While some of these principles relate more to the public process piece of designing a unique place, for example: "maximizing the communities intellectual resources", most can be recognized at this conceptual stage. The following describes the concept of the Greater Commons in detail, first at the site scale and then at the village center scale. Site Concept The study site is seen as a series of outdoor spaces, with both ecological and social function - where certain places have higher ecological character than social character and others work in the reverse. Public land in the greater town of Charlotte Potential trails from West Charlotte's village center Potential Public Easements identified by Charlotte's trail committee Fig.33 Based on the community Vision Map, the village center of Charlotte can potentially connect trail users to a regional net- work of public lands. Thesis University o f British Columbia 2005 35 There are three major hubs of human activity (social character), where entering the study site and prolonged gathering would naturally occur, based on specific site adjacencies. While each hub is civic in character, there is a uniqueness to each, again, depending on its place and relationship to the site in its entirety. The most prominent civic hub (1 . ) identified is that at the heart of the village center, connecting the village green to a larger network of public open space, for both social and ecological purposes. Th i s wi l l be a celebrated entrance space for both locals and vis i tors alike, and the largest gathering zone within the study site. Hub 2. is directly off of Route 7, where the Charlotte Flea Market is currently located. Because of the proximity to Route 7, a major state through-way, this is an extremely public entrance to the woods of Burns Parce l . This area acts as a draw and welcome to the village of Charlotte and any trail networks (and any other program) that begin here. Hub 3. is the only entrance direct ly off of Greenbush Road. It is a smaller, more subtle entryway to Burns Parcel to the east and Barber Hi l l to the west, and is intended for local use and those biking through on the Champlain Va l l ey Bike Route. The design of these three areas wi l l be discussed in greater detail throughout this chapter. Land allocated for either conservation or development, is done so in correspondence with exist ing site character and again, site adjacencies. Future building sites were based on the fact that they would not compromise sensitive natural systems and would support Charlottes ' desire to density the village center. Similarly, land allocated for conservation and recreation land was done so in correspondence to ecological systems already in place. Greater Commons Civic Activity Hubs Green Cooridors/ Highway Buffer Future Development study area O focus o f village center study area Fig.34 The concept of the Greater Commons at the site scale Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 36 F i g 35. Des ign concept as it relates to a larger context o f open space, civic hub connectivity, and both wildlife and human movement through site. Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 3 7 Linear connections respond to existing desire lines (of humans,wildlife and abiotic movement) found in the landscape, and also in response to the need to balance the protection of ecosystems with human enjoyment of these systems. A new road is proposed to intensify activity in the village center, and to enable future development at this heart. In this proposal the new road also acts as a visible boundary between development and conservation land. Vil lage Center Concept The village center works as an integral piece within the conceptual design of the entire study site as the most significant human activity hub. However , when studied at a greater depth, this area also reveals its function as a base location for connecting people and nature to a larger system of trails and green infrastructure, respectively. A s the existing village green sits adjacent to the proposed conservation area, and already is intended to bring an outdoor civic character to the village environment, it is important to make a significant connection - visually, socially and ecologically, to these two elements of the study site. Doing this satisfies the main project objective to maximize Charlotte 's accessible, public space and resources within and from the village center. It also intends to expand the significance and function of this historical outdoor space. While it is necessary to acknowledge daily activities already in place within this town hall/village green area, the concept proposes ways in which to bolster successful function, activity and aesthetics in this area now and into the future. Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource i n a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis L I market place Fig.36 The Greater Commons concept maximizes civic and outdoor spaces at the heart of a village and beyond. rersitv of British Columbia 2005 38 Bringing Concepts to Life - Design Decisions and Ideas Revisiting Project Goals, and Objectives Building from the conceptual design, the following section explains the design decisions in detail. Th i s section expands on the design strategies listed in the Appendix II table. A s shown in this table, all of the design decisions (strategies) are direct outcomes of the goals and objectives for the study site, supporting town or state policy, and the design cri teria (guided by precedent studies and literature review). Working with a large study site, such as this, it quickly becomes evident that each design move is interwoven into the next one, together fulfilling the overarching site goals to: protect the Clay Plain forest ecosystem, protect Thorpe Brook and associated wetlands, clarify land allocatedfor future development, design economical solutions and enhance the sense of local identity and heritage. However , each design move is aimed at specific goals and objectives. In order to bring clarity to this, corresponding goals and objectives wil l be listed after each design decision described below. Site Scale Future Development - Acreage, Frontage and Housing Types Currently, Charlotte's zoning for residential property is at a 5 acre minimum (Charlotte Town Plan, 2002). However, to be able to ensure Charlotte's ability to conserve greater amounts of open space (i.e. ecological and cultural resources), and to density the village center, rather than expand it in all directions, this project proposes a re-zoning for residential property, in the village center, to no greater than two acre lots, with a minimum of 100 feet frontage width (Condon, 2005). Creating narrower, longer lots provides the opportunity to put the far end sections of all adjoining properties in a conservation or r ight-of- Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 39 way easement, even though privately owned (Arendt, 1999). This would support secured ecological and pedestrian connections even within residential areas. Overall , the residential development proposed minimizes land consumption and supports greater activity of residents at the village center, encouraging residents to walk to the library or the general store instead of drive. It also offers a wonderful opportunity to access recreation trails right in your back yard. A l l of this provides individual residents with a sense that they are connected to a greater social and physical whole (the commons). The level of participation or connection within this whole, wi l l obviously vary with each individual (Donahue, 2001). Of course, densifying development wi l l also bring a greater return to the developer, making a smaller buildable area monetarily worthwhile (Arendt, 1999). In order to make strides ahead of sprawl, not only must future zoning be re-analyzed within Vermont villages, but how and what we build must also support a more sustainable growth. This is to say that housing design must respond to the local environment-physical and biological , and to the real needs and desires of the people at hand. It must correspond to the fact that family size, make up and occupations have changed over time (Albers, 2000). In Charlottes case, the public planning process revealed a need for single occupancy homes, l ive -work spaces and affordable housing for families and seniors. A discrepancy in Charlotte's median income, by age, also supports this. A l l of these