Davidson's Rural Area Plan: Cultivating Conservation & Quality Growth
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. EDT
CM | 1.25Add to My Log
This session offers an engaging analysis of Davidson’s Rural Area Plan – an award-winning plan protecting the Town’s diminishing rural areas via open space preservation and walkable neighborhoods. Best known for its namesake college and iconic Main Street, Davidson’s intentional protection of rural lands and interconnected open space deserves equal acclaim. For the last twenty years, this small town largely prevented conventional suburban development in its rural areas through innovative zoning, open space protection/land acquisition, and partnerships with stewardship-minded stakeholders. With the Charlotte metropolitan region now extending beyond the Town’s northern and eastern borders, increasing development pressure threatens this predominantly rural area.
To address this reality, the Town undertook an 18-month planning process to develop a framework balancing growth and conservation. The resulting Rural Area Plan employs innovative, flexible standards permitting rural development in a variety of walkable formats. Patterns range from conservation-oriented developments featuring 70% open space to small-scale “hamlets” and mixed-use centers. Each context emphasizes walkable neighborhoods, open space protection, and transportation connectivity.
Adopted in September 2016 with zoning implementation approved by elected officials in March 2017, the plan continues the Town’s original 1993 goal of preserving half its rural lands as open space and, uniquely, furthers this goal by allowing walkable development in a thoughtful, compact manner. In fact, the plan preserves 63% of existing rural lands – a remarkable feat in the nation’s second-fastest growing region. Ultimately, the plan illustrates that walkable development and conservation can go hand-in-hand. For more information, please see: www.townofdavidson.org/ruralareaplan.
In a collegial manner panelists from the Town, consultant, and NCWRC will lead an informative, entertaining presentation/discussion of this inventive, replicable framework. Specifically, AICP/CM objectives include:
1. Understand Rural/Open Space Planning Best Practices:
- Learn how NC’s changing demographic landscape presents opportunities to accommodate
development and preserve open space without jeopardizing rural character.
2. Create/Implement Tools Promoting Walkable Places in Rural/Small Town Contexts:
- Use quantitative/qualitative analyses to establish study areas and devise defensible,
conservation-based zoning standards.
- Prioritize mobility improvements in rural areas.
3. Manage Competing Interests, Build Consensus, & Achieve Plan Implementation:
- Generate constructive public discourse in a skeptical, contentious atmosphere.
Craig Lewis, FAICP
Benjamin Howell, firstname.lastname@example.org