Brookhaven, NY is working hard to make its infill design guidelines accessible to developers, regulators, and the public, writes New Urban Network. As a companion to Brookhaven’s 43-page Design Guidelines for Lake Ronkonkoma (PDF), people may also access a two-page summary (PDF).
Like many towns on Long Island, [Brookhaven] has old main street districts that are floating in a sea of suburban sprawl. In 2004, the community rallied and prepared a vision plan for Portion Road, a commercial strip corridor. Residents, civic leaders, and officials set a goal of preserving the character of the old villages while raising the standard of new development from the automobile-oriented strip commercial buildings that had been constructed for years. Zoning wasn’t doing the job.
“We were getting plans not in accordance with what people wanted,” says the town’s principal planner, Diane Mazarakis. “We’d get a new building that looked like a warehouse with a gable roof. It met the setback requirements of the code. So we drilled down and started to develop architectural guidelines.”
…The two-page document is “very clear”, Mazarakis says. “A picture tells a thousand words. Graphics are able to get across the intent of the district far better than the verbiage was able to.”
Grasping the Sustainable Northampton Vision: We Need Pictures (11/8/07)
[James Kunstler:] Traditional town planning produces pictorial codes that any normal citizen can comprehend. This is democratic and ethical as well as practical. It elevates the quality of the public discussion about development. People can see what they’re talking about. Such codes show a desired outcome at the same time that they depict formal specifications. They’re much more useful than the reams of balderdash found in zoning codes.