residents do not need large, four bedroom homes, but instead smaller, flexible living units close to village services and amenities, and outdoor places to recreate. It is argued that conservation land in the heart of a village wi l l , for better or worse (depending if you own or trying to buy), raise Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis U village | commercial conservation land rural Fig.3 In order to apply new ideas to future village development, a re-zoning process most often needs to occur. The concepts proposed in this project would increase both village center and conservation zoning. v of British Columbia 2005 40 Fig. 3 8 Proposed Master Plan of West Charlotte Village Center Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 41 property values (Arendt, 1999). Property values in Charlotte are already above the Vermont and even National average. In this project, more, smaller, affordable homes and/or l iving units within duplexes or housing cooperative are proposed to ensure satisfactory monetary gain for the developer, but also to support a greater diversi ty of res idents- young, old, single and married. Such a move supports the greater commons concept and would, no doubt, attract buyers and visitors with a welcoming demeanor. It is important to note that affordable housing does not mean forgoing an appropriate vernacular design. N e w homes, be they large or small, duplex, cottage or cooperative, can be designed to marry traditional and contemporary styles, fit in with the exist ing buildings, or bring a welcome freshness or creativity to a place. Eventually such development can support a sustained economical and social security into the future of a village, town or ci ty (Vermont Housing and Conservat ion Board , 2004) (Universi ty of Br i t i sh Columbia, 2002) (Alexandar, 1977). Coals and Objectives achieved: Preserve Clay Plain Forest ecosystem Support efforts to protect interlinking natural systems at a regional level Clarify Land Allocated for Future Development provide physical framework for future development Conserve maximum amount of open space as is appropriate to current/future growth trends enhance the village center as recognized social/cultural hub Enhance the sense of local identity and heritage To provide spaces that encourage social exchange and participation Design Economical Solutions To provide solutions that are assessable to a broad range of Vermont communities and individuals Fig.39 Well planned residential develop- ment can enliven a village center and pre- serve large amounts of open space. Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 4 2 To provide solutions that are sustainable Outdoor Places When public outdoor places are considered as rooms within the village, as one of the guiding principles suggests, it is less l ikely that details such as how you enter or leave, what you do in that space, and its relationship to adjacent spaces, are forgotten (Alexander, 1977). The proposed design in this project looks at a series of outdoor spaces that, starting at the village green, transition from formal to cultivated (community gardens) to wild (streams, woods and wetlands). The wilder the spaces, the more they transform into places dedicated more to ecosystems and wildlife and less to people. Due to the nature of ecological function and wildlife needs, the edges of these spaces or ' rooms' become increasingly less abrupt the further away from intense human activity. Each space has been considered in its ability to make the user feel like they are somewhere special, and could, for one identifiable reason or another, only be in Charlotte, Vermont . Ways this has been accomplished are by creating distinct edges to spaces, using structures and materials to distinguish spaces and uses of space, and/or creating unique gateways into each space. Natural site characteristics wi l l also bring obvious distinction from one place to the next. A s mentioned before, the Clay Plain Forest (Burns Forest) are protected for their significance as a rare natural space, and house a limited trail network. It is open to the broader public, from an entrance at Route 7, but is most l ikely be used frequently by local residents. These woods are home to two-hundred year old oak Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 43 trees that members of the community are already very protective of. Burns Forest is intended to be a sanctuary that honors the natural history of the area, and gives the local community the opportunity to celebrate and take pride in 'their' C lay Plain Forest . Th i s sets a precedent for other local communities to support regional efforts to protect and restore other fragmented Clay Plain Forests in the valley. A n outdoor classroom space has been proposed for the public entry way into Burns Forest from Route 7 (Flink, 2002). While the details of this particular proposal have not been calculated, it is thought that a simple, sheltered structure, or even small c lassroom building /nature center would be an ideal public gate house into this Charlotte conservation area. Th i s allows users to understand the significance of this small tract of woods, the greater natural history of Charlotte in general, and get a sense for the dedication Charlotte residents have for caring for the local landscape. A l l wetlands and meadows protected as conservation land are done so in direct association with Burns Forest . A s explained in the connection and linkages section below, each ecotype, from hedgerow to meadow, wetland to woods, work together for optimal function (Smith and Flellmund, 1996). On a social and cultural level , trails meandering through woods, past 200 year old oaks, through meadows and along side a babbling Thorpe Brook wil l offer users an interesting and varied journey - full of changing sights, smells, textures and sounds all of which wi l l vary from season to season. A g a i n , details for public facilities have not been worked out within this project. However , to demonstrate Charlotte 's dedication Fig40. A carefully considered trail network can con- nect a village to its local and regional landscape. See pages 48-50 for detail trail illustrations of trail types. Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 44 to stewarding their surroundings, composting toilets would seem an appropriate fit where such facilities are needed. Composting toilets can be clean, economically and environmentally efficient, and introduce visitors to a vast array of alternative technologies that fit with the town's ultimate goals and objectives of conservation and clean water. Goals and Objectives achieved: Preserve Clay Plain Forest ecosystem Continue to provide an important resource for wildlife and support for adjacent ecosystem health Provide forest as a cultural heritage to the town of Charlotte now and for future generations Support efforts to protect interlinking natural systems at a regional level Protect Thorpe Brook and associated wetlands Secure Thorp brook watershed and encompassing watershed health and function Provide critical wetland habitat for associated wildlife Ensure healthy streams and wetlands as a cultural heritage to the town of Charlotte now and for future generations Enhance the sense of local identity and heritage To build on physical, cultural and ecological character already in place To provide spaces that encourage social exchange and participation Fig.41 A conservation area in the heart of a rural v i l - lage creates green conduits for people, wildlife and natural systems alike, as shown in green in the above diagram. Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 45 Getting Around - connections and linkages Many of the ecological and social connections made within the proposed design could wel l be considered part of a village greenway, in that the trail networks and ecosystems protected act as conduits for the movement of water, plants, animals and people (Smith and Hellmund, 1993). In Daniel Smith and Paul Hellmunds book, Ecology of Greenways, they suggest that greenways perform six basic functions: habitat, conduit (people and nature), barrier (inhibit wildlife flow), filter (vegetation as water filter, soi l and sediment buffer for streams etc), a source (of water, wildlife populations for adjacent areas, food and habitat, native and invasive vegetation), and/or sink (capturing water on-si te , or a mortality sink for wildlife if not designed to support biodiversi ty). T h e y also suggest that the most important aspects of balancing the dual function of greenways - as recreational and ecological systems is maintaining habitat that functions properly for native species. Th i s demands the protection or restoration of certain dimensions and arrangement of natural areas, for example: trails running along the edge of a riparian zone should allow for the landscapes natural ability to filter contaminants before runoff reaches the r iver . This would call for a gradual vegetated buffer between a trail and a r iver (Smith, Hellmund, 1993). The most important overal l ecological structure of any greenway is that its total width be wide enough to support interior species as wel l as edge species (typically edge species are more l ikely to be invasive, hardy species) - this goes for both plants and animals (Smith, et al., 1993) (Forman, 1994). (photo by Diane Gayer) Fig. 42 Diversifying trail character allows for appropriate response to a varied landscape, and offers a more intriging journey to the trail user. Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 46 While considerations such as these have been made throughout this project, the specific course of trails, apart from the proposed t r a i l - heads, demands detailed ground truthing, and was not a component of this project at this time. For the sake of this project a trail network was given an approximate placement at a scale of 1:2500, based on major land forms and characteristics known (see Fig.40 p.44). Trail Types While there are several existing trails through the woods of Burns Parcel , four typical types of trails are proposed for the whole study site. These trails respond to both the physical and biological nature of the specific area on site, the aesthetic and social nature of the specific site (from formal village green to nature trail), and also to specific user groups, i.e. seniors and small children, dog walkers or cross country skiers etc.(Flink, 2001) (Rutledge, 1971). A 2004 t r a i l - user survey, created by the Charlotte Tra i ls Committee, was also used as a trail design guide. The trail types are as follows: Type A - Main Woodland Tra i l /Park Entrances: Th i s mown trail, partially in existence, runs from the Flea Market entrance to Greenbush road, and also from the center of this trail north to the village lookout tower (proposed). Measuring approximately 2m/6-7ft wide, and perhaps a little wider at entrance points, this trail forms the main route of the Greater Commons trail network . Its width allows for ease of passing of two trail users, coming from opposite direct ions-ei ther on foot, bike, horse or skis. Clearing height for such user groups should be maintained at 2.7m/8 1/2 feet high (Fink, 2001). Where mowing is not appropriate, due to leaf litter or wet soil, the 2 - 2 . 5 m / 6 - 8 f t wife 1.5m/5ft Fig.43a shows the widest trail width, appro- priate only for a the major entrances and trail routes through Burn Forest and meadows if it is to be maintained as a wildlife refuge. 43b shows a narrower trail for loops away from the main trail. Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 47 trail can be left as is, or simple plank bridges can be placed, so as to maintain health of wet vegetation and decrease the l ikelihood that the trail wi l l be widened by diverted traffic (Smith and Hellmund, 1993). A s pioneering, non-native species are more l ike ly to grow in disturbed, cleared areas of any woodland, care should be taken in maintaining trails in a way that does not easi ly support invasives. Edges of the trail would never be hacked back, but select ively trimmed, to ensure a healthy vert ical stratification of species from ground cover to hard wood trees (Smith et al., 1993). T y p e B - Nar row Woodland or Meadow Tra i l : Th i s is not a mult i -use trail, but a narrower side trail for foot or single track c ross -count ry skiers who want to take an extra loop before returning to the main trail home, or take a quiet walk by Thorp Brook. It could also be maintained by mowing or bark mulch, where appropriate or just by trimming back vegetation and branches when necessary. This trail is proposed as an education loop near the proposed outdoor classroom at the Route 7 entrance, and several other loops throughout the Burns Parce l Woods, LeBeouf Meadow and wetland areas. These trails run through and along a variety of ecological zones that make up the Greater Commons. They give trail users the chance to experience the varied character of the property within a guided, low-impact scenario (Flink, 2000), (Smith et al. . 1993). T y p e C - Vi l lage Pathway: Th i s trail type is proposed for the walking loop within the village green and also c i rc l ing the edge of the town hall meadow. The path material is crushed stone for smooth, level cafe porch L 5m/16ft 4 1.5m/J- 4m/12.8ft 5ft Fig.43 A crushed stone path is set in from the road and wraps around the village green. 0 1 .5m/5 f r Fig.44 A crushed stone walking loop is also proposed to con- nect from the senior center to a meadow behind the town hall, (photo by author) iesis University of British Columbia 2005 48 walking with a 1.5m/5ft width. Th i s is a suggested minimal width for two people walking side by side, or one wheelchair or stroller (Flink, 2000). Crushed stone is found easily in Vermont, looks clean, and is permeable. Its permeabili ty allows water to filter into the ground at a much s lower rate than if hitting a hard surface, such as concrete. T y p e D - Vi l lage Boardwalk: Th i s special boardwalk trail flanks the western edge of the village green, sitting in close proximity to the market buildings. The boardwalk is flush with the ground plane to the west and lies along the upper edge of the exist ing vegetated swale to the east. It is 2m/61/2ft wide, acting as an important promenade through town and into the adjacent open spaces. The material used has a deck - l ike effect that is fitting for the overflow of visi tors on market day from the market buildings and village green. A boardwalk running right through town also brings the prominent characterist ics of Charlotte 's wetland landscape to a visual forefront, especial ly highlighting the cattails and sedges that wi l l line this important axis. In order for the boardwalk to maintain a level plane for a clean formal appearance, pin foundations are proposed at 12 foot intervals. This way the trail wi l l remain level , even through winter frost heaving (www. pinfoundations.com). Type E - Meadow Boardwalk: Th i s 1.5m/5ft boardwalk trail continues from the village green boardwalk to the south, on the other side of Library Road and into the T o w n Hal l Meadow. At this point the trail is not flush with the meadow plane, but raised slightly. Th i s is done Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis 2m/6.2ft Fig.45 Board walk trails bring definition to a space, are fun to walk on and when raised from the ground, can protect delicate vegetation from being trampled. University of British Columbia 2005 49 not only to create the effect that the path is floating through swaying meadow grass, but elevates the trail above any moisture- protecting the vegetation underneath. This trail runs along the eastern edge of a line of trees that currently exists in this area, and defines the T o w n Hal l meadow as a recognizable place. This boardwalk terminates at the proposed lookout tower at the south edge of the meadow. No matter how brilliant their design, village streets and pathways can in no way mirror whole ecosystems or function as the most ideal wildlife habitat. However, using a green infrastructure approach to roadway and pathway design, increased ecosystem performance/function can be supported, rather than degraded (Metro, 2000). Examples of such design decisions include curb less streets, permeable surfaces or minimal paved surfaces, vegetated swales, varying heights of canopy coverage, and a connected pedestrian network (Center for Landscape and Livable Environments, 2002)(Erickson, 2002)(Livable Oregon Inc, 1996). B y linking natural systems to a continuation of green fabric within village centers, the village becomes connected to its surrounding landscape both visually and functionally. Examples of such are discussed within the following section and used throughout the proposed design. A l l streets and pathways have also considered aesthetics, scales and circulation appropriate to this rural Vermont village. Goals and Objectives achieved: Preserve Clay Plain Forest ecosystem Support efforts to protect interlinking natural systems at a regional level Provide forest as a cultural heritage to the town of Charlotte now and for future generations Protect Thorpe Brook and associated wetlands Secure Thorp brook watershed and encompassing watershed health and function Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 5 0 Ensure healthy streams and wetlands as a cultural heritage to the town of Charlotte now and for future generations Enhance the sense of local identity and heritage To provide spaces that encourage social exchange and participation To build on physical, cultural and ecological character already in place Design Economical Solutions To provide solutions that are assessable to a broad range of Vermont communities and individuals To provide solutions that are sustainable Street Details On the larger scale of Charlotte as village, Route 7, Fe r ry Road, and Greenbush Road play a vital role in bringing life to the center. T w o new roads have also been proposed, one an extension of the l ibrary and town hall dr iveway, to connect with Greenbush road (Library Road), and a short road (Market Street) to bring life to the western edge of the village green, as wel l as to access the proposed market buildings, cafe and senior home. This street can be easily closed off to traffic on market days (besides vendors) or for special events. In doing this, the street both extends and connects the village center common as a car-free block from post office to l ibrary. . .with lots of fun in-between, such as a grand farmers market or even an indoor dance. Fe r ry Road, currently approximately 12m/40 feet wide, has been cut down in travel width to 9m/30 feet, to allow for parallel street parking in the village green area. While it could maintain a greater width at either junction, narrowing the road in the center of the village al lows for parked cars to slow traffic down and announce to travelers that pedestrians might be around and about (Metro, 2002). Fig.46 Using vegetated swales along road- ways and in parking lots allows for ground water to be replenished incrementally and connects the built environment to the softer surrounding landscape, (photo by author) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University ot British Columbia 2005 5 1 This additional parking also accommodates people traveling to Charlotte for Farmers Market and other functions held at the new market buildings. The 3m/7ft width allocated to parking is gravel with a cedar tie placed as a flush edger to the village green swale running parallel to the parking spaces. Proposed Market Street is a narrow, 6m/20ft wide street with no curbs (Metro, 2002) (Livable Oregon Inc, 1996). It is intended to be an a l l ey - l ike local connection between proposed residential on Library Road and Fe r ry Road, as wel l as a through road for pedestrians and bikers within the village. It also allows a quick, easy alternative access to the proposed senior housing for emergency vehicles . Parking on this street would happen front end- in , on grass pavers that lie flush with the road in front of and opposite to the market buildings. On market days Market Street could accommodate vendor parking only and be closed off to village traffic, with little or no disturbance to village traffic circulation. Proposed Libra ry Road runs from the l ibrary entrance- way to Greenbush Road, taking its queue from an old farm track still seen today. Placing a road here allows for increased development to take place at the heart of the village without compromising cri t ical ecological features in the area. It too, is a narrow, residential street, 8m/25ft wide ,and could incorporate traffic calming bumps to further ensure slow traffic speeds for the safety of pedestrian usage (Livable Oregon Inc, 1996) (Metro, 2002). F r o n t - e n d - i n parking also occurs on this street outside of the town hall and conservation area entrance and also near the l ibrary. This kind of parking is yet another method to slow traffic down and signal to drivers Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs Fig.47 On-street parking is proposed on Ferry Road from the post office to the eastern edge of the village green. This hopes to encourage social activity at the center and to slow moving traffic through a pedestrian friendly environment, (photo by au- thor) Thesis University- of British Columbia 2005 5 2 that this is a highly active zone for parking, trail users and other pedestrians in the area (Livable Oregon Inc, 1996). Goals and Objectives achieved: Preserve Clay Plain forest ecosystem Support efforts to protect interlinking natural systems at a regional level Protect Thorp Brook and associated wetlands Secure Thorp brook watershed and encompassing watershed health and function Ensure healthy streams and wetlands as a cultural heritage to the town of Charlotte now and for future generations Enhance the sense of local identity and heritage To provide spaces that encourage social exchange and participation Design Economical Solutions To provide solutions that are assessable to a broad range of Vermont communities and individuals To provide solutions that are sustainable Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs Fig.48 Proposed Library Road is a continuation of the drive and parking for the Library and Townhall, and would wrap around meadows and woods to Greenbush Road, (photo by author) Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 53 Village Center A s mentioned in the 'village center concept' section of this chapter, the village center is intended to function as a base location for connecting people and nature to a larger system of trails and green infrastructure. A s the base location, the design decisions made hope to exude an active civic character - supporting indoor and outdoor festivals, markets, community classes, and casual daily use of outdoor spaces by the public. The village green acts as the formal, front door, outdoor space - a traditional role for a 'green' throughout Vermont 's history. While the green rolls out before the town hall, it currently has little definition or special features drawing residents to use this space. Planting large deciduous trees around this space with an interior pathway system brings definition and an instantaneous purpose and dimensionality to the space. With a defined outer edge (large trees and shaded path) and civic buildings on three sides, it now has outer and interior spaces. In this there is seemingly more sheltered and protected space for outdoor community events or even a nice summer reading spot for one (Alexandar, 1977). Formal ized plantings of smaller fruit trees such as cherries and apple trees are proposed to pick up a pattern already begun in front of the l ibrary. Similar pocket - orchards are proposed in front of the north end of the market buildings and again in front of the post office. Not only do these plantings further bring a formalized shape to this c ivic center, but reflect an agricultural practice that has been synonymous within the Champlain Va l l ey A r e a for many years. The proposed 'Market Place ' is that space that extends Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Fig.49 The buildings around the current village green are significant components of a lively civic center. 1. post of- fice 2 . library 3 . town hall, all of which were built in the 1990's. University of British Columbia 2005 54 Trails to Deme- ter Park Market Street Post Office Market/Community Buildings Village Boardwalk Trail Community Gardens Senior Home Charlotte Childcare 10 Center ^ Fly ing Pig Bookstore On-street parking in front of village green Library Historic Quinlin School House Town Hal l walking loop lookout tower to Lake Champlain and beyond trails to local and regional conserva- tion land Fig.50 Village Center Master Plan Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 5 5  from the village board walk to the trees lining the west side of Market Street. A s mentioned previously, this space has the dual ability of tightening the village green space, and also expanding it, when necessary, into a dynamic, bustling v i l l age-wide affair. The market buildings are proposed to sit along the western edge of the village green, the eastern edge of the proposed Market Street. In this placement these community buildings have the ability to have an important face and connection with both the green itself and also the post office, cafe and street to the east. While these buildings could be extremely permeable on market days - through open garage doors and porches - they also provide both east and west spaces with a we l l defined edge, making them more understandable, satisfying spaces in and of themselves (Dodson and Associa tes , 2003)(Alexander, 1977). The final role the market buildings have, in connection with the greater commons, is that they sit, like gate houses to the village boardwalk trail that extends beyond the village green to wilder outdoor spaces to the north and to the south. A small cafe is proposed to sit kitty corner to the entrance to the post office. While the Old Br ick Store offers a plentitude of goods and acts as an important social hub at the corner of F e r r y and Greenbush road, there are currently no small cafe's in Charlotte. A cafe in this location would only build on the market theme of Charlotte 's civic center - this is a place to grow local food, buy local food - why not eat local breakfast here too? The location also picks up on the existing daily activity that already occurs at the local post (photos curtesy of www.gettyimages.com) 9ft 6ft 23ft building Fig.52 Proposed Market Street can be closed off with little interruption to village circulation Fig.53 Proposed market buildings would open out onto the v i l - lage green to the east and Market Street to the west Thesis University' o f British Columbia 2005 57 office. The cafe is proposed to slow and celebrate this daily energy within the vil lage and could greatly enhance the current post office plaza currently in place at the post office entrance. The proposed senior housing to the south of the post office, and west of the town hall acts as a cornerstone to the entire village center precinct, infusing it with a sense that this is a place for people to stay and enjoy. Community gardens proposed within this property and immediately opposite, on the east side of Market Street, connect this residential space with a more communal space just across the street. Community gardens are proposed at the southern end of the market place. While given a clean-cut , geometric frame- work in which to be improvised, the community gardens represent the productive landscape of this region, and visually and emotionally connect to the greater agricultural landscape of the region. Places such as these support a civic nature within the village center and provides increased opportunity for intergenerational interaction, community stewardship and an intimate connection and pride in ones place , not to mention a shared common resource (Donahue, 2001) (Alexandar, 1977) (Albers, 2002). Visual ly , the community gardens act as a punctuation to the southern end of the market place and a transitional space between formal front to informal backyard of village, looking out toward the wilder meadows and woods beyond. They are intentionally placed between new village housing, including senior housing and the other civic services of the vil lage. Fol lowing the Vil lage Boardwalk Tra i l south, over Library Road, a mowed meadow falls away to the east of the trail . Halfway along the boardwalk the trail widens into a 5m x 5m (16 ft square) deck with steps to sit on or enter the meadow, further inviting visi tors for blanket picnics, casual evening performances or a quiet lunch break. A s mentioned before, a crushed stone walking trail also loops this meadow to allow a diversi ty of users to experience this quiet clearing close to the vil lage. Its purpose varies from the village green, in that it is a much wilder, larger space, where people could find quiet, private spaces within, and yet still be close to the village. A look out tower is proposed at the terminus of the Meadow Boardwalk T r a i l . Not only does this draw people from the village center into the surrounding landscape, but brings the v iewer into immediate contact with Charlottes ' greater, regional surroundings. Th i s plays on the idea that our surrounding landscape is a common heritage to anyone with the eyes to see it, noise to smell it and nerves to feel the breezes that rol l down the mountains and across the lake. Providing a lookout tower acknowledges the relative flatness of the site, and celebrates the astounding topographic change just over the hi l l , including beautiful views across Lake Champlain, the Adirondacks to the west and Green Mountains to the north and east. West of the T o w n Hal l Meadow lies another meadow. This meadow has been left for potential agricultural purposes, more community gardens in the future, or just to simply be a beautiful meadow in the midst of everything. It is often the lack of structure and domestication that allows Vermont 's landscape to enter the hearts of its residents and users (Albers, 2002). Design decisions such as this one, attempts to acknowledging this fact. Seasonal trails could be mowed through this meadow, if it was not too wet, or ski trails could be formed during the snowy months. 55a. and b. A denned trail extending from the village center out into the landscape beyond offers residents and visitors alike the opportunity to experience the greater landscape of their home. Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Tl 'hesis University of British Columbia 2UU5 59 Goals and Objectives achieved: Enhance the sense of local identity and heritage To provide spaces that encourage social exchange and participation To build on physical, cultural and ecological character already in p l a c e Design Economical Solutions To provide solutions that are assessable to a broad range of Vermont communities and individuals To provide solutions that are sustainable Clarify Land Allocated for Future Development enhance the village center as recognized social/cultural hub Fig.56 A public meadow adjacent to a rural village center offers a green oasis to stop, have lunch with friends or access a greater trail network, (photos curtesy of David Hohen- schau) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 6 0 Understanding Where You Are - Materials, Site Unity and Being Unique A s this study site is quite large it is important to unify the site in ways that bring clear visual connections from one end of the site to the other. One way to ensure this is by being consistent with materials chosen and what they are chosen for. For example, if black, metal bike racks are used at the Market Place, they should also be used at all other entrances to the Burns Parce l woods. A family of such elements should be chosen that include bench style, trash bins and composters, bike racks and signage. It is also important to remember that Charlotte prides itself on its rural character, and as such, elements should perhaps elevate these features already in place, rather than distract from them. With that said, in order to ensure that Charlotte 's village center and Greater Commons is, without doubt, a unique place, a layer of design must come into play that is entirely made up of 'the people' of Charlotte. A s there is an active community of artisans in this area, putting forth a proposal for the design of beautiful, hand crafted trail markers and signage is not out of the question. Given certain cri teria, artists and designers could propose work that would lend a unique layer within the landscape. Other ways for the people to be integrated into the Greater Commons, other than using the space, is for the building and maintenance of spaces to be celebrated community events, where residents are given the opportunity to contribute. In this way, an immediate collect ive ownership and pride is bestowed Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis Fig.57 A subtle, well crafted entrance-way can make a place intriging and identifible, and incorporate the tal- ents of the local population with the history of the site, (photo by author) University of British Columbia 2005 61 upon the site (Donahue, 2001) . In Charlotte, volunteering to invest in your community is not a new idea, and people are wil l ing and ready to become involved. A s long as structures and materials are kept simple this is an entirely possible scenario. Goals and Objectives achieved: Enhance the sense of local identity and heritage To provide spaces that encourage social exchange and participation To build on physical, cultural and ecological character already in place Design Economical Solutions To provide solutions that are assessable to a broad range of Vermont communities and individuals To provide solutions that are sustainable Fig.58 Materials already chosen by the village for one public place may guide material choice for a new project. Fig. 59 Local landscape character, such as tex- ture and topography can be celebrated and high- lighted in any local conservation area, making it unique, (www.gettyimages.com) Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University ot British Columbia 2005 62 Project Conclusions The challenge of this project is in its multi-faceted nature. While the concept is quite simple - to maximize public outdoor places and civic space within the community, the application of this concept, over multiple types of spaces, takes a lot of exploration and understanding. Such an understanding must span from current zoning policies, to ownership history, to ecology of the landscape and community needs. In order to cope with such an expanse of concerns it was necessary to chose one area for detailed design. The village green is a great place to start for many Vermont villages when exploring ways to bolster residents' connection to public outdoor space that supports a vibrant community environment. Creative greenway connections, in the form of pedestrian pathways, bikeways and re -des igned streets, to and from this space, (such as explored in this project), can sti l l respect the historical nature of the village green, while expanding its function as a 21st century epicenter for social and ecological connection. If a village has no village green, then simple connections can be made through roadways, lanes and public r igh t -of -ways , making all these places more pedestrian, bike and wildlife friendly. Th i s project also looks at Vermont public open space from another angle: any outdoor public space, even if not adjoining a village center, must be seen in an openspace/natural resource planning context, connecting small parts of a greater green network across an entire bioregion - for greater social/cultural and ecological benefits (Smith et al, 1997) (Erickson, 2004). A l l protected open space forms a link in a chain that provides substantial wildlife habitat, watershed protection, recreation outlets and a visual resource (University of Oregon, 2001) (Erickson, 2004). Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 63 Whether looking at space within a village or not, the fact remains that our land-use decisions need to be carefully guided to maximize our natural and cultural resources in both the public and private sector, in order to benefit a greater number of individuals now and many years to come. This kind of thinking is most crit ical when allocating land for development and when deciding the details of how development and building is done, i.e. how lots are divided, what types of families wi l l be supported, and what materials wil l be used. A l l of these decisions affect land and resource consumption (locally and globally), public access to open space, and our ability to feel part of an invested community. For such shifts to occur requires that the public realm and resources (the commons), be elevated in importance in the minds of individuals and municipalities as a whole (Donahue, 2001). Due to Charlottes' available resources, the program for this project is able to go beyond the village green into a series of connected outdoor spaces -Char lot te ' s Greater Commons, that includes civic, conservation and residential spaces that are all physically connected to the village heart, including the traditional village green. The planning and design incorporated into this project is also able to capitalize on a wealth of already established civic resources, making the entire study area a dynamic and convenient space for public use. If a community decided to apply the ideas formulated within this project they would most l ikely need to do so incrementally, starting with the basic land-use framework of re-zoning and other policy oriented changes. Once this step is taken, the other necessary moves can fall into place, as long as there are enough community members supporting the plan and funding is available. Vermont 's small villages and open spaces, be they woods, Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 64 wetlands, meadows or farm field, are gifts not to squander. While over the years Vermont 's landscape has been victim to degradation and depletion, the landscape that currently exists is part of an historical, cultural and ecological heritage that is rare and beautiful (Albers, 2000) (National Preservation Trust, 2004). However, change is inevitable and Vermonters , new and old alike, must push their comfort and energy levels in cultivating and/or supporting creative development and zoning policies and techniques in order to preserve land, support local agri-business and be able to offer an affordable existence to young and old alike. Eve r since Native Indian families lived along the land's many waterways, the people of this geographic area have found inventive ways in which to survive and thrive. While our challenges have changed, our need to be inventive has not, if we are collectively able to enjoy the landscape and support the neighbors that make this state what it is. A s Jan Albers states in her book, Hands on the Land: "The decisions that will determine how much of our landscape heritage is retained will be made by everyone in the state, according to what they build, where they build it, where they shop, how much they drive, and the ways they chose to play in nature. We many not all have dirt under out fingernails, but every one of us has our hands on the land. " Common Connections - Public Realm as Resource in a Vermont Village Claire Tebbs M L A Thesis University of British Columbia 2005 65 Bibliography Albers , Jan. Hands on the Land: A History of the Vermont Landscape. Cambridge, M A : M I T Press . 2000. p .9-130, 3 1 4 - 332. Alexander , Christopher. A Pattern Language. New York: Oxford Univers i ty Press . 1977. p 188, 348, 548 and 752 Amherst , Massachusetts Planning Department website. Available at: http://www.amherstma.gov/departments/Planning/ spec_projects.asp Arendt, Randall. Growing Greener: Putting Conservation into Loca l Plans and Ordinances. Island Press , Washington D C . 1999. p. 35 -51 Arnold , Henry. Trees in Urban Design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. 1993 p .20-31 Campoli , Julie and Elizabeth Humstone. Above and Beyond: Visualizing Change in Small Towns and Rural Areas . Chicago: Planners Press American Planning Associat ion. 2004. Center for Rural Studies. Univers i ty of Vermont, www.crs.uvm.edu Champlain Va l l ey Greenbelt All iance website. Available at: www.cvga.org Charlotte Planning Commission. Charlotte T o w n Plan. 2002. Available at www.vermont.town.org/charlotte/townplan. 2002. Conservation Law Foundation. 2002. "Community Rules: A New England Guide to Smart Growth Strategies". Available at www.clf .org Donahue, Br ian and Wes Jackson. Reclaiming the Commons: Community Farms and Forests in N e w England. N e w Haven: Yale Univers i ty Press. 2001. p. 1-35, 279-316 Er ickson, Donna L . "The relationship of historic city form and contemporary greenway implementation: a comparison of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Ottawa, Ontario". Landscape and Urban Planning. Vol .68 . Fl ink, Charles A . Trai ls for the 21st Century: Planning and Design and Management for Mul t i -use Tra i l s . Island Press . Washington D C . 2001. p. 10-46 66 Hardin, Garrett and John Baden. Managing the Commons. San Francisco: W . H Freeman and Company. 1977. Hester, Randy. 2003. "Crafting Westport: How One Small Town Shaped It's Future". Berkeley: U C Berk ley Press . Intervale Project, Burlington Vermont website. Available at: http:/ /www.intervale.org/History.htm Karnatz, A l l en . "Route 7 Corridor in Charlotte is Conserved". Vermont Land Trust . 2004. Available at: <http://www.vlt. org/072804newsrel.html. LaGro , James Jr. Site Analys is : Linking Program and Concept in Land Planning and Design. Toronto: John Wi ley and Sons Inc. 2001. p. 6-22 M E T R O . Green Streets: Innovative Solutions for Storm water and Stream Crossings. Portland: People Places, Open Spaces. 2002. p .6-11 and 30-31 Rutledge, Alber t J. Anatomy of a Park. New York: M c G r a w - H i l l Book Company.. 1971. p .20-26 Smith, Daniel and Paul C. Hellmund. Ecology of Greenwavs. Minneapolis: Univers i ty of Minnesota Press . 1993. p. 30-32 , 4 2 - 4 7 , 1 1 1 - 1 1 5 Smith, Robert. Ecology and Fie ld Biology. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. 1990. p. 158 The Landscape Change Program. Available online at: http://www.uvm.edu/perkins/landscape/mission/mission_main.htm Univers i ty of Oregon, Department of Landscape Architecture. "Designing an Open Space Network: A Framework for Habitat Preservation". Eugene, Oregon: Universi ty of Oregon. 2002. U V M Spatial Analys is Laboratory. 2002. Charlotte Wetlands Database Development: A report prepared for the T o w n of Charlotte, Vermont. Available at: www.uvm.edu/ - envnr/sal/leslie/charlotte.html Vermont Design Institute. 2003. "Shoreham Commons Planning Project: A report prepared for the T o w n of Shoreham, Vermont". Available at http://www.uvm.edu/%7Evdi/Shoreham_Commons_webupdate.htm Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. Available online at: www.vhcb.org Vermont Indicators Online. Available online at: http://maps.vcgi.org/indicators/ 67 Vermont Land Trus t website. Available online at: http://www.vlt.org White, Edward T. Site Analys is : Diagramming Information for Architectural Design. Tucson: Archi tectural Media Ltd . 1983. p. 15-30 Winterbottom, Daniel. "Residual Space Reevaluated: Opportunities for Improved Physica l and Social Environment Through the Readapting of Lost Space." Places. Vol .92 68 Appendix I Commons Through Time THE COMMONS in the LANDSCAPE PROGRAM VALUE PAST PRESENT PAST PRESENT Shared agricultural fields shared natural resource supplies- timber, stone, soil) community gatherings- (school events, picnics, harvest festivals) public recreation 'enjoying nature' protecting wildlife habitat community gatherings (school events, picnics, local farmers markets) tourist attraction Social Values Social Values equitable - all had access supported civic pride and activity provided a place to enjoy the outdoors equitable - all should have access supports civic pride and activity (Donahue, 1999) provides a place to enjoy the outdoors provides visual enjoyment and aesthetic Economic Values Economic Values Safety net for local food supply and demand Supplied local resources to all - timber, stone, rocks safety net for local food supply/demand sustains local resources - water, timber, recreation outlet 'rural character' attracts tourists and home buyers keeps residents in town (Arendt, 1999) Ecological Values Ecological Values n/a - concept slow to occur (Albers, 2001) maintains wildlife habitat preserves storm water infiltration provides continuum of regional green networks (Erickson, 2004.) 69 Appendix II Site Goals, Design Criteria and Design Strategies Site Goal - what do you want to do? Objectives - why do you want to do this? Supporting Policy and/or Town Objectives (as found in Town Plan 2002) DESIGN CRITERIA DESIGN STRATEGIES What was done. Preserve Clay Plain forest ecosystem Continue to provide an important resource for wildlife and support for adjacent ecosystem health Provide forest as a cultural heritage to the town of Charlotte now and for future generations Support efforts to protect interlinking natural systems at a regional level 5.5.1 - 5. Development shall be limited in those areas of Town in which there are areas of high natural resource value 5.5.2 - 10. Work to implement, in conjunction with the Conservation Commission and the Recreation Committee, the Trails Plan which connects cultural and recreational areas while protecting natural resources in the Town. Minimize infrastructure within the forest area Provide low-impact opportunities to enjoy the forest while providing natural buffers to the most sensitive habitat Planning Scale -conservation areas include the most sensitive property resources - proposed development allows conservation land to be one large block, connected to a greater open s pace system (Arendt, 1999) -provided space for outdoor education programming for local schools and community members -considered trail networks as wildlife corridors and recreation trails simultaneously (Flink, 2001) Village Scale -use of low-impact boardwalk foundation pins (www.pinfoundation.com, 2005) - minimized amount of built trail within forest, except boards over wet areas to decrease vegetation trampling - provided a choice of trails, to decrease over trampling on any one trail way and to minimize wondering off trails into wildlife areas -high activity areas are designed outside of forest area (Flink, 2001) Protect Thorp Brook and associated wetlands secure Thorp brook and the greater Lewis Creek watershed health and function provide critical wetland habitat for associated wildlife 5.5.1 - 5. The Town will work with town, county, state and federal agencies and citizen organizations to monitor and restore water quality in the town 2. Buffer zones will be required around key natural resource areas to limit potentially damaging encroachment [Section 5.12 of Zoning By-Laws]. reveal functions of wetlands ecosystem to park users while respecting space needed for healthy ecosystem function provide places to observe wildlife associated with wetlands incorporate ecological function into design use low-tech, permeable trail materials Planning Scale (see above - forest protection often = wetland protection) - proposed development away from wetlands, according to Act 250 -limited land clearing on entire site -denser development proposed (Metro, 2002) (Arendt, 1999) -Provided trails that gave access to wildlife watching and Brook exploration at limited access points - native, existing vegetation maintained and augmented at different areas across the site (Flink, 2002) 71 Village Scale - use of boardwalks over wet meadows - use of porous materials (gravel or gravel pavers for parking, grass, crushed stone, boardwalks) to allow water seepage and filtration (Flink, 2002) -(3-4m/12ft, 2-6% slope) vegetated swales incorporated into road ways and pathways (Metro, 2002) - use of low-impact boardwalk foundation pins (www.pinfoundation.com, 2005) -streets designed without curbs to increase storm water flow into bio-swales -trees planted for shade and precipitation interception (Metro, 2002) Design Economical Solutions To provide ideas that are assessable to a broad range of Vermont communities and individuals To provide solutions that are sustainable Obj. 3.2 Where possible reduce fiscal burdens on the Town and associated burdens on residents and encourage fiscal responsibility. use materials that are easily accessible, easily transported and support a local/regional economy use durable, local materials build lo-tech structures and details suitable for community members to construct if desired design to welcome people into Planning Scale -design and programming support activity/exchange within village center -conservation land within the village center attracts home buyers (Arendt, 1999 p. 5) -more, smaller lots on developable land could allow developer to provide needed affordable housing at village center (Arendt, 1999, p.51) the village Village Scale -Elements- benches, trail markers, bike racks designed with locally assessable material or recycled material -Elements, including boardwalk easily constructed, potentially incorporating community members -Boardwalk foundation pins can be walked on to site and hammered into ground (www.pinfoundations.com) Clarify Land Allocated for Future Development provide physical framework for future development Conserve maximum amount of open space as is appropriate to current/future growth trends enhance the village center as recognized social/cultural hub 5.2.1 - 3.Strict limitations on residential development outside the village areas will be placed on land containing prime or state wide agricultural soils or with significant environmental or natural resource value 5.2.3 - 2.Sites for elderly and affordable family housing shall be consistent with the Town land use plan. Such sites should be primarily in village areas where moderate density housing is envisioned that is convenient to municipal, commercial, and transportation services. Affordable and elderly housing may also be enabled in rural settings in PRDs or PUDs; such designs will be required for major subdivisions. 7. Higher densities in village areas, village design guidelines, and expanded and effective techniques and regulations to preserve farms and open space will be established as a "package." These three pieces of the package must intensify development at the village center connect new infrastructure and trail networks to each other and to existing village center incorporate gateway markers at points of entry into village center Planning Scale -Used new farm road as visual delineation between areas proposed for development and village conservation land (Gayer, 2004) -conservation areas include the most sensitive property resources - proposed development allows conservation land to be one large block, connected to a greater open s pace system (Arendt, 1999, p. 120) existing community services (Arendt, 1999 p.44) Village Scale -Conservation edge clearly marked by celebratory entrances and public amenities function jointly to support the overall pattern and scale of development desired by residents and be reflective of the natural environmental conditions. Enhance the sense of local identity and heritage To build on physical, cultural and ecological character already in place To provide spaces that encourage social exchange and participation 5.2.1 -4. Subdivisions, which through cluster housing designs economize on roads, utilities, and services, and protect scenic beauty, agricultural lands, and natural resource areas, will be strongly encouraged during the development review process, and in most instances, required in a form and character suitable to the rural character of the Town Obj: 2.9 - Encourage citizen participation in the development, adoption, and implementation of the plan and its implementing by- laws and programs. Obj: 3.3 Enable and support continued strong and vital voluntary participation in local government maintain view-sheds maximize existing natural features incorporate local historical, cultural character and local knowledge within design concept, materials and elements Planning Scale -Designated highest elevations for viewing distinct landscapes - such as Lake Champlain and Pease Mountain, surrounding meadows, village center and local farms -Kept critical wildlife habitat in tact -provided local network of trails and pathways that connect to regional networks -design to the historic settlement pattern of dense village center (Flink, 2002 p) (Arendt 1999 p. 108) Village Scale -Maintained and enhanced view-sheds to LeBeof and Burns Parcel meadows from village green and market buildings (Dodson and Associates, 2003) -enhanced historical aesthetic and function of the village green (Gayer 2003) - incorporated buildings into the civic center that support community activity (cafe and flexible market/classroom buildings) -proposed buildings maintain a consistent scale and vernacular of existing buildings -provided a series of places for people to be out and about within their village (sidewalks, parks, trails, meadows, woods, market, cafe porches, post office plaza) (Dodson and Associates, 2003) 75 Appendix III Site Program Details WHERE WHAT ELEMENTS QUANTITY QUALITY TOWN HALL/VILLAGE CENTER Market Place Market Building Outdoor Vending Space Benches Bathroom Facilities Bike Racks Trash/Compost Receptacles 2 20-25spaces 6 4 stalls 3 (5 bike ea.) 4 Buildings will line market street and west side of village green, post and beam style- barn like in feel, but with winterized flexible indoor/outdoor spaces for farmers market, craft fairs, art exhibits, community classes, workshops etc. Community Gardens Compost Receptacle Delineated Plots Low Fence 2 1, potentially 2 80'x65' spaces(25 12'x16'plots in each area) Community Gardens act as an active edge and punctuation to the south end of market street, and also a transition from formalized village green to wilder village commons/conservation area, while investing in the agricultural legacy of the area in an alternative manor for nearby residents. This area may be of particular interest to adjacent senior residents/senior center members and future school. Lunch area for town employees Picnic Tables Trash/Compost Receptacles 3 1 A nearby, pleasant area to relax, have lunch and perhaps meet with a colleague through out the work day. Mini-Orchards Hardy Fruit Trees 2 areas - 6-9 trees each area These formal gardens pick up a pattern that begins with the existing fruit trees currently planted in front of the library, and of course the orchards famous to the entire region. They also provide mini edible alles appropriate surrounding the farmers market area. Post Office Plaza benches 2-3 This is a small place to sit and wait for a friend or bump into someone while picking up your mail, or if you are visiting, to sit and look at a map after you have had lunch at the cafe. It extends the entrance to the post and acknowledges that this is a very active hub for the village 76 Central Trail Boardwalk, (existing) mini bridges over swale This trail brings definition to the east side of the market place, where it meets the existing 3 meter wide swale running through the village green. It plays a significant role in bringing a clear connection between the village center and its connection to a greater network of trails. TOWN HALL MEADOW (s) Entry way Sign Seating Boardwalk Trail 1 for 2 or 3 length of meadow The entry way to the meadows is intended to be subtle, yet celebratory with a welcoming kiosk designed by a local artist and in keeping with the materials and signage style used throughout the conservation site. Sitting/Performance Space Deck 5x5 wood decking Senior trail Trail markers See info, on signage listed above. ROUTE 7 ENTRANCE/FLEA MARKET Flea Market Space - Existing Potential Office Building rental space- with environmental theme/demo building/appropriate small business rent Vendor spaces Office Building (future) Existing To scale with other town buildings Public Gateway Signage Parking Bike Racks Throughout site 20 spaces 2 (5 per rack) Signage in-keeping with that of entire site, however, this entry way is considered the most public entry from Route 7 to Charlotte Commons, and there for signage should be larger and prominently placed Outdoor classroom Covered Structure Public facilities (composting toilet) Trash Bin/composter 20'x20' approx For 15 or less 1 2 This can be a simple structure built on the edge of the forest for use by local school, volunteer, environmental research groups or rainy day picnics etc. 77 GREENBUSH ROAD ENTRANCE/CONNECTION w/ BARBERHILL PicnicA/iewing Space to Lake Champlain Bench Composting toilet Signage Bike rack Parking spaces 1 1 2 1 5 This entrance is the smallest of the three entrances to the Charlotte Commons and is programmed for infrequent use by cyclists and residents strolling to see the sunset. CLAY PLAIN FOREST Sitting circle Seats/benches Enough for 12 For the most part, the forest is purposely left alone to be the wonderful woods that it is. S sitting circle will provide the community with a destination place within the forest, giving the sense that the forest is a great place to go to and enjoy. Multi-use trail (bikes, horses, ped.) and smaller foot trails Trail markers 78 Appendix IV Street Sections Section B, Bb - Ferry Road, looking west Section D. Dd- Village Green Boardwalk and Market Building, looking south Not to scale - scales vary 79 Appendix V Criteria of Act 250 Development... 1. w i l l not result in undue water or air pollution 2. has sufficient water available for the needs of the subdivision or development 3. wi l l not unreasonably burden any existing water supply 4. w i l l not cause unreasonable soil erosion or affect the capacity of the land to hold water 5. w i l l not cause unreasonably dangerous or congested conditions with respect to highways or other means of transportation 6. w i l l not create an unreasonable burden on the educational facilities of the municipality 7. w i l l not create an unreasonable burden on the municipality in providing governmental services 8. w i l l not have an undue adverse effect on aesthetics, scenic beauty, historic sites or natural area, and 8(A) w i l l not imperial necessary wildlife habitat or endangered species in the immediate area 9. Conforms with the Capability and Development Plan which included the following considerations: A ) The impact the project w i l l have on the growth of the town or region; B) Primary agricultural soils; C) Forest and secondary agricultural soils; D) Earth resources; E) Extraction of earth resources F) Energy Conservation G) Private utility services; H) Costs of scattered developments; J) Public Utili ty Services; K ) Development affecting public investments; and L ) Rural growth areas.


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